FLINT, Michigan — For 20 minutes on Monday night, it was a rivalry game. Mott’s second consecutive victory over rival Henry Ford CC wasn’t close after halftime, however, as freshman guard Malik Albert simply refused to lose.
Albert led all scorers with 23 points, leading the Bears to an 89-59 win over the Hawks.
Albert, Mott’s second-leading scorer, didn’t play second fiddle to anyone on Monday night. He scored in a multitude of ways; he attacked the basket for John Taylor-esque buckets and even mixed in a trio of 3-pointers. Albert was the best player on the floor throughout the game, but especially early on when both teams struggled offensively (thanks, in large part, to some laissez-faire officiating).
In the second half, Albert was joined by sophomore forward Fred Mattison (Mott’s leading scorer) and 6-foot-9 freshman Coreante DeBerry. Henry Ford keyed on Mattison early on, getting him out of his rhythm with some very physical post defense. He got it going in the second half to finish with 17 points, 13 rebounds and a couple two-handed slams.
DeBerry, still not all the way back to form after an extended absence, was very efficient against Henry Ford. He scored 13 points in 12 minutes of play. I wouldn’t be surprised if he continues to see an increase in minutes going forward.
Two Flint sophomores, Kortez Ross and Shaquille Smith, came to life in the second half as well, combining for 16 points and six assists. Ross has had several solid games this season, but for Smith tonight’s performance was probably his best as a Bear. He’s turned into a very reliable ballhandler for Mott head coach Steve Schmidt.
Ross, one of the team’s captains, is an interchangeable part that every championship team needs. He’s a role player with multiple roles, though he’s most valuable as a defender. He’s also added a fairly reliable outside shot to his repertoire this season.
Henry Ford (7-5) was not at full strength tonight; Coach Abe Mashour dressed only eight players. The team’s top four scorers did play, however, so it could have been much worse.
Forward Roderick Butler led the Hawks, who will get another crack at Mott on Feb. 4th, with 14 points and five rebounds.
Mott (12-1) will return to action Wednesday night on the road versus Macomb, a team Henry Ford recently beat in overtime.