Sunday, February 28, 2010
COUNTRY DAY PACKS QUITE A PUNCH WHILE CONTAINING JONES, ARTHUR HILL ON THE ROAD
There aren't many "one-two punches" across the nation's prep hoops landscape as good as Birmingham Detroit Country Day's Ray McCallum and Amir Williams. Yeah, that's how incredibly dominant this pair is. We're not talking about the Metro Detroit area, we're not talking about the state of Michigan, and we're not even talking about the entire Midwest. We're talking about the elite of the elite throughout the whole freaking United States of America. This Yellowjackets' gruesome twosome once again showed just how dangerous they can be on the court on Saturday night when Country Day traveled to Saginaw Arthur Hill and behind the outstanding play of McCallum and Williams, trounced the Lumberjacks 81-64. And it wasn't that close. Country Day (ranked number one in the state in Class B) held a 72-42 lead in the second half prior to head coach Kurt Keener calling off the proverbial dogs. McCallum, the 'Jackets All-American point guard, registered a triple-double of 15 points, 10 assists, and 10 rebounds. Williams, the state's top post prospect in the Class of 2011, recorded a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds as well as adding six blocks. Having played all but two games of arguably the most treacherous high school basketball schedule in this region of the country, the Yellowjackets seem to be peaking at exactly the right time. Adding another high-profile victory to its already chalk-full resume, Country Day runs its overall record to a machine-like 17-1 on the season. Arthur Hill, the state's 4th ranked team in Class A, had trouble finding any sort of rhythm on offense the entire game against a frenetic and abrasively-tight defense and drops its record to 14-4 overall. The 'Jackets stifling defensive outing was keyed by a lockdown effort by junior Lee Bailey on Arthur Hill's star point guard, Maurice "Pookie" Jones. Bailey held the 5-10 Jones, on his way to USC next season on a hoops scholarship, to a paltry 13 points, a good dozen off his average. Holding his own on the offensive end of the floor too, Bailey put up 14 points, as one of five Country Day players to reach double-figures. Leaping in front 40-27 at halftime, the Yellowjackets opened the third quarter on a 14-4 run and were in cruise control from there on out. Juniors Kenny Knight and Mahesh Umasenkar also came to play for Keener's Country Day cagers and exhibited "lights out" performances. Knights, an athletic wing, scored 17 points and snared seven rebounds and Umansenkar, an expert 3-point marksman, finished with 11 points, while burying 3-of-5 attempts from long distance. Sophomore center Jordan Hare was the lone bright spot for the Lumberjacks, scoring 15 points and collecting eight rebounds. Entering the final week of the regular season, the Yellowjackets remain on the road for their remaining two contests. On Tuesday, they will go to Flint to face-off with Flint Northern and then Friday, they will participate in a major league tune-up for their impending state tourney run, when they match-up with Romulus, currently the number one ranked team in Class A and state semi-finalists the past two years.
The 6-11 Williams is a must-have recruit for both Michigan and MSU. Either John Belien or Tom Izzo need to land this kid and make sure he doesn't leave the state. He is a special talent with an astronomical "ceiling/upside" and could very well wind up dominating the paint in the Big Ten if that's the conference he decides he wants to play in. Every game the 'Jackets "Big Dandy" is realizing more and more how overwhelmingly good he can be when achieving total focus on the floor. It will be scary to see this kid next year when he has to take on more of the team's scoring load.
Saturday, February 27, 2010
BRONCHOS EXTEND HOT STREAK IN HOME WIN
The Holly Hoops Victory Parade kept marching through town Friday night to the beat of a resounding drum and at this point in time it doesn't appear to have any signs of stopping in the near future. Unleashing a balanced offensive attack, the host-Bronchos took out Oxford 68-58 and have now won 12 of their last 13 games. The highlight of the game for Holly was the coming out party of transfer sharpshooter Josh Fugate (Lakeland). Since becoming eligible in mid-January, the 6-1 junior gunner has not been his usual deadeye-self, struggling a bit finding his shooting groove and getting used to his new home on the court. That all changed Friday when Fugate touched up the twine for a season-high 15 points, while sinking a perfect 4 for 4 attempts from 3-point range. "That's the kind of shooting we were getting from Josh this past summer," Bronchos head coach, Lance Baylis, said via text following the game. "It's nice to see him get his stroke back. He can be very dangerous." Thomas Lovachis, a senior combo guard and another transfer for the Holly Express from Stockbridge scored a game-high 17 points and senior point guard Justin Fowler matched Fugate's 4 3-balls and recorded 16 points. All-Conference senior forward, Lance Hopkin, who deserves praise this season for sacrificing some of his personal offensive stats for the betterment of the team, chipped in with eight points and eight rebounds. Hollys runs its overall record to 15-4, 14-4 in the Flint Metro Conference. Since the additions of Lovachis and Fugate, the Bronchos are 10-1. When you combine this season's 15 wins with last season's 19 wins it matches the most for the program in a two-year span. The 1959 and 1960 Holly hoop squads combined for 34 wins across two seasons, the first in which the team advanced all the way to the Class D state championship game. Back in the 1920's, the program claimed two state titles. Last season, the Bronchos captured a share of the Flint Metro Conference for the first time in seven years. "We're starting to really come together," Baylis said.
Gary Wurtz led Oxford with 14 points and seven rebounds.
