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.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Best Around


There is a good reason why Birmingham Detroit Country Day's Amir Williams is one of the nation's best prep basketball players. The Yellowjackets 6-foot-11 senior center showed that reason on Saturday night, leading Country Day to an 86-68 defeat of visiting Saginaw Arthur Hill by destroying the Lumberjacks defense for 32 points, 20 rebounds and four blocked shots.
Following the fast-paced, up and down affair, Yellow Jackets head coach Kurt Keener wasn't afraid to heap the praise on when asked to comment regarding his star player's monumental effort.
"That's probably the best I've ever seen Amir play," he said. "When he's focused on the task at hand, there aren't many better than him in the post. He physically dominated the opposition tonight. It was a fantastic outing for him."
As a junior last season, Williams was named first-team all-state while helping guide Country Day to a Class B state title. Recently selected as a McDonalds All-American, he will continue his playing career in college at Ohio State. This season he is averaging 23 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks per contest.
Williams' 10 quick points in the opening five minutes of the game sparked Country Day to an 18-2 lead out of the starting block. His tip-in bucket in the final seconds of the second quarter put the Yellow Jackets ahead, 39-26 at the break.
After Arthur Hill (10-9) scratched its way back to even, tying the game at 56-56 heading into the fourth, Williams further imposed his will on the Lumberjacks and spearheaded a 19-6 run that allowed Country Day to put things away down the stretch. When senior point guard Chris Fowler fed him for a monster slam dunk with just a little more than four minutes left to play, the Yellow Jackets were up 75-63.
"The team feeds off my energy and I had a lot of it tonight when it counted," said Williams of his evening on the hardwood. "I'm just happy I could help the team get this win. There are no egos with this team. If I need to score 30 for us to win, that's what I'll do. If I need to score 10 and go and get 20 rebounds, I'll do that too. I want to do whatever it takes for us to win and for me to keep getting better."
In addition to Williams' heavy duty performance, the Yellow Jackets also got big games from a host of other players. Fowler continued his superb play coming off a knee injury that kept him out a full year by scoring eight points, handing out 10 assists, grabbing six rebounds and making four steals. Junior forward Jodan Price scored 15 points, while Lee Bailey, Fowler's backcourt partner, scored 12 points, including a pair of critical second-half 3-pointers and senior Kenny Knight, who will be playing football in the Big Ten next fall at Illinois, had 11 points and five rebounds.
Country Day, the state's No. 1 ranked team in Class B, improves its record to 17-2 and will faceoff with Class A powerhouse Romulus on Thursday to wrap up the regular season.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Five For Fighting - Best Defense

OC Top 5 – Prep Hardwood Defensive Gems
1 Amir Williams (Birmingham DCD) – The word DOMINANT fails to do this kid justice…can you say NO FLY ZONE!
2 Mitch Baenzinger (Clarkston) – Another in a long line of Wolfpack defensive aces
3 Ava Doetsch (Waterford Lakes) – Might be only 5-7, but this super soph plays like she's 6-2
4 Ryan Brancheau (AH Avondale) – Doing all the underappreciated dirty work when teammates Tony "The Truth" Harris and "Sugar Ray" Tillman are getting all the headlines.....LONG, LANKY, ACTIVE &TOUGH 
5 Janelle McQueen (FH Mercy) – A true force of nature when it comes to locking up the opposition

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Burney's Boys Hoops Rankings - Where We Stand

