Detroit Cass Tech head coach Steve Hall said last year’s team that lost to Edison in the city quarterfinals dealt with a lot of selfishness, jealousy, and issues with parents. The senior-laden team failed to repeat as city champions and a couple of underclassmen transferred to other schools.
But this year’s team was nothing like last year’s team, reclaiming the Detroit Public School League (PSL) boys varsity basketball city championship with an 80-56 blowout win over rival Renaissance. Hall said the 2018-2019 team played a lot more selfless.
“This is a home grown team,” said Hall. “They’ve been together for four years. They won a junior varsity championship and a cross country championship together and those that stay will be champions. That’s our motto.”
Aside from senior Kalil Whitehead and junior Tyson Acuff, the players on this year’s Cass Tech team played limited minutes, if at all. But when their number was called, they stepped up. Senior Michael Washington-Hill led all players with 20 points. Fellow senior Daniel Autry came off the bench with 15 points and four 3-pointers. They both had to wait to play at Cass Tech and it paid off.
“A kid like Daniel waited his turn,” said Hall. “He didn’t play much last year and when his named was call this season, he stepped up. He had an off shooting game last game but he’s one of the best shooters in the state and a weapon we’ve had all year.”
Cass Tech jumped out to an early lead over Renaissance and never looked back. In fact, they never trailed in the game. The game was tied 6-6 and that was closet Renaissance would get as Cass Tech poured in on them in the first quarter to take a 21-12 lead after one. They opened in up in the second, pushing their to 19 at the half, 41-22. Renaissance surged in the third quarter, getting the deficit to 11, but Cass Tech had an answer every time, keeping its distance and sealing the win.
Whitehead, a Chicago State commit, had 19 points and 10 rebounds. Acuff scored eight points, with nine rebounds and three assists.
Renaissance senior forward and Bowling Green commit Chandler Turner won Mr. PSL before the game. He did not score until late in the second quarter, but let the Phoenix with 17 points. Kaylein Marzette chipped in 13.
Hall played 14 of his players and 10 scored at least two points. Depth has been Cass Tech’s identity since Hall returned to his alma mater a few years ago and it’s the formula for his program’s success.
“We’re deep,” said Autry. “We can play 14 or more guys and everyone on this team can start for any team and play at the next level.”