Lewis Willis sat there with his teammates Wednesday night and watched Skyline run, shoot and pass Romulus right out of the gym. He saw the Eagles at their best, getting a combined 43 points from their senior backcourt; the talented Ryan Wade adding 18 points on three-pointers and dunks; the team hitting 13 triples; and watching players like Kabir Bergin and DeSean Munson not only contribute but dominate as well.
But Willis, the talented Huron senior guard, has seen this show before so excuse him if he let out a collective yawn or two before his team practically put the entire gym to sleep against Dexter. The River Rats knocked out the Dreadnaughts 43-28 in the second game while Skyline blew past Romulus 94-70 in the nightcap.
That sets up Friday’s District final at 7 p.m. at Skyline: a city-rivalry matchup between Skyline and Huron.
Willis wasn’t all that impressed from what he saw from Skyline in the first game because he’s not only seen it before, but he’s experienced it. He knew how that game was going to end before it even started – like most people did. Willis doesn’t need to be reminded of how good the Eagles are. What he does need to do is find a way to change the ending that a lot of people already think they are going to see on Friday night.
“Their guards can shoot and can really put the ball in the hole,” Willis said after leading the River Rats with 13 points in the win over Dexter. “They scored 80 on us the first time and around 60 the second time so they can really shoot. We have to play good defense and do what we do, get our hands up and make them take tough shots.
“They are going to make some of the tough shots because they’re great players but if we do what we need to do I think we can come out with the win.”
That last statement shows just how good Huron is or at least can be on a given night. The fact they think they can win this game – and they can – is a testament to their talent, work ethic and confidence. But Huron is going to have to play its best game of the season to knock off undefeated Skyline.
“They just have a lot of great players, a couple D-1 players on their team and more than one or two guys who can hurt you,” Willis said. “It’s going to start on defense for us. We need to play great defense.”
They certainly played great defense against Dexter in the semifinal game, holding the Dreadnaughts to just 28 points.
“We struggled a little bit in the first half but got the offense going a little better in the second half,” Willis said. “Once we started to get some shots to fall in the second half, our energy level picked up and we continued to play great defense.”
Huron won’t have the luxury of “struggling a little bit in the first half” against Skyline. If that happens, the game will be over at halftime. What Huron hopes to do is have most of the gym asleep at halftime after watching say a 22-18 first half.
The River Rats will slow it down and try to keep the score down in order to knock down Skyline. They don’t want to see what they’ve seen before because they know how that ends – and that would put an end to Huron’s season.