Marian 50, King 49: Mustangs survive in Friendship game

Marian 50, King 49: Mustangs survive in Friendship game


Marian 50, King 49: Mustangs survive in Friendship game


Janae Williams’ free throw with 28 seconds left gave Detroit King a one-point lead, and defending Class A state champion Birmingham Marian was staring at its first loss of the season to a team from Michigan.

With 15 seconds remaining, Marian coach Mary Cicerone called a time-out and set a play that never developed.

“It kind of broke down. … It didn’t look like there were any openings, and we knew we were in the double bonus,” said senior Kara Holinski, who had the ball. “We were saying, if it breaks down — attack. I saw that I had one of the little girls on me, and I was like, ‘Oh, time’s running down, you’ve got to put something up.’

Well, that wasn’t exactly what she was thinking.

“I was looking for the (pass), to be perfectly honest,” said Holinski, who hit three three-point shots. “I didn’t expect it to be anywhere but at the three-point line, but I had it in my hands and nothing else was open.”

So Holinski, 5-feet-9, drove into the lane against 5-foot Alicia Norman, and the ball slipped out of her hands before she recovered it.

“The girl’s an incredible defender, so I was a little bit nervous in that regard,” Holinski said. “So I was trying to body her down using my size and luckily I got the shot off.”

The shot fell cleanly through the net, but Norman raced down the floor and got off a runner in the lane that looked like it was going to fall.

“Oh, my gosh, when she was going for that last one off the backboard hitting the rim, I was going: ‘Oh, no. Please, no.’ ” Holinski said. “I was happy for us, sorry for them that it didn’t go in.”

The ball bounced off the rim, and Marian held on for a 50-49 win Thursday night in the Operation Friendship City Championship game.

In the consolation game, Riley Blair scored eight of her game-high 18 points in the fourth quarter when Dearborn Divine Child (15-5) outscored Detroit Cass Tech, 13-4, to secure a 41-34 victory.

The No. 2 Crusaders (18-1) gave the Mustangs all they wanted, scoring the final eight points of the first half to take a 21-17 lead. It was the first time No. 1 Marian (19-1) has trailed at halftime this season.

Marian scored the first five points of the fourth quarter as King’s Leah Mathis fouled out. Marian’s Samantha Thomas, who scored nine of her 11 points in the fourth quarter, fouled out with 1:25 left.

“I thought we played some pretty good defense; I thought we helped really well. I didn’t think they let either team play defense today,” Cicerone said. “They called blocking or charging when it wasn’t. They called some touchy fouls. It’s too bad two of the best players were out of the game at the end.”

Holinski scored 16 points and notched her first game-winning basket.

“It’s one of those things you don’t think you’re going to make it in the heat of the moment, and when you do it’s like, wow!” she said. “This is one of those games we really, really wanted to win. King is one of the most competitive teams in the state, and I’m sure that — I’m hoping that — we see them again in the state playoffs. I’m excited to get this first one, but hopefully we can get a second one, too.”

The teams could meet in the semifinals, and although he was disappointed his team lost, King coach William Winfield believed the game will help his team over the next three weeks.

“Marian has a great team, a great team,” Winfield said. “They play together. It seems as though they’re in pretty good shape and, hey, they gave us a rough time tonight.”

King gave Marian fits, too, and Cicerone didn’t mind that the play she designed never materialized.

“Actually, I would have been happy with any one of the five having the ball,” she said. “The play broke down, but Kara created a play for us. How’s that?”

More online!

Go to to see bonus coverage from Thursday’s sports action.


Call in your results to the Free Press at 313-222-6660 or 800-678-6728 anytime after 6 p.m. weekdays or 3 p.m. Saturdays.

Stay in the know

Keep up to date with high school sports all year at, on Facebook at Detroit Free Press – High School Sports and by following @freeppreps on Twitter.


More USA TODAY High School Sports
Marian 50, King 49: Mustangs survive in Friendship game
I found this story on USA TODAY High School Sports and wanted to share it with you: %link% For more high school stories, stats and videos, visit