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, February 26, 2010

Fork Fight

When someone comes to a fork in the road, they have two different directions to choose from. On Thursday night, the boys basketball team at Birmingham Roeper bucked protocol and took a fork straight through the heart of a visiting Novi Franklin Road Christian squad, defeating the Warriors 65-52.
The game was a crossover of MIAC division powers – Roeper just sewed up the Blue Division title last Friday night and Franklin Road finished second in the Red, after winning it last year. The Roughriders up their overall record to 17-2, the best regular season tally in the program's history.
"Winning the league title was one of our goals and we accomplished that, so now we need to start concentrating on getting the district," Roeper 27th year head coach, Ernie Righetti said. "I'm not worried about the physical side of the game with these guys, I'm pretty confident they've got that part down. It's the mental aspect of the game we have to focus on securing up. We're still having some lapses that we need to correct before going into the state tournament. This is a senior-dominated group and they've been preparing for this season for quite a few years now. I think we can do some special things moving forward if everybody is on the same page and everyone plays up to their capabilities."
Righetti and the Roughriders are seeking their first district championship since 2006. Senior point guard, Ryan Zinser, spearheaded Roeper's win with 21 points, 11 assists, and five steals. Zinser's 11 dimes was only one off the school record, a mark he himself jointly holds with Eric Righetti (Eastern Michigan/Albion), the coach's son and a former all-state performer in the mid-1990s.
Behind Zinser's expert-playmaking ability, the Roughriders broke open a tight game in late-the third quarter and sprinted away from the Warriors down the stretch. Leading by four points, 41-37, Zinser knocked-down a 3-pointer from the right wing at the third quarter buzzer and Roeper was on top 44-37 going into the fourth. His back-to-back "Drive and Dishes" to Damani Tilton and Cole Stasek, respectively, for easy baskets in the paint to open up the game's final frame made it a double-digit Roughriders' lead that Franklin Road wouldn't recover from. A beautiful baseline reverse lay-up by Zinser midway through the fourth quarter put Roeper ahead 58-41 and prompted a timeout that led to an emptying of the benches.
Stasek registered 13 points and eight rebounds. Jacob Saslow, Zinser's senior backcourt mate, put up a rock-solid game of 12 points, four assists, four rebounds, and three steals.
"The whole team is proud of the season we've been able to put together so far and we still want more," said Zinser after another outstanding outing. "We hit the floor expecting to win now and that's the right mentality to have. We're going come out every game from here on out with a sense of urgency and finish strong. Everyone wants it right now and we'll continue to play that way."
Roeper closes out its regular season next week against MIAC Red Division winner-Plymouth Christian and will host the districts when the state tournament starts a week from Monday. The Roughriders open the tourney against Detroit Winan Academy


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