Wednesday, December 31, 2008

HOOPS: Beecher vs. Flint Northwestern

**Chris Campbell was a monster against Beecher**
**Janero Walker pulls up for two of his 17 points**
**Travon Mitchell skies for a third quarter dunk**
**Taron Boose gets fouled while shooting**

FLINT- Flint Northwestern and Beecher met up for the feature game in the second day of the Flint Coca-Cola Holiday Classic Tuesday at Flint Central. Despite playing without leading scorer DeAndre Upchurch, Northwestern used a 17-0 run to start the second half to pull away for a 66-48 win.

Northwestern's Chris Campbell controlled the paint and kept the momentum in the Wildcats hands for a majority of the first half. However Beecher's Janero Walker kept his Bucs close as Beecher only trailed 32-29 at the half.

Even though the Bucs were fighting to just stay close in the first half, I was not expecting Northwestern to start the second half they way they did, while Campbell was dropping bunnies in the paint, guards Chatavius Turner and Travon Mitchell were getting baskets in transition. Walkers basket with 2:30 to go in the third stopped the run but the damage had already been done as Northwestern held a 49-31 lead.

But Beecher never threw the towel in and a 3-pointer from Walker cut the lead to 9 points midway through the fourth quarter but that would be as close as Beecher would get.

BREAKDOWN: Northwestern showed up big despite not having Upchurch, Eric Lundy (broken nose) or Walter Trouser for most of the game as Trouser was fighting a back injury. The Wildcats were also without head coach Dave Bush who was out of town due to a family matter but assistant coach Lamont Tolbert stepped up in his place and did a fine job.

Beecher is young and will still be a team to reckon with come March despite a 2-4 record to start the season. What you got to remember is Beecher is a class C team and they play a majority of class A teams all season. Coach Mike Williams has only 1 senior on the team and a handful of talented freshman and sophomore who are still in their learning stage.

PLAYER OF GAME: Chris Campbell, N.W.- finished with 18 points, 15 rebounds, and 3 blocks as Beecher had no answer for the physical power forward. Campbell was a beast on the glass and I actually thought he finished with more than 15 boards.


Chatavius Turner, NW- is usually the third guard option for the Wildcats but he stepped up big for his team as he racked up 16 points and was even better running the point and not turning the ball over.

Jalen Magee, NW- the sophomore was moved up from the JV team and has always had a reputation as a pure scorer and he showed it in a five minute stretch in the 2nd quarter when he scored 9 points- two 3-pointers and a "and 1" play.

Janero Walker, Bucs- the Buc captain is a true floor general but he is also carrying the scoring load for his team, which is something new for the pass first point guard. Walker finished with 17 points and 6 assist.

Taron Boose, Bucs-
Boose did some nice things despite struggling to get shots to fall on this night. He does know how to get to the free throw line and that helped him get to 12 points to go with 8 rebounds.

Javonte Hawkins, Bucs-
the 6-4 freshman guard can play. He has a nice stroke from deep and isn't afraid to let it fly. If he continues to work and develop he will be a good one from the class of 2012.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

GIRLS HOOPS: Arthur Hill vs. Flint Northern

**Corie Buchanan looks to drop an assist** ** Kiah Douglas finds an easy bucket**
**Chaniese Turner chases down a lose ball**
**Juanita Cochran pulls up for two**

Flint- the S.V.L. title picture became a little clearer last night as Arthur Hill was able to rally back and take a 55-44 decision over Flint Northern in a league game at the Coca-Cola Holiday Classic hosted by Flint Central. Both Northern and the Hill entered the season as my favorites to win the conference crown along with Midland Dow.

Arthur Hill used two fastbreak lay-ups from Kiah Douglas to spark a 6-0 run and take a early 11-4 lead. Northern got consecutive baskets from Chaniese Turner and Latosha Beasley to cut the lead to 11-10 heading into the second quarter. In the second quarter Turner found her groove and swung the momentum back into Northern's favor. Turners' 3-pointer gave the Lady Vikings a 22-21 halftime lead.

The third quarter belonged to Turner and her Viking teammates as Northern took a 37-27 lead with 2:38 to go in the third quarter. But slowly Arthur Hill fought their way back into the contest.

But while Turner owned the third quarter it was Arthur Hill's Corie Buchanan who took over the fourth quarter. The junior's steal and lay in tied the game at 42-42 and senior center, Juanita Cochran, connected on a pair of free throws to give the Lumberjacks a 44-42 lead, their first of the second half. Buchanan continued to do her thing as she made 3 baskets on a Arthur Hill 10-0 run take a 54-42 lead to put Northern away.

BREAKDOWN: this game came down to coach's adjustments in the second half. Coming out of halftime Northern switched to a 1-3-1 zone and Saginaw just couldn't get any high percentage shots off, allowing Northern to take a 10 point lead. In the fourth quarter the Hill switched to an aggressive 2-3 trap and Northern just couldn't handle the pressure, careless turnovers allowed Buchanan and Douglas to get out in transition to go on the big run in the end.