Instant Feedback - The Crane Technique
Mad props to head coach Shane Finney and his Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Cranes squad who brought home the school's first boys basketball conference title in a quarter of a century. The Cranes beat down Harper Woods 64-28, to win the Metro Conference for the first time since 1985. Sterling Morrow was well, sterling, for the Cranbrook cage crew, pumping in 13 points to go along with five rebounds and four assists. Along with his brother Steven, the Morrow brothers have been the catalysts for the Cranes conference championship and their 13-5 overall record so far. The Metro Conference will disband at the conclusion of this season and Cranbrook is set to join the Catholic League next year. Finney should get credit for adding stability and resilience to the Cranes boys hoops program. In each of the last two seasons, the team has lost all-conference standouts to graduation – Xander Strek (Grinnell College) and Matt Broder (Michigan for baseball) in 2008 and Eric Fishman (Kalamazoo College) in 2009 - and its failed to alter the quality product the C-Brookers have been able to put on the floor. Great job, coach Finney!! I'm going to nickname Waterford Mott's senior forward Emmanuel Simpson, "Manny The Rock," because even though Simpson's game isn't flashy, he's a rock of consistency on the court for Corsairs head coach Derek Wiley. Simpson had a mega-outing Friday night, collecting a double-double of 19 points and 10 rebounds in Mott's win over Grand Blanc in the KLAA Tournament Semi-Finals. Get busy my main man, Manny! Rochester's Allante Thompson keeps getting better every time he hits the floor as he slowly developing into one of the better young post-players in the county. Thompson notched a double-double of 16 points and 12 rebounds in the Falcons 59-47 defeat of Troy. Speaking of impressive double-doubles, Clarkston's Matt Kamieniecki went buck wild in C-Town's victory on the road at North Farmington, getting mad loose for 25 points and 17 rebounds. Darin Jackson of Farmington did Simpson, Thompson, and Kamieniecki one up and dropped the ever-enviable and elusive triple-double in the Falcons 60-44 win over Hazel Park. Jackson was all over the floor, collecting 11 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 dimes. Farmington should be commended for the job it's been able to do since the start of second semester. The Falcons have been playing as well as anybody in their conference and currently reside at a more than respectable 11-6 overall record and a 8-4 mark in the OAA Blue. Josh Fugate finally had his breakout game in his new Holly uniform, getting nice to the tune of 15 points in the team's 68-58 win over Oxford. Bronchos head coach Lance Baylis decided to bring Fugate – a junior transfer from Lakeland – off the bench on Friday and it worked. Fugate is an ace assassin from downtown and can effectively get to the rack too if you overplay his 3-point game. Michael Fugate, Josh's big brother, is doing his thing up at Saginaw Valley State for the Cardinals hoop squad.
On one final note: Good luck to Madison Heights Bishop Foley in its quest to take home the school's first boys CHSL crown in recent memory, when the Ventures venture into Calihan Hall on sunday to square off with Detroit Loyola in the conference tourney final. I honestly think Foley could come out of this game with the hardware. In fact, i'm going on record and calling a SUPERSONIC UPSET SPECIAL and declaring that the Ventures will end up raising the banner. Get busy double-time my main man, Jordan Walker (25 points in the semi-final on Tuesday), and pop a 30-spot in the spotlight for your homeboy, Burney!
Friday, February 26, 2010
ROEPER TAKES RIGHT ROAD, POUNCES ON WARRIORS LATE FOR RUNAWAY WIN
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
Birthday Blow Out
BARNES BUSTS OUT IN THIRD QUARTER, USES B-DAY TO BASH OAK PARK
Most people celebrate their birthday by eating some cake and blowing out a few candles. Southfield's standout junior point guard Desmond "Pee Wee" Barnes, celebrated the occasion by blowing out the opposition on the basketball court. The shifty 6-0 Barnes ushered in his 17th year on this earth by scoring 17 of his 20 points in the second half, including 13 straight to end the third quarter, to lead the Bluejays to a runaway 88-67 comeback victory over a spunky Oak Park squad in OAA Red Division action on Thursday night. Adding to Barnes' heroics was the play of his best friend and backcourt mate, Carlton Brundidge. The 6-2 junior combo guard, who is already verbally committed to continue his career in college at Michigan, notched a game-high 29 points, 19 of them coming in the final 16 minutes of play which saw Southfield overcome a halftime deficit to put up 55 second half points. Both Barnes and Brundidge added six assists and five rebounds to augment their dual impressive outings. Along with playing in front of an enthusiastic home crowd, Brundidge was being watched by his future college coach too, as Wolverines sideline chief, John Belien, sat in the baseline bleachers watching his prized recruit with a frequent smile across his face. Southfield pushes its overall record to 14-4, 9-3 in the OAA Red, good for a first place tie with crosstown rival, Southfield-Lathrup, with one week left to play in the regular season. The Bluejays are in the midst of what could end up being an historic campaign. The program hasn't claimed a conference championship since 1992, when NBA'er Ira Newble was rocking the blue and white, and has not won a district since the mid-1980s. "This whole season has been a wonderful, fun, new adventure," said Southfield head coach, Gary Teasley, in his office following the game. "The coaching staff and myself have been stressing balance this year and it's showing on the floor and in the stat sheet. We're on the right track heading for the state tournament which I call, "The Final Exam." All these big games leading up to it are like pop quizzes. And we've showed nicely in a lot of those quizzes. Tonight was one and we passed. If we keep playing this way good things will continue to happen." Although they ended up being beat by 21 points, the Knights were hot from the outside in the first half and used their ultra-accurate shooting from the perimeter (71 percent from the field) to hold a 36-33 lead at the intermission. Oak Park jumped in front 46-41 midway through the third quarter and then went cold. Taking advantage of the Knights' chilly marksmanship, Barnes went to town over the final three and a half minutes of the quarter. His 15-foot jumper pulled Southfield to within one point, at 46-45, and then his steal, hoop, foul, and free throw put the Bluejays ahead for good at 48-46. A buzzer-beating 3-pointer from the deep right wing by Barnes made it 13 straight points and gave his team a 56-47 advantage going into the fourth. "In the first half I wasn't playing my game and I wasn't being aggressive, but once I hit my first shot in the third quarter, I knew it was on," said Barnes in the lockeroom. "The basket just looked wide open to me the whole second half. Everything I put up, I felt like it was going to go in. I guess you could