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.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Ballpark King

Madison Heights Bishop Foley senior baseball star Brett Sunde has accomplished quite a bit in his time on the diamond with the Ventures.
He's been named a first-team all-state selection behind the plate at catcher for the past three straight years, earned himself a college scholarship to Western Michigan, captured a state championship last season and led Foley to the program's first ever Catholic League crown back on Thursday, romping past Allen Park Cabrini down at Comerica Park in the CHSL Finals.
Due to all these exploits, he has also positioned himself to be drafted into the pros next month. His classroom antics are almost just as explosive, carrying a 3.3 GPA
If that wasn't enough, Sunde was named Gatorade's Player of the Year for the state of Michigan on Wednesday morning.
So far in 2012, he's hitting a robust .502, with 43 RBI, 40 runs scored, 7 dingers and a .665 on-base percentage.
Sunde and the Ventures are currently 34-3 overall and favorites to bring home their second straight state crown two weeks from now out in Battle Creek.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Like A Surgeon

The Surgeon will be doing his cutting on the Division I hardwood next season.
Former Pontiac and Orchard Lake St. Mary's combo guard Juwaan Moody, known on the court as 'The Surgeon' for all the time he's carved up the competition with his high-octane style of game, recently signed a National Letter of Intent with North Carolina Central University of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.
The 6-foot-1 Moody played at Westwind Prep down in Arizona the past two years, winning a state title in 2011 and chose NCCU over a half-dozen other small school D1 offers. During Westwind Prep's run to state championship glory last year, Moody was teammates with another former OC hoop stud in DeMarquise Johnson, who started on AH Avondale's OAA White title squad back in '09 and is inked at the D1 level with Washington State.
While he was in the OC, Moody was an all-league pick at Pontiac in 2010, teaming with THE GREAT ANT himself Anthony 'Ant' Adams to lead the Phoenix to a Class A district crown. As a sophomore in '09 he was a big contributor on OL St. Mary's district title team.
Moving his game down to Arizona, the Surgeon kept on carving. Over the past two years, he's averaged 16 points, and nearly 8 assists and 3 steals per game.
NCCU went 18-15 last winter and Moody will have a good shot at earning early clock, with his ability to both expertly shoot, drive and distribute the rock.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

OC Green Monsters

Oakland County has had quite the influence on the 2012 Michigan State baseball team this spring, supplying the Spartans eight local diamond studs, a number of whom have chipped in mightily for a squad that just qualified for the College World Series for the first time in 33 years.
On Sunday, the 37-21 Spartans garnered an at-large bid to the Big Dance and will face-off with Pepperdine in a first-round throwdown on June 1st out in California on the campus of Stanford University.
Position Players
Jimmy Pickens (Birmingham Brother Rice), Blaise Salter (OL St. Mary's), Joel Fisher (Farmington), Chase Toth (Clarkston), Mike Mestdagh (Birmingham Groves)
Andrew Waszak (RH Adams), Chase Rhitarchik (Birmingham Brother Rice), Mike Theodore (Birmingham DCD)
Fisher has the best batting average of all the OC studs this season, hitting .288, with 18 RBI. Salter isn't far behind, hitting .281. Pickens is hitting .255, but has been his usual clutch self, driving in 35 runs, third best on the entire team.
Waszak is the OC's top hurler for MSU this year, with the junior righty posting a 2.81 ERA and a 4-3 overall record on the mound. Theodore, who transferred into Spartyland this year from the SEC via the Tennessee Volunteers, has a 3-1 record and a 3.51 ERA for the Green and White.
In high school, Waszak and Pickens were also football stars. Both could have played on the gridiron in college if they had wanted to, as Waszak played a mean quarterback for the Highlanders high-scoring squads of the late 2000s and Pickens was recruited at the Division I level as a heady and hard-hitting safety (he took captained the Warriors into the final four as a junior and then to a Catholic League crown as a senior).
During their prep careers, Fisher, Pickens, Rhitarchik and Salter all played on squads that made a run into the final four in CEREAL CITY aka Battle Creek, however, Pickens and Rhitarchik are the only players to have a state title ring. Rhitarchik was a rock solid spinner and Pickens started behind the plate at catcher for the 2008 D1 state champion Brother Rice Warriors.
This is only the fourth time in MSU school history that the Spartans diamond brigade has earned a bid to the College World Series, an outstanding accomplishment and one that definitely resonates in Oakland County with EXTREME PRIDE!!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Burney's Baseball District Preview

