2017-12-28 / Sports

USA knocks off PSL’s Detroit Frederick Douglass Hurricanes

By: Mike Gallagher
Sports Reporter - mgallagher@mihomepaper.com

Frederick Douglass guard Pierre Brooks II (1) attempts to box out USA’s Isaiah Williamson. Brooks and Williamson were the game’s leading scorers, as they both had 25 points. 
Photo by: Mike Gallagher Frederick Douglass guard Pierre Brooks II (1) attempts to box out USA’s Isaiah Williamson. Brooks and Williamson were the game’s leading scorers, as they both had 25 points. Photo by: Mike Gallagher CORUNNA - The USA boys basketball team traveled to Corunna High School, Saturday afternoon to play in the “Battle of the Midway.”

The Patriots came away with a big 60-56 victory over the Hurricanes, pushing their record to 3-0.

Frederick Douglass went 16-6 last season, including a 7-1 record in the Detroit Public School League.

“In a game like this you just throw the ball out there and play,” said USA head coach Mark Gainforth. “It’s a different team, and we don’t really see that style of play, and that’s why we’re here. Scouting has a lot to do with how teams play in the Thumb, and this was one of those games you just throw that out the window and play. I think it was important for our team to come here and be able to play well enough to win, and they did.”

USA forward Isaiah Williamson helped the Patriots jump out to a big early lead, as he scored nine of the Patriots’ first 14 points, and USA held a 14-2 lead midway through the first quarter.

The Hurricanes fought back slightly in the last few minutes of the first quarter, but trailed 16-9 going into the second quarter.

Frederick Douglass scored the first four points of the second quarter, forcing the Patriots to take a timeout.

The Hurricanes continued to dominate the second quarter coming out of the timeout, and at the 4:45 mark, took their first lead of the game, 20-18.

That would be Frederick Douglass’ only lead of the game however, as USA would go on a 13-4 run to finish the quarter, led by a strong full-court press.

“We didn’t like the tempo,” said Gainforth. “They went into a press defense and I didn’t like the way the tempo was going, they took us out of sync. We decided to up the pressure on them defensively, put some full-court pressure on them and got them to start turning the ball over. We got the lead back and fortunately we never gave it back up.”

USA led 31-24 at the break, and used an exciting third quarter performance by Micah Cramer, to extend their lead to 12 points, 48-36, going into the third quarter.

Cramer, who had zero points in the first half, scored 11 points in the third quarter. He had an 8-0 run of his own, made two three pointers, and had a three-point play on a foul and free throw.

“We mentioned that after the game,” said Gainforth of Cramer’s third quarter play. “He was pretty silent most of the game, but we needed somebody to step up in that spot because the game got tight and he ran off eight points of his own. That helped us establish our lead again. He knew it was time to step up and he did.”

The Hurricanes got the game close again in the fourth, getting as close as 58-54 with less than 30 seconds to go, but clutch free throws by Williamson and Cramer helped the Patriots seal the victory.

Williamson led the Patriots offensively, as he scored 25 points, grabbed 13 rebounds, and blocked two shots.

“I think from last year to this year I’ve seen such an improvement, physically, mentally and emotionally (from Williamson),” said Gainforth. “He’s the total package. Rebounds, shooting from the perimeter, scoring inside, and finding the open man, he played a complete game today, and we needed it out of him.”

Cramer had 13 points, all in the second half, and Zach Fritz nearly had a double-double, as he scored eight points, and grabbed 10 rebounds.

Frederick Douglass freshman guard Pierre Brooks II, scored 25 to lead the Hurricanes.

The Patriots moved to 3-0 on the season, and head into the break as the only Huron County boys basketball team with an undefeated record.

“December basketball really means nothing to me,” said Gainforth. “It all depends on how you are playing in February heading into March, but I really like our start. I like our competitive nature, and I really like the chemistry of the team. I’m happy, but it’s a guarded happiness. There’s a lot of games left to play.”

USA is now off for winter break, and returns to action on January 5th, when they host Vassar (0-3).

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