Tuesday, December 30, 2008

PREPS TICKER | Roundball Classic | Davison tackles tall order in Roundball Classic win

By Anthony Fenech
Free Press Special Writer

When Davidson forward Cory Goble walked into the gym for pre-game warm-ups, the first thing he noticed was the height and athleticism on the other side.

“I just went up to the team and said, ‘Let’s beat these NBA players,’” said Goble after Davison’s 50-48 victory.

“They’re big and they can jump,” he continued.

“The only thing they didn’t do was play like a team.”

For a team that carries eight seniors that have played together since eighth grade, playing like a team has become second nature.

“These guys have grown up together and cover each other’s backs,” head coach Dick MacLachlan said.

“I knew it was going to be a competition,” he said.

Boys will be boys

“Turn over!” Gary Westside coach John Boyd, Jr. yelled at the guilty Garry Carter.

“It’s 2 a.m.! We have a game tomorrow!”

The senior prankster was under the sheets with the lights out, trying to cover up his antics of only a few minutes earlier.

As the forward tells it, Carter snuck into the hotel room of freshman Taylor Lavery and doused him with a bottle of hotel soap.

“He jumped up and started hollering, and then coach heard us all hollering and he just snapped,” Carter said, laughing.

The late arrival in town following a five-hour bus ride didn’t affect the Mighty Cougars play, as they beat Detroit King 51-47.

“They made me come out of the room and put some people in check,” Boyd, Jr. said.

“But I like when they’re loose as long as they’re disciplined on the court.”

A child shall lead them

There were two differences between Canton Hoover sophomore Nyles Evans and his Vikings teammates on Monday.

First and most noticeably – because of his bean pole stature and baby face – was the fact that he’s the only underclassmen on the team.

Evans, a 5’11”, 160-pound sophomore is considered by his head coach, Randy Montgomery, “One of the best sophomore point guards in Ohio.”

On the court, he carries the demeanor of a calm and cool upperclassman. On his first basket of the night, he let out a yell to get his team going and late in the first half he wouldn’t back down to what he called “Some light trash talking” with a Detroit Consortium senior on the floor.

To Evans, he’s “At least a junior or senior on the floor,” because of his experience starting as a freshman last season.

Evans tallied 14 points in Hoover’s 68-62 loss to Consortium, but had to leave the game with only three minutes left to go from a sprained ankle.

“When he went down, it threw us off,” Montgomery admitted..

Phi Slama Style

Perhaps more interesting than the action on the court between Detroit Cody and Gary Lew Wallace was the action on the sidelines, with the differing coaching styles between Bryant Tipton and Renaldo Thomas, respectively.

And we’re not talking X’s and O’s, but rather shirts, ties, and shoes.

On one end was Tipton, with his gray shirt, olive green tie, dark gray dress pants, and Cody-inspired green and white sneakers.

On the other end was Thomas, showing off a shiny baby blue suit with a white shirt and matching tie, along with black snakeskin boots, split by a baby blue stripe down the middle to top the outfit off.

Tipton says he does it to have some fun.

“I try to get color coordinated with the school,” he said.

“The kids like it and it’s fun.”

Thomas, however, does it with a purpose in mind.

“I’m the best dressed coach in Indiana,” he says after explaining the six-button designer suit he bought in Chicago.

Thomas says he’s always been the best dressed, dating back to his playing days, where he played in two NCAA championship games alongside Hakeem Olajuwon at Houston.

He chuckles at the notion of his players having a better sense of style.

“They need to emulate my style,” he says.

Cody’s Demetrius Ford, however, doesn’t hesitate to say he dresses better than his coach.

“You know I have better style,” Ford says.

“He’s kind of old school.”

Monday, December 29, 2008

O'Brien shows shooting touch in Powers victory

By Anthony Fenech
Free Press Special Writer

Patrick O'Brien has a message for anyone that says big men aren't expected to shoot from the outside: "Everybody has to be able to shoot on the floor."

The Flint Powers junior forward shot 5-for-6 on three-pointers and scored 28 points as the Chargers beat West Bloomfield, 78-66, in Monday's Roundball Classic at Harper Woods Chandler Park Academy.

"It was just one of those days where you know you're feeling it and they just go in," O'Brien said.

With four minutes remaining and the Chargers ahead by seven, O'Brien delivered a near-knockout blow to the Lakers by converting a three-point play on a long-range jumper just inside the top of the key.

West Bloomfield wouldn't go away easily, rattling off seven straight points in just over a minute to cut the deficit to five.

The Chargers never relinquished the lead, however, and put the game out of reach a few moments later when center Rodney Anderson slammed home a two-handed dunk over two Lakers, leaving one of the victims to grimace and shake his head in awe.

