Burney's Bytes - blog entry # 2
The three state championship teams - the first bunch of an eventual seven titles won by Kurt Keener, currently the county's most tenured head coach - led by soon-to-be Fab Five member and future NBA all-star Chris Webber could be the best basketball squad ever assembled in this area. This team had athleticism, court-savvy, depth, and most importantly the country's number one rated college recruit in C-Webb, at that time a true man playing amongst boys. The 6-10 Webber was a beast, a total freak of nature, who could score at will and run the court with the agility of a player half his size. He was probably the most dominant player this county has ever seen, averaging a devastating 25 points and ten rebounds a game over his final three seasons as a Yellowjacket.
However, these teams were not just the Chris Webber show. Its dominance on the high school hardwood came from a good deal of additional playmaking talent that was there to augment its blue chip star thoroughbred. The 1989 state title team in Webber's sophomore year was spearheaded by senior point guard Andy Slovis, a genuine floor leader who led Oakland County in assists and steals in both his junior and senior campaigns. Following Slovis' graduation, lightning-quick Kevin Colson, who would go on to start at Florida A&M during his college playing career, took over the Yellowjackets point guard slot for the final two state championship runs. Colson was a Kenny Anderson-clone, who was just as good from beyond the arc as he was leading a fast break.Teaming with Webber in the low-post and making up the second half of an imposing twin towers for the Yellowjackets was 6-11 Christ Backos, a shot blocking presence in the lane and a big man with a soft touch. Finally, Ilyapo Montgomery, a 6-5 high-flying shooting guard/small forward, who played his college ball at the University of Detroit-Mercy, was all three teams' second leading scorer, pumping in an average of 16 points per game between his sophomore and senior seasons.
At the point, this Walled Lake Central squad featured Christian Emmert, the coach's son and a cagey team leader. The two-guard spot was manned by Ronnie Thompson, who like Emmert could drain it from downtown as well as drive the lane and kick the ball out to the wings for shots from the perimeter. The aforementioned wings that Emmert and Thompson were passing to were sharpshooting forwards Eric Leaf and Adam McCarthy (that season's top 3-point marksman in Oakland County), and sixth man Justin Cherfoli, who would either spell the starting backcourt or play in a often-used 3-guard line-up the team liked employing. Chris McFarland, the Vikings biggest player at 6-4, was the team's lone post presence at the center position, holding down the lane adequately on both offense and defense. To me the best part of this team's story, is just like the guys I played with in high school, even over 15 years later, this group of seniors still remain the closest of friends.