One way to keep the opponent from scoring is to keep the ball in your hands.
Detroit Douglass switched gears to start the fourth quarter and played what more resembled old-fashioned playground keep-away.
The Hurricanes dialed it back from an up-tempo, push-the-ball, full-court press defense much of the game — to working more than 5 minutes off the game clock in the final stanza to secure a 39-28 victory over Goodrich on Tuesday night in a Class B quarterfinal at Marysville.
“I told Coach we could stall it and make them come out to play man-to-man,” said Douglass senior Derrell Davis, who finished fifth in this week’s Mr. Basketball voting. “Once we get up, we want to make them come out and play man defense.”
The move is not uncommon for Douglass, but with its team speed and propensity for scoring, it’s hard to hold in the reins.
“It’s a challenge,” said Davis, the game’s leading scorer with 15 points. “But I just wanted to win the game. I didn’t care how it was done. Win by one point; I just wanted to win the game, because our goal is the state championship.”
Neither team shot well in the first half. With both offenses hustling up and down the court, it was 20-18 at halftime. Douglass (16-9) shot 8-for-27, including two three-pointers, and Goodrich (20-6) shot 8-for-22.
Douglass took a 29-23 edge into the final quarter, but no one scored until Goodrich senior Carlos Fordham grabbed a rebound and put it back with 2:39 left. Douglass pulled away from there by drawing fouls, shooting 4-for-5 from the free-throw line, and in the waning minutes spreading the floor and using bursts of speed to get a Daavi Bradley (eight points) lay-in and a Terrell Hales dunk.
“They’re a good team,” Davis said of Goodrich. “They played hard all the time, we had to box out and rebound. We just had to finish the game strong.”
Grant Smith led Goodrich with 11 points. “They don’t beat themselves,” Douglass coach Nkwane Young said of the Martians. “They’re calm; you can tell they’re very coachable, disciplined. I thought those guys played within themselves, and the only way to beat a team like that is to be disciplined yourself.
“I’m very proud of (my) team. All year, playing team basketball and being disciplined. That’s the key. Like I told them, everybody here is good, they haven’t lost yet (in the tournament), and we wouldn’t be playing them if they weren’t a good team.”
Davis said he was glad to be considered for Mr. Basketball: “I feel good about it. That’s just life. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. I just want to play the game of basketball, that’s all.”
Davis and his teammates will be doing that at least one more time together — in a Class B semifinal against Milan on Friday evening at MSU’s Breslin Center.