OC Top 10 – Boys Hoops
1 Birmingham DCD – Big showdowns with Saginaw Arthur Hill and Romulus on the horizon for the Keener Kage Krew...Burney sez no worries!
2 Clarkston – You can't stop Marcus Hardy, you can only hope to contain him!!!
3 West Bloomfield – At this point, there's no doubt in my mind that Spencer Parker should start getting some serious consideration for Mr. Basketball
4 Southfield – Not sure what to think of the Blue Jays this year…..the talent is obviously there, but this team just isn't coming together like it should (Carlton Brundidge is still the hardest working superstar around though and U can TAKE THAT 2 THA Bank!
5 Troy – Might wind up being head coach Gary Fralick's best team ever!
6 Novi Detroit CC – Matt Doneth and Kyle Cooper make up the best pair of inside-outside forwards in the area!!!
7 Pontiac – The Yaktown ballers are a big fella away from a chance at the final four
8 (tie) AH Avondale – There just aren't enough superlatives to describe the kind of senior athletic campaign Ray Tillman is in the midst of right now.....the word UNSTOPPABLE comes to mind wne you start talking about Burney's boy Sugar Ray
8 (tie) Novi – Once Rob Laney is back at 100 percent, watch out!
9 North Farmington – ATTN WB - the Raiders will be a dangerous foe to face this postseason, especially since they are playing for the right to send retiring head coach Tom Negoshian off in style with a second straight district title ...Don't overlook them
10 (tie) Holly – Bronchos head coach Lance Baylis is doing one heck of a job this year
10 (tie) MH MadisonI LUV me some Rob Simms
10 (tie) MH Bishop Foley – Don't sleep on savvy sophomore guard Deandre Jackson

Monday, February 21, 2011

Heavy Seasoning

Dominating Duo Keeps Igniting 'Jackets Flame as Avondale Tops Berkley
An experienced backcourt can be the difference between success and failure at any level of organized basketball. First-year Auburn Hills Avondale head coach Jeff Borga has himself one of the most seasoned and explosive prep guard combos in the area and its translating to a bulging win column.
The victories continued to mount for Borga and the Yellow Jackets on Monday night as the sensational senior tandem of lead guards Ray Tillman and Tony Harris spurred Avondale to an impressive 60-47 road triumph over Berkley.  With the win, the Yellow Jackets elevate their overall record to 14-3.
Combining for 44 points, 10 assists and five steals, Tillman and Harris, both third-year starters, decimated the Bears defense at every opportunity. Tillman, coming off an all-state campaign on the football field this past fall, scored 25 points, dished off six assists and snared two steals, while Harris, who like Tillman stars on the gridiron as well as the hardwood, scored 18 points, dealt four assists and collected three steals.
When they were sophomores, Tillman and Harris helped guide Avondale to a league championship.
Borga knows how lucky he is to have Tillman and Harris in the fold after coming over from Warren Cousino this season.
"What can't you say about those guys?"he remarked after the game. "Ray and Tony are both such terrific creators with the basketball and the leadership and poise they provide us, make it difficult on other teams. They're this team's big guns and they played big tonight."
Clutch performances by Tillman, Harris and fellow senior Ryan Brancheau during the final quarter of action proved the difference in the game. Clinging to a 36-32 lead entering the fourth, the trio of Yellow Jacket seniors ignited a 19-6 run to put things away in Avondale's favor.
Four straight points by Harris made it 47-37 with 5:56 left. A Brancheau offensive rebound and put-back hoop and five straight points by Tillman quickly followed. When Harris broke loose in the lane for a teardrop lay-up it was 60-43 with a little under a minute to play and fans began heading towards the exits.
As Tillman and Harris torched the Bears from the outside, Brancheau and sophomore Clark Clancy did damage from the post. Brancheau, an all-state track and field star in the spring and starting tight end on the gridiron in the fall, scored nine points, pulled down 10 rebounds, blocked four shots and handed out four assists. Clancy, a recent call-up from the junior varsity, scored six points and hauled down five rebounds.
Berkley started off the game hot, scoring 17 points in the first quarter. However, the Bears hit long pockets of offensive stagnation throughout the next three quarters and had trouble keeping up with the fast moving Yellow Jackets.
Justin Peguese led Berkley with 15 points. Ryan Bush, Berkley's leading scorer, was held to just nine points on the evening. The loss sends the Bears overall record tumbling to 9-7.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Instant Feedback - A Rochester Kind of Night

