EAST LANSING Mich. (WOOD) — The 2021 Michigan State commit and current senior forward for Detroit Douglas (17-5) High School star Pierre Brooks wanted nothing more than to earn a state title in his final high school game on his future home court.
It would be the program’s first-ever state title.
In order to achieve that milestone, the Hurricanes needed to stop West Michigan’s Tri-Unity Christian (14-3).
For 32 minutes, no matter what Detroit Douglas threw at the Defenders, they had an answer for it.
The main reason for Tri-Unity staying in this game: Brady Titus, a junior guard that has a very crafty skillset inside and out, who scored 21 points and came up with shot after shot.
However, in a three-point game late, the Defenders couldn’t find the bottom of the net and Detroit Doulgas made history by winning the Division 4 state final 47-41.
Brooks achieved his goals, along with his teammates, on bringing the championship hardware home for the first time.
He made sure to mention it wasn’t easy due to Titus’ play.
“The elbow shot is like a layup for him,” Brooks said. “We threw a lot at him but he still came at us. I think our 2-3 zone was good, but his fast break game is real nice. He can stop on a dime and get his shot up. But I think the 2-3 zone really did contain their whole offense when we switched to that defense.”
Brooks was right, as the man-to-man approach the Hurricanes took early wasn’t working against Titus and his teammates outside shooting ability.
Nearing the closing minutes of the second quarter, Tri-Unity had built a 19-13 lead. It would be Detroit Douglas having the last laugh before halftime, however, as it put together a 9-0 run to take a 22-19 lead into the locker room.
In the second half, the Hurricanes built up a 34-27 lead. But back-to-back jumpers from the elbows from Titus and a 3-pointer from Aidan DeKlyen erased it and tied the lead.
Then, another wave of buckets fell from the Hurricanes, eventually posting a 43-34 lead with two and a half ticks left. The Defenders didn’t go away. They eventually trimmed the lead down to three at 43-40 with a minute left.
On one of the key last possessions for the Hurricanes to put the game away, Titus got a steal and raced towards the hoop for a layup. Brook’s wasn’t having it, as he soared high up to the glass and swatted it out of bounds. That ended up being a large play, as the Defenders would only score one more point.
“It sucks losing, but at the same time I was so excited to have experienced this with (my team),” Titus said. “It’s hard to talk right now, to be honest, and process all of this.
“But first off, (Brooks) is tough, that man is tough. I’ll remember how versatile he is in his game.”
For Tri-Unity, this loss is hard to swallow for head coach Mark Keeler. Not only did he love his team, but he felt last season was taken from them and now this team was just a step from finishing on top.
“I love these young men, plus I have the experience of losing a few of these before,” Keeler said. “Just being here was fun to see them being (at the Breslin Center). Where my heart hurts is more for them, because for the seniors this is it for them. So that’s hard right now.”
While it wasn’t the storybook ending for Titus and company, he will get another crack at it next season. Right now, the guard just wants to remember how much this season and team meant to him.
“Having everyone’s trust and just bonding with all of these guys is what I’ll remember,” Titus said. “I couldn’t be anymore excited to play with anyone else.”