Blogs > Burney's Bytes

Burney's Bytes will focus primarily on the local preps sports scene, but will also touch on some college and pro athletics, mostly in regards to athletes who hail and have played high school sports in Oakland County. My goal for the blog is to be conversational and anecdotal, a more relaxed and free formal take on high school athletics than you see in regular game day coverage.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Bragging Rights

Prior to reading this game story, please peruse this quick qeminder: Happy New Years to all you prep fiends out there and thank you to every single one of you that "clicked in" to say hello this past 12 months and made Burney's Bytes a bonafide success. Check back in tomorrow for Burney's All-Decade Boy's Hoops Squad.
The state of Indiana traditionally maintains a reputation as the prep hoops capital of the Midwest, if not arguably the entire nation. After what went down over the final ten days of 2009, the basketball gods should consider re-locating the Mecca of high school hoops to the Motor City.
Playing with purpose, poise, and balance, Birmingham Detroit Country Day concluded the year by sweeping through three straight highly-ranked out-of-state opponents, two of which hailed from the hoop-crazed Hoosier state.
First, on the Tuesday night right before to Christmas, the Yellowjackets traveled south to Indianapolis and roughed-up Ft. Wayne Bishop Lauers, at that time the number two-ranked team in the state of Indiana, by the score of 93-77 in the Midwest Prep Challenge held at Howe High School.
Then, Country Day squared-off with Madison Memorial, ranked number three in the state of Wisconsin on Monday in its home gym and won a slugfest 61-48.
Finally, on Wednesday evening, the Yellowjackets hosted Gary Lew Wallace High School – the team that replaced Bishop Lauers as the number two spot in the most recent Indiana state rankings – in the final game of the 15th Annual Roundball Classic and bested the visiting Hornets 75-59, making it a clean sweep.
"These were all quality and very highly-ranked teams we've beaten over the last eight days and that's encouraging," said Country Day head coach, Kurt Keener, after addressing his team in the locker room following the victory. "In terms of tonight though, I honestly don't believe we played our best game. We had too many turnover and missed free throws for my liking. Overall, however, I'm very pleased with where we're at right now. I like the identity of this group. They play aggressive defense and can be very active and high-tempo on offense. Hopefully, we're going to continue to build on what we've accomplished and keep getting better."
Country Day got impressive contributions across the board. Ray McCallum led the Yellowjackets with 27 points and received more than adequate back-up from his two junior class running buddies, 6-10 center, Amir Williams and 6-1 combo-guard Chris Fowler. Williams scored 17 points, acquired 12 rebounds, and swatted away six blocked shots. Fowler scored 20 points, dished off seven assists, and swiped away three steals.
The Yellowjackets are now 7-0 and will almost certainly enter 2010 as the number one-ranked team in Class B.  Lew Wallace, located less than 25 miles outside of Chicago, drops to 7-2. 
"We're going to keep playing our game and make other teams adjust to us and our tempo," Fowler said. "I think our attitude and mind-set is where it needs to be at right now and I'm just thankful all the hard work we put it during the summer is finally paying off on the floor"
"This year it's time for the juniors like me, Chris (Fowler), and Lee (Bailey) to step up our games and take on more responsibility for this team," Williams said. "I think we've been doing that in our first few weeks of the season. I hold it down for us in the paint and our guards can compete with anyone in the state. If we keep proving ourselves every time we hit the court, we'll be alright."    
The game's first quarter was played at a frenetic pace. McCallum hit a cutting Fowler in the lane for a bucket in the quarter's final seconds and Country Day was in front 23-16. Lew Wallace's Brandon Dawson, quickly followed that up by tip-jamming a put back at the buzzer to make it 23-18 in the Yellowjackets' favor heading into the second.
Dawson, a 6-7 jumping jack of a swingman currently ranked in the Top 20 of the nation's Class of 2011 recruiting class, was a menace early on. He showed his merit as a heavily-valued prospect with his shear explosiveness, displayed through a variety of high-flying maneuvers on the court that brought the grandstand to a crescendo on a number of occasions in the first 16 minutes of the game. His offensive rebound and score under the basket pulled the Hornets to within one possession at a score of 25-22 at the 6:48 mark of the second quarter and led to Country Day head coach Kurt Keener calling a timeout in order to re-group his troops.
Coming out of the huddle, the Yellowjackets got down to business and pretty much ran away with the game from that point forward – their ensuing 16-6 run was key in cementing the win. A transition basket by McCallum got things moving and when Williams slammed one home in the lane with 34.2 seconds left to play in the half, Country Day was ahead 43-26
But Dawson wasn't done yet wrecking havoc on the 'Jackets defense. His two free throws at the 23.3 mark was a mere precursor to the real theatrics. On the last play of the first half, Dawson corralled a loose ball, drove the length of the floor and delivered a vicious one-hand slam dunk that made it a 13-point ballgame at the break.
Carrying the Lew Wallace squad on his back, Dawson tallied 21 of his team-high 26 points in the first half. He would also finish with 11 rebounds
Five straight points by Fowler in less than a minute span at the end of the third quarter put Country Day on top 59-44. The Hornets weren't through though trying to work their back into the game and freshman Dre Williams' steal and score that just beat the third quarter buzzer made it 59-48 going into the fourth. Scores by McCallum, Fowler, and reserve forward Jason Ray to open the new quarter soothed any fears from the Yellowjackets cheering section of a Hornets' rally.
Down 13 points late in the final period of play, Lew Wallace head coach Renaldo Thomas lost his lid and received a technical foul. Fowler's two free throws put the score at 69-52 with 3:12 remaining.  Thomas was quite animated about his complaints about the foul discrepancy throughout the contest. It seemed warranted however as Thomas' Hornets were assessed 22 total fouls compared to Country Day's eight.
He wasn't shy about sharing his feelings after the affair. "When you have officiating like we did tonight, its sends the wrong message to the kids that find themselves on the receiving end of misplaced calls," Thomas said. "It demoralizes them for playing hard. Those cats (DCD) have a good team. I just think the fans got cheated from seeing what should have been a better game. It's really that simple."


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