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U-D hangs on, defeats Detroit Western, 47-39

By: Kevin Moore, March 16, 2016, 9:10 pm

Detroit – The Class A regional championship game at Detroit Renaissance High on Tuesday was a rematch of last year’s semifinals as top-ranked U-D Jesuit faced defending champion Detroit Western.

This season there was a difficult outcome. The Cubs (25-0) defeated Western (18-4), 47-39.

U-D will play Ypsilanti (22-1) in a quarterfinal on Tuesday at Calihan Hall at 5 p.m. Ypsilanti whipped Ann Arbor Pioneer, 60-37, on Tuesday.

U-D coach Pat Donnelly of U of D said that the game against Western was what he expected it to be; a tough one.

“I thought this game was a very intense and physical defensive battle,” said Donnelly.

The Cubs were able to jump out to an early lead in the first quarter and took a 14-7 lead after first period.  Cassius Winston led the Cubs with six points in the quarter.

The Cubs were able to shut down Mr. PSL winner Brailen Neely in the quarter.

U-D had a rebounding edge over the Cowboys as Western did not have a way to get U-D’s tall front court players from dominating inside.

In the second quarter, Western was able to claw their way back into the game on Neely’s 3-pointer that brought the Cowboys within six points. 

Donnelly said that his team couldn’t capitalize on opportunities inside.

“We missed a lot of chip shots and lay ups inside, there might have been a little contact but we have to finish,” said Donnelly.

Though the Cubs had some missed opportunities, they were able to carry a 26-21 lead with them into halftime with Winston, a Mr. Basketball candidate, scoring 11 points. Neely had seven points for Western.

The Cowboys were able to tie the game at 26 in the second half on a three-pointer from Kyree Boynton. 

Western was very physical the second half and they made it known to everyone in the building that they did not want the ball in Winston’s hand.

Donnelly applauded the way Western came out on defense today.

“We knew that they (Western) were going to come out and play physical, they teach great defense over there and they showed it tonight,” said Donnelly.

U-D went on a 5-0 run as they took a 31-26 lead with 3:12 left to go in the third.

Winston said that Western really knows how to play defensively.

“There are a great defensive team, especially in the half-court,” said Winston.

Despite this great defense, U-D was able to continue their run as they went on an 8-0 late in the third quarter with help from freshman guard Julian Dozier.

Western hung in there, and with the clock winding down in the third, Neely was able to bank in a three as time expired to cut the Cowboys’ deficit 36-33.

The Cubs were able to build onto their lead in the fourth quarter as they were up 39-33 with five minutes left to play.

The size of the Cubs played a huge factor, especially on defense as the Cowboys were struggling to find shots.

Donnelly said that his two 6-9 front court players (Ike Eke and Gregory Eboigbodin) were definitely a main factor in their win.

“Our size prevented Western to get to the rim and force them to pass around the perimeter,” said Donnelly.  “We can defend the perimeter much better when we have two 6-9 defenders inside.”

Western shot 4-21 from the three-point range and Winston said that they wanted to keep the Cowboys from shooting a high percentage from three.

“In pre-game we talked about denying them the three pointer and forcing them to feed it to their bigs,” said Winston.

But Neely was able to cut the lead to two at 39-37 with 3:10 left to play.

That was as close as the Cowboys were going to get, as the Cubs were able to hold onto the lead and grab the win, ending Western’s chances of becoming back-to-back state champions.

Winston led all scorers with 20 points, Neely finished with 12 points and nine rebounds for the Cowboys.