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King uses balance scoring, tenacious defense to down Romulus, 49-35, in Class A quarterfinal

Basketball   | Branden Hunter

King uses balance scoring, tenacious defense to down Romulus, 49-35, in Class A quarterfinal

Dearborn - Sure Detroit King handled business against Romulus, 49-35, in the Class A quarterfinals at Dearborn Fordson, but head coach William Winfield is still concerned about his team's play.

Their last three starts to their games have been subpar, and he knows they can't continue that type of play going into the semifinals.

"In the past, we have gotten off to good starts, but in the last couple of games, we just can't seem to get going fast enough," said Winfield. "Maybe I need to change my method of coaching, or my line-ups, because we need to get off to good starts."

King only managed to score five total points in the first quarter, surpassing the two points they scored against Grosse Pointe South in the first quarter, a week ago. On that top of that, Romulus forced them into five turnovers in the first, frustrating King early.

"They didn't want go hang those uniforms up," Winfield said of Romulus. "So they played us hard tonight. We played them the second game of the season and blew them out, and that was in the back of our minds. So we came out with a lazy attitude.

"They played really well, and jumped out to a good start. But out athleticism took over, and that was the difference in the game."

King opened the game up in the third quarter, after maintaining a 22-13 lead at halftime. King led 28-18 early in the quarter then went on a 9-2 run to push their lead to 17. Seniors Janae Williams and Malayasia McHenry had back-to-back baskets, then Micaela hit one of her three 3-pointers, followed by another lay-up by Williams, to make it 37-20.

King's bread and butter all season long has been its pressure defense, which forced seven turnovers in the third, 24 total.

"The pressure helped up, and that's our holding card," Winfield said. "It hurts us sometimes, but it helped us tonight against Romulus."

Offensively, King didn't have its best night shooting, with only a game-high of 13 from Williams. But the Crusaders did have balance. Kelly scored 11 points, and sophomore Tia Tedford chipped in with nine. Tedford’s and Kelly's 3-point shooting in the second quarter is what allowed King to pull away from Romulus, with Williams struggling.

"Kelly played a decent game for us," said Winfield. "Her and Tia, who has been playing well the last four or five games. But (Tedford) went out of the game late with an injury, so I have to see what's going on with her. That's a major concern for us going forward."

King (24-1) will need Tedford's scoring, and for the entire team to play better on Friday at the Breslin Center in the Class A semifinals. They play top-ranked Birmingham Marian (24-1) again, a team it lost to 50-49 on Feb. 26. This team isn't Winfield's most talented by far, and despite the one loss to Marian, he is confident they can go in and come out with a win with better play.

"I've been in this position before 11 times, so this isn't anything new to me," said Winfield, who has five state titles. "I know what's ahead for us. I'm just going to let them know that they will be able to win this game. I like playing against good teams, and I think the game against Marian will be a good one.

"But remember that they beat us in their building by one, a game in which we should have won. It gives us an advantage having played them before, and they are chasing us. We aren't chasing them. We plan to go up there and play well."