Archive | February, 2015

New Haven Remains Undefeated and Betters Mt. Clemens 51-43.

28 Feb

IMG_0168Mt. Clemens and New Haven are two schools separated by 10 miles on historic Gratiot Avenue.  The latest meeting between the Battling Bathers and Rockets was a typical high school rivalry game; a filled to capacity gym and a boisterous crowd, yet, it was the work of a transfer who flipped what might have been New Haven’s first loss of the year into the Rockets’ nineteenth victory, 6’4″ senior guard Dmonta Harris.

Harris has thrived in his lone year at New Haven.  Harris has averaged double-figures with both scoring and rebounding en route to leading the Rockets to an outright MAC Gold Division championship.  He is a strong candidate for Class B player of the year.

Harris’ Rockets have averaged close to 70 points in games the entire season, but not against Mt. Clemens.  The Bathers used their speed and quickness to frustrate the high-powered New Haven attack, limiting the interior touches to 6’10s” Innocent Nwyoko and Jerry Ben, while forcing 12 uncharacteristic Rocket turnovers in the first half.  The Rockets would manage to score only four points in the entire second quarter and Mt. Clemens led 21-18 at intermission.

Even in the early and middle portions of the third, New Haven could not find their offensive rhythm and the Bathers capitalized.  Mt. Clemens used their high-tempo, five guard transition offense to lead as many as 11 points with 3:12 remaining in the third quarter.  New Haven decided to match them fire-for-fire.

“That was a concern coming into the game, they run a five guard set and sometimes their speed is so fast,” New Haven head coach, Tedaro France said.  “We’re a big team, but we got the luxury of going small, so we had to match their speed for speed.”

And speed the game up New Haven did!  Four different Rockets scored to close the third quarter on a 13-0 New Haven run to lead 33-31 entering the final stanza of play; the first Rocket lead since the opening quarter.

“We didn’t have enough energy,” Harris mentioned which was his coach’s message at the half.  “We knew that in order to get this victory, we had to be more scrappy and do the small things.”

Emotions ran high in the fourth, which is expected in any rivalry game. Technical fouls were assessed to each team less than two minutes into the fourth.  The hostile environment only fueled Harris.  Harris scored 10 of New Haven’s 18 points in the fourth quarter, including one stretch where he scored 8-10 of his teams points.  Harris finished with a team-high 19, only four came about in the opening half and Harris did not register a single point in the second.

“He can score a lot points,” France referred to Harris following the game.  “He’s so unselfish to the point at times I got to say, ‘Hey you got to score.’ But he gets the whole team involved, and then when he takes off, he takes off.”

Mt. Clemens would keep the score tight in the fourth.  The Bathers had the game tied with 3:45 seconds left.  However, Harris’ classmate, Austin Sherrell, connected on a jump shot with the ensuing possession for New Haven to gain a 43-41 lead.  From then on, New Haven relied on defense to finish off a well-earned victory.  Allowing just two points the final 3:30 seconds of the contest and held Mt. Clemens scoreless on their final seven possessions.

Aside from Harris, Austin Sherrell contributed 12 points and six rebounds and John Galloway added 11 points.  Mt. Clemens was led by senior guard Devin Felts with 15 points.

When asked about whether or not he knew New Haven could achieve regular-season perfection, Harris is still in awe about the reality of the situation.  “I thought we were going to be pretty good, but not this good,” Harris added. “I never thought we’d be undefeated, I never imagined that!”

Mt. Clemens had won nine of the previous 11 meetings against New Haven.  Both are champions of their respective MAC Divisions, only adding to the game’s intensity.  While he still is the newcomer at New Haven, Harris has been met with open arms from the Rocket community.  “It sill means a lot,” Harris acknowledged playing in his first New Haven vs. Mt. Clemens game, “I know the community supports me a lot; they support my family a lot.”  “Whatever I can do to help, come out and get a victory like this makes everybody happy. That’s all that matters.”

New Haven has just one more obstacle in their pursuit of perfection, a meeting and rematch against Madison Heights Madison.

