Dearborn Fordson controlled the second half tempo, but with 1:05 left and the score tied the Tractors missed two free throws and Romulus’ D’Angelo Hansbro dribbled away most of the remaining clock until 6-feet-7 Rio Washington set a pick.
Hansbro dribbled the ball right at and then around Washington.
“I wanted to come off the screen tight to make sure his man came to help on me,” Hansbro said. “I was hoping his man would help so I could go up for a shot and at least get his man off his feet and I could get it down to the big man.”
Once Hansbro dribbled past him, Washington knew exactly what to do.
“I set the screen up at the elbow and I rolled to the basket,” Washington said.
After Washington rolled, Hansbro delivered a perfect pass to the big man and he laid the ball in the basket for the go-ahead bucket with 11 seconds left Tuesday and Romulus wound up with a 68-64 victory.
Romulus (6-2, 3-0) is ranked No. 6 in Class A, but for most of the game it was Fordson (6-1, 2-1) that played like better team and senior guard Muhammed Zahr, who scored 30 points, played like the best player in the state.
“He’s been our stud all year,” said Fordson coach Osama Abulhassan. “He made plays _ he made some big shots, made some hustle plays. He’s our leader and he’s going to continue to lead us.”
Zahr nearly led the Tractors to the upset victory against Romulus, which couldn’t find a rhythm.
“That’s kind of been their M.O., especially when they play us,” Abulhassan said. “I don’t think necessarily there’s that sense of urgency early on and we told our kids to feed off it. I thought we got after it for 3 ½ quarters. We missed a couple of free throws, they made a couple of free throws.”
Romulus blew a 10-point halftime lead and trailed by six points with six minutes left in the game before Rahsaan Pope (16 points) and Jaylin Walker (14 points) came alive.
“Some atmospheres aren’t going to be the ones you expect them to be _ this is a tough place to play,” said Romulus coach Jerret Smith. “We’re up 10 at halftime; you can never get satisfied here. Fordson played a very, very smart game. It wasn’t our best game _ not even close _ but we had the opportunity to win and we won and that’s all you can ask for at this time of year.”
Walker, who signed with Kent State, gave Romulus the momentum at the half. Hansbro lofted a pass that looked like it was headed for the stratosphere when Walker leaped high in the air and slammed it through on a spectacular alley-oop pass to end the second quarter.
“I know he can jump very high,” Hansbro said. “He always tells me to just throw it up to him; if he doesn’t get it it’s his fault. I put him in a predicament where he had to go get it.”