call it, "the zone", or whatever and I took advantage of it." Riding the momentum from Barnes' third quarter performance and being cheered on by their frenetic collection of fans, the Bluejays gunned the engine to the floor in the affair's final stanza and blew the games' doors of their proverbial hinges in "showtime fashion". Junior center Patrick Onwenu's authoritative slam dunk off a steal and pass from Barnes to open the fourth quarter's scoring set the tone for what was about to come, specifically a virtual dipsey doo dunkeroo clinic of high-flying jams over the game's closing seven and a half minutes. After Onwenu's slammer jammer, it was Jaylon Floyd's turn as the 6-5 junior pogo stick stuffed home an alley-oop dunk via a pass from Xavier Cross. Then it was Onwneu again, who brought the crowd to its feet with a reverberating two-hand slam on the break. The little guys got in on the action next when junior guard Joshua Brown stole a Knights pass at midcourt and floated in for a vicious one-hander. To put a cap on things, senior skywalker, DuJuan Wims slammed home a transition bucket off a pass from Brundidge with less than eight seconds left to play to make it a wrap. Onwenu had nine points, eight rebounds, and three blocks and played hard-nosed defense in the post for Teasley and the 'Jays. Landon Atterberry, Teasley's active and underrated power forward, scored 12 points, blocked two shots and grabbed nine boards. Senior swingman Kenny Harper led Oak Park with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Junior point guard Terry Starks has 11 points and six assists for the Knights as well. Oak Park is now 3-15, 3-9 in conference play. The Southfield win avenges a loss to the Knights back in January. 18 of Brundidge's 29 points came from the charity stripe as the all-state cager, sank 18 of his 19 attempts on the night. Hoping to build on the comeback victory and clinch the league crown, the Bluejays get back on the court next Tuesday, when they travel to North Farmington to face-off against a very good and battle-tested Raiders' team. North Farmington nipped Southfield at Southfield on a game-winning basket by Chris Stewart – off a steal from the county's leading scorer, Kyle Vinales – with less than 10 seconds to play two weeks ago. One of the big reasons for the Bluejays success this season is the addition of Clennie Brundidge, Carlton's dad, on the Southfield bench as Teasley's number one assistant coach. The elder Brundidge played his college ball at Army in the 1970s and was coached by current Duke Blue Devils hoops guru, Mike Krzyzewski. Carlton's older brother, Dale, is currently playing at Wayne State after prepping at Birmingham Detroit Country Day and helping lead the Yellowjackets to the 2007 Class B state championship.
"We picked up our defense in the second half and Pee Wee played unbelievable in the third quarter," said Carlton. "Coming out of halftime, Pee Wee told me, 'don't worry, I got you', so I knew he had something in mind and then he just got in the groove and I looked to get him the ball. Everyone got it done today. Pat and Landon were huge down low and all the guards were doing their jobs perfectly when we made our comeback. I love these guys. We're family, we're always going to have eachother's backs."
Thursday, February 25, 2010
With only one week left in the prep bball regular season, the runaway "Transfer Train" that has been blowing through town at a brisk pace as of late has yet to come to a halt. Last week, Burney reported that Joe "The Show" Baker decided to make the switch from Clawson back to Southfield-Lathrup, where he played varsity as a freshman two seasons ago. Following in Baker's footsteps, small school super-soph, Justin Barrows from AH Oakland Christian packed up and left the Lancers hoop program recently, enrolling at Orchard Lake St. Mary's. If you follow this blog, I'm certain you already know my opinion on this subject, so I won't go on another rant like I did last week when I reported about Baker's departure from "Claw-ville." Instead, I thought I'd breakdown the most influential and interesting transfers throughout my time following the Metro Detroit Prep scene.
Mill "The Thrill" Coleman, Farmington Hills Harrison football – Coleman played his freshman year at Albion in the western part of the state before coming over to Harrison and completing one of the best, if not THE best, high school QB careers in Oakland County history. Mill "The Thrill" quarterbacked the Hawks to two state championships while earning All-American honors. He was a latter-day prep version of Michael Vick when Vick was at his best. He had a very respectable college career as a "jack of all trades" type at Michigan State. Angelo Taylor, Clarkston basketball – Taylor made a huge stir when he left Pontiac Northern in the summer of 1997 and enrolled at arch-rival Clarkston. Despite popular belief, Taylor's family actually moved to Clarkston so Angelo, a three year varsity performer and 6-5 manchild of a athlete for the Huskies, could finish out his HS career under legendary head coach, Dan Fife. Brought onto the team to help push the Dane Fife-led Wolves over the hump and into the 1998 Class A Final Four, Taylor (averaged double-double) and Fife (won Mr. Basketball and earned a scholarship to Indiana) both had superb senior seasons but in the end didn't end up making the trip to the Breslin Center. The Wolves wound up losing to Antonio Gates (NFL all-pro tight end) and his Detroit Central squad in the Elite Eight. Winifred Walton & Todd Burgan, Detroit Pershing basketball – Both Walton and Burgan started their respective all-state prep careers at small school juggernaut Detroit East Catholic before going onto reach great heights with the Doughboys in the PSL. As a freshman at East Catholic, Walton took his team to the Class D quarterfinals before being upset by Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes, a team captained by current Lakes girls assistant coach, Paul Robak. Walton won the 1996 Mr. Basketball Award and led the Doughboys to the Class A state championship game as a junior- his Pershing squad was upset by Mateen Cleaves, Antonio Smith and Flint Northern. Averaging 27 points and 13 rebounds per game as a senior (where the Doughboys were upset at the buzzer by the upstart Southfield-Lathrup Chargers in the Quarters), he signed with Syracuse but ended up at Fresno State. Burgan made the jump to the Doughboys after his sophomore season and helped lead Pershing to back-to-back state titles in 1992 and 1993. The 6-6 lefty ended up at Syracuse and was a three year starter for the Orangeman, including on the 1996 team that went to the NCAA Final Four.
Drew Jackson, Bloomfield Hills Lahser football – Jackson, a stocky and strong-armed quarterback, came to Lahser from East Lansing for only his senior season, but what a season it was. In 2008, with Jackson playing great under center, the Knights advanced all the way to the Division 3 Final Four. Jackson and the Knights had Michigan-bound Devin Gardner and Inkster on the ropes. His TD pass in the early part of the fourth quarter gave Lahser a lead. However, Gardner was too good in the end and led Inkster back for the win.