Both Harris and Coach France are aware from now on, continuing into the playoffs, that every team is going to want a piece of New Haven.  The lessons learned in a playoff-like atmosphere will be invaluable for the Rockets moving ahead into March when each contest is a one game season.

“For the playoffs, I think close games like this show what we can really do as a team,” Harris said.  “This is preparing us to respond to adversity, respond to being pressured, respond to being in a close game, packed out stands, it’s going to be much more of this. So it prepares us for the pressure of the next level.”

Prep Ball Review Podcast Five

27 Feb

Interview with Detroit Western’s Josh McFolley, too early player of the year projections, teams with most to prove, and game picks for the weekend.

East English Village Routes Taylor Kennedy 85-63

27 Feb

IMG_0166Detroit East English Prep junior Kamari Newman did not appear in the starting lineup against Taylor Kennedy.  Quite the oddity for a Detroit Public School League All-City first team member.

“I didn’t practice yesterday because my ankles,” Newman said following the game.  “So I had to come off the bench, so that was nothing.”

And nothing it was.

Newman poured in a team-high 23 points off the bench as the number 20 ranked Bulldogs routed twenty-fifth ranked Taylor Kennedy 85-63.

“Everybody contributed to offense, everyone played solid defense, it was a good solid overall win for our team,” said Newman.

Aside from Kamari, three other Bulldogs contributed double-figures scoring wise.  6’4″ forward Cedric Lattimore tallied 19, front court mate Jaylin McFadden added 14 points to go along with seven rebounds, and senior point guard Fred Jones contributed 11 points.  Compared to Kennedy with just two players with more than nine points.

“It doesn’t matter whose scoring,” Newman added. “Me, Chris (Rollins), Ced (Lattimore), Nate (Bowlware).  It doesn’t matter everybody can pretty much go-off.”

As much as the Bulldogs are talented offensively, The Village’s defense also impacted the game.  EEVP’s full-court pressing defense caused 22 Kennedy turnovers.  10 of those occurred in the third quarter, where East English outscored the Eagles 25-10 after a narrow lead of six at intermission.  Other than senior guard Andia Marsh, only one additional Eagle scored more than five points in the second half.  Marsh finished with 21 points to lead Kennedy.

“Our defense, that’s one of the biggest things about our team,” Newman mentioned.  “We lock-up, we play defense at practice just like we play in a game.”

East English Village decided to take 13 days off since their last game, a narrow four point loss to Renaissance in the city semi-final.  Much has been expected of this Bulldog squad since the pre-season. East English won 10-12 contests against league competition, the other loss was against Detroit Western, the state’s number one ranked team.  In March, however, the Bulldogs could possibly only face one PSL team en route to the Breslin Center, a rematch with Detroit Western in the regionals.  The Village isn’t short on talent to have reservations for East Lansing in late March.

“The city championship loss, that just made us hungry,” Newman said.  “So we can get ready for this state playoff run.”

“Defense and rebounding, that’s going to be our main goals.”

Brown and Washington Power Southfield Christian Past Southfield 71-68

25 Feb

IMG_0160Coaches love athletes that play their heart out, just ask Southfield Christian’s Brock Washington.  The 6’2″ sophomore combo guard scored ten of his team’s 15 points in the opening quarter.  Then a uniform blunder.  Brock, as a result of his play, dripped blood on his jersey in the second quarter.  Which might or might have not explained his point total, scoring only one basket in the second quarter alone.

Southfield was able to gradually distance themselves in the second quarter from the Eagles.  Behind 6’7″ senior forward Isaiah Green’s 11 points, the Blue Jays outscored Christian 26-12, and led comfortably 42-27 at half.

“We couldn’t give up,” Washington said following the game.  “We had to make sure we knew what we had to do mentally.”

Washington flipped his jersey, and ignition switch for the Southfield Christian offense.  Junior backcourt mate Marlo Brown scored 12 of his team-high 28 points in the third, and Christian held the Blue Jays to six total third quarter points.  Ending the quarter on a 17-2 run the last six minutes to close the deficit to three.