PLAYER OF GAME: Juanita Cochran, Hill- dominated Northern inside, Northern was forced to keep two bodies on the 6-2 center and that opened up scoring chances for the rest of the Lumberjacks. Cochran knew this and chose to pass the ball instead of forcing shots. Cochran seems to have a better understanding of the game and her position which led to 13 points, 16 rebounds, 4 blocks, and 3 assist.


Corie Buchanan, Hill- took home the tourney MVP plaque and continues to make her case as one of the state's top juniors. She dominated the fourth quarter after being a ball distributor for the first three quarters, she showed great court vision and was right on target with some nifty no-look passes. Finished with 14 points, 4 steals, and 5 assist.

Kiah Douglas, Hill- led the Jacks with 16 points and 9 steals. Continues to out hustle any opponent she matches up against.

Chaniese Turner, Northern- Turner played a strong game even though she just couldn't get shots to fall. She still led her team with 13 points and was the only Northern player to not register a turnover.

Latosha Beasley, Northern- had her hands full against Cochran but she was smart enough to try and take Cochran off the dribble which led to Cochran getting into foul trouble. Beasley registered a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds.

Kierra Bell, Northern- I'm not sure what's going on with Bell right now because she just hasn't played like herself, she hasn't been as aggressive and she seems to just be going through the motions right now. Northern needs Bell to be successful.

Monday, December 29, 2008

GIRLS HOOPS: Benton Harbor vs. Det. Community

**Community's Crystal Bradford**
**Benton Harbor's Destiny Williams**

Harper Woods- It was one of the most pubbed girls games to take place in a long time in Michigan. Benton Harbor features Miss Basketball favorite- Destiny Williams, who is a top 10 player in the country and ESPN even has her ranked #1. On the other side was Detroit Community who is arguably the best "team" in Michigan, along with Country Day.

But even with all the hype, the game got out of control as Community rolled to a 62-44 win. Williams was doing her thing early and kept Benton Harbor close as Community led 14-12 after one quarter.

In the second quarter Community went on a tear and built a 15 point lead. Williams then picked up her fourth foul with 4:30 to go in the quarter but was left in because it was the only way her Tigers could keep pace with the speedy Community team.

In the third quarter Benton Harbor cut the lead to 10 points at 32-22 but then Williams picked up her fifth foul on what looked to be a clean block. From there it was all Community, as the Hurricanes lead 46-28 after three quarters.

Well, Williams is the real deal but from a team aspect they are far from being the #1 team in class A, that's where the AP has them. I understand her team needed her but it was crazy to see her playing with 4 fouls in the second quarter.
As far as Community goes- I just can't wait to see them play Country Day. It is going to be a battle. Nya Jordan and Crystal Bradford are ballers!

PLAYER OF GAME: Nya Jordan, Community: the Michigan commit is undersized for being a forward but she gets the job done. She was able to get Williams in foul trouble and led her team with 19 points and 7 rebounds.


Crystal Bradford, Community-
Jordan got the MVP because she was more consistent for all four quarters but Bradford dominated the third quarter and is a special, special player. The sophomore is also ranked top 10 in the country for her class.

Destiny Williams, BH- foul trouble limited her way below her averages, finished with 10 points and 7 boards. But she is the best senior in Michigan and should still win Miss. Basketball.

HOOPS: Saginaw vs. Det. Southeastern

**Willie Gholston slams home 2 points**
**Greg Hayes pulls up for infront of Carlos Carter****
**Both teams fought hard for every loose ball**

Harper Woods- The Saginaw High/ Detroit Southeastern match-up was the late game Saturday night at Harper Woods and I'm stressing the word "late", especially since both teams took the floor with white Jerseys, forcing an even later tip off since Southeastern had to go back home and get their dark jerseys.

But the fans who stuck around were given a show from two very talented teams! In the end the Jungaleers with stood a handful of Trojan rallies to escape with a 65-61 win.

Southeastern took an early 10-0 lead before Mike Green hit two long shots to cut the lead to 10-5. But then sophomore phenom Brandan Kearney hit a pair of 3-pointers from each corner to build the lead back to double digits at 15-5. In the second quarter, five straight points from Green tied the game at 25-25. Southeastern again responded with a 9-0 run to go up 37-26 at halftime, the run featured a two handed slam from Willie Gholston.

In the second half the Trojans picked up the full court pressure, and forced turnovers kept the score close. Another reason Saginaw was able to stay close was the play of Greg Hayes in the second half. The junior speedster torched Southeastern and connected on two "and 1" plays as well as a short jumper to make the score 51-50 early in the fourth quarter.

However midway through the fourth quarter Hayes was knocked out of the game needing 9 stitches and Saginaw's super sophomore Tommie McCune fouled out. Saginaw refused to give up and a basket from DeAnthony Arnette made the score 61-59 with 1:37 to play. Southeastern wasn't going to let this game slip away and a Kearney free throw along with a huge offensive rebound and tip back from Percy Gibson secured the win for the Jungaleers.

BREAKDOWN: this gave was fast pace and very intense, there were bodies diving all over the place. The coaches were playing chess as they both tried to get an advantage, Saginaw tried to play small ball with their full court press while S.E. wanted to use their bigs as an advantage in the half court game. Saginaw's press causes big problems but late in the game S.E. put the ball in Kearney's hands and he took care of it.

