Friday, December 31, 2010

Roundball Classic: Saginaw too much for Cass Tech, 66-47


From the time its bigger, stronger, black-and-yellow clad opponents took the floor warming up to rap artist Wiz Khalifa's signature song "Black and Yellow" on Thursday evening, Detroit Cass Tech was on the outside looking in.

And from the time the ball was tipped minutes later, Saginaw High was on the outside thinking win.

The Trojans used a handful of early three-pointers to pound Cass Tech from the perimeter and set an early tone in its 66-47 Roundball Classic victory at Birmingham Detroit Country Day.

"We weren't just open," said Saginaw coach Lou Dawkins. "We've been practicing that kind of stuff and working on it lately."

Sophomore guard Dominique Jackson hit one. Junior guard Neidermeirer Ware hit another. Senior forward Travion Babers hit one, Jackson nailed yet another and quickly, the Technicians were out of reach.

"I thought my game was going to be inside," admitted Jackson afterward. "I was just shooting and it came to me."

Saginaw led by 15 at the half, prevented Cass Tech from getting closer than 12 points the rest of the way, and ran away with a 19-point victory.

"They're a very good team," said Technicians head coach David Dixon. "We're a very young team and there's a lot of experience we gained from playing on the big stage with them."

Senior center Tommie McCune was awarded game MVP honors with 12 points, eight rebounds, two steals and two blocks. Senior Marquavis Ford led the Trojans with 15 points and six assists. Babers and Jackson added 10 points each.

Senior Kris Fulwood-Davis led Cass Tech with 12 points.

HOME WRECKED: Chicago Orr senior guard Mycheal Henry didn't just try to beat his man. He tried to beat everybody.

"I just tried to get to the bucket a lot," he said after a 42-point, 13-rebound performance for the Spartans in a 71-67 overtime victory over Detroit Country Day. "I tried to go through everybody."

The Illinois-bound Henry's steal with 5 seconds left in the extra period secured the game for Orr, and his lay-up as time expired put an exclamation point on the win.

"We just weren't able to contain him at all," said Country Day coach Kurt Keener. "We knew that they had a great player and he was really just able to take over the game."

Amir Williams scored 19 points and added 11 rebounds for the Yellow Jackets.

DIGGING IN: It took nearly three full quarters, but Detroit Consortium finally decided to play defense.

"We had to dig in," said junior guard Deonte Smith. "We had to dig deep inside to play harder and defend."

The Cougars dug in, and then dug out of a double-digit fourth-quarter deficit to defeat Benton Harbor, 62-58.

"Defense won that ballgame," said Cougars coach Al Anderson. "We got some turnovers, knocked down a couple of shots and showed a lot of grit getting back into the game."

Smith took home game MVP honors with 20 points and five assists.

"We showed up not playing hard," he said. "But we got that out of our system and dug deep."

HOOP DREAMS: Benton Harbor players are reminded of a dream every time they put on their jerseys.

Embroidered high on the back are the initials of Wilson Chandler, a Tigers alum, former Mr. Basketball (2005) and current New York Knicks small forward.

"It certainly gives them a boost," said Tigers head coach Marcus Muhammad. "They know that an alumnus went to college, is playing professionally and that it can be right in front of them."

Chandler donated the jerseys to the school and remains in close contact with Muhammad.

"We're grateful that he's given back to the program," he said.

BRIGHT FUTURE: Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo was on hand to watch two of his commitments from the 2011 class go head-to-head.

Brandan Kearney and Detroit Southeastern got the best of Brandon Dawson and Gary (Ind.) Lew Wallace, 72-42.

Kearney took home game MVP honors with 18 points, five rebounds and six assists. His counterpart Dawson recorded a double-double of 28 points and 11 rebounds, and heard his fair share of good-natured trash talk from his future teammate.

"We were competing and having some fun out there," said Kearney. "Having Coach Izzo there made us play extra harder."

Farmington Hills Harrison 45, Detroit Communication and Media Arts 26: Senior guard Carlos Eubanks scored 11 points, recorded six rebounds and added three steals for Harrison. Junior forward Davonta Gilmore recorded a double-double of 10 points and 12 rebounds for CMA.

Harper Woods Chandler Park Academy 75, Detroit Community 65: Sophomore guard Derrick Walton scored 26 points, leading Chandler Park to victory. "We jumped out on them quick and our defense took it from there," he said. Senior forward Jaylen Floyd scored 11 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for Community.