The Southfield dynamic front-court of Khary Fanning and Isaiah Green were neutralized the entire second half.  Fanning and Green combined for two points, despite an undersized Southfield Christian lineup.  Often times the largest player on the court for Southfield Christian was 6’3,” while Green and Fanning are 6’7″ and 6’6″ respectively.

“We got Green in foul trouble, which was huge because we had a hard time stopping him,” Southfield Christian head coach Josh Baker said.

“With Isaiah, once he put it on the floor we wanted to double him.  Try to force him make a jumper…he’s a tough cover.”

“Khary we wanted to keep him in front, he’s so athletic, and then we knew he scored on the second shot a lot.”

Christian held their first lead since the first quarter with four minutes left.  Southfield, however, mounted a stand. Sophomore point guard Michael Flowers scored 16 of his Blue Jay high 25 points in the fourth quarter, including three threes, and a layup with 1:12 remaining, the last Southfield lead of the game.  His 10th grade counterpart, Brock Washington, calmly knocked in a three on the ensuing Eagle possession, 67-65 with under a minuted to play.  Christian would miss crucial free-throws with under 50 seconds remaining, combined with a Mike Flowers steal-and-score with 8.3 left, Southfield trailed 70-68.  Brown split his next two free-throws, leaving the opportunity open for Southfield to potentially tie the game.  Pushing the ball up the court, Flowers was unable to get a clean look for a shot to send the game into overtime.  His three fell harmlessly to the ground.  Game over.

Aside from Flowers, Isaiah Green scored 20 points and hauled in 12 rebounds.  Khary Fanning added seven points and eight rebounds, while junior Miguel Priest contributed 11 points.

Brown and Washington accounted for 53 of the team’s 71 points, Marlo with 28 and Brock 25.

“It’s great having him (Marlo),” Washington stated.  “It’s great having all these people, it’s just great positive energy, we’re always working hard, always pushing each other, it’s great.”

Southfield Christian has now won 13 of their last 14 contests.  The three-time defending Class D state champions will compete in the Class C state playoffs for 2015.  And despite a good deal of new faces to the program compared from years past, Christian might be finding their groove at the right time.  A narrow win over a larger Class A school should boost the young Eagles’ confidence as March grows closer.

“You got to win close ones down the stretch,” Baker said.  “To be able to win that one and have the pressure.  I think that’s really big for us.”

About that number change for Washington 15 to 11.  Number 11 was reserved for sharpshooter Lindsay Hunter a season ago.  The impact of that change is debatable, but Washington did finish 5-8 beyond the arch.

“I guess you could say it gave me some power,” Washington said with a smile.

Great Games February 23rd Through March 1st

23 Feb

The last full week of the season.  The first week in March for the most part is negated by girls playoffs commencing.

Tuesday February 24th

East Kentwood @ Hudsonville
Outlook: OK Conference Red Division game.  East Kentwood has already clinched. Regardless, Hudsonville will be eager to spring the upset.  As the Eagles dropped a six point decision in late January.

Southfield (9-7) @ Southfield Christian (13-3) 7:00 PM
Outlook: Southfield has stumbled to meet pre-season expectations as possibly surfacing into a Class A contender from Oakland County.  The Blue Jays meet Christian at the worst possible time, the Eagles have won 12 out their last 13 games, and are primed for a deep and meaningful run in Class C.

Warren De La Salle (8-9) vs. U of D Jesuit (15-2) @ Marian 7:30 PM
Outlook: Disregard records when these two meet, as over the past three to five years, this rivalry has been one of the best in the state.  Jesuit will be favored, but with a trip to Calihan Hall for the CHSL finals on the line, expect a tightly contested outcome.

Wednesday February 25th

Detroit Consortium (10-4) @ Flint Beecher (15-1) 7:00 PM
Outlook: Beecher thus far is the team to beat for Class C supremacy.  Their lone loss came to a ranked Detroit Henry Ford team on a neutral court in the middle of January.  On the other hand, Consortium is still looking for their identity.  A week with two important games will be telling if the Cougars are a legitimate force in Class B.

