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, January 10, 2010

Role Reversal

If you're looking for the next great sharpshooter to come out of the Oakland County prep hoops scene, turn your gaze no further than Birmingham Detroit Country Day junior guard, Mahesh Umansekar. With the host Yellowjackets playing down a man – 6-10 junior starting center Amir Williams was out with a sprained knee – and needing a boost from their role players, Umansekar stepped to the forefront and filled the void mightily by sinking all four of his 3-point attempts in the decisive first half, en route to a career-high 17 points, in Country Day's runaway 88-54 victory over Canton (OH) Glen Oak on Saturday night.
The sweet stroking reserve shooting guard playing in only his second full varsity game due to some minor early-season injuries displayed text book-form in draining 5-of-7 3-point tries throughout the contest. In his first full game on varsity on Friday night in a win against Roseville, he hit 2-of-3 attempts from downtown. 
"I was feeling it tonight," exclaimed the 6-1 Umansekar, who was the Yellowjackets JV team's leading scorer last season. "It's my role to come in and knock down shots. That's what I do. Tonight, playing without Amir (Williams), we might have needed my shooting a little bit more than usual. It feels nice to come through for the team. My teammates have confidence in my 3-point shooting and that gives me confidence. I'm looking forward to the rest of the season and helping out the team wherever and whenever I can."
And it wasn't just Umansekar that came up big with the squad's number two-offensive option on the shelf. Junior power forward Carter Elliott, Williams' replacement in Country Day's starting line-up, held it down in the paint for the Yellowjackets and put in eight points to go along with seven rebounds. Starting small forward Kenny Knight contributed a double-double by scoring 12 points and grabbing 10 boards. Back-up point guard Matt Leverett reached double figures for the first time in his career and tallied 11 points.
Ray McCallum, Country Day's leading scorer, led the Yellowjackets in the stat sheet with a game-high 18 points. McCallum's backcourt-mate, Chris Fowler, scored five points and gave out 10 assists.
Ranked number one in the state in Class B, Country Day pushes its overall record to 9-0. Glen Oak is now 4-4. The Eagles were led by a team-high 17 points by Brandon Means.
Williams, one of the heaviest recruited post players in the nation in the recruiting class of 2011, was hurt in Country Day's defeat of Roseville Friday, when he was tumbled into by a teammate taking a charge. X-rays on Saturday morning showed just a sprain of his knee, instead of a dreaded tear that could have easily ended the big fella's entire season. He is expected back within the next 7-14 days.
Seemingly unaffected by the absence of their top big man, the 'Jackets jumped out to a 16-8 lead midway through the first quarter. Glen Oak's T.J. Sutton – a three year varsity starter - hit two free throws with 44.5 seconds left to play in the quarter to trim Country Day's lead to just three points at a score of 16-13. But Umansekar quickly served notice that a Yellowjackets explosion was well on its way.  He connected on his first triple of the night from the far right baseline to just beat the first quarter buzzer and make the score 19-13 after one.
From the opening seconds of the second quarter, it was all 'Jackets, all the time for the rest of the way through. A Carter Elliott steal that ended with a Ray McCallum transition hoop started the quarter's scoring and the ensuing Country Day onslaught. Three straight trifectas by Umansekar brought the home crowd to its feet and gave the Yellowjackets a 39-20 advantage with 1:44 left to play before the break. Matt Leverett's two free throws placed the Country Day lead at an even 20 points, 41-21, and Kenny Knight's tip-in in the final seconds of the first half provided the team with a resounding 59-28 lead going into the locker room.
The second half was a mere formality. About the only highlight – other than the extra-hard and ultra-commendable work on the court put in by a spirited 'Jackets reserve unit – was a McCallum alley-oop slam dunk on a perfectly-placed pass from Chris Fowler at the 5:12 mark of the third quarter.
Country Day head coach, Kurt Keener, was pleased to see such a strong outing from his ballclub after what he and his coaching staff thought was a lackluster effort in the team's win the previous evening.
"It was good to see the team play so well tonight without Amir in there," he said. "Our transition game and defense were effective all game long and didn't seem to miss a beat. The whole coaching staff and I were a little disappointed with how we played on Friday against Roseville, so it was also nice to see us rebound big from that too. I think we got back to playing the kind of basketball we're capable of playing."
Keener has nothing but respect for his opponents who traveled two hours from Ohio into Michigan to play the game.
"Glen Oak is a very solid program in Ohio and they had a couple of their top guys out of the line-up tonight," he said. "They played hard until the very end."
Yellowjackets fans will be crossing their fingers over the next week hoping that Williams can be ready to play next Saturday night in the team's much anticipated showdown with defending Class A state champion, Detroit Pershing, in a neutral site contest set to be played at Lansing Eastern High School.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

after there fourth loss friday to southfield lathrup highschool friday junior guard anthony ant adams called up his Aau coach bill lavallis to vent about his frustrations over these first six games. Adams says we need lavallis at the point.. Hes our best ball handler you will not take the ball fom him and hes our best passer and penetraiter in transition... Coach i dont no whats going we need lavallis on the court for us to have any chance at makeing a state championship run...

January 10, 2010 at 10:22 AM 

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home