Posted On: 02/17/18 5:57 PM
Detroit Public School League (PSL) is hands down the best conference in the mitten. Going into the PSL tournament, two top ten teams in the state were on the same side of the bracket with East English and Cass Tech. Many thought that this semi final matchup was going to repeat itself as it occurred last year with current MLK guard, Marcus Gibbs hitting a clutch triple to put Cass Tech over East English. To just about everyone in the states surprise, neither team made it past the elite 8. East English was stunned by Renaissance while Cass Tech was upset by Detroit Edison. Despite Edison’s three division one commits, they have played a Cinderella like role in this tournament. Edison, a class C school, went 2-6 in league play ultimately leading to them drawing Davis & Aerospace in a “play-in” game. After upsetting Cass Tech, Edison defeated Renaissance to give them a big in the championship game. On the other side of the bracket, Pershing played stellar, beating MLK with a score of 60-49 in their semi final matchup. Much like march madness, in the PSL tournament no one is safe. Regardless of seedings, players, and previous matchups, no one is safe. PSL basketball consists solely of hard nose basketball and leaving it out on the hardwood. In other words, for the admission fee of $10, you get a show with the unlikely matchup of Detroit Pershing and Detroit Edison.
Pershing is arguably the most historical basketball school in state history whereas Edison is currently the favorite to win the Class C state title. This will be the third time that the two teams face off this season. The first two matchups were single digit wins for Pershing. There is no better venue for this contest than the historical Calihan Hall at University of Detroit Mercy. Pershing opened the contest on a 7-2 run including a step back trey from DJuan Seal. Seal is a freak athlete with a nice stroke. Seal is one of the top uncommitted seniors in the state. After Pershing’s run, Edison called a timeout and went on a run of their own. Pierre Mitchell (Central Michigan) scored nine of Edison’s first twelve points. The other three points was an NBA range triple coming from Gary Solomon (LIU Brooklyn) who picked up two early fouls in the first five minutes. As Solomon was sat, Mitchell continued to carry the load for Edison. After one, this game did not disappoint. Edison held a 21 to 18 advantage and they were led by Mitchell with 11 points and Pershing was led by their lefty big, Jaylyn Benning with 8 points.
The second quarter started off just like the first; Mitchell getting buckets. The senior floor general had 5 points in the opening minute of the second quarter. As Edison’s lead reached double digits, they continued to keep their foot on the gas. Their pressure defense was too much for Pershing. A fast break lob from Keith Johnson (Ferris State Football) to Deante Johnson (Cleveland State) and an Edison steal brought the crowd to their feet. Edison wanted it more and their Head Coach, Boe Neely was all smiles. Edison’s defense was tremendous. They weren’t letting Pershing get anything easy down low and their high zone defense was forcing turnover after turnover. As Mitchell threaded the needle to junior stud, Brian Taylor in transition then hit two free throws a couple positions later, the Edison lead was up to 20. At the break, Edison held a 42-23 lead and Mitchell had 19 points.
Throughout the first half, Deante Johnson did a superb job down low. They don’t call him spider for nothing. Johnson’s incredibly long reach makes it easy for him to just put his arms straight up to block shots and grab boards. Edison’s full court pressure continued to harass Pershing. Then, Edison’s senior guard, Dominyck Thomas caught fire. Thomas went on an 11-0 run bringing the crowd to their feet. Thomas’ big run propelled their lead to 32 points. The whole team had the hot hand. Keith Johnson then came off the bench and knocked down back to back triples. As the quarter ended, Edison’s lead reached 36 points with a large part coming from Thomas’ 13 point quarter. Thomas had 18 points at the conclusion of the third while Jackson had 11 points.
As the fourth quarter started, many Pershing fans started heading towards the exits. Both teams emptied their benches and it was evident that this game was over. Edison put a beat down on Pershing winning 82 to 45. Edison was led by Mitchell with 19 points, Thomas with 18 points, Solomon with 14 points, and Keith Johnson with 13 points, while Deante Johnson added 8 points and 8 rebounds.
Mitchell was by far the top performer in this matchup. He had 19 points all coming in the first half but he did much more than that. The Central Michigan commit did a great job distributing the ball, protecting the ball, as well as playing stellar defense. For Pershing, floor general, Ron Hill did not have the best game statistically. However, Hill did a great job single handedly dribbling through Edison’s press and getting to the basket. He didn’t always finish when he got there, but his motor kept going despite his odds of winning decreasing.