Plymouth (12-5) @ Westland John Glenn (9-8) 7:00 PM
Outlook: Fresh off a huge victory against Salem, Plymouth heads to John Glenn for KLAA Kensington Conference semi-final action.  John Glenn won the conference last year, and the winner will play either Livonia Churchill or Livonia Stevenson Saturday night.

Southfield Bradford (12-5) vs. Chandler Park (11-6) 7:00 PM
This is one semi-final of the Charter School Conference playoffs, the other is University Prep vs. Old Redford.  Chandler Park took the lone meeting of the year January 30th against Bradford 50-42.  Bradford will have plenty to prove in this one, as the Bulldogs lost to CPA last season in the league championship game.

Thursday February 26th

East English Village (13-4) @ Taylor Kennedy (14-2) 6:00 PM
Outlook: EEVP will look to find momentum heading into the playoffs after a disappointing semi-final loss to Renaissance. While Kennedy will take a break from the Downriver League and put their stellar record against a top 20 opponent.

Friday February 27th

North Farmington (15-2) @ Clarkston (17-0) 7:00 PM
Outlook: The rematch.  Clarkston went to North Farmington and handed the Raiders their first loss of the season February 4th. North Farmington, however, only sits behind the Wolves one game in the OAA Red.

Detroit Cornerstone (8-5) @ Detroit Edison (12-3)
Outlook: The second of two meetings in an eight day span.  Cornerstone pummeled Edison 80-56 last Thursday.  But if anything has been learned this year in high school basketball, the odds of beating a team twice are extremely difficult.

Milan (16-2) @ Monroe St. Mary (13-2) 7:00 PM
Outlook: Twice in less than a week the Big Reds and Falcons meet.  The Saturday prior, Milan defeated St. Mary 54-43.  A Big Red win would clinch the Huron League title outright.

New Haven (17-0) @ Mt. Clemens (12-4) 7:00 PM
Outlook: Though they have stumbled recently, New Haven has remained perfect.  Undfeated and ranked number one in Class B.  Surprisingly, Mt. Clemens has found a way to remain competitive after a mass exodus of players and coaching changes from a year ago.  The Bathers lead the MAC Blue with a record of 9-2.

Oak Park (11-4) @ Troy Athens (9-8) 7:00 PM
Outlook: Athens’ record is deceiving because the Redhawks are in a three-way tie for first in the OAA White with Oak Park and Pontiac.  Oak Park won 60-49 on February 4th.

Charter School Conference Championship TBA

Saturday Februray 28th
KLAA Lakes and Kensington Conference Championships TBA

Sunday March 1st
Catholic League A-B and C-D Championships TBA @ Calihan Hall

Statewide And Class A-D Rankings February 23rd

23 Feb

Statewide

1. Western (17-0)
2. Muskegon (16-1)
3. Clarkston (17-0)
4. East Kentwood (17-0)
5. New Haven (17-0)
6. Forest Hills Central (17-0)
7. Kalamazoo Central (17-1)
8. Lansing Everett (15-2)
9. University of Detroit Jesuit (15-2)
10. Milan (16-2)
11. Macomb Dakota (15-2)
12. Ann Arbor Huron (14-1)
13. Wyoming Godwin Heights (16-1)
14. Flint Beecher (15-1)
15. Arthur Hill (16-3)
16. Walled Lake Western (16-1)
17. West Bloomfield (15-2)
18. Grand Ledge (16-1)
19. Romulus (13-5)
20. East English Village (13-4)
21. Holly (15-2)
22. North Farmington (15-2)
23. Wyoming (17-2)
24. Stevensville Lakeshore (15-2)
25. Taylor Kennedy (14-2)

