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BOYS' BASKETBALL: Truman gets revenge in second meeting with Kennedy (PHOTOS)

  • Kennedy's Andia Marsh (11) and Truman's Aaron Foster-Smith (22) have been two of the area's best players all season. Photo by Dave Chapman
  • Truman's Anthony Wartley-Fritz had 12 points and 14 rebounds Friday night, while Kennedy's Matt Woloszyk had four points and nine rebounds. Photo by Dave Chapman
  • Truman Coach Chuck Suttles said Anthony Wartley-Fritz "put the team on his back tonight." Photo by Dave Chapman

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For the second time in less than two weeks, the Downriver League’s best teams went head-to-head in another installment of the Taylor basketball rivalry.

On Feb. 10, Kennedy came away win an 11-point defeat of Truman on the road, but the Cougars (15-2, 12-2 DRL) got revenge Friday night with a 62-56 victory on the home court of the Eagles (13-4, 12-3 DRL).

With the win, Truman broke a tie atop the standings and took sole possession of first place, leaving the Cougars in the driver’s seat for another DRL title.

“We felt that we had the opportunity to come in here and win because we know how badly we played the last time we played them, said Truman Coach Chuck Suttles. “And we played bad because they shut us down and we were content to be shut down.”

Most unhappy with the team’s last effort, it seemed, was Truman’s Anthony Wartley-Fritz, who this time grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds and finished with 12 points.

“Anthony Wartley-Fritz put the team on his back tonight,” Suttles said. “He really was determined. He wanted to say no tonight to Kennedy and he did a nice job of leading the team out there.”

The Eagles were able to keep it close most of night, as Andia Marsh led all scorers with 17 points and teammate Kareth O’Neal finished with 12. In the last meeting, Marsh had 25 points in the winning effort.

After the first quarter, Truman was up 16-12, thanks to four points from Wartley-Fritz, as well as four each from Aaron Foster-Smith and Devain Newbill. For the night, Newbill finished with 15 points and Foster-Smith netted 14.

By halftime, the Cougars had extended their lead to eight points at 33-25, as Wartley-Fritz and Newbill each picked up four points and Kendarius Slaughter knocked down a 3-pointer.

Kennedy began charging back early in the third quarter, as Matt Woloszyk helped kick start the effort by grabbing an offensive rebound and putting it back for two points. Woloszyk wrapped up the night as the team leader in rebounds with nine.

Marsh followed with seven unanswered points and then late in the quarter found O’Neal open under the basket with an in-bound pass to finally put the hosts up 40-39.

Kennedy Coach Rich Lannon said that same effort shown in the third quarter needed to be there all night in order to win the game.

“We didn’t wake up until we got down,” he said. “When the score was 0-0 we weren’t awake. When we were down eight all of the sudden everybody woke and everybody’s fired up ready to play and we’ve got to play that way from the jump.”

The one-point third-quarter lead was short lived, as Foster-Smith hit a late bucket for Truman and made it a 41-40 game heading into the final quarter.

Inside the first minute of the fourth, the Cougars went up by three, but Marsh answered with a triple and tied the game 43-43.

A pair of Foster-Smith free throws extended the Truman lead again, but a three-point play by Marsh, after being fouled on a shot, cut it to one at the 5:26 mark.

Eventually, the Cougars were able to pull away, helped out by six fourth-quarter points and some key rebounds from Devonte McGregor.

With about two minutes to go, Matthew Mason put the visitors up 57-51 and soon after Kennedy committed a turnover on a valuable late possession and had to start fouling after that.

Down the stretch, Newbill and Wartley-Fritz both hit free throws to help ice the game and ultimately give their squad the 62-56 win.

It’s likely that the two teams have not seen the last of each other, as a Class A District playoff matchup on March 5 is probable.

Both teams will play in District 15 and will meet in the semifinal as long as Truman gets by struggling Wayne Memorial (4-14) in the first round, as the Eagles have a first-round bye.

Next up for the Cougars is a game Monday at Lincoln Park, while Kennedy will stay at home and face Carlson Tuesday.

Last Updated: 12/11/2014 4:14:25 AM EST