Ryan Mack, Birmingham Seaholm soccer – Mack is one of the most prolific soccer players to ever play in Oakland County. The fleet-footed and net-hungry scoring machine didn't start his prep career with the Maples though. Before donning the Maroon and White, Mack played crosstown at Birmingham Groves. Named Mr. Soccer as a senior in 1998 as well as earning high school All-American honors, he went onto play college ball at Indiana University where he won two NCAA national championships. In 2003, he was drafted into the MLS in the third round by the Chicago Fire. Since his drafting, Mack has bounced around the MLS as well as several other professional leagues. Marcus Kennedy, Troy basketball – This dominant big man started his prep hoops career at now-defunct Troy Zion Christian. As a sophomore, Kennedy led Zion to the Class D quarterfinals. Then he transferred to Troy for his junior and senior years and took the Colts into the regionals at the Class A level. Kennedy played his college ball at Eastern Michigan where he was an all-conference selection and helped lead the then-Hurons to the 1991 MAC championsip and the 1991 NCAA Sweet Sixteen. He was drafted into the NBA by the Portland Trailblazers. Brandon Cassisse, OL St. Mary's basketball – A gritty, smooth-stroking guard who made the switch from Walled Lake Central to OL St. Mary's to close out his playing career. He was awesome as an Eaglet and earned a scholarship to Oakland University. With the Golden Grizzlies, Cassisse was the leading scorer for the team against UNC in the team's first round NCAA game in 2005, tallying 17 points. Garon Oseff, West Bloomfield basketball and football – Oseff was a big load, whether in the trenches on the football field or in the paint on the basketball floor. He played two years of varsity ball in both sports at Walled Lake Western, but finished out his prep playing career at West Bloomfield. Starting at center for the Lakers bball team, he helped lead the WB to a Class A district championship in 1997. In college he played football as an offensive lineman in the Big Ten at Indiana University. Da' Shonte Riley, Birmingham Detroit Country Day basketball – Came over from Cass Tech as a sophomore and he made an immediate impact. His rangy and energetic play in the post was a major reason the 'Jackets took home the 2007 Class B state crown. The 6-11 swat-machine is currently a freshman at Syracuse. David Bowens, Daryl Adams, Dion Sims OL St. Mary's basketball and football – The Eaglets parade of "Triple D's" were all transplants but each left their most indelible mark on the prep scene at St. Mary's. Sims, now on the verge of busting out at Michigan St, came to OLSM by way of UofD-Jesuit and was a monster whatever sport he played. He was a dominant WR/TE for the Eaglets 2007 state finalist football squad and he tore up the court as a high-scoring forward on two very successful Eaglet hoop teams. Bowens and Adams both came over from Pontiac Central and were standouts on both the hardwood and the gridiron too. As juniors, they helped lead the Eaglets to the Class C state final game and lost at the buzzer. As seniors, they helped lead the St. Mary's to a Division 3 football state championship. Bowens (Michigan/W. Illinois) is currently in the midst of a decade-long career in the NFL as a defensive lineman. Adams played college football at Wayne State as a wide receiver.
Tom Staton, Clarkston basketball – Almost as good as his dad and that's saying a lot. Staton, an athletic 6-6 point guard, played the "Rasheed Wallace" role in getting the proverbial monkey off the Wolves back….alas advancing them into the Class Final Four in 2009 for the first time since the Tim McCormick-era. Once Staton shed his Ferndale digs and traded them in for the Maize and Blue of C-Town as a junior it was, as they say, "On like Donkey Kong." Now at small D1 Gardner-Webb, you could end up hearing quite a bit about this kid at the next level.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Boys Hoops Rankings - And Down The Strech They Come
1 Birmingham Detroit Country Day (15-1) – Junior guard Lee Bailey flies way under the radar due to being surrounded by so many superstar teammates, but don't sleep on this two-sport stud or he'll burn you from the outside and/or with a quick-stepping move to the rack. His "cool as ice" demeanor on the court will benefit the 'Jackets in the post-season. 2 North Farmington (11-6) – DCD-transfer, Big Urb Bingham is currently in the midst of hitting his stride in his new Raiders digs and is about to get crazy busy on his team's upcoming comp! Watch for the Raider's "Big Nasty" to play big down the stretch and in the state tournament for head coach Tom Negoshian and open things up even more for Kyle "The Natural" Vinales and Robert Hogans on the outside. 3 Southfield (13-4) – Patrick Owenu keeps getting better every game! Mark my words, this kid will end up landing himself a D1 scholarship before his career ends in 2011. Landon Atterberry is a jumping jack on the block and will go above the rim to snare any board. Carlton Brundidge is Carlton Brundidge and Pee Wee Barnes is Pee Wee Barnes, so the Bluejays have that going for them too….lol 4 Southfield-Lathrup (10-7) – All those tough early season-losses are starting to payoff for Mike Avery and the Chargers. Joe Baker's enrollment at Lathrup a few weeks back makes certain that there will be little lay-off in the scoring column next year when Roy Marble takes his mad skillz to the Big Ten and the University of Iowa. 5 Birmingham Seaholm (16-1) – Now that his college destination is all locked up, junior Shawn Conway can now keep his sole focus for the next month on guiding the Maples to the promise land – i.e. Bannerland aka Hardware Heaven: Do I see the first district title in 13 years in Seaholm's future? I think I do! 6 Clarkston (12-5) – Ball State-bound Matt Kamieniecki could be the most consistently tough and productive player the Wolves have had in their program in at least a decade or so. 7 Waterford Mott (15-2) – Sophomore dynamo, Chris "Rip City" Dewberry is ripping it up in a major way ever since putting on his Mott uniform back in late-January. John Schaeffer is arguably the best outside shooter in the entire Metro Detroit area. 8 Holly (14-4) – Justin Fowler is just plain money! He's so money, instead of sweating, his body secretes one hundred dollar bills. That's why whenever he bangs home a 3-pointer, the sound you here is "Ca-ching", not "swoosh." 9 RH Adams (13-4) – Burney loves this Highlanders baller bunch. Adams is well coached, hard- working, gritty, and graceful in their workmanlike proficiency. Joey Dillon can dominate a game without scoring and Conor Boyle has been residing at the corner of Awesome and Amazing as of late with his dead-eye shooting. Andrew Hammett is the definition of a "Workhorse."