Coupled with O'Brien's big perimeter night for Powers was Shane Moreland's 22 points (including four three-pointers), six assists and six steals.
Game results

Detroit Cody 51, Gary (Ind.) Lew Wallace 47: Demetrius Ford had 22 points, eight rebounds and eight steals. Angelo Lewis added 18 points and 10 rebounds. Lew Wallace's Brandon Dawson scored 25 points and grabbed 14 rebounds.

Detroit Consortium 68, Canton (Ohio) Hoover 62:
Desmond Barnes scored 31 points, and Brendalle Smith had nine points, seven rebounds and four blocks -- including one on Hoover's Dan Daugherty with about a minute left.

Davison 50, Milwaukee Vincent 48:
Cory Gobles scored 11 points, including a jumper with 10 seconds left that quelled a comeback bid by Vincent, which trailed by 12 early in the fourth quarter. Davison's Ryan Schultz led the team with 15 points and 12 rebounds. Michael Weems scored 20 for Vincent.

Gary (Ind.) Westside 51, Detroit King 47:
Xavier Jones had 19 points and 11 rebounds and hit six of his eight fourth-quarter free throws to end a comeback bid by King. Anthony Cannon had 16 points and 10 rebounds for King.

Oak Park Academy 53, Chicago Crane 46:
Kalante Miller had 16 points, 10 rebounds and three steals, and Jalen Crawford scored 15 points for Oak Park. Bill Lee had 17 points and collected six rebounds for Crane.

White Lake Lakeland 63, Harper Woods 42: Blake Heiman scored 13 points to lead four Lakeland players in double figures. Brett Burmeister scored 12, and Matt Acitelli and Michael Fugate each added 11. Michael Childs and James Patrick each scored 13 for Harper Woods.

U-M defends GLI title, shells Spartans

By Anthony Fenech
Free Press Special Writer

When Michigan State’s Tim Crowder was sent off for elbowing with only two seconds remaining in the first period, it wasn’t a good sign of things to come for the Spartans.

Deadlocked at one goal apiece in Sunday’s Great Lakes Invitational final against Michigan, the penalty served as a springboard to a Wolverines offensive outburst in the second period.

Shortly after the Spartans killed Crowder’s penalty early in the period, Michigan’s Ben Winnett scored on a brilliantly orchestrated 3-on-2 from Travis Turnbill and Brandon Naurato, pushing the go-ahead and game-winning goal past the stacked pads of Spartans senior goalie Jeff Lerg.

The Wolverines would make themselves at home inside the Michigan State zone for the remainder of the game, outshooting the Spartans 36-5 the rest of the way while adding three more goals en route to defending their title, 5-1.

“We got the momentum and the goals to go with it,” Michigan head coach Red Berenson said about the final two periods.

“Our team was working hard at getting second chances and rebounds.”

Michigan sophomore Louie Caporusso sealed up the tournament MVP award early in the third period with a highlight-reel goal when he broke free, avoided Lerg’s poke check, and lifted a backhand into the top shelf.

“It’s a great feeling,” Caporusso said.

“But any of my teammates could have gotten the MVP, too. It’s the championship that matters.”

Caporusso scored four goals over the weekend and now has 18 on the season, leading the nation.

Senior captain Chris Summers recorded three assists, a career-high, and sophomore Bryan Hogan improved to 11-1-0 on the season.

Michigan became the first GLI team to repeat since Michigan State did so in 1999-2000 and defeated the Spartans in the finals for the first time since 1995.

“It’s great to turn that page in Michigan history and make our mark,” Caporusso said of the feat.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Michigan Tech wins GLI consolation

By Anthony Fenech
Free Press Special Writer

Michigan Tech's Brett Olsen was skating alongside the boards in the congested North Dakota zone late in the third period of a tie game when he heard a familiar voice down the ice.

It was sophomore left winger Jordan Baker.

“Net!” yelled Baker.

Olsen looked, saw an opening and feathered the puck towards the net.

After the puck deflected and dribbled off the right pad and stick of sprawling Fighting Sioux goaltender Brad Eidsness, Baker punched home the deciding goal in Michigan Tech’s 2-1 victory over North Dakota in the Great Lakes Invitational consolation game.

“I wasn’t trying to do anything but throw the puck at the net and try to get a rebound,” the freshman said.

Baker’s goal came with just under six minutes remaining in the third period, but the Huskies had to stave off a late North Dakota power play to secure the victory.

Michigan Tech killed all six penalties they were faced with, including three in the final period.

“Our penalty killing was outstanding, especially in the third,” head coach Jamie Russell said.

“We were much more focused today.”

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Spartans' winless streak ends at 11

By Anthony Fenech
Free Press Special Writer

Down one goal with 42 seconds left in regulation, North Dakota defenseman Chay Genoway found himself in a wide open lane with the puck, directly in front of Michigan State goalie Jeff Lerg.

