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)

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