Canton’s Logan Ryan scored eight points in the first quarter, but after that managed only one … until it mattered most.
“It was kind of do-or-die time,” Ryan said as his team entered the fourth quarter clinging to a four-point lead. “Either they were going to make a run or we were going to make a run.”
Host Canton didn’t make a run in the fourth quarter Friday — it made a charge to give it the Kensington Conference championship with a 52-42 victory over Livonia Churchill.
The Chiefs, 19-0 for the first time in school history, will attempt to win their first Kensington Lakes Activities Association title Thursday at 7 p.m.
Leading by four, Canton’s Obi Okoli hit a jump shot to begin the fourth quarter and, after a Churchill miss, Ryan drilled a three-point shot.
Okoli stole the ball and drove the length of the court for a lay-up, and after another Churchill miss, Ryan made sure he was behind the three-point line, drilled another triple — and suddenly the Chiefs led, 44-30.
Ryan, 6 feet 7, scored 10 points in the fourth quarter and is Canton’s biggest player. But on this night he hit four three-point shots, in addition to scoring in the paint.
“I really don’t want to limit my game to inside or outside player,” Ryan said. “I try to do as much as I can to mix it up and get my teammates involved.”
In addition to a game-high 19 points, Ryan also did a nice job setting up teammates with passes for backdoor lay-ups.
“He’s a nightmare for most people,” Canton coach Jimmy Reddy said. “When Logan’s rolling, and he’s been rolling now for the better part of a month, he’s a real tough cover. He’s got a great touch, he can step out and shoot it. Even though he’s a little slight, he’s tough around the rim, too.”
Churchill (12-7) did a good job making sure Ryan was well defended over the middle two quarters, but then the fourth quarter rolled around and Ryan took command.
Canton made it difficult for Churchill to get in any kind of offensive rhythm, because for long stretches of the game it seemed like the Chiefs were playing keep-away as they took a 12-9 first-quarter lead and turned it into a 22-15 halftime edge.
“To use a football stat, the time of possession was terrible,” Livonia Churchill coach Jim Solak said. “They had three or four possessions that last a minute-and-a-half. We were talking about how we were going to score, we had to get out of the defensive zone.”
The Chiefs don’t hold the ball for long periods of time like they are in a delay game. They simply are looking for the best shot available.
“We always try to take great shots, sometimes that’s early, and sometimes it’s in transition,” Reddy said. “Churchill’s a good team, and more often than not it’s going to be four to six passes before we get a good one. This group does a great job of sharing it, and we do a pretty good job of taking great shots.”
Contact Mick McCabe: 313-223-4744 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @mickmccabe1.
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