Coach Chuck Albright and his Denby High boys’ basketball team wore the faces of disappointment after coming so close, even though few if any expected them to go so far.
“We just didn’t play to our potential,” said Albright, speaking to reporters Friday just moments after the Tars’ road to the Class A state semifinals ended with a 68-49 defeat to eventual state champion Kalamazoo Central.
“It seemed like they flipped the script on us. Our bread and butter in the tourney was getting the ball inside and pounding it inside. Today, we weren’t able to finish around the basket. Our interior defense was not good at all. (Kalamazoo Central) got a lot of easy buckets inside.”
The silver lining was that Denby exceeded all expectations, including its upset of last year’s Class A state champion Pershing in an all-Detroit Public School League regional final. The Tars followed that stunner with a quarterfinals victory against Taylor Kennedy.
“No one had us picked to make it this far,” Albright said. “I just want to give my team a big ‘thank you’ for the simple fact that we all came together in a short period of time.
“For us to come together and make it this far was a big accomplishment. To come from a team that only won one game last year, it took time to teach the kids how to win and what it takes to become champions. These kids will always have a special place in my heart because they became champions.”
Kalamazoo Central defeated Ann Arbor Huron in Saturday’s title game to end the season 27-1. The new Class A state champs lost in last year’s championship game against Pershing.
The Tars, despite their 16-10 final record, finished the season as district champs, regional champs and state semifinalists and have every reason to be proud about their outstanding representation of the Detroit Public School League.
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