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Late push leads Detroit Country Day past Southfield A&T

By: Jeff Dullack, January 31, 2017, 9:19 pm

Beverly Hills – Throughout much of this season, Detroit Country Day hasn’t been tested as the Yellowjackets have played in two games decided by 10 points or less as they’d put together a perfect 11-0 record on the year.

But after beating each of their last three opponents by an average of 44 points per game, Detroit Country Day found itself trailing at halftime to Southfield A&T on Tuesday night.

After trailing early in the fourth quarter, Country Day dominated in the final minutes of Tuesday’s game as Miss Basketball candidate Destiny Pitts accounted for 11 of the Yelllowjackets final 12 points as they went on for a 60-51 win to stay unbeaten on the season.

Country Day head coach Frank Orlando credited his team’s defense down the stretch in being the key difference in Tuesday’s game.

“We kept on saying that we have to put pressure on them because we were playing better with pressure on them,” he said. “We went to some zones in the second quarter and it wasn’t good. We scored on eight of our last 14 possessions and they scored once and that was the difference.”

Southfield A&T would take a 47-44 lead early on in the fourth quarter after a 3-pointer from sophomore Alexis Johnson, but Country Day would retake the lead shortly after on a Kaela Webb 3-pointer of her own to put the Yellowjackets on top, 48-47.

From there, Pitts took over the game.

The senior Minnesota-commit would first score a basket while drawing a foul and after missing the ensuing free throw, Webb hauled in the offensive rebound and found Pitts, who knocked down the mid-ranged jump shot to push the Country Day lead to 52-47.

“That was very important for us,” Pitts said. “Kaela was probably in shock, because she thinks I don’t miss free throws, which isn’t true, but she was ready because we’ve been practicing on crashing on our offensive free throws, so she was in the right spot at the right time. We did it in practice and it carried over to the game and that was big because it got us another possession and we scored on it.”

Not long after, Pitts would knock down a 3-pointer followed by a pair of free throws to cap off a string of nine straight points for the senior to give Country Day a 57-47 lead.

Pitts would finish with 11 points total in the fourth quarter and a game-high 22 points overall to lead Country Day, while Webb finished with 13 points and Tylar Bennett contributed nine points and 13 rebounds in the win for the Yellowjackets.

Pitts said that late in the game, her biggest focus late in the game wasn’t necessarily to score, but to make plays for her teammates.

“I knew that – not really that I had to score – but just that I had to make the right play for my team,” she said. “So whether it was me scoring or dishing it off or telling someone that we could have gone here, that would have been good for us and I think that helped us in the end.”

In the first half, Southfield A&T would lead by as many seven before halftime with the help of Michigan-commit Deja Church who scored eight of her 15 points in the second quarter as the Warriors led 32-27 at halftime.

Johnson finished with a team-high 21 points to lead Southfield A&T.