A few minutes earlier, the Fighting Sioux cut Michigan State’s two-goal lead in half, planting the same seeds of doubt into the Spartans that have plagued their 11-game winless streak.

Genoway unloaded a point-blank slap shot and the senior Lerg turned him away, preserving Michigan State’s 2-1 victory in the Great Lakes Invitational semifinals.

“That was the hardest we’ve fought for a victory this year,” Lerg said afterwards.

“We came out with a lot of energy, hitting and crashing the boards.”

The duo of wingers Matt Schepke and Corey Tropp connected on two goals, both scored by Schepke, a senior, giving him nine goals on the season.

“We had great play out of our upperclassmen today,” Spartans head coach Rick Comley said.

Michigan State will now face off with Michigan in the GLI championship game for the tenth time today at Joe Louis Arena at 6:35. The two teams have split their title contests, with Michigan State winning the past five.

The Spartans are seeking their 12th title and will look to end their three-game losing streak to the Wolverines.

Caporusso's hat trick propels U-M to GLI final

By Anthony Fenech
Free Press Special Writer

Twelve minutes into Saturday’s Great Lakes Invitational opener, the scoreboard at Joe Louis Arena could have read, “Caporusso 3, Michigan Tech 0.”

Michigan sophomore Louie Caporusso opened the scoring three minutes in, didn’t leave the ice until he scored his second and completed his first period natural hat trick on a controversial goal in the Wolverines’ 5-0 victory over Michigan Tech.

“It was probably the most fun period I’ve had in my life,” Caporusso said.

The center’s first two goals came only 19 seconds apart and were assisted by linemate David Wohlberg, whose play Caporusso credited by saying, “He started those first goals.”

Ironically, Wohlberg almost prevented Caporusso’s third goal when he was sent crashing into Huskies goalie Josh Robinson, having to duck in order to avoid the puck, which sailed into the high right corner of the net.

The play was reviewed and upheld, but the nation’s leading goal scorer (17), had doubts while waiting on the bench.

“I thought it was going to get called back,” he said.

“But after [the goal] stood, I said, ‘Hey, it’s my night, I’ll take it.’”

Michigan (12-7) sophomore goalie Bryan Hogan recorded his second shutout of the season, stopping 15 Michigan Tech shots.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Derek Kinney jump-starts Romulus

By Anthony Fenech
Free Press Special Writer

Derek Kinney didn’t waste any time making his presence felt in the Romulus starting lineup.

Kinney, the Eagles 6 foot, 3 inch senior forward, began the Eagles’ MEGA Red opener against Willow Run on a tear, scoring 18 points by the midway point of the second quarter.

He finished with 24 points and seven rebounds in his first starting appearance of the season as the defending league champions defeated Willow Run, 66-50.

“I just blocked everything out and focused,” Kinney said, crediting his consistency in the paint with his fast start.

After splitting the first two games of the year, Romulus coach Nate Oats felt the team needed a boost and inserted Kinney into the starting lineup.

“He’s a tough kid and knows our offense down low,” Oats said.

When asked if Kinney has found a home in the starting lineup, Oats smiled and replied, “I would definitely think so.”

Junior DeAndray Buckley added ten points for the Eagles with a perfect 10-10 night from the foul line.

Romulus (2-1) now takes nine days off before hosting Detroit Finney in the primetime game of the Romulus Holiday Classic on December 27.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The best 50 cents I've spent was on a newspaper

Can you recall the best 50 cents you’ve ever spent?

50 cents? Probably not. But I figured I’d ask anyways.

Well, not to brag or anything, but I can.

It was a sunny and mild late-April morning two years ago, the kind of fraudulent spring day where you know you shouldn’t be wearing only a t-shirt but you do anyways, just to prove to Mother Nature that you can.

I was running a couple of minutes late to my early-morning history class that day, which usually wouldn’t be much of a problem, except I had one of those communist, this-is-the-real-world type teachers.

Alright, maybe communist is a little too harsh. But you get my drift.

You know, the teachers that stop everything and just stare at the helpless, sleep-walking college kids that stumble into the classroom late, as if the other kids with the half-closed, droopy eyelids really care about the point trying to be made.

A couple of minutes turned into a few minutes which turned into a few more minutes and as I pulled into my parking spot at 9:28 – class started at 9:20, don’t ask how I remembered the time – a light bulb turned on in my head:

My article!

The night before, after two long weeks of waiting, I was finally called on to write a prep sports lead story, my first work to find a home in the pages of the Free Press.

Just as quickly as I had pulled in, I reversed out and found the nearest gas station, which wasn’t quite as near as I thought.

I dropped the clerk two quarters, got into my car and scourged the sports section for my article.

Five pages in, there it was. Page 6-D. Top left corner. By Anthony Fenech, Special Writer.

I probably read it a good five times before I left that gas station, and to be perfectly honest, calling it an article would be very generous. It was more like a glorified blurb.

