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.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Unruly House Guests

MID TOWN SPOILS MLK CLASSIC FOR HOST-PHOENIX, KEEPS LOSES COMING
By SCOTT M. BURNSTEIN
PONTIAC
Going into the finale of the 8th annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Classic, the Pontiac Phoenix didn't know what to expect from their opponent, little-known Detroit Mid Town Academy, so they expected the unexpected. And that's exactly what they got.
Playing with purpose, passion, and precision, Mid Town Academy, came into the Phoenix Nest and shocked host Pontiac, 70-64 in overtime and in the process extended the Phoenix's losing streak to five games – a fact of life that has the majority of city's rabid fan base reeling. The Phoenix started the year 2-1, but now stand at 2-6 as they prepare to return to play in the ultra-rugged OAA Red Conference. Pontiac blew a double-digit fourth quarter advantage in a loss to league-foe Southfield (7-1) at home this past Thursday evening.
Mid Town, in only its second year in existence as a program, are currently ranked number 10 in the state in Class C according to the Associated Press. The upset victory keeps the Magic perfect on the 2009-2010 campaign and sporting a gaudy 11-0 overall record. Last year in their school's inaugural season of varsity hoops, the Magic amazingly won a district title in Class D. A victory against Flint Hamady (the no. six ranked team in Class C) ten days ago served notice that Mid Town is for real this year and most likely accounts for its most recent placement in the polls.
Junior point guard Anthony "The Ant" Adams anchored Pontiac's scoring attack by pouring in a game-high 22 points and delving out six assists.  Facing a late deficit, his five straight points towards the end of the fourth quarter brought the Phoenix back to even with the upstart Magic, 56-56, with less than 90 seconds to play. Jamal Barr's scoop and score in the lane on a nice crossover move with 55 seconds on the clock gave Pontiac a 58-56 lead, but Mid Town's Allen Sherrill's hoop in the paint with 6.7 seconds left in regulation tied things up and sent the game into overtime (Pontiac had a difficult time in the half-court set all night long and that was demonstrated when the Phoenix's final shot to win it at the buzzer was a long De Brian Lewis 3-point attempt from the far left elbow that missed badly).
In the extra session, Magic senior forward Kyle Rice took over, putting Mid Town on his back and almost single handedly carrying the squad over the finish line. He scored five straight to open the OT period - his triple from the right wing kicked things off and was then quickly followed by an aggressive and smooth drive to the basket from the left wing which he finished with a slick finger roll. Rice, who pumped in a team-high 20 points and hauled down eight boards, scored his final two points of the night by netting two free throws with less than ten seconds remaining that closed the door on any thoughts of another late-rally by the slumping Phoenix.
Sherrill and senior guard Jordan Pruitt also knocked down multiple big time free throws in the overtime stanza. Pruitt, along with senior De Andre Edwards and junior Andre Person, took turns keeping Pontiac leading-scorer Juwaan Moody at bay. Moody, averaging 20 points per game and coming off a 27-point performance against Southfield, was held to just six by the Magic's frenetic defense and seemed to be nowhere in sight when the game's outcome held in the balance.  
Tereal Owens posted a double-double for the scrappy Mid Towners, scoring 13 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. He controlled the paint for most of the game and made certain anytime any of the Phoenix's cadre of speedy guards made their way into the lane they left with a bump, bruise, or both.
Rice, a transfer from Detroit Finney last season, thinks this could end up being a special year for his team. "We have some real talent on this roster and I think we can play with a lot of the bigger schools in the area a lot better than some people around here give us credit for," he said in the locker room. "There are ten seniors on this team and we all played together last season. I'm excited to see what kind of more damage we can end up doing."
"Tonight our free throws and rebounding were the keys to the win," said Magic head coach, Lonell Williams. "This was Pontiac's tournament, so we knew they would be ready to play no matter what they knew or didn't know about us. I was impressed with our mental game tonight. We stay composed and calm and converted some big plays in the clutch. We got down early, but just kept fighting. Beating a team like Pontiac is a nice win for your resume."
With Mid Town in the process of getting acclimated to the increased level of speed when playing a higher-class opponent like Pontiac, the Phoenix took command early on. They led 25-14 after the first quarter and were in front 34-25 at halftime.
Seven straight points by Andre Person and a drive and score by Rice put the Magic on top for the first time in the game at the 2:03 mark of the third quarter.
De Brian Lewis scored 14 points for Pontiac and Barr registered 13 points and five rebounds. A bucket inside by Barr about a minute into overtime provided the Phoenix their last lead of the game at 62-61. Lewis' runner in the lane pulled Pontiac to within one possession at 67-64 with 36.8 seconds left to play, but Rice's freebies iced the game for the Magic.
"We keep playing hard, but we keep coming up short," said Phoenix head coach, Robert Rogers, of his squad's uncharacteristic losing streak. "They (Mid Town) were a real tough team. We just got to stay focused on getting better. I'm sure we'll get it together before everything is said and done."
Next up for the Phoenix will be the high-scoring North Farmington Raiders, set to invade the newly-purple painted but still legendary Sy Green Gymnasium on Tuesday night.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

WOW ANOTHER LOSS FOR PONTIAC HIGH. MAYBE U MIGHT JUST WANNA TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT... ALL I CAN SAY IS GOODLUCK PHOENIX.... HINT YOU JUST MIGHT WANNA GET YOUR BEST GUARD OF THE BENCH.. AND GIVE THE FANS OF PONTIAC WHAT THE WANT AND DESERVE SOME VICTORIES..

January 18, 2010 at 3:58 AM 
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January 18, 2010 at 5:47 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

pontiac needs to revamp its coaching staff.... Take a lesson from the football team.. Inteview someone fair and impartial that as good judgement and CHARACTER....SOMEONE WHO IS NOT FROM PONTIAC... I REPEAT NOT FROM PONTIAC.. I NO ROGERS ISNT FROM PONTIAC.. BUT IT SEEMS AS HE TO HAS FALLEN VICTIM TO TE MADNESS.. JUST LIKE IT WAS TIME FOR THE CITY TO GO IN A NEW DIRECTION IN POITICS WITH THE NEW MAYOR... ITS DEFINATELY TIME FOR A NEW BASKETBALL COACHING STAFF FOR OUR KIDS AT PONTIAC HIGHSCHOOL...STEP DOWN MC AND LET THE PHOENIX FLY.......

January 18, 2010 at 10:46 AM 

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