North Farmington 61, Dearborn Heights Robichaud 47: Senior Urbane Bingham led all scorers with 24 points, adding 12 rebounds, and junior guard Dorrell Foster scored 13 points for the Raiders. Junior Khalig Spicer scored eight points for Robichaud.

Detroit Pershing 69, Jackson 68: Shaerron Walker scored 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for Pershing (2-3).

More boys basketball

Birmingham Brother Rice 70, Madison Heights Bishop Foley 53: Joey Alessi scored 21 points for Brother Rice (4-2) in the Venture Classic at Bishop Foley High School. Denzel Palm scored 13 points and Drew Holinski added 12. Jordan Walker scored a game high 24 points for Bishop Foley (3-1). Clinton Township Chippewa Valley 47, Roseville 46: Steve Menrath hit the game-tying and game-winning free throws with 12.8 seconds remaining for Chippewa Valley (3-0). Traye Williams scored 21 for Roseville (1-3).

Detroit Loyola 61, Highland Park 22: In the Loyola Christmas Classic, Montel Cooks scored 22 points for Loyola (4-1). Devonte Jones scored 13 points and Justin King added 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Farmington Hills Harrison 45, Detroit Communication & Media Arts 26: Carlos Eubanks scored 11 points for Harrison (3-2). Devonta Gilmore scored 10 points for CMA (2-2).

North Branch 58, Brown City 42: John LaFavor scored 21 points for North Branch (1-5) in the Harry C. Moore Classic Basketball Tournament at North Branch High School.

Richmond 57, Warren Michigan Collegiate 52: Nick Manchikc scored 24 points for Richmond (5-0) and Mario Yamaino added 13. Tre Craighead scored 13 points for Collegiate (2-3) and Cameron Williams added 12.

Girls basketball

Belleville 59, Niles Brandywine 45: Jessica Whaley-Green scored 29 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for Belleville (4-2) in the Motor City Roundball Classic. Karlie Newman scored 23 points for Brandywine (6-1).

Chicago Whitney Young 67, Detroit Renaissance 36: Chanise Jenkins scored 13 points for Whitney Young (9-2) in the Motor City Roundball Classic. Arrice Bryant scored 10 points and grabbed 17 rebounds for Renaissance (4-3).

Detroit Consortium 49, Kalamazoo Central 29: Infiniti Maxwell scored 18 points and grabbed 17 rebounds for Consortium (6-1) in the Motor City Roundball Classic. Kandice Johnson scored 20 points for Central (3-3).

Inkster 56, Pewamo-Westphalia 17: Janae Jackson scored 19 points for Inkster (6-0) in the Motor City Roundball Classic.

Niles 55, Detroit Mumford 50: Nichole Sly scored 17 points for Niles (5-3) in the Motor City Roundball Classic. Raven Bankston scored 29 points for Mumford (6-1).

West Bloomfield 55, Rochester 39: Sydni Davis scored 16 points for West Bloomfield (6-1) in the Falcon Classic at Rochester High School. Jailynn Hamilton added 13 points and 13 rebounds and Ashley Zeigler scored 12 points.

Westland John Glenn 57, Southfield-Lathrup 49: Erica Covile scored 22 points for John Glenn (5-0) in the Motor City Roundball Classic and Kairi Barnes added 15.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Tillman's late free throws lift Auburn Hills Avondale


Ray Tillman had no doubt.

Wednesday afternoon, with just under 2 seconds remaining in a tie game against Flint Northwestern, the Auburn Hills Avondale senior point guard stood at the free-throw line with the ball in his hands and the game on the line.

"My team needed me and I had to knock them down," he said. "I had to know I was going to make them."

Tillman made both free throws to give Avondale a 61-59 boys basketball win over the Wildcats in Wednesday's Motor City Roundball Classic at Birmingham Detroit Country Day.

"We came out here trying to make a statement today," Tillman said.

The senior led the Yellow Jackets with 24 points, added four assists and captured his second game MVP award in as many years.

Avondale opened the game on a seven-point run, took a two-point lead into the half and didn't surrender the lead until Northwestern's Jaylen Magee hit a three-pointer early in the third quarter.

The teams traded baskets throughout the fourth, with Tillman's free throws securing the victory after a Wildcats full-court heave fell short.

"This is an extremely big win," said Yellow Jackets head coach Tim Morton. "That's a Top 10 team in the state right there. It's a huge confidence builder."

STYLING: Avondale point guard D.J. Ratcliff electrified the Country Day gym late in the first half with a pretty fake on the fastbreak.