Burney's best bets this week in district play on the prep baseball diamond
At Troy Athens
Teams: Athens, Pontiac, RH Adams, AH Avondale, Troy
Pick: SUPERSONIC UPSET SPECIAL: Adams play spoiler to district favorite Avondale in a down-to-the-wire extra-inning classic in Saturday's district final, won on Alex Taylor's walk-off 3-run homer!!!! Yeah, I said it!!!!
At Utica Ike
Teams: Ike, Rochester, Stoney Creek, Eisenhower, Romeo
Pick: Stoney Creek makes amends for last year's flameout in the districts and walks away with the hardware on the arm and bat of senior stud Zak Northrup
At Lake Orion
Teams: LO, Waterford Mott, Waterford Kettering, Oxford, Clarkston
Pick: Like over at Stoney Creek, Burney foresees the Dragons, despite a super tough draw, vanquishing district demons of the past ad hoisting the hardware after a hard-fought battle for the district against Kettering.
At Brighton
Teams: Brighton, WL Northern, WL Central, WL Western, South Lyon
Pick: WL Northern keeps the dream alive and raises the first district baseball title in school history
At Southfield-Lathrup
Teams: Lathrup, Birmingham Groves, Birmingham Brother Rice, West Bloomfield, Birmingham Seaholm
Pick: Rice rolls!!! 'NUFF SAID!!!
At North Farmington
Teams: NF, Farmington, Novi, Novi Detroit CC, FH Harrison
Pick: This is an intriguing district pool, maybe the biggest toss up of the D1 draws, however, Burney likes his boys in the Brown and Yellow…i.e. best pitcher in district=championship….aka Sterling Sharp pummels the comp from the mound for NF and TEAM O'CONNELL!!!
At Pontiac NDP
Teams: NDP, BH Lahser, BH Andover, OL St. Mary's, Birmingham DCD
Pick; Last season's tourney run bares fruit this spring and gets Andover the edge in this killer district draw…..literally any team in this pool has a good shot at winning the title
At Warren Fitzgerald
Teams: Fitz, MH Lamphere, Clawson, Ferndale, Hazel Park
Pick: I don't know why – probably cause the master tactician himself skipper Adam Wooley – but like Lamphere in a pair of squeakers in the district semis and finals
At New Haven
Teams: NH, MH Madison, Pontiac AOE, Macomb Lutheran North, MH Bishop Foley
Pick: REALLY? Foley in a walk
Teams: WOLL, RH Lutheran NW, Landmark Academy, AH Oakland Christian
Pick: Lutheran NW Crusaders take a crusade to CHAMPIONSHIP CITY, BABY!!!
At Southfield Christian
Teams: SC, RO Shrine, Novi FR Christian, Jewish Academy, Birmingham Roeper
Pick: Too many Harris' to contain for the rest of the field, Franklin Road Christian keeps dancing on into regionals for the first time in 15 years!!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Grid Watchers - Watch-Out Wideouts

Expect to see Lloyd Dexter and Ra'quan Carter have breakout campaigns on the prep gridiron, when they will most likely line-up beside all-league star Garius Coleman in Farmington Hills Harrison's opening day receiving corps.
The state superpower Hawks need to fill two important spots left open by the graduation of all-state receivers Aaron Burbridge (MSU) and Devin Funchess (Michigan) and by some early looks during this offseason, it appears Dexter and Carter have all the tools to make an immediate impact.
The tall and athletic Dexter has seen spot time on varsity the past two seasons – having a 4-catch, 1 td, 100-yd outing in the GREEN MONSTERS' downing of Warren De La Salle in the playoffs back in 2010 when he was a sophomore and TEAM HERRINGTON ran the table, winning a state title – but this season he might be the team's top deep threat, augmenting the slick and elusive Coleman in the slot.
Carter is only going to be a junior this fall and was the Hawks JV's top receiver last season. He's more in the mold of Coleman and will kill teams going across the middle and finding gaps in their zone coverages with his speed.
Whose going to be throwing these young stallions the ball this upcoming season, you ask? Well, it appears that Robert Powell, the JV starter at QB last year is the frontrunner for the job, with newcomer Ryan Brand nipping at his heels in the comp for the opening-day starting nod.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Battier the Batsman

