Birmingham Detroit Country Day's Amir Williams (top) puts up a shot against Flint Powers Catholic during the second quarter Tuesday. (The Oakland Press/JOSE JUAREZ)
Birmingham Detroit Country Day's Kenny Knight (middle) grabs the rebound away from Flint Powers Catholic players Javontae Hawkins (left) and Pierre Brackett Tuesday night. (The Oakland Press/JOSE JUAREZ)
Birmingham Detroit Country Day's Adam Zavadil (left) goes in a for a layup past Flint Powers Catholic's Danny O'Brien. (The Oakland Press/JOSE JUAREZ)
FERNDALE — Flint Powers can legitimately argue that it didn’t lose Tuesday’s Class B quarterfinal game to Birmingham Detroit Country Day, but just ran out of time.
The Chargers (23-3) had 27 seconds to get off a game-tying shot, but the stifling defense by the Yellowjackets (23-3) didn’t let them until it was a second too late, sealing a 67-64 win that sent the defending champs back to the semifinals at the Breslin Center.
A contested shot was what DCD coach Kurt Keener was hoping for.
No shot was inconceivable.
“No. I figured that they were going to try a 3, and hopefully, we’d have a hand up in the face. We played great defense, and that one second. I mean, Javontae (Hawkins) had an open shot,” said Keener, whose team burned one of its fouls it had to give in the final sequence, then just clamped down. “They finally got him an open shot, but there was just no time left on the clock. We came out with the intent to defend the 3, switch any screens, make them have to make a tough 3-point shot, and they did the job.”
The Yellowjackets will face Lansing Sexton (24-2) in one Class B semifinal Friday at 6 p.m., while Powers goes home after a quarterfinal loss to Country Day for the second straight year.
Powers won the previous two quarterfinal meetings between the two state powerhouses, who’ve now met four straight years at this same point.
“We’re just thrilled to be going back to the Breslin Center, and I told the kids afterward, we’ve got two other teams potentially waiting down the road who have just as much motivation as them (the Chargers) to get revenge on us, so we’ll celebrate this one tonight, and go to work tomorrow, and see if we can get a repeat,” Keener said.
“I wish somehow that the state would set up the brackets so that game could be in the Breslin Center, in front of 10 or 12 or 15,000 people. They’re just a tremendously well-coached team. ... We knew that if we wanted to be champions, nothing was going to be given to us. We’d have to beat some great teams, and this was a great basketball team that we beat.”
After a flurry of four lead changes through the midway point of the fourth quarter, the Chargers led as late as 61-60 with 1:49. But the Yellowjackets got a big play from their McDonald’s All-American, Amir Williams (23 points, 10 rebounds, five blocks), and one from a lesser-known player, Adam Zavadil (12 points).
Williams caught an alley-oop pass with 1:39 left, came down to gather himself, then went up for the lay-in, drawing a foul for a three-point opportunity. He made the free-throw, giving Country Day a 63-61 lead.
“He’s very good at reading where the defense is, and they played the play pretty well. Danny O’Brien ... he put that big body on him, and rather than trying to do something spectacular, he just came down, balanced himself, and went back up,” Keener said.
“And again, his free throw. He didn’t shoot free throws very well, but down the stretch, we made them when we needed to.”
That’s where Zavadil comes in.
The senior transfer from the Czech Republic scored a pair of baskets on back-door cuts against the less fleet-footed O’Brien, the Powers football star, then — after a 3-pointer by Patrick Lucas-Perry (15 points) cut the DCD lead to one — extended the lead back to three points, 67-64, by hitting both ends of a one-and-one situation with 27.1 seconds left.
I was just thinking so positive. ... I was a lot nervous, because they called a timeout. ... The first one was lucky. Oh my gosh,” admitted Zavadil, who rattled the first one home.
“Clutch. Clutch, clutch, clutch. That first one? I was praying for it. It was one of those, sitting on the rim, could go either way,” Keener joked. “My guardian angel must’ve tipped it in, but no — he’s one of our best free-throw shooters. We wanted him on the floor there at the end, and he knocked them home.”
The two teams traded 6-0 runs to end the first quarter tied at 22-22, but after Powers put on another 6-0 run early in the second quarter, the Yellowjackets finished the half on a 16-3 run. The streak was started with three straight fast-break layups, then — after three free throws by Powers — punctuated by a pair of 3-pointers, one each from Lee Bailey and Austin Price, put the Yellowjackets up by seven at the half, 42-35.
Hawkins finished with 23 points.
“It really comes down to a few plays in the game, who can make some stops. I have the utmost respect,” Keener said of Powers “Patrick Lucas-Perry is just a winner. Tim had them tremendously well-prepared. We knew it was going to be a dogfight, and come down to maybe the last possession, and that’s what it was.”
E-mail Matthew B. Mowery at email@example.com and follow all of the prep postseason action on Twitter @MIPrepZone.BIRMINGHAM DETROIT COUNTRY DAY 67, FLINT POWERS 64
DCDS — Lee Bailey 3 (1) 0-0 9; Adam Zavadil 4 4-4 12; Austin Price (1) 0-0 3; Chris Fowler 1 0-2 2; Mahesh Umasankar 1 0-0 2; Amir Williams 9 5-8 23; Kenny Knight 4 3-4 11; Carter Elliott 1 0-0 2; Jordan Price (1) 0-0 3; Totals 23 (3) 12-18 67.
FLP — Vince Adams 5 2-2 12; Pierre Brackett 4 4-5 12; Patrick Lucas-Perry 1 (4) 1-1 15; Javontae Hawkins 6 (3) 2-2 23; Danny O’Brien 1 0-0 2; Totals 17 (7) 9-10 64.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
DCDS 22 20 6 19 — 67
FLP 22 13 14 15 — 64
Records — DCDS 23-3; Flint Powers 23-3