PLAYER OF GAME: Brandan Kearney, S.E.- teammate Kimani Boyton took home the MVP award for leading the team in points but if you know basketball it was Kearney's ability to take care of the ball that sealed the win. Saginaw brought the pressure and Kearney was cooler than the other side of the pillow while handling the press.


Kimani Boyton, S.E.- is starting to turn into a scoring machine, had a team high 22 points to go with 10 boards.

Willie Gholston, S.E.- one of the nation's top football prospects gave Saginaw problems inside with his physical play. He added 10 points and 6 rebounds but stats don't show how big of a role he played in the win.

Mike Green, Saginaw- Green continues to perform on a high level and has now thrown his name in the top echelon for the Mr. Basketball award. He had team highs of 22 points and 7 rebounds.

Greg Hayes, Saginaw- Hayes was spectacular in the second half... he was flat out ballin! Added 14 points, 5 boards, and 4 steals with most of coming in the third quarter. Early in the fourth he took a hit in the face while driving to the basket, and was knocked out of the game.

HOOPS: Hartland vs. Flint Powers

**Sugar Shane goes up for 2 of his 27 points**
**Vonn Jones led Hartland with 27 points and 10 assist**
**Powers' Demarco Sanders**
**Matt Poches added 20 points and 8 boards**

Harper Woods- this was a very intriguing game due to the match-ups at every position, as big time recruits filled the court on both teams. Hartland is a veteran team looking for some state wide love while Powers brought back almost everyone from a team that advanced to the state championship last year.

Powers used that state final experience to jump out to a 12-2 lead and a 32-16 lead at the end of the first quarter. Powers was off and running and resembled the Harlem Globetrotters as they took turns tossing no look passes to each other. Midway through the second quarter Vonn Jones had seen enough and went on a 3-point bomb fest to cut the lead to single digits. Two baskets from Powers' Shane Moreland built the lead back to 46-29 at halftime.

Baskets from Vonn and Matt Poches kept Hartland close as they again trimmed Powers' lead to 10 points. However Hartland had no answer for Rodney Anderson, who's "and 1" slam put Hartland way and Powers cruised the rest of the way for a 94-71 win.

BREAKDOWN: boy, oh boy, was Powers impressive. They spread the floor with shooters all over the place and they don't waste any time pushing the ball. That was the difference in the game because Hartland's transition defense was horrible and Powers must have had atleast 30 points in fastbreak lay-ups. Powers is so balance in scoring that all five starters reached double figures. Powers will only get tougher in January when transfer Pierre Brackett becomes eligible- giving Powers one of the best defenders in the country.

PLAYER OF GAME: Shane Moreland, Powers- Sugar Shane seems more focused into getting his teammates involved this year. He can still score whenever he wants, as he put up 27 points in this game. But I love his ability to pass the ball and his eagerness to feed his teammates.


Patrick Lucas-Perry, Powers- PLP played like a seasoned veteran. He controlled the tempo and quickly pushed the ball up the floor. He knocked down a handful of mid range jump shots, which is starting to become his signature mark just like the Piston's Richard Hamilton. Finished with 18 points.

Rodney Anderson, Powers- Hartland was never able to get a body on the 6-8 leaper. Andersons' skills are so raw but the light is starting to turn on for him. He finished with three sick dunks on his way to 12 points and 9 rebounds.

Demarco Sanders, Powers-
I was really impressed with Sanders, teamed up with PLP and Sugar Shane, Powers now has three guards that can fill it up. Sanders added 12 points and 8 boards and is much improved from a year ago.

Vonn Jones, Hartland- Powers tried to double team Jones but he was still able to get his. Jones rained six 3-pointers on his way to a 27 point and 10 assist game.

Matt Poches, Hartland- had his motor running which led to 20 points, 8 boards, and 4 steals.

HOOPS: Arthur Hill vs. East G.R.

**Pookie with his MVP award**
**Dell Simon fights his way to the basket**
Freshman Jordan Hare came up big against East GR**
**Pookie came up just short of a triple-double**

Harper Woods- Make no doubt about it- come March East Grand Rapids will be tough to knock out and the Pioneers have a good chance to advance to the Breslin Center... but Saturday's game against Arthur Hill in the Motor City Roundball belonged to the Lumberjacks and particularly Maurice "Pookie" Jones. Jones, pound for pound the best player in the state, took it right to the bigger Grand Rapids team and headed back north to Saginaw with a 68-63 win.

You could tell early in the contest that this was one of those games that had overtime written all over it. While East had no answer for Jones, Saginaw couldn't stop Colin Voss inside. The 6-8 junior controlled the boards as East jumped out to 12-0 run to take a 38-32 lead with a minute till halftime, but two consecutive 3-pointers from Jones cut the lead to 38-35 at the half.

The Pioneers controlled the lead for a majority of the second half until a Jones assist turned into a Chris Webb 3-pointer and a 51-50 Arthur Hill lead. Late in the game East regained the lead on a Voss put back. A Jones jumper followed by a steal and bucket from Jones gave the Hill a 58-57 lead but then Robert Bell was able to knock down a free throw to send the game into overtime.

