King pulls away from Renaissance in the second half, will play for its fourth straight PSL title
Detroit – Detroit King might as well make its home at Detroit Mercy’s Calihan Hall, because it loves playing there. The Lady Crusaders are back in the Detroit Public School League basketball title game as they cruised past Renaissance, 66-44, in the second semifinal on Monday at Detroit Western.
King (15-0) will play Detroit Cass Tech for the title at Calihan Hall on Feb. 20 at 5 p.m.
Longtime King coach William Winfield is more than familiar with this feeling, but is always excited, almost as if it’s his first trip.
"This is great for the program,” Winfield said on playing for another city title. "Anytime we take an extra step like we did tonight, we are all for it. I’m just so glad to be back in the title game. We’ve already won three in a row, so it’s good to be back going for the fourth."
A tale of two halves, Renaissance came out a confident bunch, evening things up at 17-17 after the first quarter. A crucial 9-2 run to end the first half might have been the demise of the Phoenix. King led 36-27 at halftime and Renaissance wouldn’t get any closer.
"I thought Renaissance put up a good fight today, even though the final score doesn’t reflect how hard they played," Winfield said. "They still played a great game tonight, and hats off to their great program over there."
King senior guard Janae Williams didn’t have her best game against Henry Ford in the quarterfinals but avenged that performance with 17 points and 10 rebounds in the semifinals. Williams scored seven in the third including a wide open lay-up with 4:20 left in the quarter that gave King a 42-31 lead. The Lady Crusaders ended the quarter on another 9-2 run pushing the lead to 55-31.
"I had a bad game last game, because I was coming off of a food poisoning, so I really sick," Williams said. "I wasn’t in the gym as much, and I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to do, so coach came to me and told me I needed to work a little bit harder.
"So I got back into the gym, worked on my shot, and came out today with a good game. We knew Renaissance would give us a challenge, but we were a little better tonight."
This trip to Calihan Hall will be Williams’ fourth in a row, and of course she’s excited to be playing for another city title, but is even more excited about playing Cass Tech. Cass Tech edged Mumford in the first semifinal game, 47-41, and will play attempt to dethrone King.
"This win tonight means a lot to me," said Williams. "I was hoping for this moment, and we play Cass Tech again, so I’m really looking forward to that. We are so focused on this next game, and this is what we have been waiting for. We have to get it done again.
Junior guard Siyeh Frazier had 23 points, eight rebounds and four steals to lead Renaissance.
Malayasia McHenry, who at stands 6-foot-3, played well in the post for King, finishing with 18 points and 24 rebounds.