In Play with Tom Markowski

Godwin Heights defeats defending state champion Milan, 70-64, reaches Class B final for second time

Basketball   | Tom Markowski

Godwin Heights defeats defending state champion Milan, 70-64, reaches Class B final for second time

East Lansing – Wyoming Godwin Heights is a blue collar type of team. The Wolverines take nothing for granted and they go after each loose ball and rebound as if the outcome of the game is riding on each play.

It is with this determination that Godwin Heights defeated defending state champion Milan 70-64 in a Class B semifinal on Friday at the Breslin Center.

Milan (24-3) scored the final six points of the third quarter to take a 47-44 lead then succumbed to Godwin Heights’ relentless pressure and grit.

Michael Williams had 13 points and 13 rebounds, nine on the offensive end, for Godwin Heights and his 3-pointer with 6:50 left tied the game at 49-49.

But Milan still maintained control. Garrett Gardette’s basket with 5:10 remaining gave Milan a 56-51 lead and the Big Reds still led 57-53 after an Arius Richmond free throw with 4:42 left.

That’s when Godwin heights made its run. Leon Redd, who picked up his fourth foul early in the fourth, made a basket and two free throw to tie the score at 57-57 with 4:19 left. With 2:34 left a putback by Delany Blaylock gave the Wolverines their first lead, 59-57, since the third quarter.

It appeared Godwin Heights would try to take some time off the clock after a Milan turnover but Redd showed courage and made a 3-pointer from the left side to give Godwin Heights a 62-57 lead with 2:02 left.

“Leon picked up a couple of early fouls,” Godwin heights coach Tyler Whittemore said. “I talked with my assistants and they said we got to get him back in. Then he picked up his fourth but we kept him in. He’s been big for us all year. I told him to shoot that three. I knew he’d make it. I always think it’s going in.”

The Wolverines closed out the game by making six free throws in the final 1:31.

Two years ago Godwin Heights (25-1) lost to Detroit Community 58-37 in the semifinals and now it will face the winner of Detroit Henry Ford and Cadillac for the title on Saturday at 6:30 p.m.

It will be the school’s second state-final appearance.

“Me and Mike have been here before,” Blaylock said. “We just want to do everything the same. Just treat it like it’s another game.”

 Redd and Blaylock led the Wolverines with 19 points apiece.

Nick Perkins had 21 points and 13 rebounds, and Latin Davis had 17 points for Milan.

It was Williams, a 6-4 forward, who had the assignment of guarding Perkins, a 6-7 forward who signed with Buffalo.     

“He’s one of the more physical players I’ve gone against,” Williams said. “I tried to play him to his right hand because he likes to go to his left. And I just tried to box him out.”

Godwin Heights led 35-32 in what was a fast-paced and entertaining first half.

Godwin Heights held the largest lead, 25-18, after a basket by Blaylock with 6:40 left but it didn’t take long for Milan to tie the game.

Thomas Lindeman’s 3-pointer with 2:30 left tied the game at 30-30 for the Big Reds.

Williams’ basket just before the horn gave the Wolverines their 35-32 lead.

“We tried to do a good job of playing defense in the fourth,” Milan coach Chris Pope said. “Obviously giving up 26 points wasn’t good.”