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Red Devils have to work for win, advance to district semis PHOTO GALLERY

  • Grosse Ile's Danny McCarty (11) led his team with 19 points in Monday's district opener win. The Red Devils topped legaue rival Airport 55-50 to advance to Wednesday's semifinal where they will face Flat Rock. Photos by Dave Chapman

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It was a game of two evenly matched teams in Monday’s district opener between Grosse Ile and Airport and the final score showed.

A pretty close first half turned into an interesting second half and Grosse Ile had to fight for its 55-50 win.

The Red Devils held a 12-point lead late in the third quarter that they watched evaporate before their eyes as the clock rolled into the final eight minutes.

With 5:40 to play in the fourth quarter, an Airport triple tied the game at 38-all, and a minute later the Jets held a 43-41 lead.

“I’m not surprised,” Grosse Ile Coach Bryan Friel said. “We got a little bit tired. We came out at halftime very fired up and that emotion wore off.

“A couple fouls there and all of the sudden they get a little bit of momentum, but we got it back.”

Free throws down the stretch secured the win for the Red Devils.

In the last three minutes they sunk nine points from the charity stripe and finished the quarter 11-of-16.

Tyler Moores gave Grosse Ile a lead with 2:16 to go, but Airport quickly took it back.

Seconds later, Moores was at the free-throw line and sunk two to give his team a 48-47 lead they never let up.

He went three-of-four in the final quarter from the free-throw line while fellow teammate Danny McCarty went five-of-six and Derek Judd went three-of-five.

“Tyler Morris played great,” Friel said. “And Danny McCarty. He’s our best play and our best free-throw shooter and he made the free throws tonight.”

Early on, Airport led for most of the first quarter.

Grosse Ile scored the first basket but the Jets quickly took over and led 9-5 with two minutes left.

McCarty made it a two-point game with two free throws and with less than 20 seconds to go, Moores hit a triple and the Devils only trailed 11-10 after the first.

Airport built up its lead again in the second quarter but exactly halfway through Eric Smorch tied it up at 17 with a triple of his won and another triple from Judd with 28 seconds to go made it a 20-18 game at the half in favor of Airport.

“It was a great win,” Friel said. “I don’t even know what to say.

“That was two evenly matched teams and we knew that going in. We split during the season and our records are almost identical.”

McCarty led Grosse Ile with 19 points, followed closely by Moores with 18.

Judd finished the night with 10 points.

With the win, the Red Devils most on to face Huron League foe Flat Rock in Wednesday’s district semifinal.

“We get Flat Rock,” Friel said. “We beat them twice in the regular season, but as we know anything can happen this time of year.

“We’ll prepare for them just like we did the first two times we played them and hope everything works out.”

Last Updated: 3/4/2014 2:23:42 PM EST