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Williams leads Detroit King past Cass Tech, to fourth straight PSL Title

By: Branden Hunter, February 20, 2015, 11:00 pm

DETROIT – Senior point guard Janae Williams has spent the last four years of her high school career at Martin Luther King, and every year she has played in the Detroit Public School League girls city title game. She has also never lost one either, helping the Lady Crusaders defeat Cass Tech, 66-53, for title number four.

 It was King’s third time in a row beating Cass Tech at Calihan Hall.

 "It feels great to win it again," Williams said. "Coming and doing it with these young ladies makes me so happy. I love them. Coach Winfield picks them well."

 King’s legendary head coach, William Winfield, certainly does pick them well. Winfield had Williams’ sister, Del’Niqua Bellamy, at King five years ago, and she went on to play at IUPUI. Janae will also play at IUPUI, but her 24 points and 12 rebounds was good enough to do something her sister wasn’t able to do under Winfield.

 "Janae is the heart of our team," said Winfield. "She is the one that makes us go. Whenever the kids start getting excited out there, she’s the one who keeps everyone with a cool head.

 "She’s a good scorer, plus she can rebound. That’s what she brings to the table. She does it all."

 After King (18-0,12-0) blew a ten point lead in the second quarter, and found themselves down 30-28 at halftime, Williams put the team on her back in the third. Already up 39-35 late in the quarter, Williams went on a 7-0 run by herself to put them up 46-35 with 2:06 left in the quarter. She did it from behind the arch, in the lane, and from the free throw line, forcing Cass Tech to call a much needed timeout.

 "In the locker room, coach told us that we had better get ourselves together, or we would be crying afterwards," she said. "I didn’t want that to happen, us having to leave out the back door, so I had to do what I had to do."

 Of course Williams didn’t do it by herself, and she wouldn’t let her teammates performances go unnoticed. Senior forward Leah Mathis, who goes 6-3, gave King a huge spark off the bench, with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Cass Tech’s guard play matched that of King’s, getting 33 points out of seniors Taylor Parker and K’Lynn Willis, but King’s size was too much down the stretch. They out rebounded Cass Tech 38-19.

 "Normally we start Leah, but she missed one day of practice," said Winfield. "But her rebounding was huge. We got handled in the first half by Cass Tech on the boards, so we had to pay her (Mathis) on the back, and tell her to get going, and she did."

 "Leah is a phenomenal player, and we needed her down their," Williams added. "We needed her to rebound the ball, and that’s what we did for her. I appreciate her for that."

 For Winfield, it’s his 23rd city title as head coach over at King, which is astonishing. And every time he wins one, it feels like the very first time.

 "This is our fourth straight year of winning this thing, which is a good thing," he said. "But I never thought that I would win it this many times, but hey, we’ll take it."

 As for Cass Tech (14-4,11-2), they go home as runner-ups to King for the third consecutive year. But they won’t hang their heads on defeat. They’ll go back to the drawing board, and come back next season as possible favorites to win it all, with a strong group of underclassmen returning.

 "King is a great team, but it’s been tough trying to get my girls over that mental block," said head coach Marrissa Fisher. "Every time we get to King, they just push through that wall. Coach Winfield has so many years of experience. He has done a phenomenal job at King, and knows how to win. Now it’s Cass Tech’s turn to do that."