10 Brother Rice(10-8)/Novi Detroit CC (9-7) – Both these CHSL squads are not to be underlooked going into the state tournament. Rice could very well upset Seaholm in the districts and CC can out-hustle, out-execute, and out-X&0 their opponents to make up for a lack of natural athleticism. Ed Schaffer of Rice and Bill Dyer are each doing superb jobs on the sidelines this year. Parents:These are the kind of men you want leading and mentoring your teenage athletes. Pure Class!
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
ROUGHRIDERS ROCK'IN AND ROLL'IN TO CHAMPIONSHIP BEAT
When it came to league titles, Birmingham Roeper boys basketball head coach, Ernie Righetti, had a pretty nice go of it in his first decade or so at the helm of the Roughriders' hoops program. Between 1984 and 1995, Righetti's boys cagers claimed a remarkable NINE conference crowns. Then the well went dry. Despite flourishing in post-season play like never before and taking home six district championships in 12 years, coming into the current campaign, Righetti and his Roeper hoop squad had not raised a league title banner in fifteen years. That all changed late last week. With the Roughriders defeating Grosse Pointe University Liggett 74-67 in overtime on Thursday night and then Rochester Hills Lutheran Northwest following suit and beating Liggett on Friday night, Roeper broke the draught and clinched its first Michigan Independent Athletic Conference championship since 1995. The team currently sits with a 15-2 with two weeks to play in the regular season. The win against a very good Liggett team (at the point second place in the MIAC Blue) on Thursday broke a two game-losing streak for the Roughriders and was the second down-to-the-wire victory Righetti's squad has earned over the Knights this season. Not surprisingly it was two-time all-conference stud point guard, Ryan Zinser, who was primarily responsible for both dramatic Roeper wins. In their first meeting in January, Zinser went coast-to-coast to put in a game-winning lay-up at the buzzer to win it for the 'Riders. On Thursday, the 5-9 fireplug of a floor general did his best Isaiah Thomas impression while leading his team back from a 15 point second half deficit. Down by six points with less than eight seconds to play, Zinser drained back-to-back three pointers, the second of which just beat the final horn, to send the game into overtime. He then assisted on senior forward Cole Stasek's game-winning three point-play with less than 10 seconds to play in the OT period. Zinser finished with 29 points, seven rebounds, six assists, and four steals in the game. On the season, he is averaging 18 points, six assists, six rebounds, and three steals per contest. Stasek recorded a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds. Earlier this season, Zinser surpassed the 1000 point plateau for his four year varsity career. The success experienced by Zinser on the floor the past four seasons should come to no surprise to those who follow the Roeper athletic scene – Clutch play runs in the blood of all Zinser family boys. Eric Zinser, Ryan's older brother, is one of the best hoopers to ever play at the small school bball stalwart. As a senior, Eric led his team to a 20-4 season and a district championship. His buzzer-beating lay-up in the 2006 regionals, eerily similar to Ryan's game-winner against Liggett back in January, propelled the Roughriders into the Class D Sweet Sixteen for the first time in over a decade. Righetti has over 650 career win in his coaching career and is one of the few coaches in the state who still coach both boys and girls. Taking over the girls program in 1982 and the boys in 1984, Righetti is one of the most respected coaches in the area and known for running one the most-fundamentally sound programs around.
The 1995 team finished 18-5 and bowed in the regional final to eventual state champion, Detroit Holy Redeemer by three points.
ROUGHRIDERS ROCK N' and ROLL 'IN TO CHAMPIONSHIP BEAT
When it came to league titles, Birmingham Roeper boys basketball head coach, Ernie Righetti, had a pretty nice go of it in his first decade or so at the helm of the Roughriders' hoops program. Between 1984 and 1995, Righetti's boys cagers claimed a remarkable seven conference crowns. Then the well went dry. Despite flourishing in post-season play like never before and taking home six district championships in 12 years, coming into the current campaign, Righetti and his Roeper hoop squad had not raised a league title banner in fifteen years. That all changed late last week. With the Roughriders defeating Grosse Pointe University Liggett 74-67 in overtime on Thursday night and then Rochester Hills Lutheran Northwest following suit and beating Liggett on Friday night, Roeper broke the draught clinched its first Michigan Independent Athletic Conference championship since 1995. The team currently sits with a 15-2 with two weeks to play in the regular season. The win against a very good Liggett team (at the point second place in the MIAC Blue) on Thursday broke a two game-losing streak for the Roughriders and was the second down-to-the-wire victory Righetti's squad has earned over the Knights this season. Not surprisingly it was two-time all-conference stud point guard, Ryan Zinser, who was primarily responsible for both dramatic Roeper wins. In their first meeting in January, Zinser went coast-to-coast to put in a game-winning lay-up at the buzzer to win it for the 'Riders. On Thursday, the 5-9 fireplug of a floor general did his best Isaiah Thomas impression while leading his team back from a 15 point second half deficit. Down by six points with less than eight seconds to play, Zinser drained back-to-back three pointers, the second of which just beat the final horn, to send the game into overtime. He then assisted on senior forward Cole Stasek's game-winning three point-play with less than 10 seconds to play in the OT period. Zinser finished with 29 points, seven rebounds, six assists, and four steals in the game. On the season, he is averaging 18 points, six assists, six rebounds, and three steals per contest. Stasek recorded a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds. Earlier this season, Zinser surpassed the 1000 point plateau for his four year varsity career. The success experienced by Zinser on the floor the past four seasons should come to no surprise to those who follow the Roeper athletic scene – Clutch play runs in the blood of all Zinser family boys. Eric Zinser, Ryan's older brother, is one of the best hoopers to ever play at the small school bball stalwart. As a senior, Eric led his team to a 20-4 season and a district championship. His buzzer-beating lay-up in the 2006 regionals, eerily similar to Ryan's game-winner against Liggett back in January, propelled the Roughriders into the Class D Sweet Sixteen for the first time in over a decade. Righetti has over 650 career win in his coaching career and is one of the few coaches in the state who still coach both boys and girls. Taking over the girls program in 1982 and the boys in 1984, Righetti is one of the most respected coaches in the area and known for running one the most-fundamentally sound programs around.