Class A
1. Western (17-0)
2. Muskegon (16-1)
3. Clarkston (17-0)
4. East Kentwood (17-0)
5. Forest Hills Central (17-0)
6. Kalamazoo Central (17-1)
7. Lansing Everett (15-2)
8. University of Detroit Jesuit (15-2)
9. Macomb Dakota (15-2)
10. Ann Arbor Huron (14-1)
11. Saginaw Arthur Hill (16-3)
12. Walled Lake Western (16-1)
13. West Bloomfield (15-2)
14. Grand Ledge (16-1)
15. Romulus (13-5)
16. East English Village (13-4)
17. Holly (15-2)
18. North Farmington (15-2)
19. Wyoming (17-2)
20. Stevensville-Lakeshore (15-2)
21. Taylor Kennedy (14-2)
22. Davison (13-3)
23. Alpena (14-2)
24. Auburn Hills Avondale (14-3)
25. Walled Lake Central (14-3)
Class B
1. New Haven (17-0)
2. Milan (16-2)
3. Wyoming Godwin Heights (16-1)
4. Yale (15-1)
5. Goodrich (16-2)
6. Otsego (14-3)
7. Benton Harbor (14-4)
8. River Rouge (12-4)
9. Battle Creek Harper Creek (15-2)
10. Detroit Henry Ford (13-5)
11. Alma (14-3)
12. Onsted (13-3)
13. Wayland (14-3)
14. Detroit CMA (13-4)
15. Detroit Consortium (10-4)
16. Detroit Community (12-4)
17. Cesar Chavez (14-0)
18. Lakeview (13-4)
19. Richmond (15-3)
20. Williamston (14-4)
Class C
1. Flint Beecher (15-1)
2. Jackson Lumen Christi (15-1)
3. Shelby (17-0)
4. Hillsdale (18-0)
5. Beaverton (17-0)
6. Iron Mouthain (17-1)
7. Lutheran Seminary (16-1)
8. Horton (16-1)
9. NorthPointe Christian (14-3)
10. Lainsburg (14-2)
11. Southfield Christian (13-3)
12. Fennville (16-1)
13. Ithaca (15-2)
14. Monroe St. Mary (15-2)
15. Detroit Loyola (11-5)
Class D
1. Cedarville (16-0)
2. Powers Nroth Central (16-0)
3. Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes (17-0)
4. Munising (16-0)
5. Hillman (17-1)

River Rouge Point Guard LaMonta Stone Pledges To Eastern Michigan

21 Feb

Whoever coined the phrase “the low-man wins in basketball,” must have been thinking of LaMonta Stone II.  The diminutive 5’8″ senior point guard, following a transfer from Bowling Green, Ohio, has been a vital piece behind River Rouge’s ascension from a combined 26-19 the previous two years to a contender in Class B with a 12-4 record in late February.  For the record, 26-19 is subpar for a school with 14 state titles.

The latest accomplishment for Stone was where he will continue his basketball career.  Which Stone decided, on his birthday, will be in Ypsilanti, for the Eastern Michigan Eagles.

LaMonta’s father, LaMonta Senior, like Junior, is in his first year at River Rouge.  Stone won the 1999 Class B state title while the head man for Rouge, then left the year after to coach in the college ranks.  LaMonta held assistant position at three different division one programs, one of which was Eastern Michigan.

“After going to a couple games,” Stone II added, “I like their style of play and the coaching staff.”

“I’ve had a really good relationship with Coach White (Benny) throughout my high school career.”

Stone said he decided on Eastern over U of D Mercy, Bethune-Cookman, and several division one institutions.  Given his short stature, Stone has had to excel in the intangibles necessary to smaller players at high-levels of basketball.  One of which is not quickly instilled into young players, toughness.

“The coaches like my toughness,” Stone also said.   “That’s a major thing to the EMU staff.”

Stone has been the backbone of the Panthers the entire year.  He’s averaged 23 points to go along with seven assists each night.  With his recruiting finished, Stone will now exert his full attention to assisting Rouge capture their 15th state title.

Western Holds On To Defeat Renaissance 65-64 For First PSL Title Since 1922

20 Feb

IMG_0135It happened.  For the first time since the inventions of the television, bubble gum, and microwave, the Detroit Western Cowboys are Detroit Public School League champs.  1922 to be exact.

