No one saw this coming – except maybe Skyline.
While many felt Skyline was going to knock off city-rival Pioneer in Monday’s District opener, few thought the second half would be more or less an afterthought.
But the Eagles built a 19-8 first quarter lead and stretched it to 36-22 at halftime. Then, Skyline put the hammer down in the third quarter building a 20-point lead and cruising to an easy 81-47 win over the Pioneers.
This was more than a victory for the Eagles. It was a statement. One that will travel through all the gyms all over the state.
Brandon Wade led the Eagles with 18 points and seven assists. Jack Ammerman had 15 points, Kabir Bergin had 14 points, DeSean Munson scored eight of his 13 points in the first quarter and also had nine rebounds, and Ryan Wade scored 10 as the Eagles had five players reach double figures.
Pioneer was led by Jacob Williams with 12 points, Drew Lowder with 11 and Kasean Pryor with eight.
The Eagles advance to Wednesday’s semifinal game against Romulus at 5 p.m. Skyline defeated Romulus last week with a running clock in the fourth quarter. Huron will be playing the Pinckney-Dexter winner at 7 p.m. Both games are at Skyline HS. The finals are at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 9 at Skyline.
After Pioneer took a 2-0 lead, the Eagles spread their wings early and often in the first quarter. Brandon Wade’s three-point play gave the hosts a 7-4 lead with 5:04 left.
Munson scored twice inside – the second coming off a Skyline steal – to give the Eagles a 15-6 lead. A put-back by Kabir Bergin gave Skyline a 17-6 lead with 2 minutes left in the quarter. Pryor answered at the other end to cut the deficit to 17-8 but Munson’s dunk slammed the lead to 19-8 after one quarter.
Ryan Wade got the Eagles flying in the second quarter. His two early baskets gave Skyline a 23-8 lead at the 7 minute mark.
Pioneer finally got the offense rolling at the other end. Alexander Cunningham nailed a triple and Jacob Williams scored to cut the lead to 23-15. They would get no closer.
A three-point play by Munson made it 29-15.
A three-pointer by Brandon Wade in the final minute helped push Skyline to a 36-22 halftime lead.
A floater by Brandon Wade gave the Eagles a 43-25 lead and then knocked down to free throws to make it a 20-point difference at 45-25 with 4:40 left in the third quarter.
Ammerman then took over, scoring three consecutive times down the floor to make it 52-28 when he nailed a triple with 2:18 to play in the quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Ryan Wade drove baseline and slammed home two points and then Ammerman hit another triple on the next time down to push the lead to 74-45.
The rest was an afterthought – if you could believe it.
The Skyline District winner heads to the pre-regional game at 6 p.m. on March 12 at Salem High School. Brighton and Howell are among the teams that could come out of that District. The Regional finals are March 14 at Salem.
The state quarterfinal games are March 20. The state semifinals and finals are March 22-24 at the Breslin Center in Lansing.