Mott sophomore Lorenzo Collier scored 22 points against Oakland Wednesday night.
FLINT, Michigan — Hall of fame head coach Steve Schmidt hasn’t had too many occasions this season to say it, but this time it felt right.
“That was Mott basketball.”
Schmidt’s Bears played their way into the final four of the District 10 tournament on Wednesday night with a 102-81 win over rival Oakland. Mott will take on the winner of the Macomb-Delta game at 5:30 p.m. Friday night at Delta.
“That was a great second half of basketball for us,” Schmidt said after the game. “This is a team that really likes each other … this is March Madness.”
It’s down to a two-game season for the Bears, who look to redeem themselves after a forgettable regular season (for Mott’s standards) that still earned the team a second seed. Schmidt hasn’t been the coach of an underdog many times in his career, so this an exciting opportunity.
It’s a new season; win or go home.
The Bears went down early to Oakland, and actually trailed 14-7 before sprinting out on a 14-2 run. Mott led by as many as 14 in the half before a late Oakland run before the half cut the lead to six.
The second half was owned by Mott. Led by sophomore Lorenzo Collier and freshman Deandre Wilson, the Bears ran roughshod over the Raiders in the half. Wilson was unguardable, scoring at will like a right-handed John Taylor (former Mott All-American).
Wilson (32) and Collier (22) combined for 54 points. Freshman DJ Mayo added 14 points.
In the midst of one of Mott’s second half runs, Schmidt remarked that, now and then, this team shows flashes of what it could be: an uptempo, high-energy offense. With Collier and Mayo showing the ability to consistently hit shots from beyond the arc, Wilson’s aggressive style makes him even more of a threat.
Mott’s frontcourt, which has struggled all season, also had a solid night. Sophomore Mitch Rubio scored 13 points. The former Goodrich High School standout really got the Bears going in the first half after a slow start.
Sophomore forward Matt Place pulled down 10 rebounds and, as in every game, led the team in effort and emotion.
Schmidt started the season with a roster of 12 and he’ll finish with nine. Along the way he lost two starters (Cedric Moten and Jalen Adams) and a key reserve (Jalen Fykes). The Bears showed out early, but fell flat midway through the season. In spite of all the challenges this season, the Bears are two wins away from a birth in the NJCAA national tournament.
With two more wins, this season’s script can be flipped.
Mott improves its record to 19-11 on the season. Oakland ends the season with a 12-17 mark. Oakland’s Kevin Hayes led the Raiders with 30 points.
Mott basketball games are broadcast live on MRSN.us.