Western, undefeated and ranked number one in the state, had averaged 67 points in contests prior to facing Detroit Renaissance in the city title game.  Fortunately for Coach McDowell’s Cowboys, the team was able adjust to a different tempo than usual.

“At halftime I told them if we’re going to win it, we’re going to win it with our defense.”

Whether it was exceptional defense or poor offensive performances, both teams struggled to find baskets in the opening half.  Renaissance shot a dismal 8-25 from the field, and Western wasn’t much better at 10-25.

“It’s been like that the last three or four games,” McDowell said after the game.  “We just haven’t shot the ball well.”

Renaissance methodically controlled the game in the first half, limiting turnovers, forcing Western to settle for contested perimeter jump shots, and challenging 6’8″ center Gerald Blackshear at the rim.

The Phoenix led 24-23 at half, despite All-City first team member Justin Turner shooting 1-8 from the floor.  Western decided to rotate through guards Brailen Neely, Kyree Boyton, Josh McFolley, and Kareem Murray to wear down Turner.

Renaissance continued to lead by one entering the fourth.  Western needed a play to shift momentum.  Junior guard Armani Tinsley is as quality a sixth man as there is in the state.  Tinsley scored four straight points in less than a minute to begin the fourth, giving the Cowboys 40-37, a lead the Phoenix would not reclaim the remainder of the fourth.  Tinsley finished with 8 points and five rebounds.

“It’s very deep, our bench is very deep,” said senior point guard Josh McFolley.  “So when one goes down, another comes up, so they come up big.”

Western’s largest lead of the fourth was four points.  The fun didn’t start until 1:17 left on the clock, down three, Justin Turner was called for an offensive foul.  Western started to run down the clock, the Phoenix decided to foul McFolley, not their first choice, with 47 seconds remaining.  McFolley missed, Renaissance quickly out-leted the ball to Turner, he drove and scored, Phoenix down one.  With 18.5 seconds left, junior forward Alaric Jackson stumbled upon a Western blunder, Renaissance ball down one.    Western elected to foul twice, the Cowboys were under the limit with four, just enough.  Not a soul in the gym thought Turner would not get the ball.  Turner did, he missed a contested mid-range jumper, Western ball up one, five seconds left.

“It actually looked good, I was scared, I was nervous,” said Brailen Neely, who finished with a team high 14 points.  “It was in the air, a whole bunch of thoughts went through my mind.”

Gerald Blackshear rebounded it, send him to the line.  Blackshear missed.  Phoenix ball down one 1.8 left.  Freshman Jalen Tobias took the inbound, pivoted, and found senior point guard Daryl Smith.  Smith launched it from 40 feet, the ball struck iron, and fell like a feather to the ground.  Game over.

The Cowboys can take a deep breath, their undefeated record remains intact.

“Of course there’s pressure,” Blackshear referred to following the game surrounding his team.  “Because we’re number one, we lose everybody’s like aww man, but they win it’s like oh my God they won.”

McDowell adds his fourth PSL title to his résumé, his first at Western, the previous three came while the head man for Detroit Redford, now closed.

“It’s an extreme honor to win under McDowell because he expects so much out you,” Neely added.  “When you win you feel you met his expectations.”

The win is special for the aforementioned McFolley and Blackshear.  Both have played together throughout high school, previously at Mt. Clemens, and now Western.  The two are so connected, both decided to commit together and attend U of D Mercy for college.  The same court the championship game was played on.

“We were excited about it,” Gerald said about the opportunity to play on the court where he will continue his career on.  “Ever since we got to the championship, we just kept talking about it.”

McFolley is known for offense, his three point shot is his specialty.  However, he only made one shot the entire night, a three, and two free-throws.  While Gerald is the opposite.  Blackshear contributed seven points, but hauled in 12 rebounds, and deflected two shots.  Just his role on the team.

“Defense wins championship, this a championship, defense won.”

