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.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Spring Sendoff - Part II: Girls Softball

Burney's Bytes 2009 All-Oakland County Softball Team


Carlee Meek - Lakeland
Jordan Wheatley - Troy
Kacie Todd - Lutheran Northwest
Stephanie Carrico - Waterford Our Lady of The Lakes
Kristi Hardy - Walled Lake Central
Paige Young - Birmingham Seaholm
Sara Altene - Clarkston


Kelsey Johnson - Lakeland
Taylor Hasselbach - Clarkston 
Maddie Young - Troy
Ally Olds - Waterford Our Lady of The Lakes
Mary Kate Di Virglio - Birmingham Detroit Country Day
Megan Smith - Lake Orion


Kelsey Cleary - Lakeland
Andi Dawson - Lakeland
Erica Rizzo - Lakeland
Krista Hakola - Walled Lake Central
Tessa Tomlin - Lake Orion
Jen Losiowski - Waterford Our Lady of The Lakes

Head Coach of the Year - Tom Calnen (Troy)
MVP - Carlee Meek (Lakeland)
MIP - Tessa Tomlin (Lake Orion)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Road Map To Success - Burney Talks Pistons

Already folks, here goes with my first foray into writing about my thoughts regarding the local pro sports scene around Detroit. As always, I welcome any and fall feedback:

Since the overly-beloved Joe Dumars has made a mockery of the Pistons franchise over the past 12 months, good ole' Burney is here to offer a helping hand in re-shaping the team's fortunes back in the right direction. Alright, Joe, pay close attention, Im about to layout a road map for success that if you choose to follow will guarantee the Pistons place atop the Eastern Conference, in just a few short years. 

1. Change With The Times  - overhaul previous team-building philosophy in favor of fresh perspective. Don't take the easy route and just copy an already-utilized and currently-successful philosophy, create your own. In other words, start a trend, don't follow one.  Specifically, this situation calls for the drafting of a future superstar in either this year or next year's draft. If I was Joe D, I'd do everything in my power to trade up and draft European-hoops wunderkind, Ricky Rubio, the slick passing Pistol Pete-c lone that's only 18 and dropped a triple double in last season's Euro League Championship. 

2. Go Foreign, but W/ a Dash of Classic "Bad Boys" Mentality - Although its doubtful championship-caliber success can be attained with a team built solely through free-agency, judicious and smart moves in signing free agents can be integral in collecting hardware of any kind. To augment, Rubio, who is as sure-fire a hit in the NBA draft than I've seen in at least 4 years, the team should go after other fast-breaking, hot shooting, and high scoring Euro-types like Utah's Mehmet Okur - a move Dumars could do to make amends for letting this guy go in the first place and - Orlando's Hedo Turkaleu. Once your cornerstone is in place - Rubio - and your complimentary base of scorers are acquired, you fill the rest of team up with hardworking, defensive-minded bangers that will be enforcers for your stars - alas Lambier, Mahorn, Ben Wallace -  and still act as an anchor to the organizations' past identities. 

3. Hire a Coach, Lose the Puppet - All due respect to current Pistons head coach, Michael Curry, he is really little more than a front for Joe D and a stop gap until a better replacement can be found.  This team has been lacking a respected bench presence since Larry Brown left in '05 and if they are going to return to past glories, they need to find another one. If this person is Dumars himself, so be it. But getting someone20on the sidelines that has a mind of their own and a solid following and support in the lockeroom is essential. Personally, I'd go after Larry Bird, who single-handedly built the late-90's-early 2000's Pacers teams, whom if it wasnt for Michael Jordan and a phantom foul on Antonio Davis for touching the Knicks Larry Johnson on his made-3 point attempt in the '99 Eastern Conference Finals, those squads would have gone back-to-back. Bird has been sitting on the sidelines for eight years and Im sure his competitive spirit is still burning overtime. He'd be a good counter-balance for Dumars, a respected sounding board that has been non-existence around these parts since LB's self-inflicted departure.   These two guys engaged in some epic battles on the floor during their collective playing careers, wouldn't it be amazing if they could collaborate on building another winner here in the D.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Spring Sendoff - Part I : Boys Baseball

Burney's Bytes Post Season Awards - Part I: Boys Baseball

2009 All-Oakland County Baseball Team


Andrew Waszak - Rochester Hills Adams
Adam Purcilly - Auburn Hills Avondale
Danny Turcell - Walled Lake Northern
Andy Tinke - Walled Lake Northern
Mike Theordore - Birmingham Detroit Country Day
Justin Young - Farmington Hills Harrison
Tyler Haggerson - Birmingham Seaholm
Adam Rosenberg - Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook


Ricky Samuel - Lakeland
Matt Conway - Birmingham Brother Rice
Pat MacKenzie - Birmingham Brother Rice
Chris Gebara - Troy
Shawn Giroux - Clawson
Donovan Rigel - Auburn Hills Avondale
Kyle Cassadei - Rochester Hills Adams
Nick Druziniski - Rochester Hills Adams
Keanan Hart - Novi Detroit Catholic Central
Stephen Peck - Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook


Korey Hall - Orchard Lk. St. Mary's
Steve Bohne - Auburn Hills Avondale
Brian Bjerke - Birmingham Seaholm
Alex Charles - Birmingham Brother Rice
Garrett Green - Novi
Taka Fukui - West Bloomfield
Mike Hash - Stoney Creek
Steve Harding - Novi Detroit Catholic Central
Steve Thrasher - Southfield Christian

Head Coach of The Year - Chuck Van Robays (Rochester Hills Adams)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sad Day For St. Mary's

Yesterday was the final day of the '09 prep spring sports season and unfortunately there were no Oakland County teams left standing when all the smoke cleared in Battle Creek.  Mad props to head coach Nick Di Ponio and his Orchard Lk. St. Mary's team that shocked the entire state, making a run all the way to the Division II baseball final after entering the state tournament with a record that was way under .500.  Sadly, yesterday afternoon, the clock turned midnight for the Eaglets and their fans and the squads Cinderella story came to an end at the hands of cross-state rival, East Grand Rapids, who beat OLSM for the DII football final in '07 and again in the '08 opener. It looks like all the lumps the Eaglet took playing in the rough and rugged Catholic League this season paid off. OLSM is relatively young though and returns a big chunk of its players - a scary thought for the CHSL next year.  Great run boys, you guys really made the most of a tough regular season in the playoffs and almost did the impossible. I am content that Di Ponio will have the troops ready for a banner campaign in 2010. 

P.S loyal Burney's Bytes readers

Have no fear, this blog will still be active over the summer, even when the local prep scene is on hiatus until football begins in August.  Lots of cool stuff left to write about, including a new segment called "Prep Cinema", that will be debuting soon and will be providing reviews and recommendation for great movies that deal with high school athletes.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Readying For Regionals

Alright, Week Two of the 2009 MHSAA state baseball tournament is upon us and Oakland County is ripe with exciting action on tap for this coming weekend's regionals. Congrats to all the county's district winners in both baseball and softball and good luck in the next round. Goodbye to some of this season's best squad's and feel-good stories of the year - Lakeland, Seaholm, Walled Lake Western and Northern in baseball and Waterford Our Lady of The Lakes and Walled Lake Central in softball - who each had outstanding regular seasons in their own right but failed to advance. 

Now that the pleasantries are out of the way, let's take a look at some of this Saturday best match-ups:

The most intriguing regional-semi final showdown looks to be in the Clarkston regional where Rochester Adams and Auburn Hills Avondale, two of the county's best and brightest, meet up for the second time this season. In their first match-up back in early-April, Adams rallied from behind in the sixth inning to notch the victory. No doubt, Avondale has that game in the back of its head as motivation as the team prepares for a re-match and a chance for redemption. The Yellowjackets are deep and experienced. They hit all the way down the line-up and Adam Purcilly and Donovan Rigel give them command and composure from the mound. However, Adams could be a team of destiny this year. Head coach, Chuck Van Robay's Highlanders look primed for a shot at a deep run and a possible reservation for Cereal City on June 12. The Highlanders' strong three man pitching rotation - ace Andrew Waszak, Ryan Strum, and Mike Johnson - is augmented by what some consider the most dangerous offense in the area. Adams has a lethal batting order peppered with sensational sluggers like Nick Druzinski, Kyle Casadei, Andy Mass, Mike Barber, and T.J, Trouba. If Waszak is on his game from the bump, I predict Adams will triumph in another close contest. From there, Adams will most-likely run into Hartland, a powerhouse from Livingston county. Highlanders continue to soar - see ya Tuesday in the quarters, boys.

Over in the Novi regional, it looks like Brother Rice and Catholic Central are on a collision course for the regional final late Saturday afternoon. These teams split their season series against each other and even though the defending champion Warriors of Brother Rice have been rounding into shape as of late following a tough end to their regular season, CC is much better than its .500 record might indicate - the Shamrocks played in the most competitive conference in the entire state. Sorry coach Riker, but I sense an upset special here. Hoopsters turned diamond-studs, Steve Harding, Brett Smith, and Tim Dezelski are going to show Keenan Hart, Corey Smith and the rest what its like to win a regional and pull out a barn-burner over your stacked Rice squad. 

In the lower divisions, Frank Orlando's DCD team should make it to the regional final in DII (if the Yellowjackets can make it past a juggernaut Divine Child is yet to be seen) and if Southfield Christian can squeak past a skilled Lutheran Westland squad in a DIV regional semi-final, it should be smooth sailing for the Eagles into the next round.