The Skyline boys’ basketball team continued its “journey” through South Lyon on Thursday night as the Eagles faced South Lyon East in a District 17 Division 1 semifinal game at Dexter. Skyline opened District play with a hard-fought 63-44 win over South Lyon.
This one proved to be a little more difficult but the result was the same as the Eagles land in Saturday’s District final following a 51-48 win over South Lyon East. South Lyon had two chances to tie the game at the end – the first one missed and the second one was blocked as the Eagles will now face host Dexter in what should be a very competitive championship game.
In the opening minutes both teams had scoring opportunities in the half court with a sluggish defensive start at both ends of the floor and only SLE capitalized taking an early 9-2 lead in the first few minutes before a Skyline timeout.
The Eagles came back out with a better defensive focus and was able to narrow the gap to 11-8 after the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Skyline played much stronger defensively and started to get some offensive momentum but still missed quite a few makeable shots and was able to hold East to four points in the quarter and take a 22-15 lead into the half.
Skyline came out strong in the third quarter, extending the lead to double digits and then SL East would battle the rest of the way switching up defenses with traps and more offensive aggressiveness and slowly cut into the lead until it was down to a single possession game with about 4 minutes to play.
The fourth quarter saw some amazing swings with Ashary Arora for Skyline scoring seven fourth-quarter points off pure defensive hustle that led to transition baskets and free throws to give Skyline a huge spark it needed with less than 5 minutes to play.
SL East was led by Bryce Bird who scored 12 points in a variety of ways in the fourth quarter to keep his team in the game. Skyline held Bird scoreless for the first three quarters thanks to strong defense by James Harrison.
Skyline was able to take care of the ball late in the game and make clutch free throws going 9 of 12 in the fourth quarter (20-26 overall) from Arora, Chris Cayton, and Jermaine Davis.
Skyline got scoring from 8 of its 9 rotational players and had a huge double-double from Dinalli DeLoach with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Skyline is scheduled to play Dexter in the District Championship Saturday at 7 p.m. at Dexter.