Junior Class Leads East English Village Past Ford 72-65 In City Quarterfinals

12 Feb

photo-6Detroit East English Village is chartering into unknown territory. The school was formed as a merger of Finney and Crockett High Schools in the Fall of 2012. With East English’s victory over Detroit Henry Ford, the Bulldogs will play in the first PSL city semi-final in school history.

EEVP trailed 28-25 at halftime in an evenly matched contest. However, the Bulldog game plan would have to change. 6’3″ junior standout guard Kamari Newman took an awkward fall attempting to secure a rebound. Newman would be forced to leave the game with 7:38 seconds left in the third with his team trailing 30-25. Ford would make their move. Led by division one point guard James Towns, the Trojans would go on a 14-0 run over the next 2:23 and lead as large as 19 points at one point, Towns scored six in the third.

The Bulldogs needed to counter and quickly, and received it from the unlikeliest of sources. Junior guard Lamar Neely does not play the most minutes on a particularly deep Bulldog squad, but with the injury to Newman, Neely needed to make his presence felt.

“On the bench I was kind of nervous,” Neely said after the game. “But once I got in there the jitters went away.”

Neely and fellow junior guard Chris Rollins orchestrated the Bulldog comeback. Rollins connected on a three pointer to trim the Trojan lead to nine to ending the third. Rollins would continue his onslaught in the fourth, he scored seven points in the final stanza, and Neely launched a three pointer with 3:40 left to give the Bulldogs a 59-57 lead, capping off a 16-5 spurt in the fourth.

“I was real confident,” Neely said regarding the three pointer. “I’m not going to say I knew it was going in, but I was real confident.”

Neely scored all ten of his points in the second half. Ford knotted the score 61-61 after junior Jeremy Crawley sinked one of two free throws with under a minute to play. Bulldog junior Jaylin McFadden had a chance to win the game, but his contested five footer was off the mark. Overtime.

Overtime was all EEVP. The Bulldogs forced six Trojan turnovers, outscored Ford 11-4, and four different Bulldogs scored in the final four minutes of play, finishing the largest comeback in school history.

“Any team down by 19 most of the time they’re going to give up, think it’s over.” junior forward Jaylin McFadden commented after the game. “But the way our coaching staff is, we’re not allowed.”

McFadden did not start, he came off the bench and provided starters worthy minutes with 17 points and 10 rebounds, the fourth Bulldog in double figures for scoring, joining Chris Rollins (21 pts), the aforementioned Neely, and 6’5″ forward Cedric Lattimore (12 pts).

Newman did not play the majority of the third, entire fourth, and overtime session. McFadden alluded to Newman’s presence on the bench, even with his injury, as motivating to the team in moments of adversity. McFadden said he kept on pushing them, and were eventually able to get over the hump. But on a team as talented EEVP, it’s pick your poison according to Jaylin.

“It’s kind of hard,” McFadden said to key in on one player. “We all know our role, we are all trying to get it done for the same goal.”

The Village moves onto face Renaissance this Friday in the city semi-final. East English defeated Renaissance by two points on a last second shot January 20th. With a trip to Calihan on the line, the Bulldogs will not expect the Phoenix to lay down easily.

“They’re a hard team,” McFadden added. “Beat them by a buzzer last time, we know they’re trying to get back at us, we’re just going to play our game.”

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