Catholic League, KLAA, And Charter School League Tournament Previews

20 Feb

The tournament before the tournament.  Each late February, conference tournaments serve to decide the champion of a league in a bracket play format before the real state tournament in March. Here are three interesting conference tournaments to end the regular season in Southeast Michigan.

Catholic League (A-B Division)

University of Detroit Jesuit has won the past two conference crowns, and will look for a third on the shoulders of junior floor general Cassius Winston.  The 6’0″ point guard has been the heart of the Cub attack all season, he has provided multiple 30 point plus performances against elite teams from Michigan and surrounding states.  U of D, ranked top ten in the state, only lost one league game on the season, an upset to rival Brother Rice.  The two teams sit on opposite sides of the bracket due to finishing first and second respectively, meaning a potential third meeting would occur at Calihan Hall for the league championship.

The Catholic League incorporates schools from the Double A Division along with the larger Central Division.  Loyola won the league outright with a 6-2 record.  However, the Bulldogs fell short to Pontiac Notre Dame Prep, and were bested by last place Divine Child.  As one of the elite teams in Class C, it is very possible Loyola could make a run for Calihan and force a potential showdown against fellow Jesuit and City of Detroit school U of D.   Guards Demarco Dickerson, Dequan Powell, and Pierre Mitchell are all players to watch for Loyola.

Bishop Foley started the league portion of play 1-2.  However, the Ventures started to play at a high-level once senior guard Antonio Capaldi returned after suffering an injury early in the season.  Behind Capaldi and 6’8″ Gary Perry, Bishop Foley won four out of their last five division games, and could possibly give a Central Division school a quality game.

The same goes for Pontiac Notre Dame Prep, sophomore point guard Tariq Derrickson is an exceptional three-point shooter and creator.  Notre Dame Prep meets Brother Rice in an intriguing first round matchup.

Bracket Order:

U of D Jesuit vs. Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard

Bishop Foley vs. De La Salle

Loyola vs. Orchard Lake St. Mary’s

Pontiac Notre Dame Prep vs. Brother Rice

(C-D) Division

Simply put, this is Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes’ championship to lose.  The Lakers are undefeated, 17-0 overall, and 8-0 in league play.  The pure dominace by Our Lady has been noteworthy thus far, only two Laker wins were decided by single-digits, and the average margin of victory is 19 points.

Bracket Order:

Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes first round bye

Cardinal Mooney vs. Cabrini

Riverview Gabriel Richard vs. Everest Collegiate

Shrine vs. Cristo Rey

KLAA 

The KLAA is unique because the league is two separate conferences, with their own divisions and tournaments, culminating in one association title game.

Kensington Conference

Westland John Glenn won the Kensington last year, and the Rockets figure to be in the discussion again.  Despite a porous non-conference performance, Glenn won seven games in the league, eight entire wins overall.  The South Division had four teams within two games of first place.  Canton won the division with an 8-2 record, with Glenn and Churchill tied for second, 7-3, and Plymouth in fourth with a 6-4 league record.  All four have the rosters to win the Conference outright.

While in the Central Division of the conference, Salem won their second straight division title.  The Rocks raced to a 9-1 league play record, and 13-3 record overall.  Salem relies heavily on ball-movement, defense, and fundamental execution to win games against greater individually talented teams.

Bracket Order:

Salem vs. Plymouth

Northville vs. John Glenn

Novi vs. Livonia Churchill

Livonia Stevenson vs. Canton

Lakes Conference

The Lakes Conference North Division was shared by two Walled Lake schools, Central and Western, both winning on each others’ home court.  A third meeting between the two rivals is possible, unless the normally competitive Grand Blanc Bobcats have something to say.  Grand Blanc won the West Division handily, 8-2 overall.

Grand Blanc vs. Waterford Mott

Pinckney vs. Walled Lake Central

Brighton vs. Lakeland

Howell vs. Walled Lake Western

Charter School League

Talk about parody.  Despite an average 8-6 season record, Detroit Old Redford finished first in the league with a 7-1 record, including wins against Michigan Collegiate, and Chandler Park, both teams with better overall records.  Chandler Park has won the conference tournament the last three years, and the Eagles have the pieces to win it again, such as point guard Calvin Siebert, and football stud Jalen Martin.