The extra session was dominated by Jones! Jones first connected on two free throws to take a 4 point lead. Then three consecutive assist sealed the win for the Jacks.

BREAKDOWN: going into the contest I wasn't sure how Coach McMath was going to contain the size factor that East had, especially without 6-5 forward Omari Humes, who missed the game with a leg injury but should return shortly; but Saginaw played solid team defense and quickly came with help while rotating defensively.

I was impressed with the guard play East has, I knew what they had inside but Bell and AJ McEwen are solid even though neither could stay with Jones, but who in Michigan can?

PLAYER OF GAME: Pookie Jones, Hill- the Jacks are off and running and that's because Pookie has taken his game to another level. He's unguardable in Michigan and that led to a 22 point, 14 assist, and 7 steal performance. East tried to trap him but nothing worked. Jones got into the paint and found open teammates at will.


Chris Webb, Hill- added 20 points, mostly 3-pointers. He has a consistent stroke but has really picked up his play defensively.

Jordan Hare, Hill- the 6-7 freshman guard was forced to go down and defend Voss in the second half and he held his own. Hare finished around the basket and added four points in OT to help put the game away. Hare ended with 11 points and 8 rebounds.

Jaylen Bland, Hill- the sophomore has become consistent on both ends. He added some big baskets and did a good job helping out with the rebounds.

Colin Voss, East-
finished with 27 points and 21 rebounds, according to the Grand Rapids Press, and he was consistent for all four quarters. Voss is a player and could easily become a high major recruit.

AJ McEwen, East- AJ never got into a comfort zone having to chase Jones around but I don't recall him turning the ball over either. He's a pass first point guard but I would like to see him look for his shot more often.

DeAndre Grady, East- the 6-1 freshman is a big factor off the bench and has a bright future ahead of him. The big stage didn't faze him and he took care of the ball while running the point.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

HOOPS: Grand Blanc vs. Heritage

**Tony Jones drains a jumper**
**Lavario Smith squares up for a tough shot**
**Chris Jones draws a foul attacking the basket**
**AJ Thomas goes around the back on a defender**

Saginaw- Heritage led 17-15 after one quarter of play but a Will Sams 3-pointer, to open the second quarter, gave Grand Blanc a 18-17 edge. Heritage's Chris Jones managed to tie the game up at 26-26 with his own 3-pointer. However Grand Blanc ended the half with a zone trap that allowed the Bobcats to force a few turnovers and get some fastbreak points to take a 32-28 lead into the half.

Heritage continued to fight in the third quarter and stuck basket for basket with the Bobcats but then Tony Jones got hot and knocked down three jumpers on three consecutive trips down the floor.

Two free throws from AJ Thomas cut the Bobcat lead to 51-49 with 6:13 to go in the fourth quarter. Grand Blanc fired back with a 9-0 run to take a 60-49 lead with two minutes to play, but Heritage still wouldn't go away. Baskets from Lavario Smith and Jones cut the lead to three points with ten seconds to go. Sams was able to sink a free throw with four seconds to go to give Grand Blanc a 65-61 road win.

BREAKDOWN: these are two of the more improved teams from a year ago. I really like the guard play that both teams have to offer but I am not sure how either team will do in conference play or during the state tournament because neither team has true inside presence.

PLAYER OF GAME: Tony Jones, GB- the 6-0 combo guard did an excellent job of distributing the ball to his post players. He finished with 9 assist and atleast 5 of them came on no look passes from the other side of the court. Jones added 13 points.


Will Sams, GB- the 6-2 guard needs to improve his decision making if he wants to be a point guard at the next level. He did show off the value of his length by blocking two 3-point attempts. Sams has improved his 3-point shot as he drained three of them for a team high 15 points.

Mitchell Vallie, GB- the forward finished with 12 points and even though he is undersized for a 6-4 center he is consistent and has good lateral movement. He also finished strong around the basket.

AJ Thomas, Heritage- AJ is one of the most improved players from a year ago. He didn't waste any time to push the ball up the court. He has a good handle on the offense and does a good job of moving the ball around. Thomas finished with 9 points, 5 assist, and 2 steals.

Lavario Smith, Heritage- led the Hawks with 18 points and 12 rebounds. At 6-2 Smith can play a number of positions for his team.

Chris Jones, Heritage- Jones is more than a 3-pointer shooter. He made some nice hustle plays on both ends of the court and added 10 points to his team.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

HOOPS: Sexton vs. Cass Tech

**Denzel Valentine gets ready to throw down a dunk**
**Cass Tech's Shannon Williams**
**Sexton's Nate Duhon**
**Daniel Bellany pulls down a rebound**

Southfield- Lansing Sexton and Detroit Cass Tech hooked up for the third game of the Mr. Basketball Holiday Classic at Southfield High School. This game turned into a low scoring defensive battle between two physical teams. Cass Tech held a 8-6 lead after one quarter and a 22-10 edge at halftime.

