Winston’s buzzer beater leads U-D Jesuit past Clarskton, sends Cubs back to Class A Semifinals
Detroit – Heading into Tuesday night’s game against Clarkston, U-D Jesuit star point guard Cassius Winston knew he would have to be aggressive in order for his team to make a return trip to the Breslin Center.
And Winston was aggressive until the final horn.
With the game tied at 54-54 and as Gary Collins looked to pass the ball to Winston on an inbounds play with four seconds left, he saw Winston was in the middle of a Clarkston double team and Collins instead passed the ball to Obi Duru.
Then it was Winston who made one last aggressive play as he cut to the basket, taking a feed from Duru and laid the ball up and in over a Clarkston defender at the buzzer to lift U-D Jesuit past Clarkston, 56-54.
“I was trying to get the ball up top, but they passed it to the corner,” said Winston of the final play. “So I kind of ball-hawked it. I faked one way and then cut back to the basket.”
U-D Jesuit (22-3) now advances to its second straight Class A semifinal as the Cubs will face the winner of the Detroit Western-Ypsilanti game on Friday at the Breslin Center.
U-D Jesuit coach Pat Donnelly said that he felt that Winston had to be as aggressive as he was and could tell that his star junior was in a rhythm early on with his play and ability to get to the basket against a tough Clarkston defense.
“He had to be,” he said. “We thought we had a little bit of an advantage coming into the game with quickness, that we could beat them off the dribble and he was feeling it. He got it going early and why let him stop? He was aggressive, he was finishing, getting to the rim and when he’s playing like that, we let him go.”
Early on in the fourth quarter, it was a basket from Winston that pushed the U-D Jesuit lead to 50-43, but Clarkston guard Andrew Myers responded in a big way as he would first hit from 3-point range to cut the deficit down to 50-46.
Myers then recorded a basket, followed by a basket while drawing a foul and gave the Wolves a 51-50 lead after he made the free throw with about five minutes left to play.
Myers finished with a team-high 28 points to lead Clarkston (24-1).
Clarkston coach Dan Fife said that whenever his team needed a basket, it was Myers who answered the call for the Wolves all night long.
“That kid fought the whole game,” he said. “He made big, crucial buckets, made big plays when we needed them, got us back tied up. It was just a great effort, individually, mentally his will to win for our team.”
Winston would then give the Cubs the lead back as he knocked down a pair of free throws and would add another basket to put U-D Jesuit on top, 54-51 late in the game.
Winston finished with a game-high 34 points to pace the Cubs as the junior found the majority of his success driving to the basket.
“I couldn’t get any jumpers today, so I had to trust in my ability to get to the basket,” he said. “I took a couple of shots, but as the game went on, I figured the jumpers weren’t falling, so going to the basket was my best bet.”
That score would hold up until the final seconds when it was Myers who came up with one last play, knocking down another 3-pointer for Clarkston to knot the game up at 54-54 with 14 seconds left to play.
Donnelly praised Myers for his performance on Tuesday night, but also praised his team’s defense, most notably freshman Elijah Collins against Clarkston freshman Foster Loyer, who had big time games throughout the tournament.
“I’ve never seen Andrew Myers play like that, he was unbelievable. That was one of the best performances I’ve seen shooting the basketball,” he said. “But I thought one of the keys to us winning was how we defended Loyer. He’s a good player, and I thought Elijah did a great job. I thought Gary did a good job, I thought Obi Duru did a good job as well.”
U-D Jesuit will look to advance to the Class A Final on Friday at the Breslin Center as the Cubs are ready for a second opportunity to play in the semifinals in as many years.