In Play with Tom Markowski

Pilots, McKay clamp down defensively and defeat West Bloomfield 57-45

Basketball   | Tom Markowski

State Champs! Sports Network

 

 

Warren – Kevin McKay gave the college coaches what they wanted to see on Tuesday as he led Warren De La Salle to a 57-45 victory over West Bloomfield.

McKay had 17 points, five rebounds and two blocks and more importantly he held Trishton Jackson to what is believed to be a career-low seven points.

“When you stop someone who’s scoring 26 a game you know you’re doing well and college coaches like to see you play defense,” McKay said. “I’m 6-4 but I’m not a slow 6-4. I wanted to stay up on him to guard against the three but I also wanted defend him going to the basket. With our size whether we’re in a two-three zone or man-to-man we keep our arms out and that makes it tough to get (the ball) through us.”

McKay and Jackson are two of the top juniors in Southeast Michigan and many in the De La Salle gym came to watch the two college prospects go head-to-head. Jackson, who mainly plays the point for coach Jeremy Denha, entered the game averaging 26 points; McKay 20. McKay is approximately two inches taller than Jackson and has a 20-pound weight advantage. Jackson was just two-of-12 from the field but to his credit he didn’t take any bad shots.

De La Salle coach Greg Esler said it doesn’t matter which team his Pilots play, McKay is the one who will defend the opposition’s top player, inside or on the perimeter.

“Central Michigan offered (McKay) a scholarship,” Esler said. “I told him they drove four hours to watch you play. Give them their money’s worth.

“Jackson is obviously a great player. He didn’t score much but he got the other players the ball. In that fourth quarter McKay and (Jack) Ballantyne started playing like Division I players. We just have to get better with our shot selection.

“With our size, we try to pound the ball inside. We think we’re one of the best inside teams in the state. But after 20 seconds (of running the offense) we seem to forget what we’re doing.”

Ballantyne is a 6-9 sophomore and at time he dominated inside. He had 12 points and 15 rebounds. Quinton Glaspie, a lanky 6-2 junior, had 10 rebounds and Josh Winowiecki, a 6-6 senior, had 11 points and six rebounds.

Central coach Keno Davis and Oakland coach Greg Kampe were there to watch McKay and Jackson, and Ballantyne is almost assuredly on their wish list as well.

De La Salle (5-2) led 15-8 at the end of the first quarter and 29-20 at halftime. McKay picked up his third foul and sat the last 3:14 of the third quarter. The Pilots led 37-31 at that time but managed just two free throws with McKay out and West Bloomfield (6-1) tied the game at 39-39 on two baskets by Zach Allread (17 points) and one by Gregory Windham to end the quarter.

Jackson’s two free throws, his final points of the game, gave West Bloomfield a 43-41 lead with 6:49 left but the Lakers scored just two more points as they went two-of-13 from the field in the final eight minutes.

Six different players scored for the Pilots in the fourth with McKay and Winowiecki each scoring four.

Despite the loss Denha said there were some things to be gained.

“It’s frustrating to lose,” he said. “But it’s not always about winning and losing. It’s about did we get better? This is the stuff that will get us ready for the league season and hopefully a run in the tournament.

“I don’t remember Trishton scoring seven points. Things weren’t falling. I thought he had some good looks. Everyone is keying on him. That’s a team that has more size than we’re accustomed to playing.”