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.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Showcase Showdown - Captain Amazing vs. The Natural

The premiere game on the slate of high school bball matches in the county Tuesday night was in the treacherous OAA Red and pitted Southfield and North Farmington. From an individual perspective, the main event of the contest was a first class-showdown of two of the state's most prolific lead guards in Southfield's Carlton "Captain Amazing" Brundidge and North Farmington's Kyle "The Natural" Vinales.
Extra, Extra, read all about it: Captain Amazing vs. The Natural – it might have sounded like the name of an old school horror movie or headline on the cover of a superhero comic book, but make no mistake about it, this was an epic clash of cager prep powerhouses. Arguably the best two scoring guards in the area going toe-to-toe, not to mention two of the top hoop squads in the OC matching blows in the center of the ring, to say I was excited on my way to the game would be an understatement.  And even though neither, Brundidge, the best junior backcourt-minder in the county nor Vinales, the county's number-one point producer, went bongos in the scoring-department, both played like the warriors of the hardwood that they are and the game itself more than lived up to the hype.
Brundidge (10 points in the first half) and the Bluejays made the first major strike of ultra-thrilling high school hoop war, but it was Vinales (Grand Valley State) and the Raiders who ended up getting the last laugh. Roaring back from 16 points down in the third quarter, North Farmington rallied for a dramatic 73-66 win in front of a raucous Raiders' home crowd.
Winning the personal scoring battle between himself and Brundidge, Vinales scored 19 points and hit several free throws in the clutch to seal the victory over the first-place Bluejays.  The Michigan-bound Brundidge went for 17 points, but missed the first seven minutes of the second half with asthma-related breathing problems. Emerging superstar and Vinales' senior backcourt mate Robert Hogans, wound up being the MVP of the heavyweight hardwood throwdown, pouring in 27 points and the game-winning points scored via two makes from the charity stripe with under 40 seconds left to play. The emergence of Hogans as a bonafide "Option 1-b" for head coach Tom Negeoshian, makes North Farmington a legitimate contender to make a run to the Breslin Center and the Class A Final Four later this month.  Hogans, committed to D2 Spring Arbor, also threw down one of the best slam dunks I've personally seen this entire year. Midway through the third quarter, Hogans stole a Bluejays pass and streaked into the goal from the right side, one-hand jamming it over a Southfield defender. The thunderous dunk by Hogans followed up a rim-rattling jam by the Bluejays courtesy of Brundidge's touch-pass on the break to Patrick "The Big Money" Owenu, who promptly flushed home a reverberating two-hander.
On the subject of guys with the word "big" in their nickname, the Raiders' Urbane "The Big Nasty" Bingham, played huge for coach Negeoshian's North Farmington squad, scoring 21 points and collecting 11 rebounds.
The electrifyingly-exciting fourth quarter was highlighted by a classic "Dominique-Bird late-80s"-type dual between "Captain Amazing" and "The Natural."
With his team down by five heading into the final stanza of play, Vinales hit four free throws, the last of which pulled the Raiders to within a point at a score of 53-52 with 5:53 remaining on the game clock. Captain Amazing quickly answered by assisting on two Bluejays baskets – one by Joshua Brown and the other by Trent Ware (a team-high 20 points) – and then drilling an 8-foot pull-up baseline "J" to push the Southfield lead to six points at 60-54.  Naturally, North Farmington's "Natural" swung back with a vengence  and his steal on the Rairders ensuing defensive possession led to an easy lay-up for Hogans.
North Farmington finally tied things up for the first time since tip-off at 61 apiece with 3:02 left to play on a pair of free throws by Bingham. CB's "tear drop" shot in the paint put Southfield on top 63-61, but Vinales drive and score immediately on the other end knotted things back up. Once Hogans put NF in fron 67-65 with 38 seconds remaining, Vinales boarded a Brundidge miss, was fouled and drained two free throws to make it a two possession Raiders advantage. His final two free throws of the evening accounted for the final score of 73-66, a seven point margin of victory that was slightly deceiving at first glance and without knowing the specifics of the feverish and back-and-fourth final quarter of action.
Vinales was quick to praise his high-profile opponent after the win, "Carlton is just so tough to stop," he said. "He can go to the rim and get into the lane better than any player I've ever seen."
Negeoshian echoed his star player's sentiments. "Brundidge is a great player, but more importantly he's a great person. He's smart on the floor and always carries himself with class. And he's improved greatly from last year. His ball handling, passing, and rebounding are all up a notch and that just makes him so dangerous."
This was the second time this season that the Raiders beat Southfield. The comeback win moves North Farmington's overall record to 12-7 (five of the seven losses came either in OT or on buzzer-beaters). Southfield falls to 14-5.
"I think we can do something special in the tournament if we keep playing hard and stay confident, but not cocky. Our press has been very effective and everyone is chipping in where they can. Robert's play this year has been crucial to our success. We'll keep chugging along and playing tough for 32 minutes and see where things take us. I really want that district title."
The Raiders will finish out their season on Thursday when they travel to Oak Park, which lost a heartbreaker in the final seconds on Tuesday to Pontiac.


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