False MI Prep Zone: Truman stakes its claim to league title PHOTO
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Anthony Wartley-Fritz gets instruction from Cougars Coach Chuck Suttles during last Friday's game against Kennedy. Photo by Dave Chapman

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Truman stakes its claim to league title PHOTO

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Last Friday night the Downriver League’s best two teams went head-to-head in another installment of the Taylor basketball rivalry.

This time the Cougars (15-2, 12-2 DRL) avenged an 11-point home defeat on Feb. 10 with a 62-56 road victory against the red-hot Eagles (13-4, 12-3 DRL), who were on an eight-game winning streak.

With the win, Truman broke a first-place tie in the league and took sole possession of first place, leaving Kennedy with just an outside shot at winning the title.

The Cougars’ Anthony Wartley-Fritz had a huge night in the winning effort, as he grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds and finished with 12 points.

The Eagles did keep it close most of way, as Andia Marsh led all scorers with 17 points and teammate Kareth O’Neal finished with 12.

Truman led 16-12 after the first quarter, helped by four points each from Wartley-Fritz, Aaron Foster-Smith and Devain Newbill. For the night, Newbill had 15 points and Foster-Smith netted 14.

By halftime, the Cougars were up 33-25, getting four second-quarter points from both Wartley-Fritz and Newbill and a 3-pointer from Kendarius Slaughter.

Kennedy charged back in the third quarter and Matt Woloszyk kick started the effort with an offensive rebound and two quick points. Woloszyk finished as the team leader in rebounds with nine.

Marsh followed with seven unanswered points and O’Neal scored two late points, which put the hosts up 40-39.

The 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 later, but a three-point play by Marsh cut it to one at the 5:26 mark.

Eventually, the Cougars pulled away, helped out by Devonte McGregor’s six fourth-quarter points and some key rebounds.

With about two minutes left, Matthew Mason put the visitors up 57-51 and down the stretch Newbill and Wartley-Fritz both hit free throws to ice the game and ultimately gave their squad the 62-56 win.

It’s likely the teams will meet again on March 5 in the Class A District playoffs.

Both squads will face off in the District 15 semifinal in Belleville as long as Truman beats struggling Wayne Memorial (4-14) two nights before, as the Eagles have a first-round bye.

Three nights before their big matchup, both teams took care of business, as the Cougars crushed Trenton 88-51 and Kennedy hung on for a 62-59 victory at Lincoln Park.

Foster-Smith had 28 points against the Trojans (5-14, 3-13 DRL), Rashan West had 14 and Slaughter had 12. For Trenton, Christian Mercure and Jerry Barker both scored 15 points.

In the Eagles’ Tuesday contest, Lincoln Park (7-9, 7-7 DRL) came back from a 10-point deficit in the first quarter and tied the game 41-41 after three. Kennedy was able to edge the Railsplitters in the final eight minutes, however, and came away with the 62-59 win.

Marsh and Anton Hogan both scored 17 for the Eagles and Woloszyk had 15. Tywan Cage led all scorers with 22 points and teammate Joe Decoster finished with 18.

The Cougars were in action again Monday at Lincoln Park and will be back home tonight against Woodhaven and on Friday against Chandler Park. Kennedy was scheduled to host Carlson yesterday and Detroit Western International tomorrow.

Allen Park beats Carlson, splits with Lincoln Park

As league play wrapped up for most teams last week, Allen Park, Roosevelt and Anderson all finished 9-7 in DRL action and tied for third place.

For the Jaguars (11-8, 9-7 DRL) to get there, they rebounded from a pair of tough losses two weeks ago, as well as one last week.

On Tuesday, Allen Park traveled to Carlson and handed the Marauders (9-9, 8-7 DRL) a 66-54 defeat, rebounding from a 31-point loss to Kennedy four nights earlier.

In back-to-back games against Lincoln Park on Thursday and Friday, the Jags were crushed 66-35 on the road, but came back and won 47-45 in Allen Park 24 hours later.

Against Carlson, led by 16 points from Antonio Reviere, the Jags were up 7-2 after one and dominated through the middle quarters, leading 57-39 heading into the final eight minutes.

A late surge, aided by eight points from Jared Henson, helped Carlson cut the deficit to nine points in the final quarter, but that was as close as it would get.

The Marauders Jarrett Atkinson led all scorers with 18 points, while Henson and Kyle Cox finished with eight. Jarett Shinault had 12 points for Allen Park and Adam McJunkin finished with 10 for the night.

On Thursday, the Rails got 18 points from Tywan Cage and Robert Atwater netted 14 in the big 31-point win, while Reviere led the Jags with 13 and Richie Slate netted eight.

On Friday night, Lincoln Park took a 10-point lead into the fourth quarter, but the Jags were able to overcome the deficit and claim a 47-45 victory.

Reviere had 21 points for Allen Park, while Shinault, McJunkin, Ryan Oakley, Richie Slate and Richard Gamble all came up big, as well, in the winning effort. For the Rails, Cage finished with 13 points and DeBlander had 12.

The Jags wrapped up their regular season last night with a game at Annapolis, while Lincoln Park took on Truman last night and was scheduled for a game tomorrow at Warren Cousino.

Last Updated: 2/26/2014 1:55:13 AM EST