Joined by a teammate on a 2-on-1, Ratcliff faked a dump-off before laying the ball in with the same hand, during the same motion.

"It was something I've been doing since I was little," he said. "We needed a bucket and I knew he was going to bite if I faked it."

And on the court, Ratcliff wears two socks on each foot, one always higher than the other.

"It's my thing," he said. "It looks better and feels better."

HOME ON ROAD: Helped by a strong fan contingence in the stands, Petoskey hung on to defeat Detroit Southwestern, 60-52.

"We talk about not relying on outside influences to create energy," Norsemen head coach Dennis Starkey said. "But it certainly helps when you get this kind of support."

Senior forward Cory Starkey led all scorers with a double-double of 20 points and 17 rebounds, and game MVP Nick Manzer scored 17 points with nine boards.

Joining the cheerful crowd was a Petoskey radio station, broadcasting the game 250 miles north.

"You'd be surprised how many people listen to the broadcasts," Starkey said. "People are excited to watch this team play."

HARRISON WINS: Sparked by an offensive explosion in the second quarter, Farmington Hills Harrison rolled to a 54-41 defeat of Detroit Northwestern.

Senior guard Ray Hall scored 14 points and added seven rebounds and seven assists, and teammate Carlos Eubanks scored 11 points with five rebounds and five steals for Harrison.

Junior guard Jimul Haile scored a game-high 18 points for Western.

GOOD START: Goodrich head coach Gary Barns wanted to attack.

"I told the team that I wanted to deliver the first hit," he said. "That we were going to be on our toes and not on our heels and we were going to attack."

And the Martians did attack, taking a double-digit lead just minutes into its contest against Detroit Kettering, never giving that lead back and holding on for a 58-55 win.

"We had to prove to them that we could play," Barns said. "After that, we had their attention."

But Kettering couldn't play catch up and a missed three-pointer as time expired sealed its fate.

Senior center Trevor Lucas recorded 15 points and 12 rebounds for Goodrich's first Roundball Classic victory in three years of participating.

SLAMMED SHUT: Luther Page just did what his coach told him to.

"He always told me if a guy has the ball up, swarm him and take the ball from him," the Ann Arbor Richard senior center said.

And with just under a minute left to play in overtime, Inkster point guard Davonte Carter had the ball up. With the Irish ahead by three, Page wrestled the ball out of Carter's hands, marched down the court and slammed home a 66-61 victory for Richard.

"It was like the icing on the cake," Page said.

He finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Teammate Kamari Evans led the game with 18 points and forward Darren Washington recorded eight blocks.

More boys basketball

Detroit Pershing 69, Jackson 68: Sophomore guard Khalil Felder was fouled as time expired in regulation and hit a free throw for the win.

Gary (Ind.) Lew Wallace 71, Detroit Cody 66: Brandon Boston scored 27 points for Lew Wallace. Zedric Sadler had 32 points and 10 rebounds for Cody (4-2). Daniel Gladney added 10 points and eight assists.

Detroit Crockett 75, Davison 48 Markese Allen had 16 points and Lloyd Neely added 15 points and 10 rebounds for Croxckett (4-1). Branden Hendershot scored 14 for Davison (2-3).

Girls basketball

Madison Heights Bishop Foley 48, Rochester Adams 44: In the final of the Bishop Foley Christmas Tournament Jackie Bieniewicz scored 16 points and Megan VanFleteren added 12 points and 12 rebonds for Foley (6-0). Jessica Lang scored 12 points for Adams (3-3)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Inkster rolls past Renaissance at PSL Hoops Classic


Inkster head coach Peggy Carr reminded her team.

"Remember that feeling in the locker room last year," she told the Lady Vikings after each practice leading up to their Monday afternoon showdown against Detroit Renaissance.

"You don't want to feel that way again."

And after her team defeated Detroit Renaissance, 48-39, in the Detroit Public School League Holiday Hoops Classic at Cass Tech, the Lady Vikings didn't feel that way again, like they had a year earlier, with heads buried and tears bursting after a regular-season loss to the Phoenix.

"It was revenge," said Lady Vikings forward Crystal Bradford. "But it's a big win because we don't like to lose to teams two years in a row."

The senior came off the bench in the second quarter to spark an eight-point run that gave the Lady Vikings a four-point lead at the half, a lead Inkster would never relinquish.

"As usual, she gave us a big boost off the bench," Carr said.

Bradford finished with 11 points and Renaissance senior Asia Boyd led all scorers with 21 points.