Most people don't know that NBA vet and former Oakland County prep basketball superstar Shane Battier was also a stud baseball player.
Besides leading Birmingham Detroit Country Day to three straight state championships on the hardwood, he played one year of ball on the high school diamond, garnering all-state honors as a wicked-hitting first baseman/outfielder and a shutdown presence on the mound as a smooth and steady right-handed pitcher.
In fact, before being known for his outstanding career playing hoops, he was known for tearing it up as a little leaguer on the baseball diamond. Twice, Battier's summer all-star little league team from Birmingham came one game away from qualifying for the nationally-televised Little League World Series out in Pennsylvania.
After putting the bat and ball down for a little while, the 6-foot-8, multi-talented Battier resumed his baseball career as a junior at DCD in the spring of 1996 and returned with ferocity.
AKA…he hit over .500, with 32 RBI, 4 HR and 20 stolen bases and compiled an ERA from the rubber below the 2.00 mark.
Currently, Battier is an 11-year vet, playing with the Miami Heat, who are as we speak in pursuit of an NBA World Championship ring, slugging it out in the Eastern Conference Finals.
While at Duke in college, Battier started on two final four teams and was an All-American and National Player of the Year on the Blue Devils '2001 NCAA title squad.
For his career in the NBA, Battier averages 9 points and 5 rebounds a night.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Unlikely Thoroughbreds

Don't look now, but the Holly Bronchos have been really taking it to opponents on the baseball diamond this spring.
On Thursday, TEAM HORSE garnered two wins on their home field, both completions of prior suspended games to up their record to a more than respectable 22-8.
Holly senior Blake Ordiway tossed a no-no and David McNeely belted a pair of home runs and collected a total of 6 RBI in a 11-0 shutout of Fenton in the day's opener, followed by the Bronchos sneaking past Lapeer East 7-6 on a walk-off RBI single by Pat O' Connor in the finale, with hurler Chris Green being credited with the win from the pitching rubber.
Never known for its prowess on the diamond, Holly's surprising success in 2012 can be greatly attributed to the influence and tactical managing skills of first-year skipper Benny Jackson.
Besides proving quite the handful to deal with in the Flint Metro League, Jackson's Bronchos have defeated some pretty good other area clubs like two-time defending OAA White champ Birmingham Groves, Milford, Flint Powers and Flint Carman-Ainsworth. A few weekends back, Jackson led his squad to a first-place finish in the Eagle Invite up in Ann Arbor, beating Manchester in the first game of the tourney and host Ann Arbor Skyline in the championship game.
The Bronchos have a good shot at winning a district title this season, too, considering their district pool draw was kind to them and there resides no world-beater to overcome for the crown.
Great job, BOYZ!!!!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Five For Fighting - A Wild Wednesday

Five For Fighting – Top Performances From Around The OC Wednesday Night
1 Selena Hicks & Sierra Burke (Lakeland softball) – Hicks was LIGHTS OUT from the circle, twirling a 3-hitter with 9 K's, while Burke was lethal from the plate, slugging a tape-measure 3-run homer and another key 2-RBI double to lead the Eagles to the overall KLAA crown in a 12-4 victory over Plymouth in the KLAA Championship Game.
2 Josh Leitman (Birmingham Seaholm baseball) – Doing his best Albert Puljos impression, Leitman smacked two home run bombs, the final one being a 3-run walk-off round-tripper that sent the Maples to an 8-6 win over North Farmington and ending the Raiders bid for an OAA White league title in the process.  
3 Hunter Van Maele (Walled Lake Northern baseball) – Van Maela went VAN CLUTCH on Wednesday, drilling a walk-off RBI double to lift the Knights to a dramatic 7-6 downing of Novi.
4 Bree Smith (MH Lamphere girls soccer) – What wasn't this girl doing on the pitch Wednesday night? Smith sparked the Rams to a 5-0 lambasting of SCS Lakeview by posting two goals and two assists.
5 Dakota Badder (Troy Athens boys LAX) – Badder registered 6 goals in the Red Hawks 17-7 defeat of Romeo in the regional semifinals to advance into the regional finals of the state tournament. Athens could wind up the Cinderella of the state LAX tourney, since the win on Wed only makes the Red Hawks 9-10 on the campaign.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Grid Watchers - Secondary Studs

