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King survives, defeats Huron, 58-54, in OT, heads to semis

By: Scott Burnstein, March 15, 2016, 9:51 pm



Southfield – With some big plays down the stretch from a pair of underclassmen and a veteran leader, Detroit King squeaked by a determined and unintimidated Ann Arbor Huron club 58-54 in overtime in a Class A quarterfinal on Tuesday at Southfield High.

King senior captain Micaela Kelly drove the length of the floor in the final seconds of regulation finding sophomore Jordan Lewis for a bucket at the buzzer to force overtime tied at 50-50.

King fell behind 54-50 before Lewis scored two straight baskets to the score again, 54-54, with 1:15 remaining.

Crusaders’ freshman Del’Janae Williams’ baseline tear-drop shot off the glass with 45 seconds to go proved to be the game-winner.

Alicia Norman’s two free throws sealed the victory for King.

The Crusaders (22-1) advance to the state semifinals for a second consecutive season. King will play St. Johns on Friday at the Breslin Center at 1 p.m.

Huron (20-5) missed 17 free throws (14-of-31), a statistic that cost the River Rats.

“We missed some important free throws, we missed some easy layups and it killed us,” said Huron coach Steve Vinson. “When we needed to get stops, we couldn’t get them. One stop and we win this thing.”

Huron was trailing at the half, 25-21, and 38-35 entering the fourth quarter, a frame which saw the River Rats take three leads. Their final lead came on a drive to the basket for a tough lay-in by senior forward Cheah Rael-Whitsitt (University of Miami-Dade County) to make it 50-48 with 8.7 seconds left.

That set the stage for Kelly’s drive-and-dish to Lewis.

A Rael-Whitsitt basket provided Huron a 54-50 advantage in overtime, but the River Rats couldn’t hold on. Rael-Whitsitt led Huron with 19 points and 10 rebounds.

Norman, King’s starting point guard, is battling a high ankle sprain suffered earlier this postseason and is being used in limited minutes by longtime King coach William Winfield (five state titles). Kelly, a DePaul signee and one of only two seniors in the rotation, handled most of the ball-handling duties Tuesday. She notched 16 points, five assists and three steals.

“We’re getting timely playmaking from a lot of different girls,” Winfield said. “In tournament time, that’s crucial. Everyone made plays when they had to. I feel very fortunate to advance.”

Lewis registered 16 points and seven rebounds. Junior combo guard Tia Tedford added 10 points for King.