03/22 - 7:50 PM Boys Basketball Final Detroit Community 58 Wyoming Godwin Heights 37
With the help of a 17-point and 12-rebound performance by senior Byron Zeigler, Detroit Community beat Wyoming Godwin Heights, 58-37, on Friday night and will advance to the Class B state boys basketball title game for the first time in school history.
The 6-foot-6 Zeigler scored 13 of his points in the first half to help Community (18-9) get an early lead on Godwin Heights (23-3) that it would never relinquish.
It will now face Detroit Country Day (24-3), the No. 1 ranked team in Class B, at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at the Breslin Center. Country Day rolled over Cadillac, 73-42, in its semifinal.
"Our goal from the first practice was March 23," Community senior Ramell Robinson said. "Not to only get to the state championship on March 23, but we want to win the state championship."
The matchup against Country Day, which averages almost 80 points per game, will be a real test for the defensively-oriented Community team.
Related link: View Detroit Consortium photo gallery of this game
"They can turn a two-point game into a 18-point game in a minute and a half - I know that," Community coach Venias Jordan said. "They are gonna shoot the ball, and they shoot it as well as any college team.
"It's kind of contrasting styles because we like to keep it in the 50s and they like to get it up there in the 70s and 80s, so we'll see."
Community had no trouble stopping Godwin Height's offense on Friday night however.
Godwin Heights was held to a season-low 37 points in the game, shooting only 28.1 percent from the field. It would hit only one 3-pointer, going 1-for-11 on attempts from beyond the arc.
Out-rebounding Godwin Heights 46-37 and forcing 19 turnovers also was key in Community's win. Community was able to score 23 points off of Godwin Heights turnovers.
"Tonight we just didn’t shoot the ball very well and we did not rebound the ball the way we are capable of," Godwin Heights coach Chad Conklin said. "We just didn’t do a very good job of that in the first half, and that’s why we kind of had to play catch-up."
Ziegler, who will be playing college ball at the University of South Florida next year, led the charge for Community, also contributing three assists and two steals. Front-court mate Jerrell Martin added nine points, six rebounds, and three blocks.
"I was just trying to be aggressive early and show my teammates that we made it to the big dance, that our work payed off," Ziegler said. "I had to come out and be aggressive early and they would follow suit."
After a string of early-season losses, Community has battled back and won 10 of its last 11 games.
"I feel like over the last 3 years we have faced a lot of obstacles," Robinson said. "I felt like this was our last year and we had to take it all the way."
Ziegler and his fellow seniors, including starters Martin, Robinson, Demetrius Rose and Landie Davis, now will suit up for one last contest on Saturday, in which Community will be a perceived underdog.
Jordan said that his team is used to the underdog label, and that they will not let it get to them.
"That’s fine. We've been that way all season," Jordan said. "I have no problem with that."