Sexton went on a 7-0 run midway through the third quarter and a 3-pointer from Denzel Valentine trimmed the lead to 23-21. Cass Tech's Shannon Williams responded with a dunk to keep the lead with his team. The two teams went back and fourth for the remainder of the game and Sexton stayed within two to three points down the stretch.

Two free throws from Jordan Howenstine made the score 45-46 with 27 seconds to play. Chris George made a free throw on the other end leaving Sexton with only 0.2 on the clock to take a 49-47 win.

BREAKDOWN: this was a slug fest especially in the final minutes, neither team could get into any kind of rhythm which made it a low scoring game.

PLAYER OF GAME: Chris George, Cass, 6-1 guard- led Cass with 16 points and 8 assist. Was clutch down the stretch at the free throw line.


Shannon Williams, Cass, 6-7 fwd- one of the top forwards for his class, plays hard on both ends and has some nice moves with the ball. Chipped in with 9 points and 10 rebounds.

Denzel Valentine, Sexton, 6-4 wing-
stepped up for his team and didn't play like a freshman, had 14 points to go with 7 rebounds. Also had the play of the day went he split a double team and went right into the paint for a one handed slam that blew the roof off of the gym.

Nate Duhon, Sexton, 6-0 guard- Duhon is lightning quick and gets up and down the floor in a blink of an eye. He struggled to get shots to fall against Cass but had 28 points in Sexton's first win.

HOOPS: Southeastern vs. Community

**Percy Gibson gets fouled from behind**
**Brandan Kearney pulls up for a jumper**
**James Still boxes out Darren Washington**
** Kimani Boynton tries to get off a shot**

Southfield- Southfield High School was the location for the first annual Mr. Basketball Holiday Classic. Four games took place with Detroit Southeastern and Detroit Community meeting up in the day's second contest.

A pair of mid-range jump shots from Providence commit, James Still, along with a 3-pointer from teammate Marcel Smith helped give the Hurricanes a 21-14 lead after one quarter of play.

In the second quarter Brandan Kearney's pull-up jumper edged the Jungaleers closer while a pair of Kyle Bryant free throws gave Southeastern a 26-24 lead. A 6-0 run to end the quarter gave Southeastern a 33-27 lead at the half.

Seven straight points from Percy Gibson sparked a 12-0 Jungaleer run in the third to build a 45-29 lead. Community tried to crawl back into the game late, but Gibson shut the door with a two handed slam to keep the lead at 14 points, as Southeastern took home a 57-50 win.

BREAKDOWN: I was impressed with the fight in Community but they loose focus and throw up too many ill-advised shots. It's no secret that Still is Community's biggest weapon but he'll go four or five trips down the floor without even touching the ball.

Southeastern was a little sluggish in the early going and found theirselves down early, they woke up and quickly took the lead over. The Jungaleers have so many weapons and Community just couldn't contain all of them.

PLAYER OF GAME: Percy Gibson, S.E., 6-8 fwd- Gibson was quiet for most of the first half but he came out in the second half aggressive and went right to work. The 12-0 run in the second, in which Gibson scored 7 straight, was the difference maker in the game. Gibson's dunk was impressive- he squared up, took two hard dribbles, and elevated right over his defender for the two hand slam. The sophomore finished with 9 points and 8 rebounds.


Kimani Boynton, S.E., 5-11 guard- led the Jungaleers with 20 points.

Brandan Kearney, S.E., 6-6 guard- didn't shoot much but was key in his team's press break and distributed the ball nicely. Finished with 6 points, 7 assist, 5 rebounds, and 3 steals.

Darren Washington, S.E., 6-10 center- the sophomore did a solid job defensively against James Still. He held his own in the paint and even drew a charge.

James Still, Community, 6-10 center- Still has improved his shot and knocked two down from 16 feet out. He picked up a technical early the third and his coach sat him for most of the second half. He added 3 dunks to accumulate 13 points.

Marcel Smith, Community, 5-8 PG- added 12 points and shot 3 of 7 from 3-point range.

Friday, December 19, 2008

HOOPS: Midland vs. Saginaw High

**Mike Green gets ready to knock down a 3-pointer**
**Freshman Kevin Marshall makes a move to the basket**
**Jimmy Davis scored a game high 21 points**
**Malcolm Shaw shoots over 6-10 Branden Crane**

Saginaw- The final score seems like it was an easy victory for the defending champs but Midland High made the Trojans sweat a little more than expected in the first half of Saginaw's 77-56 win.

The Chemics came out knocking down shots from all over the court and quickly took an 8-2 lead in the opening minutes, which led to an 18-10 lead at the end of the first quarter. Even after trailing, the Champs didn't seem affected at all and stuck to their game plan which saw Coach Lou Dawkins play as many as 10 players in the second quarter. Consecutive baskets from Mike Green and Jimmy Davis cut the Midland lead to 32-30 at the half.

You could sense that Saginaw's depth started to wear down Midland in the second quarter and in the third quarter Saginaw really turned up the pressure with their full court press. Tommie McCune's long 2-pointer gave Saginaw a 35-32 lead and Green's NBA range 3-pointer gave Saginaw a 43-33 lead. The Trojans ended the third quarter with a 10-0 run to outscore Midland 28-8 in the third.

