KLAA boys hoops final: 8 minutes of thrills, 24 minutes of dominance
Thursday night’s Kensington Lakes Activities Association boys basketball championship game featuring Canton and Livonia Franklin was competitive for one quarter.
However, in the swish (or eight) of a net once the second quarter commenced, it wasn’t — and never was again.
Displaying its superiority in every phase of the game, Canton rolled to a 51-29 victory over the Patriots in a game hosted by Northville High School.
Canton clung to a 10-9 lead after the first eight minutes (with Suleiman accounting for all of his team’s points) before turning on the after-burners.
Size, length take over
The Chiefs widened their advantage to 26-17 at the half and 44-26 with eight minutes to play, turning the fourth quarter into a four-corners keep-away clinic by Canton.
Canton improved to 15-7 heading into next week’s Class A District tournament at Northville — a place where the Chiefs have won two consecutive games by 20-plus points.
Suleiman was dynamic for the champions, netting a game-high 17 points — nine coming from beyond the three-point arc. He also snatched seven rebounds.
With the Oscars fast approaching, it was fitting that a pair of Canton reserves earned best-supporting standout awards.
Junior Devon Pettus came off the bench to contribute 10 points and eight huge rebounds — four on the offensive end to keep possessions alive when the game when still in doubt.
And Senior Gardayee Walker made the most of his brief time on the court, scoring six points — including a crowd-pleasing last-minute slam dunk after a steal — and three swipes.
Seniors lead the way
Senior Dante Favor earned an A+ for efficiency, scoring six points to go along with four rebounds, two steals and a blocked shot.
Franklin, which for years has been an afterthought in the competitive KLAA, played well early, but couldn’t sustain a consistency on either end of the court against the taller and longer Chiefs.
Junior Robbie Wynn gave the Patriots hope by netting 14 points — 12 on a quartet of treys. Mitch Cronyn displayed spurts of brilliance, finishing with seven points, while Eric Hobson Jr. added five points for Franklin, which finished the regular season with a stellar 15-6 record and a KLAA East Division title.
Canton’s defense made life difficult for the Patriots most of the night, trapping players who dribbled inside the three-point arc most of the night. Rarely did Franklin get off an uncontested shot unless it was from 24 feet or further from the hoop.
The Chiefs forced 13 turnovers while committing 11 miscues themselves.