SWARTZ CREEK, Michigan — The Southwestern Classical Academy Knights came into Swartz Creek with one of the youngest teams in the area, an undefeated record, and the distinction of being the best team in the city of Flint. It did not take long for them to find out that Swartz Creek just didn’t seem to care about any of it.
Led by senior standout Dewrell “JD-1” Tisdale at the start of the game, Creek jumped out to an early six point lead following a soaring two-handed dunk by Tisdale. The Knights weren’t down for long as they battled back with seven straight Malik Young points and a put back by Dorian Grady. The Knights remained within one at the end of the first frame.
The second quarter was a back-and-forth affair with SWA going up by five, but a couple of coast-to-coast buckets by Tisdale as part of his 10 points in the stanza gave Creek the 40-34 halftime lead.
The third quarter was largely a blur as both teamed raced up and down the court at break-neck speed. It was an exciting pace, but also one that led to a number of turnovers both ways. Young again was the star for the Knights as he went on a personal 12-point run. Creek’s Cal Henry emerged for the first time this year with 12 points of his own in the quarter. Max Cummings and Dallas Dunlap came alive for the Dragons as well. However, a strong supporting role by Jaire Grayer for the SWA drew them within four points of Creek at the end of the third.
With Tisdale laboring with a stomach ailment, Cummings took over the scoring load in what should have been the final frame. Tisdale did manage to corral Young as Creek moved to a man-to-man defense instead of the 1-2-2 zone he was abusing. It was a low-scoring quarter, but Grayer and Grady managed to get SWA to a 68-68 tie at the end of regulation. In the OT, the experience of Creek began to show as SWA pressed through their possessions forgetting to pass the ball to Young who had 29 points through three quarters. For the first three minutes of OT it was all Creek with Cummings knocking down huge buckets to secure an insurmountable lead.
The eventual 81-74 score seemed just about right for the game where momentum changed hands many times. Creek won this one, but the Knights are going to be tough in the future with five sophomores and one freshman on their current varsity roster. Both teams are now 4-1 on the season.
– Young led SWA with 30 points, including three straight possessions where he was fouled making a basket. Grayer added 17 points and eight rebounds. Grady chipped in 10 points and five boards while freshman Miles Bridges scored nine and grabbed eight rebounds despite foul trouble throughout the game.
– Speaking of foul trouble, one of the Knights best players, sophomore Neshua Wise, could not get going due to spending a great amount of time on the bench with fouls.
– Creek was led by Cummings with 23 points and six rebounds. Tisdale finished with 18 points, six rebounds, five assists, and a couple blocks. Henry dropped 16 points and three assists. Dunlap was strong as well with 11 points and 10 boards.
– All of the Creek leaders tonight had one thing in common: they are all seniors.
– I believe Bridges will be the next great player from Flint in the 2016 class. He has a decent shot, rebounds well, and is active around the glass. With Grayer, who is extremely active himself, and Wise, SWA is in great hands. Oh yeah, Young is only a junior.
– SWA is the best team in the city of Flint and came in and lost to Creek. That is just not supposed to happen with Flint hoops. It is an example of how far down Flint has fallen as a power house. The Flint-area is good, but city hoop has steadily declined.
– Creek has a chance to be really good. One of the things holding them back is there do not seem to be defined roles. The best teams know that some players score primarily, while some do everything else. Creek looks like they all want to be scorers and when they face better teams than SWA, it will be an issue.
— Marcellus Miller