The 28 point third quarter performance buried the Chemics as Saginaw cruised through the final quarter for the 21 point win over their SVL foe.

BREAKDOWN: No, this isn't last year's Trojan team but Saginaw has simply reloaded with plenty of talent and this year's team might just be deeper than the previous two. Now with that being said, they do lack experience and are still learning Coach Dawkins' system but seniors Mike Green and Jimmy Davis are doing a great job of leading the way.

Midland was bombing 3's from all over in the first half, but Saginaw was never rattled, and you could just feel at halftime that Saginaw was going to blow up in the third quarter.

PLAYER OF GAME: Mike Green, High, 6-1 guard- the senior captain followed Tuesday's 35 point and triple double performance with another standout game of 20 points, 8 assist, 7 rebounds, and 5 steals. Green made big shots when he had to but did a phenomenal job of getting his teammates involved.


Jimmy Davis, High, 6-1 guard- led Saginaw with 21 points. Has really improved his all-around game and it showed last night. Along with Green, Davis gives Saginaw two lights out shooters.

Tommie McCune, High, 6-7 wing fwd- McCune had a quiet night scoring, chipped in with 7 points and 8 rebounds, but was impressive on the defensive end by challenging every Midland shot they took in the paint. Also dominated the much taller Branden Crane.

Demetrius Simmons, High, 6-2 PG- Simmons is very athletic and his length forced a lot of steals in this game. In his first year at the point he does a good job of handling the offense.

Trey Babers, High, 6-4 wing- I'm just a big fan of Trey and I think he has a chance to be really good. The sophomore is bouncy and had 3 key steals in the third quarter.

Kevin Marshall, High, 6-7 PF- the freshman played hard and was banging around with the 6-10 Crane. He ran the floor well and blends right into the speed of the varsity level. He had a real big block in the third quarter that fired up the crowd.

Branden Crane, Midland, 6-10 C- Crane has improved but this just wasn't the type of game that he would stand out in. He just couldn't handle the speed of Saginaw and was really a nonfactor in this one.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

HOOPS: Southwestern vs. Northwestern

**Kortes Ross guarded by Walter Trouser**
**Cincinnati football commit-DeMarkus Bracy**
**DeAndre Upchurch looks for a shot**
**Chatavius Turner cashes in on a steal**

Flint- Crosstown rivals, Southwestern and Northwestern, kicked off the Flint city series in an intense fashion last night infront of a packed gym. Both Southwestern and Northwestern are my favorites to win the city championship, with Northwestern holding the crown as last year's champion.

The game was physical from the opening tip seeing that the refs let the two teams bang around. Brandon Thompson scored the first four points of the game to give Southwestern the lead. But less than three minutes into the game DeMarkus Bracy picked up his second foul and sat the rest of the first half. Walter Trouser later tied the game at 9-9 with his runner in the lane, as the two teams ended the first quarter tied 13-13.

A long 3-pointer and dunk (yes a dunk!) from DeAndre Upchurch gave the Wildcats a 20-13 lead. However the Knights clamped down and fought their way back, Kortez Ross' long 2-pointer tied the game late in the second as the teams stayed deadlocked at 29-29 during halftime.

With the game so close the crowd cheered like crazy, giving both teams a full tank of adrenalin. Unfortunately for Northwestern, the Wildcats could never settle down and the result were plenty of turnovers. The Knights took advantage of those turnovers and built a 46-39 lead after three quarters and as big as a 50-42 lead midway through the fourth.

The Wildctas were able to rally back, and two long shots from Upchurch tied the game at 52-52 with 2:34 to play. Bracy answered for the Knights with a pair of free throws, and then a steal from Chuck McLaurin set up another pair of Bracy free throws to make the score 58-52 with 57 seconds to play and secure Southwestern a 61-52 win.

BREAKDOWN: this was a great high school basketball game. Both teams played hard and gave it their all for four quarters. Both teams also showed great sportsmanship along with a crowd that was ecstatic for two hours non stop. It was good to see the teams feed off of the crowd's energy but too many times players got too excited and took bad shots or tried to force something and just ended up turning the ball over.

Chris Campbell is Northwestern's only inside force and when he fouled out with 4:37 to play it allowed Bracy to take over and bring home the win for Southwestern. Southwestern is going to be good and they play hard, especially on the defensive end, but they don't have a true point guard and that might hurt them down the road.

PLAYER OF GAME: Kortez Ross, SWA, 6-3 wing- Tez was the only Knight that managed to stay out of foul trouble and he was the most consistent player for all four quarters. The win was a full team effort but Ross is the glue to this team. Ross just doesn't get enough credit for his skills. Yes, he is a hustle player, but he also can do some nice things with the basketball.


DeMarkus Bracy, SWA, 6-5 fwd- got in early foul trouble and sat most the first half but he was big down the stretch by knocking down 6-of-6 free throws in the final quarter. Scored 8 points and pulled down 7 boards.