Orchard Lake St. Mary's 'Nasty Boys' defense will feature two up and coming stars in its defensive backfield for the upcoming season on the gridiron.
Cornerback Ross Moore and safety Tyson Smith are both most likely to assume starting spots in the defending state-champion Eaglets' secondary. The talented pair are both sophomores-to-be and potential major impact players in St. Mary's quest for a repeat state title in 2012.
Last season, Moore and Smith starred on the school's JV football squad before being called up onto the varsity during the playoffs for the Eaglets' run to the state crown. Moore is a speedy and agile lockdown cover corner, while Smith has wheels, height and strength allowing him to line-up at either safety position for TEAM PORRITT.
Losing a large chunk of its core on defense to graduation, coach Porritt and his staff will look to a series of rising-star playmakers, headlined by Moss, Smith and returning starter Jalen Watts-Jackson (DB/WR) in the Eaglets upcoming classes to fill the gap left by the likes of college recruits such as James Ross (Michigan), David Talley (GVSU) and Dylan Zerki (Kalamazoo).

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Home Cooking

Home is where the heart is and it's also where two of the area's best senior boys hoopsters will be playing their college basketball.
This week, Clarkston's Mitch Baenziger committed to becoming a preferred walk-on at Oakland University and Rochester's Paris Pereira will sign a letter of intent with Rochester College.
Baenziger and Pereira were two of the top point guards in Oakland County these last two seasons, both leading their respective squads to back-to-back OAA league championships.
A dynamic two-sport athlete, Baenziger was the school's ace starting quarterback on its state-ranked football team the past two years and could have easily pursued a collegiate career on the gridiron if he had so desired.
Pereira was a four-year varsity letter-winner with the Falcons, while Baenziger lettered three years, winning three consecutive OAA Red titles and back-to-back Class A district crowns as a sophomore and junior in 2010 and 2011.
I foresee big things for both these BALLERS & SHOTCALLERS at the next level. With some added muscle to his frame, Pereira has the potential to be a GRADE-A NAIA floor general. In all sincerity, I believe Baenziger has the chance to be one of those 'RUDY SPECIALS' at the D1 level, a pleasant surprise that wasn't highly recruited but with hard work and determination works his way into major minutes on the floor by the time he's an upperclassmen.
Burney wishes both Mitch aka 'ROCK STEADY' and Paris the best of luck!!!!!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Burney's Baseball Rankings - Shake Up City

OC Top 10
1 MH Bishop Foley – Props to the OC's new No. 1 team!!!!
2 Birmingham Brother Rice – Props to the future CHSL Champs!!! Yeah, I said it! Take it 2 the Bank!!! C ya fellas at COPA!!!
3 Lake Orion – quick note/correction: Dragons star junior pitcher Nick Deeg was NOT ejected from the Stoney Creek DH – A LO sweep – last week, he was instructed to the bench by the umpire. The distinction lies in the fact that Deeg will NOT have to sit out any play via the standard state-sanctioned one-game suspension rule for getting tossed.
4 (tie) WL Central – Get busy my main man James Sullivan!!!! This kid's solid as a rock at second for IKE THE VIKES' diamond cutters!!!
4 (tie) AH Avondale – Last year the Yellowjackets had their 4-year district title run snapped in the state tournament's first week of action. Avondale will make amends very shortly!!!
5 BH Andover – Is there a better assistant coach in the OC than Barons' Frank De Vito? I don't think so!!
6 Clarkston – The Peck brothers are making C-Town's time on the diamond this spring nothing but PLEASANTVILLE (wow, you'd think they were from Rochester…lol)….Out of nowhere, the Wolfpack sluggers are contenders!!!!!
7 WL Northern – Sophomore SWATTER EXTRAORDINAIRE Brennan Williams is one of the OC's fastest-rising underclassmen!!!
8 North Farmington – Firmly situated in the driver's seat for winning a league title
9 Stoney Creek – Despite some recent slippage in the standings, the Cougars are still KILLERS and will be SUPER dangerous come June
10 Novi – Can beat any team in the county on any given day!!!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Feeling The Flow