The 1995 team finished 18-5 and bowed in the regional final to eventual state champion, Detroit Holy Redeemer by three points.
Monday, February 22, 2010
Stop The Presses!
RUMORS OF DEFEAT PROVE FALSE, HOLLY DOWNS FLINT KEARSLEY IN DOUBLE OVERTIME
BY SCOTT M. BURNSTEIN
The famous American author Mark Twain was once quoted as saying, "The reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated." The players and coaches on Holly's boys hoops squad could have been saying the same thing on Saturday as they read their morning paper and saw that the Oakland Press inaccurately reported that the Bronchos had lost their game against Flint Kearsley on Friday night. The truth was the Bronchos had won the contest and moreover they did it in, heart-pounding, climatic-fashion, 68-67 over Kearsley in double-overtime to run their Flint Metro Conference record to 13-3. Holly is now 13-4 overall and has won 10 of its last 11 games. Since gaining the eligibility of top tier-transfers, senior Thomas Lovachis (Stockbridge) and junior Josh Fugate (Lakeland), head coach Lance Baylis and the Bronchos are 8-1. Lovachis demonstrated his lethality in the win, posting a double-double of 23 points and 12 rebounds. He also surpassed the 1000 point-mark for his prep career during the game and currently has 1, 015 points in four seasons of varsity ball. Although he's only been at the school for less than a year, Lovachis, a deadly 6-1 combo guard has been adopted by the rabid Holly faithful as one of their own. After breaking the 1000 point barrier in the first half, the game was stopped and he was awarded a plaque honoring the heady accomplishment.
While the Bronchos "L-Train" took the spotlight early in the highly-heated affair, it was senior point guard Justin Fowler who grabbed the glow late by nailing a game-winning 3-pointer with less than 10 seconds remaining to win it for Holly. Fowler finished with 15 points and hit on 3 for 6 attempts from long range. Fugate, normally a MEGA-MONEY deep shooting threat, played solid and contributed four points. Senior co-captain, Lance Hopkin lived up to his M.O. as a "Rock of Consistency" and put in 11 points and corralled eight rebounds.
The Bronchos go back to work on Tuesday night when they travel to Lapeer West for their next contest.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Big Ten Afternoon
Two local future Big Ten football players had big time afternoons on Saturday.
First, in the biggest recruiting news so far for the area's Class of 2011, Birmingham Seaholm's Shawn Conway was offered and accepted a scholarship to play at the University of Michigan starting a year from this fall. The verbal commitment is the first for the county's very talented upcoming senior class of gridiron gladiators. Conway is a wiry and fast wide receiver with big hands who is a serious deep threat whenever he lines up on the edge. He also plays a mean defensive back and is a playmaking return specialist. Making his way up to Ann Arbor Saturday morning along with his coach Chris Fahr, for a visit with Rich Rodriguez and the whole Wolverines recruiting staff, Conway had no idea that a scholarship offer was about to be put on the table. The 6-5 physically-aggressive speedster will be considered a "sleeper" in nationwide recruiting circles (he's only played one full season of varsity ball and his team last year was only 3-6, so they and by happenstance, him, didn't get much pub - , however, once people get a look at this kid in the Maize and Blue, there will be no doubt that RichRod and Co. made the right decision to bring him into the fold up in the "A-Squared." The Maples "Big Punisher" could very well end up being a star in the next level and if he does, you can tell all your peeps that you read it here first! Big Pun.....er Shawn is my main man and I coudln't be happier for a kid whose had a rough go of it early on in life and used it as motivation to lift himself to greater heights instead of falling victim and succumbing to it. Way to go, Shawn, You've earned everything you got!!!! Oh yeah, Big Pun is also a major league hoop hound, averaing a double-double of 22 points and 12.5 rebounds, for the 16-1 Seaholm boys bball team.
While Conway was in the midst of getting his dream of be able to play "primetime" college football fulfilled, Iowa-bound Kevonte Martin-Manley was getting his hoop-on over in Birmingham, helping his Brother Rice Warriors take down Pontiac ND Prep 53-40 in a CHSL Tournament quarterfinal game. Martin-Manley is practically as deadly on the hardwood as he is on the football field burning DB's at his wide receiver position. Averaging 20 per night, he is arguably the best individual hoopster in the entire Catholic League. Against NDP, he had a rock solid overall floor game, registering nine points, seven assists, five rebounds, and three steals. The Warriors and head coach, Ed Shaffer will play AA Gabriel Richard Tuesday in the tourney semi-finals with a chance to advance to the CHSL finals at Calihan Hall for the first time in over twenty years on the line. Standout junior sniper Joey Alessi, was a thorn in the side of the Fighting Irish all game long, posting a game-high 21 points while grabbing 7 rebounds.
"We've got to be ready for Gabriel Richard, they're a real, real good team," Schaffer said. "We've got to play a complete game. We'll go back to work the next few days in practice and start preparing. These guys love to work hard and that's what we'll be doing. We played a great third and most of the fourth quarter today. We need that kind of effort the entire game against Richard. This is our first tourney win in a while and it was hard earned."
Friday, February 19, 2010
Say It Ain't So Joe
BAKER EXITS STAGE LEFT AT CLAWSON AS AREA TRANSFER LIST KEEPS GROWING
Houston..er........Lansing, We Have A Problem!