Deonte Savage, SWA, 6-6 center- the big fella gave his team productive minutes in the first half when Bracy was in foul trouble. At 6-6/310 pounds Savage ran the floor well and showed a soft touch around the basket which led to 6 points and 7 rebounds.

DeParris Gordon, SWA, 6-3 wing fwd-
the junior is starting to come into his own. He played smart and made some big blocks that fired up the crowd. Chipped in with 10 points and 3 blocks.

DeAndre Upchurch, NW, 6-0 guard- "Church" had to work hard just to get open because the Knights were all over him. Too many times he went spurts without touching the ball, but when his team needed a basket he delivered one. Finished with 15 points.

Walter Trouser, NW, 6-3 PG- Trouser continues to impress me time after time. Upchurch gets most the team pub, but Trouser is just as valuable. Just check out his stat line- 17 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds and 4 steals.

Chris Campbell, NW, 6-4 Power fwd-
for the second straight year Northwestern's paint duties will fall on the shoulders of Campbell. He bangs around and uses his strength to make up for a lack of height.

Monday, December 15, 2008

GIRLS HOOPS: Country Day vs. Nouvel C.C.

**Amber Moore goes around Jenny Ryan for 2 points**
**Sharena Taylor pulls up for a jumper**
**Madison Williams gets an offensive board**
**Jessi Franz attempts to box out Troy Hambric**

Saginaw- Country Day and Nouvel Catholic Central met in the final game of the James Monroe Classic, in a game featuring two of last year's state champions. However Country Day showed Nouvel that they are worlds apart on the hardwood.

Country Day started the game off with consecutive 3-pointers from Amber Moore to take a 6-0 lead. The lead built to 14-0 after one quarter of play as Nouvel struggled to even get shots off. The Country Day guards shadowed Nouvel step for step and 6-7 Madison Williams tallied 6 blocks in the first quarter alone. Nouvel attempted to put full court pressure on the Yellowjackets but Country Day point guard Sharena Taylor made quick work of that. Nouvel finally got on the board with 6:35 to play till halftime on Jenny Ryan's lay-up.

Country Day showed Nouvel plenty of respect by not blowing the game open and shuffling in bench players early in the game. Country Day led 30-11 at halftime, 49-23 after three, and finished the game with a 64-27 win.

BREAKDOWN: this game showed the difference between college bound players and every day high school players, even Jenny Ryan looked average against Country Day. Jenny Ryan is considered a top candidate for Miss basketball and even though Country Day has a handful of players who are better it will just be tough for any of them to win the award because they will all split votes.

PLAYER OF GAME: Madison Williams, CD, 6-7 center- the junior only scored 6 points but did her damage with 11 blocks and 14 rebounds in limited minutes. Most of her blocks and rebounds came in the first quarter.


Amber Moore, CD, 5-11 guard- the Illinois commit had a game high 17 points. She came out aggressive but let up as soon her team took a double digit lead.

Sharena Taylor, CD, 5-10 PG- the Georgia Tech commit does an excellent job running the show for such a talented team and is still able to find a way to get hers while keeping her team involved. Taylor is the state's top point guard, she finished with 12 points and 6 steals.

Jenny Ryan, Nouvel, 5-10 guard- Ryan had a tough game in front of her future coach, Michigan's Kevin Borseth. You can give her a pass because she single handily couldn't play with Country Day but she also hurt her chances of winning Miss Basketball. Ryan led Nouvel with 13 points.

GIRLS HOOPS: Renaissance vs. Arthur Hill

**Corie Buchanan soars to the basket**
**Lorreal Jones is a force in the paint**
**Kiah Douglas runs a fastbreak**
**Juanita Cochran and Amber McKithen battle for a rebound**

Saginaw- Saturday marked the annual James Monroe Classic at Arthur Hill High School, where four varsity games took place. The third game of the day, host Arthur Hill vs. Detroit Renaissance, featured two of the top teams in the state year in and year out.

Arthur Hill started the game in a tight 2-3 zone, with 6-2 center Juanita Cochran anchoring the middle. The zone forced Renaissance to shoot from outside where the Phoenix struggled to make shots early on. Offensively, Arthur Hill went inside to Cochran who had a big size advantage. Cochran's 10 first half points helped Arthur Hill have a 26-23 halftime lead.

Lorreal Jones scored the first four points of the second half to give Renaissance a 27-26 lead. The Phoenix went on a 10-0 run to close the third and open the fourth to take a 45-37 lead, Jones and sophomore Asia Boyd sparked the run.

Down eight points with time running out, Corie Buchanan took control of the game. The junior guard led a Lumberjack comeback and scored six of the Hill's next eight points. Buchanan's "and 1" play tied the game at 50-50 with 2:03 to play. Buchanan then tossed two assist to Kiah Douglas to help Douglas score the next six points of the game to give Arthur Hill a 56-50 lead with 1:09 left to play. The Lumberjacks finished the Phoenix off at the free throw line to take a 62-54 win.

