I’m a fan of women’s basketball, and games like the Girl’s Detroit Public School League championship at Calihan Hall reaffirmed my feeling for the girl’s game.
For the second consecutive year the PSL has played the girl’s and boy’s title games on the same day and at the same facility. Smart move! On the campus of the University of Detroit Mercy, as it should have been, and it was, the two best girl’s basketball programs in the PSL found their way to the title game.
The, at the time, 15-1 Pershing Ladies and the 17-1 Renaissance Phoenix locked horns and when the last referee’s whistle blew, standing atop the podium was the Phoenix as they outlasted the Doughgirls 62-53.
The Phoenix is the No. 1 team in Class A and they played like it, but it does not stop with the PSL as the ladies now have their sights on the state title.
The Martin Luther King High Lady Crusaders, for too many years to count, ruled the PSL, but as the program finally slid back to the pack, Renaissance, who struggled to beat King, has stepped to the front of the PSL along with Pershing.
Pershing won the title in 2008 and Renaissance won in 2009, so this was kind of a rubber match.
“We lost to them at the buzzer two years ago,” said Renaissance coach Diane Jones. “They are a good team, but my kids played their hearts out and they stepped up when the game was on the line.
When the Phoenix stars, Asia Boyd and Lorreal Jones, got into foul trouble, sophomore Joslyn Massey stepped right into the scoring void and produced a career game. She tossed in 20 critical points to lead her team to its first back-to-back PSL titles. Her previous high was 13 points.
“I dreamed it and I knew I could get it done,” Massey said during the team’s post-game celebration. “I’ve spent a lot of time in the gym and it finally paid off.”
Concurred Jones: “Massey was tremendous. We always knew she had it in her, but she’s only in the 10th grade. It was a maturity situation, and she started coming on the last two weeks. I’m not surprised, the kid’s a player.”
The PSL Player of the Year, senior Lorreal Jones, was excited to see Massey step to the front in the “Big Game.” They were so excited that they put Massey on their shoulders and carried her off the court.
“The whole team decided to do that,” Jones said. “She really matured tonight and carried the team on her back today.”
Jones, battling foul trouble, still had 15 points and 12 rebounds.
Renaissance led, 30-26, at halftime, but Pershing took a two-point lead with 4:53 left in the game before Massey hit four straight free throws and Jones added two.
“They shot 32 free throws to our five,” noted Pershing coach Shawn Hill, “but I don’t want to blame this loss on the officials. Look, it was on us that we just could not come up with the plays at the end of the game when we really needed them.”
Senior guard Dorina Barrett scored 17 for Pershing and sophomore Caprice Dennis added 15.
Leland Stein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.