MAD PROPS to the RH Adams girls hoops squad, which staged an epic fourth-quarter comeback on Friday night, capped by Emily Bryce's buzzer-beating triple that sent the Highlanders to a 42-41 defeat of FH Harrison. That's EMILY BRYCE, not KOBE BRYANT…just in case you were wondering
If Troy's boys basketball team makes a deep run into the Class A state tourney next month it will be because of "Glue Guys" like Stibich, Sully, Wise, Leonard, and Holmes……I'm going to start calling these guys the GLUE CREW…….Wise, Sully and Holmes combined for 21 rebounds on Friday night in the Colts 48-43 win against Birmingham Seaholm on the road
Was that JAMES BERGER out there bombing 3-balls for the RH Adams boys squad on Friday night in the Highlanders BLASTING of crosstown rival of Stoney Creek or was it NBA long distance assassin RAY ALLEN? It was pretty hard to tell the difference.
With its 62-50 win over Royal Oak on Friday night, the Rochester boys basketball team finds itself in the proverbial DRIVER's SEAT in the race of the OAA Blue crown.
Rochester's Nick Bradley=HOTTEST SHOOTER IN THE OC RIGHT NOW…..another four 3-pointers on Friday
Note to Waterford Kettering girls basketball team: It's better that you took one on the chin now than come TOURNEY TIME
SUPER SOPH Stering Sharp's 13-point, 5 rebound, four steal performance on Friday night in North Farmington's smackdown of Oak Park was BOTH STERLING & SHARP!

This season is Dan Fife's best coaching job this decade.....TAKE THAT 2 THE BANK

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Tantalizing Transfer

Chris Dewberry has headed south. No, he's not down in Florida watching the Tigers in spring training. The 6-foot-2 prep basketball star, who has played the past two seasons at Waterford Mott, has returned to south Oakland County – where he played his freshman year of varsity hoops – , enrolling in Southfield Christian last week.
Dewberry, one of the county's most dangerous pure scorers, will be eligible to play his entire senior season with the Eagles next year. Last winter as a sophomore, Dewberry helped Mott claim a league title after transferring from Oak Park.
Already a squad stacked with young and explosive talent, Southfield Christian will benefit from Dewberry's arrival greatly and most likely contend for a Class D state title in 2012. The Eagles are currently led by high-scoring lead guard Lindsey Hunter III, a top Class of '12 backcourt recruit. Hunter's dad, Lindsey was an NBA first-round draft pick in 1993 and helped lead the Detroit Pistons to a World Championship in 2004. The elder Hunter also serves as an Eagles assistant coach.
The loss of Dewberry won't be easy for Mott to recover from. Luckily for Corsairs head coach Derek Wiley, the presence of guys like Khalil Malone, Drew Hovspepian and Davonte Daniel are there to cushion the blow

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Offers Galore

Football scholarship offers are starting to pour in for the talented upcoming senior class at Farmington Hills Harrison. Aaron Burbridge (WR), Jake Vento (WR/QB/DB), Devin Funchess (WR/TE), and Mario Ojemudia (DL) - each an all-state returnee off the Hawks state title squad last fall - are getting BUM RUSHED by big time college recruiters, eager to bring them into the fold at their respective universities.
Let's break it down;
MSU and Michigan have offered Burbridge, Funchess and Ojemudia.
Vento, expected to step into the starting QB role next year after playing wide receiver and safety as a junior, has close to a half-dozen offers from the MAC
Funchess has an offer from Illinois and Ojemudia from Penn State.
Last season's all-state QB, Tommy Vento, Jake's big brother, will be at MSU next year as a preferred me, after Cousins graduates, scholarship or not, my main man, TV is going to be right in the thick of things fighting it out for a starting spot under center for Coach D in the EL!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Not To Be Overlooked

