Lay-ups come at a minimum when playing Southfield-Lathrup’s twin towers Taiye and Kehinde Bello.
Detroit Renaissance (15-5) learned that the hard way in Wednesday’s district semifinal against the host Chargers.
Most drives to the basket were met with the Bellos swatting the ball out of bounds or to a teammate.
Standing 6-3 and 6-4, the twins controlled the middle while Deja Church and Antoinette Miller showed why they are as dynamic as any pair of scorers in the state.
That added up to a 60-40 victory for the Chargers (19-3) and a trip to the district final Friday against Southfield.
“That will be the last time Southfield-Lathrup and Southfield girls will play,” Lathrup coach Michele Marshall said. “We’re going to enjoy the moment, but we’re really happy we’re going to be playing in our gym.
“The twins came to play tonight. We talked about the idea of them needing to be big because they could be the X-factor for a lot of games. They were big on defense and the rebounding.”
Taiye Bello chipped in 11 points offensively.
Southfield and Lathrup are combining schools next season, so Church, who scored 23 points, will be playing against her future teammates.
“It will be emotional for my coach,” she said. “We played them earlier in the season, but our goal is to get to the Breslin. It’s going to be hard. It’ll be different knowing I’ll be playing with those girls next year.”
Lathrup’s height was an issue from the start as the Chargers used five points from the Bellos in taking a 9-5 lead.
Miss Detroit Public School League Siyeh Frazier scored the first seven points for Renaissance, but a Church three-pointer had Lathrup ahead, 12-7. Frazier finished her illustrious career with 18 points and was hounded all night by Church.
“She’s tough to guard, and my goal was to try and stay in front of her and make it difficult,” Church said. “It was a big task for me. She scored her points.”
Both teams tried to run with minor success.
A drive and basket at the horn by Miller (15 points) gave the Chargers a 14-9 lead after one.
Frazier’s triple highlighted a 5-0 run that got Renaissance within 16-14, but Church scored the next four points to increase the lead to six.
Miller’s second buzzer-beater gave Lathrup a 34-20 halftime lead as Miller and Church combined for 22 points.
“They’re going to be a tough out,” Renaissance coach Kiwan Ward said. “They are tough to rebound against.”
Taiye Bello reached double figures by the end of three as the winners outscored Renaissance, 16-12, in the third to take a 50-32 lead.
SOUTHFIELD 63, OAK PARK 43: Senior Stormeigh Mattison scored 17 points and freshman Alexis Johnson 16 for Southfield (20-1).
The Blue Jays’ only loss this season was to Lathrup. Southfield led, 17-7, after one quarter and never was challenged by the Knights, who are coached by former Miss Basketball Peggy (Evans) McMichael. Oak Park finished 10-11.