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, March 5, 2010


The most heavily-hyped athletic contests rarely wind up living up to their overblown pre-game expectations. Thursday night's primetime haggle on the hardwood  between state superpowers, Birmingham Detroit Country Day and Romulus, proved the exception rather than rule and in a severe case of poetic justice came down to the final shot. Romulus junior center Justin Moss scored the game-winner in the paint with three seconds left on the clock to spark the host-Eagles to a 56-54 victory over the Yellowjackets in what could have been the best on-court prep match-up of the year so far.
The game was played in front of an overflowing pro-Romulus crowd and concludes the regular season for both squads.
Moss scored 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds and was fed for the winning hoop by guard Derek Stewart, who led Romulus in the scoring column with 20 points. Stewart connected on a highly efficient 6 of 9 attempts from 3-point land for the Eagles and dished out four assists. On the other side of the score sheet, Mahesh Umansekar, the Yellowjackets top 3-point threat, was held to just a single 3-ball on the night. Umansekar, a junior sniper with deep shooting range, knocked down four trifectas in a win over Flint Northern this past Tuesday.
Another major factor in the game was the defense Romulus played on Country Day's 6-11 junior center, Amir Williams, the state's top post recruit. With Moss and teammate Stephon Edwards taking turns sticking to him like glue, Williams was limited significantly, only putting in eight points for the whole game. Over half a dozen college coaches and scouts attended the much-touted affair, many of them eyeing the Yellowjackets big fella, who is considered by most experts a top 50 prep prospect in the nation's Class of 2011.
Streaking ahead by eight points midway through the fourth quarter, Romulus had the home crowd at a feverish crescendo. But the Yellowjackets aren't considered one of the best teams in the country for nothing and quickly responded with a 9-0 run to take a two point-lead with two minutes to go on senior Ray McCallum, Jr's 3-pointer from the left wing.  It would be the final lead Country Day would hold though and consecutive hoops in the lane by Moss gave Romulus a 54-51 lead. The ever-improving Kenny Knight converted a three point-play with a little over a minute to play to tie things up at 54 for the Yellowjackets.
Having no intention of giving the ball back to their ultra-talented opponents, the Eagles held the ball for 40 seconds before going into motion for their final play in which Moss catapulted himself into the role of hero. Coming out of a Country Day timeout, McCallum, Jr could only get off a running 40-footer at the buzzer to try to win it for the visitors. McCallum Jr's shot hit the back rim and fell to the floor, promptly sending the Romulus cheering section into a victorious lather.
The Eagles, ranked number two in the state in Class A by the Associated Press, push their overall record to 19-1. Four Romulus players reached the double-figure mark in scoring. Buckley and fellow senior Marcus Trent, tallied 10 and 11 points respectively for the Eagles.
Country Day, the number on ranked team in the state in Class B and a team that has appeared on numerous national Top 20 polls throughout the year, drops its record 18-2.  McCallum, Jr. anchored the Yellowjackets offensive attack with 17 points and five assists. Knight and Lee Bailey scored 12 points apiece for Country Day, which hasn't lost in nearly a month.
Reaching the Class A Final Four the past two seasons and in three of the last four overall campaigns, head coach Nate Oats and his Eagles hope to get over the hump this year and claim their first state title since 1986 when future Michigan star and NBA-er Terry Mills took Romulus to the crown.
Searching for their first state championship in three years, the Yellowjackets open the state tournament on Monday night at Clawson against Madison Heights Lamphere.
"We missed way too many free throws and didn't execute well enough on offense to beat a team as good as Romulus is," said Country Day head coach, Kurt Keener. "I told the guys after the game to put this loss behind them quickly though, because we have to move on and start thinking about the state tournament. We're all 0-0 from here on out and anything can happen."


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