Mar. 4—ORCHARD LAKE — Detroit King was the third highly-ranked team in as many weeks to enter Orchard Lake St. Mary's gym to face the No. 1 team in the state, only to leave with a loss.
St. Mary's defeated Grand Blanc and Ty Rodgers two weeks ago and Javier Whitaker and Hamtramck last week.
This time around it was King — 6-1 and ranked No. 6 in The News Super 20 poll — that came in with the mission of knocking St. Mary's from its throne, but again St. Mary's had other things in mind, coming away with a 59-55 victory Wednesday to push its record to 7-0.
St. Mary's 5-foot-9 junior point guard Kareem Rozier played just three days after his grandfather passed away.
And, Rozier had one of his finest games, contributing 16 points and eight rebounds, including a free throw with four seconds left to close out the game after St. Mary's had trouble knocking down free throws during the fourth quarter.
"This game meant a lot to me, it was a tough week coming in, found out Sunday that my granddad passed so the last two days have been real tough," Rozier said. "My teammates have supported me, my family was here today and I just had to fight through it and finish the game. It was very emotional tonight, but I'm happy."
As expected the showdown was highly contested with seven lead changes in the first half and St. Mary's entering halftime with a 32-30 lead.
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The teams shot the ball well in the opening half with each making 12-of-22 shots and St. Mary's connecting on 6-of-11 3-pointers and King, 5-of-11 from long range.
No doubt the teams sent out the starts with King showcasing 6-foot-2 junior point guard Chansey Willis (28 points) and 6-4 senior Omar Zeigler (13 points) and St. Mary's, 6-4 senior guard Julian Roper (18 points) who is headed to Northwestern, along with Rozier.
King coach George Ward sent out his defensive stopper Davin Walker to try and slow down Roper.
It was Walker who limited Michigan State-bound 6-6 guard Pierre Brooks to 12 points on 4-of-16 first-half shooting last Friday in King's 69-51 win over Brooks and Douglass.
And, Walker did slow down Roper in the opening half, sticking with him and limiting him to five points on 2-of-5 shooting.
But, Roper found a way to break away early in the second half in the pivotal third quarter to give St. Mary's a 40-32 cushion.
First, Roper found 6-8 Peter Nwoke inside for a layup, then Nwoke blocked a shot leading to a Roper transition basket, followed by a great defensive play by Roper who got into the passing lane to make a steal which led to his dunk in transition for a 38-30 lead. He also scored off a putback less than a minute later.
St. Mary's continued to play great defense in the third and Rozier made a driving layup in the final seconds for a 46-34 lead.
"King is a very good team, they came here ready to play like we expected, and we finished the game," Rozier said. "Running is our thing and if you let us run than we're really efficient with that and that third quarter helped us a lot."
Roper and Rozier would continue to make big plays in the fourth with Roper making a three-point play (basket and layup) for a 51-37 lead and Rozier knocking down a 3-pointer for a 15-point advantage (54-39) with 5:40 left.
But, King didn't quit. Instead, Zeigler took a charge on a Roper drive with St. Mary's leading 54-45 with 2:34 left. Willis scored 13 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter, but couldn't get open in final seconds with St. Mary's leading by 3 for a 3-point try.
Roper would go on to miss the front end of two 1-and-1s and Zeigler would follow with a transition layup after the first and Willis would score on a drive to the basket to pull King within 54-49 with 1:33 left after the second miss.
Roper missed a pair of free throws with 29.7 seconds left, but Walker missed a 3-pointer which would have pulled King even with seven seconds left and Rozier made that important free throw to close the game out.
More boys basketball
Detroit Denby 42, Mount Clemens 30: Taylor Sullivan scored 12, Ar'Tajanai Williams 10, and Breale Holley had nine points and 12 rebounds for Denby (4-2). Mount Clemens is 3-4.
Ecorse 61, Detroit University Prep 54: Malik Olafioye scored 22 with 10 assists and five rebounds, Dakario Valentine had 18 and 20, and Omarion Drake had 15 boards for Ecorse (8-3). Sterling Blakely scored 21 for University Prep (1-6).
Redford Union 48, Romulus 36: Braylon Allison scored 13 and Robert Thorpe 10 for Union (6-1, 6-1 Western Wayne). Brae'yon Grant scored 10 for Romulus (7-2, 6-1).