Southfield Bradford will contend, the Bulldogs fell short last year in the championship game.  And despite a coaching change, anything but a championship will be a disappointment for Bradford.  Along with University Prep (10-4), and Michigan Collegiate (12-4), the Charter School League is a five team race between Old Redford, Chandler Park, Bradford, Michigan Collegiate, and University Prep.

Bracket Order:

Old Redford vs. Plymouth Education

Michigan Collegiate vs. University Prep

Southfield Bradford vs. Romulus Summit

Chandler Park vs. Dearborn Henry Ford

 

 

Community Senior Point Guard Kyrahl Hunt Carries Hurricanes Past Cornerstone 58-57

18 Feb

IMG_0113Detroit Community senior point guard Kyrahl Hunt did not want to lose.

The 5’10” point guard is listed as the Hurricanes’ shortest player, yet proved he can carry a team if the opportunity arises.

Hunt scored 21 second half points, exactly half of the team’s output, for Community to erase a double-digit deficit and defeat Cornerstone 58-57.

“It was a big win after letting that Hamtramick game slip away,” Hunt said following the game.  “We had to bounce back.”

“I can’t even explain how much I didn’t want to lose.”

The Hurricane offensive performance in the first half was so poor, one Cornerstone player scored the same amount of points as Community’s entire team.  6’5″ sophomore wing Jamal Cain had 16 points and 13 rebounds in the opening half.  Cain was one of the Wolves who did not play in the first meeting on January 6th, a 78-45 Community beat down.

“It’s not always easy to beat the same team twice in one year.” Hunt added.  “We were short handed two starters also.”

Community was down usual starters James Jenkins and Demario Turner, which meant both teams had only eight players to work with.

“Our coach told us we don’t look like a championship team,” Hunt said was Coach Raymone Johnson’s message at half.  “And that we needed to come out and match the other team’s intensity.”

The Community comeback started in the third.  Kyrahl would score seven straight points late in the third to put the Hurricanes  down single digits 45-37 entering the fourth.

Hunt would continue to dominate the fourth, scoring 12 points in the stanza alone.  Community held a brief one point lead with 3:02 remaining.  However, Cornerstone point guard Trey Burton connected on a three, and then senior guard Tyreese Searles completed an and-one to give the Wolves a five point lead with 2:10 left.

Community could’ve easily folded, not on Hunt’s watch.  Kyrahl came down the court, and buried a three to place the Hurricanes down one with 1:10 left.  Searles would draw a foul with the game tied at 56 with 22 second remaining. Searles would make one.  Following a Detroit Community timeout, Kyrahl Hunt received the inbound, took a few dribbles, and found a wide open teammate at the rim from half-court to give Community the 58-57 lead they needed.

Cornerstone had the ball with nine seconds left, and then four seconds after the ball went out of bounds.  Searles drove the ball from the top of the key, got into the lane, found an open teammate, but from no where, Hunt came from the weak side to block what might have been the game winning layup for Cornerstone.

“I read the whole play,” Hunt said about his block.  “And turned out making a big play for my team.”

In an environment which modeled a playoff game, Hunt has a thing or two for when the lights shine bright.

“It was a loud atmosphere.”  “I like when the crowd is loud, it builds up my momentum.”

Hunt finished the game with 25 points, four rebounds, and three steals and assists respectively.  Hunt did most of his work at the free throw line, with 15 out of 19 on the night from the charity stripe.

Jamal Cain led Cornerstone with 23 points and 18 rebounds, however, only seven came in the second half, and three in the fourth quarter.  Searles added 15 points and five assists.

Hunt will take the win, but doesn’t believe this is the formula for Community to be successful when the stakes are higher in March.  The Hurricanes need balance from both their starters and bench players.  Fortunately for Community, the playoffs start in three weeks.

“We have to come together as a team,” Hunt added.  “We haven’t been playing together how we are suppose to.”  “We also need to learn how to execute more.”

 

 

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