Digiqole Ad

DRAMA KINGS: Northville rallies in OT to upend Canton

 DRAMA KINGS: Northville rallies in OT to upend Canton

Northville basketball players celebrate their district championship. PHOTO: Jack Hubbard

Heart triumphed over height in Friday night’s Class A District championship game at Northville High School.

Outsized across the board by a talented and red-hot Canton team, Northville used guts, composure and clutch shooting to prevail, 41-40, in an overtime thriller that the game’s large crowd won’t soon forget.

The victory came just 48 hours after the Mustangs derailed Detroit Catholic Central in an overtime barn-burner. Next up for Northville is 21-2 Ann Arbor Huron in Monday’s 7 p.m. regional semifinal game set for Ypsilanti Lincoln High School.

To put the magnitude of Northville’s Friday night triumph into perspective, the Chiefs pummeled the Mustangs 42-20 on Feb. 24.

Roller-coaster ride

Northville junior Justin Huang converts a layup. PHOTO: Jack Hubbard
Northville junior Justin Huang converts a layup PHOTO Jack Hubbard

“We felt a little disrespected when we saw the seedings,” admitted Northville senior guard Cullen Foley. “We heard a lot of talk about how Catholic Central was going to be playing Canton for the District championship.

“So we took out CC the other night. We don’t like them a lot. They’re a private school that gets to recruit everybody and we’re just a bunch of Northville kids. Canton beat us twice already this year, so I’m sure they came in here expecting to roll us, but we came out and fought, played hard and did what we had to do to win.”

The final three minutes of regulation and the entire four-minute extra session were like an adrenaline-pumping roller-coaster ride. The Mustangs led 35-29 with 2:37 remaining in the fourth quarter before Canton stormed back to deadlocked the game at 35-all on a three-point shot by junior guard Caleb Williams that bounced twice on the rim before settling into the net.

Daunting OT deficit

Canton quickly grabbed a 40-35 lead in overtime on back-to-back jumpers by star Omar Suleiman — the first of which was a nothing-but-net 28-foot triple — to quiet the Mustangs’ large cheering section.

However, the Mustangs scored the final six points — Carlos Adamson drained two free throws to kick-start the game-winning run and Justin Huang’s layup off a steal at mid-court tied the game at 40-40.

Following another Canton turnover, Adamson was fouled and made one of two free throws for the game’s final point.

Northville junior Carlos Adamson attempts a fade-away jumper while being defended by Caleb Williams. PHOTO: Jack Hubbard
Northville junior Carlos Adamson attempts a fade away jumper while being defended by Caleb Williams PHOTO Jack Hubbard

Canton called a timeout with 8.7 seconds left, but Teddy Winstel’s desperation three-point shot from deep on the left wing was too strong, setting off an eruption of Northville joy.

“This team has so much heart,” said Northville Head Coach Todd Sander. “Two juniors led us in scoring tonight, but the seniors lead us with heart. They weren’t going to let us lose. Even when we were down five in overtime, they never stopped believing, they never got rattled.

“This team is so connected right now. They’re loving life, playing free and having fun.”

Scary moment

The game was delayed for approximately 35 minutes with 6:31 left in the fourth quarter when Canton’s beloved scorekeeper Scott Thomas suffered an undisclosed medical emergency. As Thomas was stretchered across the court to an ambulance he flashed a thumbs-up sign, igniting a loud cheer from the crowd.

Huang stepped up big-time

Huang led a balanced Northville scoring attack with 13 points. Adamson added 11, going 9-for-10 from the free throw line, Nolan Thomson scored eight and held Williams scoreless until the late-game three, and Foley contributed five points, three steals and lock-down defense.

Suleiman was outstanding in his final game for Canton, scoring 16 points. Senior Dante Favor added 11 points and Devon Pettus scored six.

The Mustangs pose with their second straight District championship trophy. PHOTO: Jack Hubbard
The Mustangs pose with their second straight District championship trophy PHOTO Jack Hubbard

Friday’s triumph capped Northville’s second straight district title — its first back-to-back districts since the early-1980s.

“We pride ourselves on our defense,” Foley said. “All five of us go after every rebound, every loose ball. We try to get the crowd into it and the crowd was a huge factor tonight.”

If you have a good-news story idea for SocialHouseNews.com, please contact Ed Wright at 734-664-4657 or edwright@socialhousenews.com.

Digiqole Ad

Ed Wright

Related post