FRIEND OR FOE: Boyd's game-high 21 points were no surprise to Bradford.

"That's my best friend," she said. "I know how she plays and she's real aggressive but she wasn't going to push me around."

The two met through organized basketball in their early teens, and have kept in close contact since.

"It's disappointing," Boyd said of the loss. "We're really good friends but on the court, it gets kind of serious."

They have played against each other for years, never on the same team, and now, Bradford admitted, "It's about even."

HANG TEN: Detroit Central seniors Lakia Clark and Charity Cole each scored 10 points in the fourth quarter as the Trail Blazers erased a late deficit and finished strong in a 55-51 victory over Detroit Northwestern.

Trailing by eight points entering the fourth quarter, Central nearly equaled its point total of the first three quarters - 29 - with a 26-point explosion in the fourth.

Clark was the game's high scorer with 22 points, and Cole added 15 for the Trail Blazers. Senior Karena Otto scored 21 for Northwestern.

WORKING OVERTIME: After playing to a tie through regulation and overtime, Detroit Pershing's Caprice Dennis knocked down a jump shot with 28 seconds left in the second overtime to give the Doughgirls a 67-64 victory over Southfield-Lathrup.

Dennis, a junior, made a free throw with just 6 seconds left in the first overtime to tie and extend the game. She finished with a game-high 21 points.

"We played smart," said Pershing head coach Shawn Hill. "This was big for us mentally, we gave up the lead but kept on fighting."

The Chargers erased a double-digit second half lead but couldn't hang on for the victory. Junior Amber McCann scored 20 points for Lathrup.

NEXT LEVEL: Two Mid-American Conference coaches were in attendance and sat courtside Monday, and both lauded the competition on display.

"You can't beat it," said third-year Akron assistant Matt Ruffing. "To get up here and see this much talent in a three-day span is unbelievable."

Alongside Ruffing was Central Michigan head coach Sue Guevara, who has been recruiting the Detroit area since 1986.

"There are always great basketball players in this city," she said. "And there are always coaches from across the country that come here to recruit."

SECOND CHANCE: Detroit Northwestern senior Brandon Moses made his mark in just his second game since returning to the team after an early season suspension.

Moses scored 35 points in the Colts' 72-65 victory over Detroit Central, propelling Northwestern to victory after scoring 20 of those points in the third quarter.

"He's a terrific player," said Colts head coach Sayligmon Staten. "He helped us a lot and took a lot of pressure off our shoulders."

Other scores

Detroit Finney 46, Communication and Media Arts 43.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Chippewas knock off Ole Miss in McGuirk Arena debut

By Anthony Fenech, Senior Reporter || December 18, 2010

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. – It was, as the clock dwindled on a second half scoreboard showing a sizable Chippewas lead, long overdue and worth the wait.

It was, with a double-digit lead and only minutes remaining, the Central Michigan women’s basketball team, cruising to victory in their first home game of the season, the first in nine months and the first on the floor of McGuirk Arena.

And then, when senior forward Kaihla Szunko stole the ball from her Ole Miss counterpart Tori Slusher with just under four minutes to play in Saturday afternoon’s 16-point Chippewas victory, it was historic.

“On the bench I found out,” she said. “One of our girls said, ‘Get a steal for me!’ and I’m like, ‘OK, I guess.”

She got the steal, retired to the bench and then found out that her 21-point, 16-rebound, 10-steal performance marked the second triple-double in the program’s history, and the second of the young season in a Chippewas 82-66 victory over the Rebels.

“It was because my teammates helped me out,” Szunko continued. “I didn’t do it by myself. It’s a credit to them.”

The senior led the team with 21 points on 10-of-15 shooting from the field and collected 10 offensive rebounds in the first win in as many tries at McGuirk Arena.

“Woo-hoo!” exclaimed a relieved head coach Sue Guevara after the game. “We’ve been wanting to get here, to play, and to show everyone how we’ve been playing.”

“It was nice to be home,” she said. “And really nice to see everybody in the stands and to hear people.”

The home game was CMU’s first since March 8 of last year. The Chippewas opened the regular season with a 6-3 record on the road.

Struggling to rebound early and trailing the Rebels, Guevara called an early timeout to settle her team and the Chippewas responded by taking the lead midway through the first half and never relinquishing it.

“I was a little concerned that we were going to be too hyped to start the game,” she said. “I thought we settled down and just started attacking.”

