In Play with Tom Markowski

Marcus Gibbs goes on 3-point tear, Cass Tech upsets East English, 73-71, in PSL semifinal

Basketball   | Tom Markowski

Marcus Gibbs goes on 3-point tear, Cass Tech upsets East English, 73-71, in PSL semifinal

Detroit – Marcus Gibbs is Detroit Cass Tech’s 3-point specialist and even if he doesn’t do much else what he does has the Technicians playing in their first Detroit Public School League final since 1998.

Gibbs’ sixth 3-pointer gave Cass Tech a 72-71 lead and it held on to upset defending PSL champion Detroit East English Village Prep, 73-71, in a PSL semifinal on Tuesday at Detroit Renaissance.

Gibbs, a junior guard who averages 16.5 points and is Cass Tech’s top reserve, had 18 points, on six 3-pointers, and Jalen Tobias, Cass Tech’s top post player, added 16 points and six rebounds.

East English’s backcourt of Dave Dejulius (23) and Greg Elliott combined for 45 points. Dejulius miss missed a contested 10-footer with five seconds left and Matt Richmond’s free throw with 1>5 seconds left gave Cass Tech a two-point lead. Elliott’s desperation 55-footer hit the backboard at the buzzer.

“Huge game. Huge game,” Gibbs said. “I give to Dave and Greg. They’re great players. East English has been the team all season.

“I have to shoot with confidence. That’s what coach (Steve) Hall has got me for. It felt great. That’s a huge win. Dave stayed with me, he was on me the whole game. He’s a great player.”

Cass Tech (13-4), unranked, will play Detroit King (13-4), also unranked, for the title on Saturday at Calihan Hall at 7 p.m. King defeated Detroit Collegiate Prep at Northwestern, 47-44, in thesecond semifinal. 

Cass Tech, which has never played King in a PSL final before, last won a PSL title in ’98.

East English (13-4), ranked No. 7 in Class A, now will gear up for the state tournament, which begins March 6.

The first quarter saw six lead changes and four times it was tied as East English led 20-17 thanks to Dejulius’ 24-footer at the buzzer.

Cass Tech made seven 3-pointers in the first half, the last one by Gibbs just before the buzzer and the Technicians trailed 37-35.

Although it didn’t have the lead at halftime, it was important for Cass Tech to keep East English from opening up a large lead. East English is a team that prefers the transition game and likes to wear down their opponents mentally and physical with a fast-pace style.

Hall said he wanted his team to concentrate on going inside on the perimeter-oriented Bulldogs to take advantage of their size.

“One helps the other,” Hall said of the inside-outside game. “We had a good balance. With Tobias, we identified that we had an advantage inside. We got some inside shots.”

In the end it was Cass Tech’s perimeter game that was the difference.

East English never lost the lead in the third quarter and took its largest lead, 63-56, on Elliott’s two free throws with 6:25 remaining in regulation.

Gibbs made three, 3-pointers during a 2:16 stretch to give the Technicians their first lead of the second half, 67-65, with 3:35 left.

An Elliott basket with 1:18 left and his free throw with 34.4 seconds left gave the Bulldogs a 71-69 lead.

Elliott was 13-of-14 from the free throw line and that one miss, with 34.4 left, opened the door for Gibbs.

Each team had 36 rebounds and Cass Tech had one more turnover (16-15).

East English held a significant edge at the free throw line as the Bulldogs were 21-of-29 (72.4 percent) and Cass Tech made just 2-of-7 (28.6). Cass Tech was 30-of-63 (47.6) from the field; East English 22-of-47 (46.7).

Leonard Silas added 14 points for Cass Tech and Richmond had 12. Tariq Sheppard had 11 points for East English.  

“We have depth,” Hall said. “If we keep coming, keep coming, teams will reach the breaking point. I think they got tired. We wanted to keep coming and put pressure on them. We wanted to keep fresh legs in there.

“(Gibbs) is a game-breaker. A game-changer.”

And Gibbs hit the game-winner.

 
 

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