The waterfall continues to flow.
Oak Park's football transfer waterfall that is.
In the most recent news involving the Knights transplant-laden gridiron squad, PSL star Mario Morris, will play at Oak Park for his senior year this upcoming fall.
As a sophomore, Morris started under center at quarterback for Detroit Douglas. Last season, he was at Detroit Community, where lined up at tailback and linebacker and was named MVP. Since Community discontinued its football program, Morris, a two-time all-PSL selection, will be automatically eligible with the Knights come their 2012 season opener in August.
Morris is the third high-profile transfer to land at Oak Park in the past couple months – joining East Detroit CB/WR Michael Cleveland and Utica Eisenhower RB Storm Hudson – and the mind-blowing 25th since head coach Greg Carter was hired as the Knights head coach in February 2011.
Like Morris, this is Hudson's third team in three years – when he was a sophomore he was a backup tailback on Lake Orion's 2010 Division 1 state championship team. The fleet-footed pair will join shifty Malik Washington to form quite the three-headed monster of a running attack for the OP this season.
The four-time state champion sideline general Carter is trying to lead the Knights into the postseason for the first time since 2005. Carter and his squad open the upcoming campaign against Detroit East English Village Academy on August 24th.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Are You Kidding Me?

The K Queen was at it again this week.
And she wasn't taking any prisoners either.
Farmington Hills Mercy star softball player Kayce Nieto, Oakland County's top overall ACE of DIAMONDS, has pitched THREE consecutive PERFECT games in the past six days.
Yeah, you read that correctly. Nieto, already signed with the University of Utah of the Pac-12, has been nastier than usual lately, spinning a trio of flawless gems in a row.
All Burney can say is WOW!!
Nieto carries a career 0.40 ERA and holds the state record for strikeouts in a single game – 41 in 22 inning game as a sophomore –, a remarkable effort that ranks third all-time nationally.
In conclusion, this young lady is the definition of LIGHTS OUT from the circle and Burney will miss seeing the K Queen get her STRIKEOUT SWAG on next spring when she's off mowing them down in college with the Utes.

Friday, May 18, 2012

May Day

Drew Maynard will return home to play his final year of college basketball.
On Friday afternoon, Maynard will officially become a Rochester College Warrior at a ceremony at the school.
Finishing his prep career at Lake Orion as one of the top players in the entire Midwest, the 6-foot-7, athletic and smooth swingman started his college career at Oakland University, earning a starting position his freshman season, before flaming out at the D1 level the following year due to internal issues and constant battles with Golden Grizzlies head coach Greg Kampe.
Transferring to D2 Valdosta State down in Georgia, he medically redshirted in 2011 and then started at forward for the Blazers this past winter, averaging 10 points and 7 rebounds a game.
Arguably the greatest hoopster in the history of Lake Orion High School, Maynard was a three-time all-state selection. Over his final two seasons as a prepster, he led the Dragons to a 40-10 record. As a senior in 2008, he was ranked the No. 3 player in the whole state by
Snagging Maynard is a great pick up for Rochester College and up-and-coming head coach Klint Pleasant (son of former legendary RC head coach Garth Pleasant and brother to current Rochester HS head coach John Pleasant), even if it's only for one season. He will fit in nicely and give Pleasant and his staff some instant offense and a dynamic presence in the open floor, both Maynard specialties.
Last season, Pleasant's Warriors went 26-8 and lost in the USCAA National Championship Game 54-51 to Oakwood College from down in Alabama.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

All Hail The King

Walled Lake Northern baseball star Ted Lilley is the SWIPE MASTER GENERAL!!
The Knights speedster broke the school's all-time single-season record for steals on Wednesday in Northern's doubleheader sweep of Waterford Mott, stealing base No.'s 28 and 29, while also going a combined 3-for-5 at the plate with 2 RBI and 2 runs scored. He also got credited with the win from the mound in the second game, pitching brilliant in relief and getting the Corsairs to ground into a double play to end things in the seventh with the game-tying run on deck.
Lilley and the Northern CUTTING CREW are in the midst of a memorable campaign on the diamond, seeing their record balloon to 18-6 following Wednesday's victories in the KLAA twin bill.
This kid doesn't just tear it up on the baseball field either. The past two falls he's been an all-league wide receiver-defensive back on the gridiron for the Knights football team. If that wasn't enough, Lilley is a SUPERSTAR in the classroom, too, getting selected academic all-state in both sports.
Because of Lilley's spectacular play – as well as several other important factors falling into place this spring –, Knights' first-year skipper Kevin La Plante has his club in contention for both league and district titles, with two weeks left in the regular season.

