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Omar Zeigler’s buzzer-beating putback pushes Detroit King past Mumford in PSL tourney quarters

By: MATTHEW B. MOWERY, February 8, 2020, 9:54 pm

DETROIT — If there were going to be theatrics to end Saturday’s Detroit Public School League tournament quarterfinal game, it seemed destined that it would come down to either Mumford’s Alan Gee Jr., or King’s Omar Zeigler. 

Both of the teams’ leading scorers gave up the ball on the last play, with Gee Jr. finding James Knight for a game-tying layup with 32 seconds left, then Zeigler set up John Hogue for the potential game-winner in the waning seconds on the other end.

When Hogue’s baseline shot went long, Zeigler hit the putback from the other side of the rim, nailing it with 1.9 seconds left to give King a 57-55 win.

The Crusaders (13-3) move on to Tuesday’s semifinals, where they’ll take on Douglass (14-3), a 60-52 winner over Henry Ford in the first quarterfinal of the day at Renaissance High School. The two teams — which finished first and second in the PSL’s East Division in the regular season — will tip off at 5 p.m., in the first semifinal of Tuesday afternoon at Cass Tech. 

It didn’t look like King was going to advance early in the game, when the Crusaders fell behind Mumford (10-8) by a 9-0 margin, and trailed 22-8 after one quarter. King trimmed the deficit to just 10 points, 35-25, at the half, then used an 18-5 third quarter to go into the fourth with a three-point lead, 43-40.

Gelil Ward, who had 14 of his 17 points in the third quarter, gave the Crusaders their first lead of the game with 1:06 left in the period, hitting two technical foul free throws. 

Hogue had seven of his 13 points off the bench in the fourth quarter, including a steal and a layup with 2:52 left that allowed King to stretch out to a 55-49 lead. 

It wouldn’t last.

Gee Jr., who had his second four-point opportunity of the game with 7:26 left in the fourth, scored 11 of his game-high 32 points in the final period, tying the game at 55-55 on a steal and a layup with 1:47 remaining. Zeigler had a driving bucket to put King back ahead, 57-55, with 1:27 left, but — after an over-and-back turnover by King with 58 seconds left — Gee Jr. found Knight for the game-tying bucket in the lane with half a minute to go. 

That set up Zeigler’s final chance for heroics at the other end.

Zeigler and Ward had 17 each to lead King, while Knight’s 10 points complemented Gee Jr.’s scoring total.