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Western handles Ypsilanti from beginning to end, defeats Grizzlies 58-37 in Class A quarterfinal

By: Branden Hunter, March 24, 2015, 11:06 pm

Detroit – It wasn’t pretty in the first half for top-ranked Detroit Western against a smaller and scrappy Ypsilanti team but Western was able to pull away in the second half.

 Senior guard Josh McFolley’s 19 points led Western (24-0) to a 58-37 victory over Ypsilanti in a Class A quarterfinal on Tuesday at Calihan Hall.

Western will play U-D Jesuit in a semifinal on Friday at the Breslin Center at 2:50 p.m.

McFolley said Ypsilanti’s scrappiness affected their play a bit in the first half, even though they maintained a 29-14 lead.

"I give them their credit, they played some real good scrappy defense at first," he said. "They made us do stuff that we really didn’t want to do. So at halftime we talked about it, and we got it done in the second half."

Ypsilanti (19-5) was placed in a poor spot in the first quarter and Western made sure they had to chance of coming back in the third.

 Western scored 13 points including five straight by McFolley that pushed the lead to 34-16 early in the quarter. McFolley would score again later in the third and the Cowboys had a 20-point lead.

The second half offensive onslaught continued into the fourth, with McFolley and Brailen Neely hitting back-to-back 3-pointers, making the score 57-29 with 4:29 remaining, and emptying the gym.

"We expect to do that," Western head coach Derrick McDowell said of his team’s explosive second half. "We have so much depth, and normally the other team is pretty much shot. So we moved the ball well in the half, and I Josh got the shots we wanted him to get, and finally made them."

With Ypsilanti not having a player over 6-3 on the floor, Western was able to exploit their size advantage to start off the game. Majority of their first quarter points came in the paint, between 6-8 forwards Gerald Blackshear and Kheir Maxwell, enabling Western to build a big lead. Blackshear had his way, finishing with 12 points, 19 rebounds, and two blocks.

"All game we wanted to start off inside out, and get it to Gerald Blackshear," McFolley said. "He’s got us going, and that was the difference to start the game."

The game against U-D will be a rematch of the Operation Friendship game, a game Western won. McFolley scored 21 points in the game, and is excited about playing against Cassius Winston again, who scored 28 points the last time they met.

"We just have to do the same thing that we have been doing all year," McFolley said. "We have to start off with our big guys, and when they double them, our jump-shooters just have to be ready to shoot.

"Cassius had a good game last time, and we just have to do what we did before. Play tight defense, and go over our stuff in practice."

It’s been a long season for Western, coming is as the team to beat, and living up to the hype so far. McDowell has been in this position before, and is proud of what his team has been able to accomplish to this point.

"All of this started last April," he said. "They were in the open gyms, and we started working from there. So it’s been a process of putting this team together, and a work in progress."