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Published: Saturday, 3/3/2012 - Updated: 2 years ago

Cougars slip by Rams; Irish easily top Rebels

BY DONALD EMMONS
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

Southview coach Marc Jump asked his team to play a little out of character against Rogers on Friday night in a Division I sectional final.

Jump told the Cougars to pump their breaks and slow down the pace of the game.

"We wanted to keep the score around 50 points," Jump said.

Southview did a solid job of executing the strategy and pulled off a 60-50 victory over Rogers at Whitmer.

Central Catholic steam rolled Bowsher for a 91-46 rout in the second sectional final of the night.

Southview will face Central in a district semifinal on Thursday night at Savage Arena.

The Cougars kept their season alive by knocking off the Rams for the second time this season.

Allen Gant carried the Cougars (10-12), scoring a game-high 24 points. Chris Johnson added 13 points while Joey Vermilya and Brandon Sinram added nine apiece.

Not only did Gant make the territory around the basket his domain, the 6-foot-2 senior also displayed plenty of leadership on the court. Oftentimes, he directed his teammates to move into the right spots on the floor to help break Rogers' press.

"He was a beast tonight," Jump said. "He did a great job."

Gant, who will play football at the University of Michigan, wanted to do his part.

"It's always good to beat a team twice," Gant said. "We hustled and we stayed composed, and we didn't get flustered with their defense.

"I just made shots, and I give credit to my teammates. They got me the basketball in good position to score."

The Rams, who celebrated their first City League championship in school history a week ago, struggled offensively.

Rogers coach Earl Morris said Southview's plan to slow the game down didn't come as a surprise. The Rams (15-5) were warned and had been instructed about how to counter the Cougars' plans.

"They didn't do anything that I told them to do," Morris said. "I told them to go to the basket. They [Southview] played the same way I thought they would play.

"We've got a lot of young players, and we'll try to get ready for next year."

Rogers' six-foot junior DeVonte Pratt scored a team-high 13 points while senior Darrin Tucker added nine. Clemmye Owens, a six-foot junior, who was one of the City League's top scorers, finished with five points before fouling out in the fourth.

Rogers, which made it to the D-II state semifinals last season, entered this year with expectations of making another state tournament run.

However, that wouldn't be the case.

"[Southview] got some fouls, hit their shots, and played harder than us," Pratt said.

The matchup between Central and Bowsher remained close for only a half before it unfolded into a lopsided affair.

The Irish took a 37-30 lead into halftime and then outscored the Rebels 27-9 in the third quarter to take a commanding 64-39 lead into the fourth.

The Irish were paced by Nathaniel Harris' game-high 28 points. Central ended up outscoring Bowsher 54-16 in the second half and played without DeShone Kizer after he suffered an ankle injury in the first half.

Keith Towbridge added 16 points while Danielle Turner finished with 13 and Deontae Cole 11.

"We just had to slow down in the second half and go out and attack the basket," Towbridge said,.

Central coach Jim Welling said the Irish played better on the defensive end in the second half too.

"Defensively, we turned up the heat a little bit in the third quarter," Welling said.

Jason Sandridge led a cold-shooting Rebels team with 10 points.

Welling emptied the bench and sat his starters with more than three minutes left in the game and the Irish up 82-41.

Contact Donald Emmons at: demmons@theblade.com, 419-724-6302, or on Twitter @DemmonsBlade.



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