Northville was without leading scorer David Morrissey Friday night, but the Mustangs still galloped away to a 52-31 KLAA Central Division boys basketball victory over host South Lyon East.
Morrissey, who is averaging nearly 20 points per game, was out with the flu, so 6-foot-4 junior forward Justin Gibbons picked up the scoring slack with a game-high 19 points.
Senior center Ryan Roberts added 10, while junior guard Justin Zimbo contributed seven as the Mustangs improved to 11-5 overall and locked up third place in the division.
Trent Willenborg scored 15 points in a losing cause for the Cougars (4-11, 2-8).
“Guys stepped up tonight, which was important for us,” said Northville coach Todd Sander, whose team outscored East 19-2 in the second quarter to take a commanding 34-9 halftime lead. “Our team has really grown and matured this year and we like where we’re heading into the (KLAA) tournament.”
The Mustangs, who made 10-of-17 free throws, open the KLAA playoffs 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 20 at Westland John Glenn.
STEVENSON 61, NOVI 56: Senior guard Josh Campbell nailed three triples en route to a game-high 25 points Friday night as Livonia Stevenson (6-10, 4-6) sewed up fourth place in the Central Division and a playoff spot in the KLAA playoffs with a win over the host Wildcats (11-5 7-3).
Ironically, Novi won the first meeting between the two teams at Stevenson, 74-45, on Jan. 23.
But in the rematch, Stevenson jumped out to a 20-6 first quarter advantage and led 57-38 after three periods and held on for the victory.
Jacob Dollar and Gino D’Agostino added 14 and 10 points, respectively, for the Spartans, who were 8-of-14 from the foul line.
Junior forward Naji Ozeir and senior guard Brad Dotinga paced the Wildcats’ scoring attack with 16 and 11 points, respectively. (Novi was 6-of-13 from the free throw stripe.)
And after winning 10 straight, Novi has now lost three in a row. The Wildcats will open the KLAA playoffs beginning at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 20 at Livonia Churchill.
“Campbell played as hard as I ever seen him play in four years,” said Novi first-year coach Brandon Sinawi, who spent the previous three years as Stevenson’s varsity coach. “Whether it was the motivation was to beat their old coach, or to get back us from the first time, they just wanted it more than we did.”
NORTHVILLE 47, SOUTH LYON 41: On Feb. 10, the Mustangs (10-5, 5-4) struggled in the early going, but rallied with a 28-18 second-half run to beat the stingy Lions (3-11, 2-7) in a KLAA Central Division game.
Senior guard David Morrissey paced Northville with a team-high 18 points, including four 3-pointers along with five steals.
Junior guard Justin Zimbo chipped in with 10 points, including 5-of-6 from the foul line. Senior center Ryan Roberts contributed eight points and seven rebounds.
“We weren’t very good tonight, but found a way to grind it out, which is a real sign of growth we’ve seen out of our team this year,” Northville coach Todd Sander said.
South Lyon which led 23-19 at halftime, got a game-high 19 points from Josh Remstad.
The Mustangs were 9-of-15 from the free throw line, while the Lions made 3-of-5.