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.

Sunday, December 27, 2009


Special to The Oakland Press
With his dad and namesake on hand watching in the stands, Southfield-Lathrup's Roy Marble, Jr. put on a show Saturday night that would make any father proud. Torching the twine for 33 points on a variety of moves from his loaded-offensive arsenal, Marble Jr, led the Chargers to a thoroughly well-played 75-65 defeat of Detroit Denby in the 15th annual Motor City Roundball Classic being held over the next four days at Birmingham Detroit Country Day.
Southfield-Lathrup had a rough start to the season and lost its first three games, but after Saturday's hard-fought win have now won two straight and sit at 2-3 overall.  Last year, the Chargers went 12-12, but came on strong at the end of the season and capped the campaign by capturing a Class A district championship.
Marble, Jr. is the son of Big Ten hoops legend and former NBA first round draft pick, Roy Marble, Sr. and will follow in his father's footsteps next season as a member of the Iowa Hawkeyes. Marble, Sr. is the Hawkeyes all-time leading scorer and was a member of several highly-ranked Iowa teams in the late-1980's. Through five games, Marble, Jr. is averaging 28.5 points and 11.5 rebounds per game. 
"Things are coming a little easier for me this year," he said among friends and teammates after accepting the MVP award for the game. "It's my senior season and I'm finding a comfort level in my play that suits me well on the floor. Everybody came up big tonight. We needed this win bad. I got it done when it counted and so did Bryan and Drew and that's what we're supposed to do 'cause we're the senior leaders. I hit the zone tonight and took advantage when I had the ball in my hands. My teammates were looking for me to deliver and I didn't want to let them down. I'm just glad to come away with the win."
The veteran-laden Chargers got steadfast performances by seniors Drew Gilchrest and Bryan Coleman and freshman Jonathon "John John" Williams to sufficiently augment Marble, Jr.'s high-octane effort. Gilchrest scored 12 points, including six straight late in the fourth quarter when the game was still in the balance that significantly aided in pushing the Chargers over the finish line. Coleman chipped in with nine points and 12 rebounds and Williams, one of the best ninth graders in the whole state, did a quality job of running the team's offense, scoring seven points, delivering five assists and collecting three steals.
Playing great defense and consistently converting on the transition, Southfield-Lathrup was smoking hot early. Consecutive crafty scores in traffic by Williams and a steal and slam dunk by Marble, Jr. put the Chargers in front 8-1 and caused Denby head coach, Charles Albright to call a time- out. Coming out of the huddle, Marble Jr. wasted little time getting back to work and immediately drained a triple from the deep left wing to start things back off. Another 3-pointer by Marble, Jr. in the final seconds of the first quarter made it 18-6 heading into the second.
Coleman's running-hook shot in the lane gave Southfield-Lathrup a 33-20 lead at halftime. The third quarter was all Chargers.  After Marble, Jr's dead-eye perimeter play loosened up the Denby defense in the first half, the 6-6 small forward attacked the basket with ferocity in the second half. His thunderous baseline jam kicked off the Chargers' scoring barrage in the third quarter and his leaning foul line-jumper made it a 37-22 ballgame in Southfield-Lathrup's favor. The Chargers outscored the Tars 16-5 in the pivotal quarter and received spirited play by reserves Anthony Nelson and Delvon Borgan. Both Nelson and Borgan contributed energetic defense and key fast break buckets in the team's early-second half run.   
Leading 49-25 after three, the Chargers were ahead 51-28 at the 6:57 mark of the fourth quarter and spectators began to file out of the gym, assuming the contest was over. Albright's Tars had different ideas. Denby kept plugging away and eventually made it a game once again when Cedric Little's two free throws got the Tars' deficit into single digits at the score of 62-52 with 4:08 left to play. Derek Barden's put-back got Denby to within five points, 64-59.
Emerging from a time-out where Southfield-Lathrup head coach Mike Avery pleaded for senior leadership to close out the game, Gilchrest, a third year-varsity letterman, heeded his coach's call and reeled off three straight field goals to give the Chargers' back some breathing room. But the Tars wouldn't go away just yet and Deontae Bonner's 3-pointer from well behind the 3-point line at the 1:55 mark of the fourth took the Southfield-Lathrup lead back down to five points at 68-63.
As his father sat sporting a wide smile at his son's more than stellar outing, Marble, Jr. sewed up the victory by drilling a pair of free throws and ending the game on a highlight reel-worthy slam dunk that sent the Chargers bench into celebration.
"Denby had a lot of fight in them tonight, they just kept coming at us and that's impressive," said Avery in the lockeroom following the win. "We have to learn to close out games a little better than we have been doing so far. Roy (Marble, Jr) had a great game.  He makes my job a lot easier. And he isn't just a scorer, he makes other players around him so much better too and that's invaluable. I thought our intensity and defense was excellent in the first half, but I thought we had a bit of a letdown that I didn't like to see late in the second half.
Avery sees the benefit of playing a rigorous non-conference schedule, per this season. "I tell the team, 'Championships aren't won in December.' These are the weeks we push and test ourselves and hopefully grow and learn from the experience. Going through the battles in these types of games and these types of atmospheres are going to help us in the long run."
Denby was led by Bonner's 21 points. The Tars, who have been playing without their two best players this month due to transfer rules, drop to 0-4 on the year. Isaiah Sykes and Brandon Williams, both Division One-level recruits, joined the Denby hoop squad this season after playing the past two seasons at Detroit Finney and won't be eligible to play until January.
Southfield-Lathrup will have little time to bask in the glow of Saturday's win as Avery and his Chargers must start preparing for their Monday match-up with national powerhouse Detroit Pershing at Detroit Cass Tech.


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