The county's all-time single-season record for steals is 56, set by RH Lutheran Northwest's Mike Lepore in 2004.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tinker, Taylor, Soldier, BALLER!

Berkley's Jason Taylor is going to play his college hoops in the Hoosier State.
Taylor, the Bears two-sport SUPER STUD, recently signed to continue his basketball career at Marian University in Indianapolis.
A two-year starter for both Berkley's basketball and football teams, Taylor, who will graduate next month, was a lightning-quick guard on the hardwood and an aggressive defensive back on the gridiron.
On the football field in 2011, Taylor helped lead the Bears to their first playoff win in over a decade. This past season on the basketball court, he was named a team captain.
With Taylor landing at Marian, Oakland County has now sent two cager extraordinaires to play their college hoops in the state of Indiana. Earlier in the school year, Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes senior girls basketball star Carlee Cottrell inked with D2 Indiana Wesleyan.   
Competing in the NAIA, Marian was 20-11 overall last winter.
Taylor is the second Oakland County athlete to recently wind up deciding to become a MU Knight.
Birmingham Groves's Jalen Spicer was a freshman linebacker on Marian's footballs squad back in the fall.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Burney's Baseball Rankings - Strong & Steady

OC TOP 10     
1 Birmingham Brother Rice – If loving the Warriors' Randy Righter is wrong, Burney doesn't want to be right!!!
2 MH Bishop Foley – CALLING MY SHOT: The Ventures will 3PEAT!!!......Yeah, I said it!!
3 Lake Orion – Man, the LO can KO the comp so many ways its STRAIGHT SICKENING!!!
4 AH Avondale – Yellowjackets making opposing teams see red this spring!!!
5 BH Andover – TEAM BOYD has been going BONKERS lately…..keep it up boys!!!!
6 (tie) WL Central – TEAM ROFFI = The picture of consistency!!!
6 (tie) WL Western – West has yet to crest…..And that's a scary thought!!!
7 Stoney Creek – 'DA CREEK is 'DA BOMB!!!!
8 WL Northern – You can't stop Cole Lubin, you can only hope to contain him!!!!
9 Novi – The 'Cats are back on the prowl!! TEAM GREEN will soon stand for CASH MONEY in the win column!!!!! Take it 2 the bank!!!
10 (tie) Birmingham Groves – Falcons senior catcher Ryan Williams is one of the most underappreciated diamond studs around!!!
10 (tie) North Farmington – Speaking of MEGAWATT WILLIAMS on the local prep baseball diamond, I love watching my main Raiders' homeboy Bobby Williams get busy, both in the field with his glove and at the dish with his stick!!!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mad Bombers

There was no tip-toeing through the tulips on Saturday for the Michigan Madness.
Playing in the annual Tulip Tip-Off Classic in Holland, Michigan, it was full speed ahead all the way for the Madness, an 16-and-under boys AAU basketball team made up of some of the best young hoopsters Northern Oakland County has to offer, as they rampaged their way through the first day of action in the tourney.
The Madness went 3-1 on the day, beating Elite Skills 73-54, taking down Parallel 45 70-50 and defeating Shoreline Region 59-53 before losing a nail-biter to Comstock Park 74-72.
They will continue play on Sunday in the tourney's championship bracket.
In the Elite Skills game, Clarkston center Mike Nicholson went for a double-double of 19 points and 10 rebounds and Holly's Morgan Baylis pumped in 15 points in the win. Clarkston sharpshooter Blake Pokely scored a game-high 16 points in the victory over Parallel 45, flanked by 12 apiece by Holly point guard Parker Rowse and Lakeland forward Nick Troxell.  Holly's inside-outside tandem of spunky guard Josh Simms and fast-improving 6-foot-7 power forward Logan Spiker put up 10 each to lead the way for the Madness in the Shoreline Region game.
Troxell, one of the true hidden gems in the area's Class of 2014 and a genuine high-flyer in the open floor, threw down a massive two-handed dunk over a pair of Parallel 45 defenders in the second game of the day. Averaging 22 points and 8.5 rebounds a night last season, Troxell was an all-league selection and will be one of the best players in the KLAA entering his junior campaign next year.
Nicholson and Pokely played JV last season as sophomores for Clarkston but will be expected to contribute heavily in 2013 and 2014. Pokely is the younger brother of former Wolfpack great Brandon Pokely, who captained C-Town to the final four back in 2009 and is currently playing D1 ball at Western Michigan.
Jeff Spiker, Logan's dad, is the head coach of the Madness. Logan transferred into Holly last season as a sophomore from Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes.
Baylis' father, Lance is the head coach at Holly. Him and Rowse made varsity as freshman last winter and along with Isaac Casillas represent the bright future of Broncho basketball for the next three seasons.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Big Time Balling

