Waterford Mott's #32 Justice Bolling goes up for a shot while guarded by Walled Lake Central's #32 Brett Gustafson during their game at Walled Lake Central High School, Tuesday February 19, 2013. (Oakland Press Photo:Vaughn Gurganian)
Basketball - Boys
BOYS BASKETBALL: Waterford Mott gets redeeming victory over WL Central WITH VIDEO
Waterford Mott's #24 Cameron Williams battles for a rebound with Walled Lake Central's #24 TJ Warren (center) and #23 Phillip Nelson during their game at Walled Lake Central High School, Tuesday February 19, 2013. (Oakland Press Photo:Vaughn Gurganian)
Walled Lake Central's #32 Brett Gustafson and Waterford Mott's #20 Quincy Norman go after a loose rebound during their game at Walled Lake Central High School, Tuesday February 19, 2013. (Oakland Press Photo:Vaughn Gurganian)
Walled Lake Central's #23 Phillip Nelson goes up for a shot while guarded by Waterford Mott's #4 Khalil Malone and #23 Devin Maddox-Nalls during their game at Walled Lake Central High School, Tuesday February 19, 2013. (Oakland Press Photo:Vaughn Gurganian)
COMMERCE TWP. — Last Tuesday, with a share of the division title on the line, the Waterford Mott boys basketball team turned in arguably its weakest performance of the season, falling to Walled Lake Central by 19 points.
"We didn't show up," Corsairs senior Quincy Norman said bluntly, recalling the previous meeting.
One week later, in Tuesday's KLAA Lakes Conference Tournament semifinal, Mott got its redemption by topping Central convincingly with a 41-34 victory, righting many of the wrongs from two previous meetings with the Vikings this season.
"We were more disciplined tonight. We were embarrassed last week when Central did whatever they wanted," Corsairs coach Jeff Jayson said.
"Offensively, we switched things up a little bit (tonight). We spread it out and took a page out of their book — Spread it out with our guards and look to penetrate and try to get them to break down to find our angles."
The game was tied, 31-31, with 3:49 remaining before Norman lifted Mott into the lead once and for all. The senior forward was assertive around the basket, quickly going to work inside to produce the next five points of the game to give the Corsairs a two-possession lead.
"I challenged Quincy at halftime and told him we needed him to be a senior and a big body out there who can finish," Jayson said. "Last week when we were here, he only had four points and one rebound. He made up for that tonight with his play in the second half."
Norman finished the game with a double-double of 13 points and 13 rebounds. All but two of his points came after halftime.
With time running out, Central sunk just one of its shots down the stretch and was left with no choice but to foul Mott and hope for missed free-throws. Few came, as the Corsairs put the game on ice from the charity stripe at the end.
While Mott's offense was steady, it was undoubtedly the Corsairs' defense and commitment to playing with high energy that made all the difference Tuesday night.
"They played great defense, especially in the fourth quarter," Vikings coach Chuck Spolsky said. "We just couldn't get into a rhythm at all offensively. Mott was blocking a lot of shots and may have had 10 blocks as a team. They contested everything and we had no open looks."
Limited to just a single point in the first quarter, Central dug its way out of a nine-point deficit in the second quarter thanks to a 17-4 scoring run going into the intermission. Back-to-back 3-pointers by T.J. Warren gave the Vikings their first lead and eventually a 21-18 advantage at halftime.
But Mott came out of the break with renewed energy, hounding the Central ball-handlers with a combination quickness and tenacity, which led to the Vikings scoring just 13 points in the entire second half.
"We knew it would be a four quarter game and we knew that what happened last time wouldn't be the case again," Spolsky said. "We got off to a slow start, down 10-1, and (Mott) came out with a lot more energy than we did. It took a lot of our energy to come back from that (in the second quarter)."
The Corsairs (13-5) were led in scoring by senior point guard Khalil Malone, who totaled 16 points, 10 of which came from the free-throw line. Additionally, Justice Bolling contributed eight points and eight rebounds for Mott, which used just six players, all of which were seniors.
Warren led Central (14-4) with nine points, while Phillip Nelson chipped in with eight.
With the win, the Corsairs advance to Friday's Lakes Conference final against Grand Blanc.
WATERFORD MOTT 41, WALLED LAKE CENTRAL 34
MOTT — Jujuan Mourad 1 2; Khalil Malone 3 10-12 16; Quincy Norman 5 3-6 13; Devin Maddox-Nalls 2-4 2; Justice Bolling 3 2-3 8; Totals: 12 (0) 17-25 41
CENTRAL — Justin Nafso (1) 2-3 5; Brandon Nafso (1) 1-2 4; Phillip Nelson 2 4-5 8; T.J. Warren 1 (2) 1-1 9; Brett Gustafson 1 2; Jeturi Brown 3 0-1 6; Totals: 7 (4) 8-12 34
SCORE BY QUARTER
M 10 8 9 14 — 41
C 1 20 6 7 — 34
RECORDS — Mott 13-5; Central 14-4
JV — Central 61, Mott 52