Salem’s 6-foot-1 center Henry Rummel faced a tall task during Monday night’s Class A District basketball opener against Plymouth: serving as the primary defender against the Wildcats’ 7-foot Kelvin Amoako.
The undersized (at least in terms of front-court basketball players) Rummel rose to the occasion, making Amoako (and Plymouth’s other “bigs”) work for everything they got. Rummel also drained a pair of clutch three-point shots in the fourth quarter to lead the Rocks to an 81-75 victory.
Now 11-12, Salem advanced to Wednesday’s 6 p.m. District semifinal against Canton at Northville High School.
“Henry’s effort was tremendous,” said Salem coach Ryan Nimmerguth. “He stepped up for us at both ends tonight. I’m incredibly happy for Henry because he spent a lot of time in the weight room during the off-season and it shows in games like this.”
Rummel’s 16 points were third on the winners’ scoring ledger after Pryor Reynolds’ 29-point night and Ryan Peters’ 23-point performance.
Monday’s game was Reynolds’ second since returning from an injury-related prolonged absence.
“When Pryor was out, our whole team kind of stepped up to make up for his absence,” Nimmerguth said. “Having him back was huge because he’s a threat to score and he’s a creator. Plus, teams can’t pay as much attention to Ryan Peters on the offensive end of the court.”
Reynolds canned 8 of 9 free-throw attempts. Peters added four assists and three steals.
“Obviously, when you’re an undersized team like we are, you have to shoot well to win, and we shot really well tonight,” Nimmerguth said.
No quit in ‘Cats
After trailing most of the contest — Salem led 44-33 at the half — Plymouth roared back to take a five-point lead with four minutes to play, but Rummel’s huge treys helped Salem regain the momentum.
Junior Idrys Cotton led Plymouth with 21 points. Bryce Garbacz scored 18 and Amoako netted 17.
Salem led 60-55 with eight minutes to play.
Northville, which outlasted Novi in overtime in Monday’s second game, will host Detroit Catholic Central Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.