Defending state champ Lansing Sexton powers past Gabriel Richard in Class B boys basketball regional
SUMMITT TOWNSHIP -- The Lansing Sexton High School boys basketball team has three seniors in its starting lineup that will play Division I college basketball next year.
Father Gabriel Richard has three seniors, period.
This year, Sexton hopes to become the first Class B team since 1999 to win back-to-back state championships. Gabriel Richard will not be the team that prevents it from happening.
Sexton beat Gabriel Richard, 65-43, in the first round of regional play at Jackson Lumen Christi High School, ending the Fighting Irish season for the second straight year.
Sexton looked as dominant as you might expect the top-ranked team in Class B to look. Gabriel Richard coach Pete Schoch hopes his junior- and sophomore-laden team to be in the discussion with some of the best in the state next year.
Now they know the ceiling they’re shooting for.
“They’re clearly one of the better teams in the state and a favored state title contender for a reason,” Schoch said. “We expect that if they’re playing at their best, then you’ve got a difficult night in front of you.
“They were playing at their best and we were not.”
Bryn Forbes -- who will play for Cleveland State next year -- started the first quarter 3-for-3 from beyond the arc to help Sexton (23-1) jump out to a 16-0 lead. Forbes would finish with 13 points.
Gabriel Richard answered with back-to-back baskets to make the score 16-4. It would be the team's largest run until the final minute of the third quarter and the smallest Sexton’s lead would ever be.
Sexton led 48-14 at halftime.
“Momentum got going very quickly and it just kind of avalanched,” Schoch said.
Denzel Valentine kept that momentum going in the third quarter. Washington, who will play at Michigan State next year, would stretch the Sexton lead to 39 points with an emphatic tip-dunk. The 6-foot-6 senior finished with 16 points, five rebounds, six assists, four steals and four dunks and was 2-for-2 from 3-point range.
“We gotta stay sharp, keep that machine oiled,” said Sexton coach, Carlton Valentine (Denzel’s father). “I thought we played pretty hard, I thought they shared the ball, I thought they defended well, pressured well.”
With a running clock and all of Sexton’s starters on the bench, Gabriel Richard (9-15) scored 22 points in the fourth quarter after scoring just 21 in the previous three combined. Kamari Davis led Richard with 16 points on the night.