Let's take a few moments to reflect on two of the most exciting games on the Oakland County prep boys hoops scene in 2012:
Clarkston senior sniper Nick Tatu going BALLISTIC for 47 pts and 12 3-bombs in C-Town's OAA crossover throwdown with Troy
The almost-unbelievable ending to the Class A district semifinal game between host Birmingham Seaholm and crosstown rival Birmingham Groves.....SPOILER ALERT;Seaholm junior juggernaut Paris Bass drills what looks to be a game-winning 40-footer at the buzzer, however, as the video below shows, unfortunately Maples head coach Jose Andrades called a timeout a millisecond prior to Bass releasing the ball.
Look for Bass, a long and athletic 6-foot-5 swingman, to be one of the best players in the area next winter as a senior.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Nick the Quick

I've discovered Oakland County's next prep MEGASTUD on the baseball diamond.
His name is Nick Plummer and he's a freshman at Birmingham Brother Rice.
Well, he's not just any ordinary freshman, he's THE FAB FROSH of the entire area.
The best way to describe Plummer's talent is 5-TOOL!!!
My boy Nick the Quick has speed, strength, athleticism, a killer clutch bat and a sick arm from the outfield.
Plummer earned a spot as a starter on the state powerhouse Warriors varsity roster as only a ninth-grader and Brother Rice skipper Bob Riker has shown nothing but confidence in his talented young star, throwing him into the fire right off the bat, so to speak, hitting him at the top of his order.
The invaluable experience he's gained these past 6 weeks is paying off BIG TIME.
Back on Saturday, Plummer blasted a bases-loaded walk-off single in the bottom of the seventh to lead the Orange and Black to a dramatic 4-3 defeat of Novi Detroit CC.
The Fantastic Freshman's fireworks continued on Tuesday, as he swatted a game-winning 3-run homer in the Warriors 5-2 victory over Orchard Lake St. Mary's.
Entering this weekend, Plummer is hitting a more than respectable .338, with 13 RBI and an on-base percentage over the .500 mark.
With Plummer and ace sophomore hurler Matt Ruppenthal in the fold with the Rice diamond cutters, Riker has two players who both might end up hearing their name called down the road on MLB draft day of their senior year.
To conclude, Nick the Quick IS SUPER SICK, whether with his mit or his stick, and opponents in the CHSL will have no easy time dealing with him the next few years, as the sky is LITERALLY the limit with this kid.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

My Spartan Vinnie

Vinnie Gjokaj is as strong as an ox and as tough as nails.
And as of this week, his services at the college level are all sewn up.
Gjokaj, Walled Lake Western's three-sport SUPERSTAR, signed a National Letter of Intent to participate in track and field for Michigan State University, beginning next spring.
Checking in at a stout and chiseled 6-foor-2, 205 pounds, he is one of the most accomplished discus throwers in the entire state. He's also a top-notch football player, holding things down for the Warriors in the trenches as the school's starting nose guard the past two seasons, and an absolute BEAST in the weight room, as a GRADE-A powerlifter.
Back in the fall on the football field, Gjokaj collected 42 tackles, 5 sacks, 5 pass deflections and 10 QB hurries in helping guide Western to a league championship and a trip into the final four.
With the discus in his hands, Gjokaj was named all-state last year as a junior. As a powerlifter, he's been tabbed with all-state honors twice. On the gridiron, he was selected to the KLAA's all-league squads both as a junior in 2010 and a senior in 2011.
When Gjokaj hits campus in East Lansing in a few months, he will join other local standouts, like Joe Banyai (Royal Oak), Stephen Foster (BH Lahser), Derek Kim (Novi), Isaac Marshall (Rochester), Chris Platt (WL Northern), Ralph Rodriguez (Oxford), Kurt Schneider (AH Oakland Christian) on the Spartans Men's Track and Field team.