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Crestwood KO’s Allen Park in first quarter, captures district championship PHOTO GALLERY/TOUT VIDEO

  • Antonio Reviere (23) and the Allen Park Jaguars saw their season end Friday night with a crushing defeat at the hands of Crestwood. Photo Gallery by Larry Caruso
  • Photo by Jake Newby
The motto that the Crestwood boys’ basketball team has lived by all season long has been “unfinished business.” On Friday night in Lincoln Park, the Chargers finally got the chance to take care of what they started last year.

Crestwood lost to Fordson in the district final game last year and used it as motivation to go 22-1 so far in the 2013-2014 season. Then on Friday, Crestwood trampled Allen Park 59-35 to win the Class A, District 16 title.

“I have a great group of seniors, eight seniors on this team,” said Crestwood Coach Mike Bright. “You could tell that they wanted this so bad, and not just tonight, all year. All their hard work, effort and leadership really paid off tonight.”

The Allen Park Jaguars, who had a fine season themselves, finishing with a 14-9 record on the year, didn’t come close to matching Crestwood’s energy out of the starting gate.

Point guard Ali Mallah was especially fired up for Crestwood, knocking down two 3-pointers early on to set the tone. The Chargers went on a 12-0 run to kick off the quarter before Allen Park Coach Jimmy Victor had to burn an early timeout to try and settle his guys down.

“We’ve been running that same press-breaker that they threw at us early on,” Victor said. “I said ‘guys, this is the same press that we run and that we’ve seen countless times, just be yourselves.’ But we were so in our own heads at that point.”

An uninspired first quarter on the Jaguars part came and went without a single point. Crestwood finished the first quarter on 21-0 run.

The Jags showed signs of life in the second quarter and even outscored the Chargers in the frame 11-9 but suffered a crushing blow just before the half ended on an outstanding individual play by a Crestwood player.

Esa Abduljami fired up a 3-pointer with nine seconds left to go but missed it. Allen Park senior Ryan Oakley then corralled the rebound, but Abduljami was there to swat the ball out of his hands, collect it, and lay it up and in as the half expired. That put Crestwood up 30-11 by the break.

“That basket late in the half really hurt,” Victor said. “That really kind of took some air out of us because I thought we were battling pretty good at that point. Then they came out and went on the first run out of the half, which I felt like we really needed to do.”

It wasn’t a remarkable run by any means, but Esa and Billy Abduljami both scored baskets to start the half and then the Chargers managed to keep pace with Allen Park for the duration of the quarter.

Crestwood took a 46-21 lead into the final frame of the night and did a great job of finding a medium for their energy; they didn’t fire up senseless shots just because they knew there would be no consequences, but they also didn’t take their foot off the gas and get lazy.

“I was trying to settle the guys down with a couple fourth quarter timeouts,” Bright said. “They were getting a little excited for a second, but, the clock was on our side so we had to take some time off the clock a little bit. I didn’t want to rush anything; I wanted them to create good shots and kill the clock as much as possible and I think they did a great job at doing those things.”

Crestwood edged Allen Park in the fourth quarter 13-12 to seal a game that was won long before the final quarter began.

Next up for the Chargers will be the Romulus Eagles when the regional tournament kicks off next week in Saline.

Like they have for much of the season, the Abduljami brothers led the way for Crestwood on Friday night. Billy scored 15 points and Esa added 13. Esa also pulled down a team-high six rebounds.

For the Jaguars, senior Adam McJunkin scored 10 points and grabbed six boards for Allen Park. Antonio Reviere also pulled down six rebounds.

Victor said this season for Allen Park was all about its seniors, of which there are six that will graduate this spring.

“Those six guys saw a lot of minutes but our juniors we have coming in are experienced, they’re ready,” Victor said. “Antonio will be coming back, and we have a lot to look forward to but this season was about our seniors. I hate to see their tenure end the way it did tonight but they got to take part in some really big wins this year and I’m going to miss every single one of them.”



Last Updated: 3/8/2014 12:11:29 AM EST

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