The Clawson Trojans boys basketball team was as hot as a stolen pistol in the first half of the season, racing out to a 9-0 record out of the gate and garnering comparisons to the old "Claw-ville" teams of the 90s with future NFL and UofM star, Jon Jansen, which won multiple district titles. Then a tsunami of chaos and bad luck hit head coach Billy Shellenbarger's baller bunch and it's been disaster ever since. Things in Trojan country continued to get worse last week when star player, Joe "The Show" Baker, decided to transfer and take his show back to the OAA, re-enrolling at Southfield-Lathrup. Since its 9-0 start, Clawson has dropped five of its last six contests, including losing its second leading scorer, senior Rob Feeman, for the rest of the campaign to a separated shoulder. Baker's departure literally adds insult to injury to the Trojans hoops program, which appeared to be on its way back earlier in the season with "Joe the Show", one of the area's most promising and prolific junior perimeter players, throwing in nearly 27 points per game and the team playing inspired basketball. With their 72-55 defeat at the hands Center Line, the Trojans drop to 10-5, 5-5 in the MAC Silver with any thoughts of raising a conference title banner pretty much in the trash bin. The transfer of Baker is a colossal blow to Shellenbarger's plan to stage a Clawson boys bball resurgence. On the other hand, Baker's return to Lathrup, where he played varsity ball as a freshman back in 2008, couldn't come at a better time for Chargers head coach, Mike Avery, who is set to lose all-conference studs, Roy Marble and Bryan Coleman at the conclusion on this season. Now, here's my take on this situation on two separate fronts: A. I know Joe. I like Joe. At heart, Joe is a great kid who just wants to get himself a scholarship to play at the next level. That said, this whole thing just looks bad all the way around. I wish Joe would have made this decision back in the summer – at a time I know for a fact he was considering leaving Clawson. If that would have happened, things would have been better off for everyone involved. Shellenbarger and the Trojans faithful would have known their collective hand dealt to them from the get go and Avery and the Chargers would probably be a Top 10 team in the state right now. Instead, everyone's for the worse as we sit heading down the stretch in 2010 campaign. Clawson is missing out on the chance to finish out what could have ended up being a miraculous and memorable season, Baker is slowly gaining the reputation amongst recruiters of possibly being difficult to handle, and Lathrup, although playing great ball right now behind Marble and Coleman, is missing out on a bonafide lethal number two-offensive option in the 6-5 junior gunner with a lighting-touch from the outside and an instinctive nose for the hoop. Like I said before, Joe is a good apple. From what I can tell from my personal experiences with him, he's not a primadonna like this situation might indicate. However, in the real "adult" world, perception is reality and the perception here is plain and simple: Baker is a malcontent. The two transfers in two years just doesn't look good. Baker is a stud on the court and I'm certain he'll do wonders on the floor for Avery and the Chargers next year as a senior. But, this transfer thing could hound him in the recruiting process. Joe means well and plays hard and I don't want to see him ending up like former DCD star Alex Legion (six school commits in six years, if u include his high school transfer and de-commitment to UofM).
B. The MHSAA needs to get control of this transfer issue right now before things get ever more out of control than they already are. First off, this is not a Joe Baker issue. There are tons of these types of situations popping up all across the state as of late. I'm just discussing it now due to Baker's situation bringing things to a head in the wake of a year filled with player re-locations. Now that said, let me also say I don't know the official rules on this matter either, but I do know when things appear to look shady and scandalous, they probably are. Some of these issues regarding transfers are arising because of the open-enrollment many local school districts have instituted over the last five years or so. Some are not and are just blatant cases of illegal recruiting or player "poaching", whichever way you want to call or phrase it. And you can bet your bottom dollar that some of the summer hoops circuit/shoe company/street agent-types that secretly, or in some cases not so secretly, call shots behind the scenes throughout the nation's prep recruiting landscape, are playing some roll in this whole thing. That I can guarantee. Whatever the causes, this situation is getting out of hand. Ray Lee, arguably the top sophomore combo guard in the Metro Detroit area, is going on his third school in two years – from Dearborn Heights Robichaud last year, to Detroit Cass Tech until three weeks ago, and hopefully, finally to Romulus. Some guys are miraculously eligible first semester, while others are forced to sit out and nobody really understands why. When you start asking questions about the whys and hows of these rules to the coaches taking on these transfers, you often get blank stares and complex, weaving, jargon-filled explanations. The state needs to set precedent on this issue and fast. They need to define what the rules are exactly and enforce them – which I know is one of the problems, since these things are often supposed to be "self-regulated." Schools and coaches who violate these rules should be severely punished. Whatever the solution to the problem must start with the MHSAA admitting there is a problem to start with, which as of right now does not appear to be the case.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
CURD BEATS BUZZER, SENDS MADISON INTO FIRST PLACE-TIE
Steve Rhoads, Madison Heights Madison boys basketball head coach, has coached some pretty good players in his day. Bruce Flowers formerly of the NBA's New York Knicks comes to mind. So does Aric Morris formerly of the NFL's Tennessee Titans and New England Patriots. When it's all said and done on his high school career in the next month or so, Ashton Curd, the Eagles' killer-quick senior guard, will go down as one of the best Rhoads has had the pleasure of mentoring on the court. Curd showed why on Wednesday night by stealing a pass at mid-court and then going down the floor to put in a lay-up to win it at the buzzer for the Eagles, 57-55, over Eastpointe East Detroit in a game of MAC Blue Division powers. The game-winning bucket send the Madison home crowd into a state of delirium and capped a double-digit comeback by the Eagles as well as an awesome evening by Curd, who finished with 25 points and five assists. The win lifts the Eagles overall record to 12-3, 7-2 in conference play, good enough for a first place tie with East Detroit. Down by 14 points heading into the fourth quarter, Madison rallied behind Curd's playmaking and a stout defensive effort which only allowed five East Detroit points in the final eight minutes of play. Madison's victory also redeems the Eagles spirit after dropping a game to East Detroit back in January where they blew a late lead. Johnnie Mills led East Detroit (12-3) with 16 points. Rhoads is in his first year on the sidelines leading Madison's program, after spending the past five seasons as an assistant under Brian Canfield. From 1969 until 2000, Rhoads was the head coach of Berkley where he coached a number of high quality teams, including district championship teams captained by Flowers (Notre Dame) and Morris (Michigan State for Football).