And in a reserve role, sophomore guard Jalisa Olive attacked Ole Miss from the outside, scoring 17 points, largely on 5-of-9 shooting from behind the arc. She added three assists.

“She’s done a great job of understanding her role,” Guevara said. “When she comes off the bench, she’s fast with the ball.”

After an eight-point CMU run near the halfway mark of the second half, capped by a Shonda Long 3-pointer, the Rebels were unable to get within double-digits.

Long, a senior guard, was sidelined with foul trouble in the first half but returned to score 14 points in the second half, for 16 total on the game on 5-of-12 shooting.

The Chippewas defense forced 30 Ole Miss turnovers and recorded two more offensive rebounds than defensive, for 40 total.

“It’s great that we started at home with a win,” Guevara said. “We won two championships on the road, it would be nice to win one here.”

Monday, December 13, 2010

Blog: Giants pound Vikings at Ford Field

By Anthony Fenech
Free Press Special Writer

Free Press special writer Anthony Fenech is live-blogging today's Giants-Vikings game. Unfortunately, due to NFL rules, Anthony couldn't make it to Ford Field, so he'll be bringing you his thoughts off of Fox 2's telecast.

Feel free to discuss the game with Anthony in the chat below. For those of you on our mobile site, we will post periodic game updates below the chat.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Blog: Lions hold off Packers

By Anthony Fenech
Free Press Special Writer

Free Press special writer Anthony Fenech is live-blogging today's Packers-Lions game. Unfortunately, due to NFL rules, Anthony couldn't make it to Ford Field, so he'll be bringing you his thoughts off of Fox 2's telecast.

Feel free to discuss the game with Anthony in the chat below. For those of you on our mobile site, we will post periodic game updates below the chat.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Rowdy crowd, Jalin Thomas keeps Chippewas in game for first half

By Anthony Fenech, Senior Reporter || December 3, 2010

The ball left his hand, not unlike the hundreds of times it left his hand before, from the left wing just beyond the three-point arc.

It left his hand, not unlike the previous 72 three-point attempts in Jalin Thomas’ Central Michigan career, and found the basket, not unlike his previous 23 three-point field goals as a Chippewa.

It was midway through the second half of Wednesday’s McGuirk Arena-opening game against Temple, and Thomas’ sixth triple of the game had just given the Chippewas a four-point lead in front of a sold-out home crowd and its raucous Rowdies.

The senior forward backpedaled across half-court, not unlike a countless number of times before, and threw his hands in the air – up-and-down, up-and-down – urging a pulsating population to get up and keep it up.

It was an emotion unlike anything he’s experienced before.

“I’ve never played in an arena like that,” he said afterwards, after the four-point lead disappeared, after a four-point deficit appeared, and after the crazy crowd had quieted and filed out of the first basketball game played at McGuirk Arena, a 65-53 defeat to the Owls.

“It was great,” he continued. “Just having all the fans there supporting us, I loved it. The new arena is great and it’s real noisy.”

And Thomas did his best to deliver the fans a housewarming win, scoring a game-high 26 points on 9-of-15 shooting from the floor and connecting on six of eight three-pointers.

“I think it affected the tempo at first,” Thomas said, “We came out and gave them a good run, it’s just disappointing that we weren’t able to finish it off.”

But despite the game’s outcome, the 5,350 in attendance came out, gave it a good run and finished it off as students in two sections stood until the final buzzer, creating a gameday atmosphere that head coach Ernie Zeigler described in one word.

“Electric,” he said. “It was electric. It was something to be a part of.”

It was something, the fifth-year head coach said, that he saw only once before on the Chippewas sidelines, when last year, a senior-laden team departed with an emotional Senior Day win against Western Michigan in the final game at Rose Arena.

“That was probably the only other thing that compares,” he said.

After a ribbon-cutting ceremony, the inaugural game began off the court with a light-cutting introduction that included spotlights, smoke and a student section serenade of “Who Cares” for the five Temple starters.

And on the court, the game began went off without a hitch as the Chippewas stormed to a seven-point lead just two minutes in and took an eight-point lead into the break.

“I think so,” Zeigler said about the team feeding off the crowd energy early on, “We just weren’t able to sustain it.”

“When we were going well in the first half, even early there in the second,” he said, “There was electricity there.”

But the electricity is something Zeigler hopes to sustain over the duration of the regular season, beginning with a Jan. 9 game against Toledo.

“Hopefully we can make a plea to our student section,” he said, “To come out in the same fashion when they come back for the second semester.”