EAST LANSING – Wyoming Godwin Heights had shot 26.8% through the first three quarters of its semifinal game against defending champ Milan and its season was only eight minutes for coming to a close.
And then Leon Redd and Michael Williams showed up.
Redd scored 12 points and Williams added five points and tough defense in the post in the fourth quarter Friday to allow No. 2 Godwin Heights to knock off No. 1 Milan, 70-64, in the Breslin Center.
The win sends Godwin Heights into today’s 6 p.m. Class B state championship game.
Cadillac’s Tyler Pugh is forces to throw up an off-balanced shot in the first half against Detroit Henry Ford in their MHSAA Boys Class B semi final basketball game on Friday, March 27, 2015 in East Lansing.
Godwin Heights (25-1) led the entire first half before Milan (24-3) began to take control of the game when Redd (19 points) heated up in the fourth quarter and brought Godwin back from a six-point deficit.
“Leon picked up a couple of fouls early, kind of got out of his rhythm throughout the first three quarters,” explained coach Tyler Whittemore. “I know he picked up his fourth real early in the fourth quarter. We believe in him and let him stay in the game and let him play it out and Leon has been big for us all year.”
Williams’ main contributions came on defense when he gave up five inches and a lot of bulk to guard 6-feet-8 Nick Perkins.
“He was one of the toughest, most physical players,” Williams said. “I tried to play him, to his right hand because he was all left hand so that was his strong hand so I just tried to take it away and then box him out so he wouldn’t have a second chance at a shot.”
Perkins finished with 21 points, but was 8-for-19 from the field and had to work like crazy for his points.
“Obviously, Mike was huge,” Whittemore said. “He plays hard and moves his feet quite well, and he’s able to get above the rim.”
One of Godwin’s keys was it grabbed 25 offensive rebounds, which led to 21 second-chance points.
“We work hard in practice on offensive rebounding,” said Delaney Blaylock (19 points, 12 rebounds). “Rebounding is just what we do. That’s what I work on in practice, that’s what I do in a game.”
Milan, which got 17 points from Latin Davis, had to rebound, too, but the Big Reds didn’t, which is partially why they won’t repeat as state champs.
“We just turned the ball over too much today and we didn’t do a good job of rebounding,” said Milan coach Chris Pope. “That was the two simple things I saw in this game. We knew they were athletic. We just didn’t so a good job on our end of playing the right way.”
Trailing by two, Godwin put together a 7-0 run capped by Redd’s three-pointer from the banks of the Red Cedar that gave the Wolverines a five-point lead with 2:07 left to play.
“Literally, he was right in front of me,” Whittemore said. “I told him to shoot it. He’s a confident kid. He knew he was going to make that shot. I knew he was going to make that shot.”
All games at Breslin
Center, East Lansing
■Grand Rapids NorthPointe 48, Boyne City 45
■Flint Beecher 71, Hanover-Horton 43
■Morenci 53, Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes 52
■Powers North Central 71, Fulton-Middleton 46
■Saginaw Arthur Hill 73, Lansing Everett 61
■Detroit Western 55, U-D Jesuit 46
■Wyoming Godwin Heights 70, Milan 64
■Detroit Henry Ford 64, Cadillac 38
■Class D: Morenci (24-2) vs. Powers North Central (26-0), 10 a.m.
■Class A: Saginaw Arthur Hill (24-3) vs. Detroit
Western (25-0), noon
■Class C: Flint Beecher (25-1) vs. Grand Rapids
NorthPointe (21-5), 4:30
■Class B: Wyoming Godwin Heights (25-1) vs. Detroit Henry Ford (21-5), 6:30