In Play with Tom Markowski

Balanced scoring, quickness defensively carries East English past Renaissance, 61-50, in PSL showdown

Basketball   | Tom Markowski

Balanced scoring, quickness defensively carries East English past Renaissance, 61-50, in PSL showdown

Detroit – Detroit East English Village Prep showed why it’s now the favorite to win the Detroit Public School League championship on Friday.

The Bulldogs were shorthanded in their showdown with Detroit Renaissance. Both teams were 7-0 in the PSL Division 1 and the winner would gain the top seed in the league playoffs, which begin next Friday.

East English was without starting center Cedric Lattimore (6-5) for its showdown at Detorit Renaissance. Lattimore, a 6-5, 260-pound senior who committed to Iowa for football, is in Arlington, Texas, competing in Sunday’s VII International Bowl at AT&T Stadium. And Mr. PSL candidate Karmari Newman never found his range from the perimeter (1-of-8 from the 3-point range).

The Bulldogs (12-2) immediately took the play to the Phoenix as they led 14-2 after six minutes and coasted to a 61-50 victory.

Greg Elliott, a 6-2 junior, carried much of the load with Newman weathering his struggles from the field. Elliott had 16 points and 12 rebounds.

 Jaylin McFadden also play well. The 6-4 wing signed with Ferris State but on this day McFadden was assigned to defend Renaissance’s 6-7 center Alaric (A.J.) Jackson. Jackson, one of the state’s top football prospects, is a 290-pound tackle who has narrowed his college choices down to Iowa, Iowa State and Nebraska. Jackson said he will announce his decision via twitter on Monday. McFadden’s scoring suffered (12 points) but he had six rebounds and helped keep Jackson to four points and 15 rebounds.

Newman did score 16 points, five from the free throw line.

“We just had to play hard,” Elliott said. “Karmari wasn’t hitting his shots. (Playing with five guards) makes it easier to push the ball. Especially with A.J. on the floor. We play fast. Nobody can keep up with us.

“When Karmari isn’t hitting we still look for him. There were other people open. You attack his side, they guard him and then you go to the basket.”

Renaissance (11-2) never made a serious run. It trailed 34-22 at halftime, 42-26 early in the third and East English took its largest lead, 56-39, after a Newman basket with 2:41 remaining.

Neither coach made too much of the outcome. Both know there are more meaningful games to be played. If nothing else, East English gained a bit more confidence knowing it could win an important game on the road.

“We put a lot of emphasis on the first four minutes,” East English coach Juan Rickman said. “We try to start out fast to set the tempo. Karmari struggled but we can play well without him scoring. McFadden is real important for us, especially today without Lattimore.”

Justin Turner led Renaissance with 17 points and 12 rebounds. He did not score, nor did he attempt a shot in the fourth quarter. Richard Talley scored all 11 of his points in the second half. His play was limited in the first half as he picked up his third foul with 3:21 left in the first quarter.

“Talley’s the glue to the team,” Renaissance coach Vito Jordan said. “I thought about playing him (in the second quarter) with three fouls. We’re not the same without him.”

The Phoenix just didn’t play well. They were just 8-of-30 from the field (26.7 percent) in the first half and 16-of-54 (29.3 percent) for the game.

Because of its quickness, East English didn’t allow many uncontested shots.