FLINT, Michigan — There aren’t too many better ways to win your 600th game as a head coach. Steve Schmidt’s Bears came through in the clutch for their hall of fame coach to secure a milestone for him and another state championship for the program he built.
No. 9-ranked Mott, only an underdog if you follow the polls, knocked off no. 3-ranked Glen Oaks in what will probably go down as the game of the season for both teams, 73-65.
The win is Mott’s sixth MCCAA State Championship in the last eight years.
Mott led most of the first half on the strength of the play of sophomore Kory Billups, who has become Mott’s most consistent player over the last 10 or so games. The Bears led by as many as 12 in the half and by nine at the break.
“I thought we did a great job in the first half,” Schmidt said. “I have to give Glen Oaks credit; that’s a great team. But the entire second half we were back on our heels, but we persevered; we battled back, we made plays and it was a complete team effort.”
One could argue that Mott’s total team effort made the difference in a battle between two very talented teams. Schmidt played 10 players significant minutes and no player was on the floor for more than 20 minutes.
At the start of the second half, Glen Oaks jumped all over Mott with a 10-0 run highlighted by an Antonio Wilson hammer dunk. The Bears actually trailed for a three minute span before wrestling the lead back on the strength of a couple timely baskets by Billups and sophomore Kortez Ross.
A clutch three by Ross off a feed from freshman guard Devin Foster put Mott up six with four minutes to go. Not to be outdone, Antonio Hearn returned the favor with his fourth triple of the game. Hearn led all scorers with 25 points, but committed a costly turnover late to dash any hopes his teammates had of coming back.
Mott made enough of its free throws in the final 90 seconds to put the game away.
Glen Oaks head coach Steve Proefrock said after the game his team failed to show poise in crunch time. The Vikings had several extended lapses defensively in the first half and could not execute offensively when the fame was on the line. The Bears held them to seven points in the game’s final seven minutes.
Billups led Mott with 20 points and nine rebounds. No other Bear was in double-figures.
Wilson, the Vikings’ 6-8 center, brushed off early foul trouble to pour in 15 points with 14 rebounds and three blocks.
Mott (27-3) will now head to the District 10 tournament as the no. 1 seed. Glen Oaks will have the no. 1 seed in District 9. Both teams will play on Friday at Delta College after getting byes in the quarterfinals (Mott at 3 p.m. at Delta and Glen Oaks at 7:30 p.m.)
As always, listen to Mott basketball on the Michigan Regional Sports Network (MRSN.us).