Romulus Summit North Academy 64, Dearborn Advanced Tech 35: Orlando Lovejoy had 25 points, nine rebounds and five assists and Dontez Scott Jr. scored 10 for Summit (10-0). Shawn James scored 14 and Jayden Williams 12 for Advanced Tech (6-4).
Taylor Trillium 74, Taylor Prep 29: Damaryon Fishburn had 18 points and nine rebounds, Derrell Woods Jr. 13 points and five rebounds, and Corbon Lamphear scored 11 for Trillium (6-1). Amarion Knowles scored 14 for Prep (0-7).
Allen Park 26, Southgate 24: Madey Ramey scored seven and Emily Dingman six for Allen Park (3-7). Natile Beltran had nine points for Southgate (0-9).
Detroit Cass Tech 65, Birmingham Groves 32: Desiree Jackson scored 25 with five steals and Precious Fields scored 18 with 10 rebounds for Cass Tech (5-2). Kaitlyn Quinn scored 15 for Groves (4-4).
Farmington Hills Mercy 55, Monroe 27: Ellie Tisko scored 15, Alexis Roberts 12 and Mary Shah 10 for Mercy (6-3). Monroe is 4-5.
Grosse Pointe North 44, Utica Eisenhower 25: Maddie Kohler had 11 points and Sophia Borowski 10 for North (7-2, 6-1 MAC Red). Eisenhower is 4-5, 3-4.
Hartland 48, Canton 27: Leah Lappin scored 11 for Hartland (10-0). Rachel Williams scored nine for Canton (4-6).
Madison Heights Lamphere 29, Warren Mott 27: Nydia Shumate scored 10 and Ava Wark made the winner at the buzzer for Lamphere (6-1). Bridgette Bogden had 11 points for Mott (3-3).
Royal Oak 51, Southfield A&T 40: Kira Vance scored 11 with 20 rebounds and Lexi Romesburg scored 14 for Royal Oak (5-1). Lauren Gilreath scored 14 for Southfield A&T (0-8).
St. Clair Shores Lakeview 51, SCS Lakeshore 21: Ari Wlodeck scored 19, Tricia Sankiewicz 10 and Kayla Austin 10 for Lakeview (8-1, 6-1 MAC Blue). Lakeshore is 1-7, 0-6.
Boys basketball scores
Blue Water Area
Almont 75, Richmond 50
Ann Arbor Greenhills 50, Madison Heights Bishop Foley 36
Marine City Cardinal Mooney 44, Royal Oak Shrine 41
Harper Woods Chandler Park 73, Detroit Edison 61
Detroit Pershing 85, Detroit Osborn 27
Southgate Anderson 64, Allen Park 62
Woodhaven 48, Lincoln Park 34
Wyandotte 57, Trenton 56
Hartland 56, Canton 54
Ecorse 61, Detroit University Prep 54
Taylor Trillium 74, Taylor Prep 29
Dearborn Heights Crestwood 51, Dearborn Heights Robichaud 43
Redford Union 48, Romulus 36
Davison 63, Pontiac Notre Dame 44
Romulus Summit 64, Dearborn Advanced 35
Warren Collegiate 76, Redford Westfield 20
Girls basketball scores
Blue Water Area
Almont 51, Richmond 17
Bloomfield Hills Sacred Heart 47, Detroit Cristo Rey 17
Madison Heights Bishop Foley 69, Marine City Cardinal Mooney at 39
Wixom St. Catherine 48, Riverview Gabriel Richard 25
Warren Collegiate 42, Detroit Community 24
Detroit Pershing 71, Detroit International 9
Gibraltar Carlson 47, Dearborn Edsel Ford 35
Trenton 37, Wyandotte 25
Hartland 48, Canton 27
New Baltimore Anchor Bay 45, Utica Ford 32
Port Huron Northern 41, Macomb Dakota 40
Utica 43, Sterling Heights Stevenson 14
Warren Lincoln 30, Hazel Park 26
Rochester Adams 54, Farmington 43
Rochester Hills Stoney Creek 34, North Farmington 28
Troy 58, Bloomfield Hills 43
Troy Athens 46, Birmingham Seaholm 28
West Bloomfield 82, Clarkston 58
Dearborn Heights Annapolis 52, Redford Thurston 51
Melvindale 54, Garden City 14
Detroit Denby 42, Mount Clemens 30
Detroit Renaissance 61, Davison 41
Oak Park 43, Ferndale University 19