BREAKDOWN- Renaissance let a lead slip away and that was because they couldn't stop Buchanan or Douglas late in the game. Arthur Hill played consistent defense four four quarters and that was the key in the win. The Hill improves to 2-1 and with Cochran, Buchanan, and Douglas, the Hill can compete with any team in the state. The same can be said for Renaissance, with standout forwards Jones and Boyd leading the way. Renaissance falls to 2-2 with close losses to Arthur Hill and Country Day.

PLAYER OF GAME: Corie Buchanan, Hill, 5-7 guard- the junior proved on the big stage that she is one of the state's elite. She was consistent for all four quarters but when her team needed it, she took over. She knocked down long shots and got to the basket at ease to finish with a game high 23 points to go with 6 assist, 5 steals, and 5 rebounds.


Juanita Cochran, Hill, 6-2 center- Cochran's play was just as big for her team as Buchana's was. She is a force to deal with in the paint and usually draws double teams, allowing her teammates to get high percentage shots. Cochran did miss allot of easy shots but she still finished with 18 points to go with 14 boards.

Kiah Douglas, Hill, 5-6 guard- I still feel that if Douglas didn't get hurt last year that the Hill would have won a state title. She still doesn't look quite 100% but even at 80% she is as good as anyone in the state. She just does so much for her team and brings so much energy. She chipped in with 16 points, 8 coming in the fourth quarter.

Lorreal Jones, Ren., 6-0 fwd- Jones is a tough one and gives the Phoenix some inside muscle. The junior also has the game to handle the ball on the perimeter and play on the wing. In the second half Jones' play allowed Renaissance to take the lead. Jones finished with 13 points and 8 rebounds.

Asia Boyd, Ren., 6-0 fwd- Boyd is one of the top sophomores in the state. She's a big time recruit with plenty of skills. She paced her team with 13 points and 12 boards while playing all five positions.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

HOOPS: Southeastern vs. Robichaud

**Brandan Kearney knocks down a 3-pointer**
**Ray Lee attacks the basket**
**Percy Gibson powers his way to the basket**
**Darren Washington tips in a basket while being fouled**

Detroit- The future is now for Detroit Southeastern! Everyone in the media has gone on record stating that Southeastern, with their talented group of sophomores, has an opportunity to compete for a state crown in a year or two, but the way the Jungaleers played yesterday in their 86-63 win over Dearborn Robichaud only showed that Southeastern has a good shot to compete for the PSL title and a state title this year!

Southeastern quickly jumped out to a 10 point lead on two first quarter 3-pointers from Brandan Kearney. A steal and basket from Kimani Boynton made the lead 15 points heading into the second quarter. In the second quarter it was the Jungaleer's big fellas who made their presence felt, particularly Percy Gibson. The 6-8 sophomore challenged every shot Robichaud took in the paint, and showed some sweat post moves on the offensive end to help Southeastern take a commanding 49-24 lead into the half.

Another Kearney 3-pointer followed by a steal and dunk from Boynton built the lead to 30 points as Southeastern cruised through the final 10 minutes.

BREAKDOWN- Southeastern is loaded with depth and that was seen yesterday as Coach Mark White shuffled in player after player on every dead whistle. The Jungaleers have key players at every position and have a at least 5 post players that are at least 6-5 to control the paint.

Robichaud has a solid starting five but depth was a big factor on why the score was so one sided. The Bulldogs have some athletic forwards but just couldn't match muscle for muscle with the Jungaleers.

PLAYER OF GAME- Brandan Kearney, S.E., 6-6 PG- Robichaud started the game with a 2-3 zone and BK quickly made them pay by knocking down shots from deep range. His basketball I.Q. is just so rare to find in a sophomore. He sees the floor well and did a great job setting up his teammates. Finished with 19 points to go with 8 assist, 6 rebounds, and 4 steals.


Percy Gibson, S.E., 6-8 Fwd- Gibson is starting to realize just how good he can be. He really inserted himself and was a force against Robichaud. He dominated the paint with 16 points, 12 rebounds, and 4 blocks.

Ray Lee, Robichaud, 6-1 PG- the freshman is long and very bouncy, he has a good feel what to do with the basketball, only problem was his teammates didn't give him many touches in this game. He still logged 7 points and 4 assist.

Kimani Boynton, S.E., 5-10 G-
the combo guard chipped in with 16 points. At times he forces shots but he brings his team allot of energy on both ends.

Darren Washington, S.E., 6-10 C- Big D is starting to get his feet underneath him. He runs the floor well and doesn't have any problems keeping up with his guards. He blocked 2 shots against Robichaud. Even though it takes big guys longer to develop, Big D is way ahead of the curb.

Carlos Carter, S.E., 5-10 G- gets unnoticed in a loaded line-up but Carter is a big part of Southeastern. He brings a toughness and swagger to the team.

Will Gholston, S.E., 6-5 PF- just a animal on the block, another Jungaleer that brings a swagger and that toughness to a talented team. He didn't log many stats but numbers don't show what he brings to the team.

Anthony Fields, S.E., 6-0 PG- didn't play due to a wrist injury. Shouldn't be out long.

Winthrop Thomas, Robichaud, 6-3 wing fwd- athletic wing who led his team with 14 points. Good all around game and he does a good job of making the right play.