With bandages covering his left eyebrow and upper lip, Kenyatta Singleton wore his pained face as a badge of honor that typified the determination and strength of Southeastern High’s 2012-13 boys’ basketball team.
“I don’t know what to say about him,’’ said Coach George Ward, marveling over the fact that his 6-1 senior point guard was able to play in last weekend’s Class A semifinals and finals just three days after getting his face smashed to the court while diving for a loose ball in Southeastern’s quarterfinal victory against Rochester.
“He was in the hospital last Tuesday and they stitched him up all over his face,” Ward said. “For him to come back and be a warrior and not only compete, but play well, is just a testament to this senior class and their willingness to bring their hard hats everyday to practice. Toughness with good talent is very important, and our guys showed a lot of toughness during the course of the season.”
For their exemplary effort in beating defending state champion Saginaw 51-45 in Friday’s semifinals, and for battling valiantly to the bitter end in a 61-49 loss Saturday against Romulus for the state championship, Singleton and the Jungaleers have been named the Detroit Public School League Proud Strong Learners of the Week.
Southeastern finished with a 21-6 record after winning district and regional championships and advancing to the Class A state championship game for the second time in three seasons.
“We always play a very, very good schedule,” Ward said. “This just shows that if you do things the right way, you’ll always be in a position to win. We don’t have any AAU affiliation or a great feeder system or anything like that. But some kind of way, we always manage to win ball games and get our kids to college.
“Ultimately, that’s my responsibility — to make the guys better basketball players, but most importantly better young men. Toughness can supersede a lot of talent levels. It was toughness this year that helped carry us through.”
The Detroit Public School League Proud Strong Learner of the Week award is representative of the league’s top boys and girls athletes. The award is presented by the DPS Office of Athletics and sponsored for the third year in a row by Detroit-area McDonald’s owner-operators