After a less than impressive start to its schedule, Oak Park's boys basketball team appears to be back playing at the level they were at last season and projected to be this season. The Knights, who put together a quality 18-4 record in 2008 before bowing in double overtime to Detroit Northwestern in the regionals and were highly thought of coming into 2009, lost three straight to open the year and seemed to be reeling from failing to live up to expectations. Granted the team had to acclimate to a new line-up and the loss of some studs from last season's group, including star forward Brandon Allen, but i'm pretty certain that head coach George Ward didn't expect his squad - a team that made all the local papers' pre-season top 10 rankings - to have to wait until after Christmas to get its first win. Nonetheless, that's exactly what happened when Oak Park took down a much touted Chicago Crane team in an inspired effort in the Motor City Roundball Classic on December 29 to move its record to 1-3 heading into the new year. Since then, however, the Knights have been playing lights out basketball and it looks as if they are finally starting to take the form of the elite hoops squad everyone expected them to be from the onset. Oak Park has now won three of its last four games, including a heart-pounding 77-75 overtime win against Pontiac Northern that saw the Knights fight back from a 9 point deficit in the final two and a half minutes of regulation to force an extra period of play and then claim victory on a buzzer beating bank shot in the lane. Following a rough opening month of the season,transfer senior point guard, Sam Burton, is rounding into shape and developing into the floor leader he was on Detroit Central the past 3 years. Against Pontiac Northern he showed why he's the consumate playmaker, delivering a breath-taking performance of 20 points, 12 assists, 10 steals and 8 rebounds, not to mention a buzzer-beating floater to send the game into overtime and the assist on the game-winner. Kallante Miller - going to play for Detroit-native Ernie Ziegler at Central Michigan in 2010 - could be the most athletically-gifted wing in the area and has the ability to dominate games when he wants to. Underclassmen, Jaylen Crawford (brother to collegiate standouts Joe and Jordan Crawford and a transfer from Detroit Renissance last season) is hard to defend when he goes to the basket and Daryl Flemister is one of the quickest guards in the county. Mix in steady role players like Preston Brandon, Chris Dewberry, and Jeff Suber and you have what should be a dangerous team the rest of the year.