March 17, 2009
VIDEO: Nix dominates, Pershing advances in tourney
DETROIT - Facing a team twice during the season is difficult. Meeting them again in the conference tournament is almost excessive. Facing a team four times in one year is downright ridiculous.
But that is the position that No. 1 ranked Detroit Pershing finds itself following their 87-70 win over Southfield Lathrup in the second of two Class A regional semifinal games played at Renaissance High School Monday evening. Detroit Southeastern knocked off a blue collar bunch from Detroit Cody in the first game of the regional twinbill to earn the right to face the Doughboys for a fourth time this season.
The Doughboys ran Southeastern out of the gym when the two teams faced one another for the first time in Detroit Public School League play on Pershing's home court. That was before the Jungaleers dealt the top-rated team in the Great Lakes State their first and only loss of the 2008-2009 season on Southeastern's court.
Looking to deal out paybacks for their only loss of the year, the Doughboys beat Southeastern by 21 points in the championship game of the Detroit Public School League tournament. Just two wins away from the Final Four of the MHSAA Class A tournament, Pershing will need to end Southeastern's tournament run if the PSL champions are going to achieve their goal of winning a Class A championship after finishing second to two-time defending champion Saginaw High last March.
"It will be a battle of attrition and we'll see who is the hungriest," said Canada, whose ballclub had a pair of close calls in both their district wins prior to their regional semifinal against Lathrup. "We know each other pretty well having played each other three times. But at this time of year it doesn't matter how many times you have played a team, it matters who has the will to get it done."
There was little questioning the will of future Spartan Derrick Nix in Monday's regional semifinal. After fouling out with just over three minutes to go in his team's overtime victory over No. 7 ranked Henry Ford in the trophy game of district play, Nix was determined to put his stamp on Pershing's game with Lathrup.
The 6-foot-9, 275-pounder did exactly that, finishing with a team-high 23 points and 20 rebounds against a Lathrup team that could not keep Nix off of the offensive glass. Nix pulled down 11 offensive rebounds, he also registered 4 steals, and even showed took a charge.
Nix vows to bring the same level of intensity to Wednesday's regional championship game against Southeastern. The Pershing senior is well aware that playing a team that is as familiar with his club as the Jungaleers are will take a special effort from not only him but all of his teammates.
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