But it didn’t matter to me, not one bit.

I remember my first journalism teacher in college once telling the class, “There’s nothing like seeing your name in print.”

I never fully understood what he meant until that moment.

Which is why yesterday’s news about the two major Detroit newspapers cutting back four days of home-delivered print copies, instead opting for an online version, put another chink into my armored future of becoming a newspaper columnist.

I’m not here to throw numbers around, analyze decisions and ponder what this could mean to the future of print journalism across the country. There’s enough information out there and frankly, I’m not educated enough on the subject to do that.

I’m here to back those gray-paged, ink-filled companions that keep us company at the breakfast table, on the john, and whenever we’re waiting around somewhere with nobody to talk to.

The internet has all but taken the nostalgia away from newspapers, reporting the news faster and quicker, before tomorrow’s paper even hits the press.

But there’s a certain authenticity that still remains about reading the dailies. Whether it be the ink-smeared hands, the newspaper smell, or knowing that the articles you’re reading were keyed away under extreme pressure of deadline, it’s the most genuine form of media out there.

For only 50 cents, you have a day’s worth of reading at your fingertips wherever you go.

Tonight, I am covering a high school basketball game and tomorrow morning, as is tradition, I’ll find a yellow Free Press newsstand and drop in 50 cents, heading straight to the Sports section for my article.

This time though, unlike all of the rest, a small cloud of doubt will creep into the back of my mind, telling me to savor the moment, because one day my trips to the newsstand will be replaced by clicks on a website.

And when that day comes, I’ll think back to the best 50 cents I ever spent, 50 cents that not only cemented my dreams but somehow wiggled my way out of a tardy.

“You’re a half hour late,” my teacher said that day.

I didn’t have a response. But I did have the newspaper in my hand. And I felt pretty cool about that.

He ordered me to sit in the hall.

As I sat there, aimlessly thinking of an excuse that he would buy, throwing the usual traffic jam or car trouble excuses out the window, I saw the newspaper and figured, why not?

“What’s going on here?” he said with the door open just wide enough that kids inside could probably hear.

“Uh … nothing,” I stammered.

“My article is in this newspaper so I drove around looking to find it.”

“Show it to me,” he said, assured that I was making stuff up.

So I did. And he motioned to get inside the class. I spent the next hour wondering if I would get that paper back.

Well, I did. And then spent an uncomfortable ten minutes with him talking about printing presses and five-cent newspapers and about how he used to deliver the paper in the brittle cold.

There’s nothing like seeing your name in print.

Unless, of course, you’re late for class. Then there’s really nothing like seeing your name in print.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Men's track looks for youth to step up during indoor season

Issue date: 12/5/08

By Anthony Fenech
Staff Reporter

Coach Jim Knapp has a very young indoor team as he enters his 24th season at the helm of the CMU men's track program.

However, Knapp expects his team to finish in the at the top of the MAC this year despite 34 of his 45 athletes are freshmen or sophomores.

"Our strength is in our younger people," Knapp said. "They're not quite as young as they were (last year)."

Last spring's outdoor team placed fifth at the Mid-American Conference championships, which Knapp believes will bode well for the upcoming indoor season.

"We responded very well towards the end of the outdoor season and that's usually good," Knapp said.

With all of the team's youth, the Chippewas bring back two near-Olympians in fifth-year senior and Abraham Mach and junior Greg Pilling.

Mach is a fifth-year senior attending graduate school and won the past three 800-meter MAC Championships.

"I'm so excited," Mach said. "Now I know what it takes to win and we definitely have a shot."

Pilling sat out last season to train for last year's Canadian Olympic Trials in Windsor, Ontario, where he finished with a bronze medal in the discus with a throw of 177 feet, 1 inch. He also finished ninth in the hammer throw.

But Knapp believes the younger athletes must step up if the team is going to have success.

"We know if we're going to do anything as a team, we're going to need every person to step up," he said.

Knapp said the team should be strong in the throwing events, but is looking for someone to step up in the long jump and triple jump events.

Returning in the jumping events is Oz Lifshitz, a sophomore from Rishon Lezion, Israel, who earned All-MAC honors last year as a freshman.

The team also is looking to avoid injuries as the season progresses.

"Last year we had a lot of injuries," said senior distance runner Sean Anthony. "But we have a lot more depth this year. And that will help us in the MAC Championship meet."

The Chippewas start training when school begins and run until June.

"We're as strong and flexible as possible," Knapp said.

The team opens its season today in East Lansing for the Michigan State Open. According to Knapp, no distance runners will go to rest from the cross country season, and the team will treat it like a scrimmage.

"We're just anxious to get going," he said.

The team's schedule continues on Jan. 9, when the team hosts the Chippewa Open.

The team also will host The Jack Skoog Open on Feb. 20 and Eastern Michigan on April 4 during the outdoor season