Oakland County's Top Lesser-Known Hoop Studs
Taylor Rawlings (Stoney Creek) – The definition of ROCK STEADY for the COUG CREW…Can you say two straight upset victories?
Loreal Farris (AH Avondale) – The Yellow Jackets floor general and pacesetter might not score a lot of points but she's the straw that stirs the drink for head coach Dave Muczynski
Wesley Ellis (Hazel Park) – Could be the most complete player in South Oakland County and nobody knows about him outside of Vikings Country
Mary Kate MacLean (Birmingham Detroit Country Day) – Her TOUGH AS NAILS play in the post for Country Day has made it so the team hasn't lost a beat despite losing All-American Madison Williams to graduation
Max Aleshire (MH Bishop Foley) – I love this kid's game!! Smooth as silk with a stroke that smokes
Cora Essenmacher (RO Shrine) – Halle Wangler might be getting all the headlines for the Lady Knights this year, but Essenmacher's velvety touch from the outside has been the primary igniter for the team's offense
Mitch Baenzinger (Clarkston) – Is there anything this kid doesn't do for Coach Fife and the Wolfpack?
Lida Bauer (Farmington) – The ultimate coach on the floor for head coach Dave Browne and the glue that keeps the Falcons' ship EXTRA TIGHT!!
Mark Hazelwood (Oxford) – The hardest player to defend in the OAA Blue
Cierra Schultz (Lakeland) – Does all the dirty work for the Eagles, while her superstar teammate Stephanie Lock gets most of the credit
Darren Byrd (West Bloomfield) – Flat out playing some really fine ball right now at the point for the LAKE SHOW…….he fed Spencer "The Big Easy" Parker for his game-winning jumper on Friday night in a down to the wire thriller against Southfield-Lathrup
Ashley Xiong (Holly) – Xiong's gutty play is a BIG reason why the Bronchos are 10-3
Terrell Nickerson (Royal Oak) – Spearheading the RO hoops resurgence….LETS GO RAVENS!!!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Mid-Season Reports - Part 2

Best Big Fellas
1 Amir Williams (Birmingham DCD)
2 (tie) Patrick Onwenu (Southfield)
2 (tie) Urbane Bingham (North Farmington)
3 Jake Duzey (Troy Athens)
4 Dakota Ogles (Hazel Park)
5 Marcus Hardy (Clarkston)
Top Slam Dunk Specialists
1 Shawn Conway (Birmingham Seaholm)
2 Joshua Brown (Southfield)
3 Chuck Sanders (Lakeland)
4 De Andre Williams (Ferndale)
5 Kenny Knight (Birmingham DCD)
Best Tandems
1 Ray Tillman-Tony Harris (AH Avondale)
2 Carlton Brundidge-Pee Wee Barnes (Southfield)
3 Ryan Bush-Justin Peguese (Berkley)
4 James Young-Evan Mahone (Troy)
5 (tie) Joey Alessi-Drew Holinski (Brother Rice)
5 (tie) Kyle Cooper-Matt Doneth (Novi Detroit CC)
Top Lunch Pail Specialists
1 Taylor Perry (Rochester)
2 (tie) Jake Duzey (Troy Athens)
2 (tie) Matt Dellinger (Clarkston)
3 Andrew Hammett (RH Adams)
4 Al Wise (Troy)
5 Nick Stoll (Holly)
Top JV Call-Ups
1 Dorrell Foster (North Farmington)
2 Martez Jones (BH Lahser)
3 Chuck Sanders (Lakeland)
4 A.J. Susick (AH Avondale)
5 Khalil Malone (Waterford Mott)
Most Impactful Transfers
1 Joe Baker-Willie Harvey (Ferndale)
2 Corey Green (MH Bishop Foley)
3 Jodan Price-Austin Price (Birmingham DCD)
4 Justin Barrows (OL St. Mary's)
5 Charles Hayden (AH Oakland Christian)
Most Underappreciated
1 The entire Royal Oak team
2 Brett Hoffman-Maurice Scott (Waterford Kettering)
3 Parker Millington (Milford)
4 (tie) Alex Jones (Stoney Creek)
4 (tie) Mark Hazelwood (Oxford)
5 Zac Liembach (WL Central)
Top 6th Men
1 George Zachery (Troy Athens)
2 Caleb Hogans (North Farmington)
3 Carter Elliott (Birmingham DCD)
4 Connor Reid (Berkley)
5 James Goodman (Southfield)
Most Impressive Coaching Jobs
1 Dennis Butcher (WL Central)
2 Jeremy Denha (West Bloomfield)
3 Tom Negoshian (North Farmington)
4 Duane Graves (BH Lahser)
5 Sean Whightman (WOLL)