Sophomore sizzler, Damon Bozeman, put in another remarkable performance for Rhoads and the Eagles. The 6-5 forward notched his fifth consecutive double-double, scoring 18 points and hauling down 10 rebounds. R.T. Merritt, Curds's rock-steady backcourt mate, chipped in with six points, five assists, and three steals.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
The OC was OT crazy on Tuesday night as a four local boys hoops games went down to the wire and needed an extra session to decide their winners. In what should come as no surprise to anyone following the local prep scene, two of these contests took place in the ever-hostile OAA Red. Berkley slid by a gutty-Rochester squad 69-64 in OT on junior forward Justin Peguese's game-winner with five seconds left. Peguese also scored 13 points and grabbed six rebounds. The Bears got a game-high 20 points by Ryan Bush. Nine of Bush's 20 points came in overtime. With the win, Berkley improves to 6-9 overall. Nick O'Neil led Rochester with a team-high 14 points. Seaholm needed OT to dispatch a feisty-Lake Orion team, 80-78, behind junior forward Shawn Conway's mega-outing of 35 points and 11 rebounds. Conway practically single-handedly won the Maples 14th game of the season for them. As always, the Crazydef Cuz Connection was in full-effect and Conway's running-mate and blood relative, Richaud Pack put in 21 points in the Seaholm victory. It was Captain Amazing to the rescue once again for Southfield on Tuesday, as Carlton "Captain Amazing" Brundidge tallied a game-high 25 points to lead the BlueJays to a 78-73 OT home win and ratchet up the team's record to 12-4 overall. Patrick Owneu was a beast in the post for Southfield. The 6-7 promising junior big man continued his strong play for head coach Gary Teasley and posted a double-double of 22 points and 10 boards. Roy Marble, Jr. lived up to his nickname of "Jesus Shuttlesworth" and played like the second coming once again in Southfield-Lathrup's 69-65 OT 'W' over North Farmington. Jesus er………Marble scored 27 points and took down seven rebounds. Chargers forward, Bryan Coleman looked almost as nice as his Iowa-bound teammate and went for 15 points and 10 rebounds. Lathrup is now 9-7, but 7-3 in the OAA Red and tied for first place. The Raiders drop to 10-6, with five of those losses coming in overtime or at the buzzer. I also want to shout out to my main homeboys, Connor Boyle at RH Adams, Amir Williams at DCD and Allen "Al B Sure" Robinson at OL St. Mary's, who all came up big in wins for their respective teams. Boyle scored a game-high 22 points for the Highlanders in a 58-36 defeat of Troy Athens. Williams went ballistic all over Davison in a 74-38 win by collecting the first triple-double of his career. DCD's "Big Dandy" registered 20 points, 10 boards, and 10 blocks.
Robinson scored 22 in the Eaglets 67-54 victory over a tough as nails Catholic Central squad.
We Are The Champions!
HILL STAYS TOASTY, TORCHES HARRISON WHLE TAKING EAGLES TO TITLE
When first year-head coach and legendary alum, Tom Staton, took over the Ferndale boys basketball team back in the summer, he was intent on taking the Eagles program, a one time-Metro Detroit power, back to prominence. In the end, it didn't take that long. As the rest of the area used Fat Tuesday to fatten their bellies with yummy Paczkis, Ferndale used the occasion to fatten its win-loss record. With their 74-62 home win over Farmington Hills Harrison on Tuesday night, Staton's Eagles ran their unblemished record in the Oakland Activities Association Blue Division to a perfect 11-0 and with the victory capture the program's first conference title since 1995. Senior guard Jody Hill continued his smoking hot shooting streak in the game, connecting on 5 of 7 3-point attempts on his way to a game-high 25 points to lead Ferndale. Hill, who knocked down 8 of 11 attempts in a recent Eagles win, also added four assists, four rebounds, and three steals. "This is an exciting feeling and something we want to build on as a program," said Hill of his squad's clinching of the league crown. "My senior class wanted to bring back the team's great legacy and make things the way they used to be around here. Getting the conference title is a big step in that direction." In addition to winning the OAA Blue title, the Eagles improve their overall season record to 13-3. Harrison, also in the midst of a program-resurgence this season, falls to 10-6, 7-3 in conference action. To properly take advantage of his senior floor general's super-soft shooting stroke, over the past month, Staton has been frequently shifting Hill off-ball and inserting junior Anthony Rice – a transfer from Southfield who became eligible in mid-January – into the line-up to handle the team's ball handling duties. Many of Hill's points on Tuesday came off feeds from Rice (six points, five assists). "We're having fun and playing great basketball right now," Staton said. "I have shooters, slashers, passers, rebounders, and grind it out guys. This team can hurt you in a lot of different ways. We did a little of everything tonight and that's what I like to see. My big guns were all firing. These are really good kids and really good ball players. Tip your hat to Harrison though. Those guys gave us everything they had. Whenever we got out in front, they kept making runs at us." A 1975 graduate of Ferndale, Staton was a three-time all-state hoopster and went on to play his college ball at the University of Michigan, where he was a member of the 1976 Wolverines team that made it to the Final Four. The game stayed close for three and a half quarters with Ferndale on top for most of the time, but Harrison keeping within striking distance. The Hawks surged in front on two separate occasions midway through the third quarter, yet both runs were quickly quelled by the Eagles energized offense. Harrison took its final lead of the contest on a hoop by David Evans that gave the Hawks a 44-42 advantage with a little under four minutes to play in the quarter. Refusing to let the conference title slip through his team's grasp, Hill proceeded to take over the game. He scored eight of the Eagles final 11 points of the quarter to give Ferndale a 53-50 lead going into the fourth. An offensive rebound and put back-hoop by Rex Jenkins pushed the Eagles lead to 63-52 with 4:18 remaining. With Harrison continuing to fight it took three buckets by Antonio Combs in the closing three and a half minutes of the contest as, shut down any thoughts of a Hawks comeback. Jenkins finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds and Combs finished with nine points and 10 rebounds. Eagles starting center, Jerrell Gandy registered seven points and 10 rebounds. "I tell the kids to play every game like they're playing for the conference championship and tonight was the real deal," said Staton in a near-empty gym following the win. "We're not afraid of anyone going forward. That's our mentality."
Staton's attitude will most-likely pay dividends in the state tournament as Ferndale is playing in perhaps the toughest Class A district in the entire state. The Eagles will be seeking their first district title since 2001 in a playing pool consisting of the likes of Southfield, Southfield-Lathrup, Detroit Henry Ford, and Detroit Renaissance.