King has trouble with Cass Tech early, then runs past Technicians 62-26 to capture Cass A district crown
Hamtramck – Detroit Cass Tech was overmatched by Detroit King from the opening tip.
Senior guard Taylor Parker, who stands 5-5, was forced to jump against Leah Mathis, who is 6-3. The other four Technicians just stood waiting on defense, expecting Mathis to win the tip, which she did. From there, it was downhill for Cass Tech. King went on to win 62-26, capturing another Class A district title on Friday at Hamtramck.
Cass Tech actually led 10-8 after the first quarter, in which an effective zone defense stymied the King offense. But that didn’t last long. The Lady Crusaders outscored Cass Tech 17-9 in the second quarter to take a 25-19 lead at halftime.
"They shocked us for a little while," King coach William Winfield said. "They played better than the other two times we played them this season, so it took a little awhile to adjust.
"But we picked it up in the second quarter, and once we started picking it up, that’s when it was all she wrote then. We played way better."
Cass Tech (14-6) shut out Detroit Osborn 80-0 back in January and some bad luck by Osborn. King gave the Technicians a taste of their own medicine in the third. King opened the quarter on an 8-0 run, capped off by a 3-pointer from sophomore Alicia Norman, to take a 33-19 lead with 4:11 left.
King’s defense forced Cass Tech into seven turnovers in the third quarter, and quickly King’s lead had swelled to 18. Norman’s 3-point play gave King a 38-20 lead. Cass Tech only managed three points in the fourth.
"Defensively, I just told my girls to just get a hand in their face," Winfield said. "They have three girls who can really shoot, so you have to get a hand in their face. If you get close to them, get a hand in their face, they won’t make all those shots. We were able to do that, and that quarter was the difference in the ball-game."
King’s run continued well into the fourth quarter and the Lady Crusaders led 57-24 with 2:08 to go.
Cass Tech scored a total of seven points in the second half, and their leading scorer only had eight.
Norman led King (19-1) with 13 points, six rebounds and four assists. She’s always the smallest player on the floor, but is the heart and soul of King’s team.
"She’s small, but she has an awfully large heart," Winfield laughed. "She’s the one who breaks the defense down. A lot of times we don’t have to worry about running plays for her. I just tell them to get out of her way. She doesn’t turn the ball over, and she’s and cool as a cucumber."
Now Winfield and his team have their eyes set on making a deep run in the state playoffs again, and capturing his sixth state title.
"I’ve always had all the talent in the world to win," he said. "The difference is, I don’t always get the calls in the big games. We don’t get calls in the big games, and I don’t know why. We are going to have a nice lead in order to beat some of the better teams, but I have no doubt in my mind that this team can do it."