Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Heading to the next level

Taking a look at some Oakland County Boys players that will be playing at the next level next season.

Amir Williams, Birmingham Detroit Country Day    -Ohio State
Williams will be yet another talented big men that Thad Matta has recruited to play for the Buckeyes. The McDonalds All-American will be one of several young faces in the line-up for the Buckeyes who are graduating three starters from last year.

Carlton Brundidge, Southfield     -Michigan
Brundidge may have to wait his turn in Ann Arbor with Michigan bringing back all of its players from last season including their talented backcourt that almost led to a sweet 16 appearance.

Urbane Bingham, North Farmington    -Prairie View A&M
The 6-8 Bingham figures to add some much needed size to a Panthers lineup that has just one player over 6-10. With A&M returning seven sophomores and juniors from last season Bingham may not see the court right away.

Samer Ozeir, Novi   -Columbia
It won’t be easy for Ozeir to crack the lineup with a team returning just about every player from their 2010-2011 team, but Ozeir’s ability to stretch the floor should prove to be valuable down the road for the Lions.

Next season’s college watch list
Kellen McCormick, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep
McCormick has already received several offers from MAC schools to go along with an offer from Oakland as well.

Taylor Perry, Rochester   -Western Michigan
Perry wasted no time making his commitment to play for the Broncos next season, but not before attracting some interest from BYU, Utah and Central Michigan.

Jodan Price, Birmingham Detroit Country Day
Price has already received some interest from mid-major schools including Oakland but has also received an offer to play for Morehead State after next season.

All offers are according to

Friday, March 25, 2011

Girls Soccer Preview: Top Teams

Novi- It’s hard to pick against the defending state champs… especially when they bring back eight starters from last year’s team.

Birmingham Marian- Another defending champ who looks more than prepared to make it a 3-peat.

Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes/Clarkston Everest Collegiate- It’s never easy to repeat as the state champion, but having Megan Topolewski and Abbey Troy will make that much easier.

Troy Athens- Olivia Brannon is back to 100% which spells trouble for just about anyone else.

Rochester Adams- Last year’s Cinderella team from the playoffs won’t be sneaking up on anybody this time around… plus having standout junior defender Kylie Nylen doesn’t hurt either.

Birmingham Detroit Country Day- Having arguably the best keeper in the state in Rachel Bergman is going to cause headaches for opponents. The fact that Bergman is only a junior could make the Yellowjackets the most dangerous team in the state during the next two seasons. Bergman has already made her commitment to play for Northwestern after next season.

Troy- Having college level talent like the Colts have, it could be an easy path for Emily Dzik and Co. to make a return to the semifinals. Dzik has signed on to play for Eastern Michigan next season.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Boys Basketball Playoffs: Top Performers

Allen Robinson’s high school basketball career may have come to an end on Tuesday night when Orchard Lake Saint Mary’s fell to Bay City Western, but not before putting together an prime-time playoff run. In Saint Mary’s regional final win over rival Catholic Central, Robinson poured in a Lebron James-esque 17 straight points in the fourth quarter en route to a 34 point night. Robinson will now take his talents to Penn State where he will be playing football next fall.

Patrick Onwenu and Landon Atterberry have been as dangerous of a front court as there has been in the playoffs, both are an almost guaranteed LOCK to record a double-double every night for Southfield. The duo has been a nightmare for anyone to coach against; their size and length have helped add yet another dangerous dimension to an already deadly team. These two have been as important as any player to any teams playoff run and now have the Blue Jays just two wins at the Breslin from to bringing home a state title.

While it may be expected from him on most night’s Amir Williams continued to show why he’s one of the premier dominant forces in high school basketball, averaging well over a double-double while getting his fair share of blocks on a nightly basis. Williams was one of many to come up big for Birmingham Detroit Country Day but he has been essential in the Yellowjackets search for yet another state championship. Williams will be spending the next few years playing for Thad Matta and the Buckeyes.

Pontiac’s Anthony Adams had what was the most memorable individual performance from this year’s playoffs and one of the best in recent memory, nearly willing the Phoenix to a win over Rochester Adams. Adams proved to be the only source of offense that night for Pontiac, going off for 45 points ending his time at Pontiac in incredible fashion before coming up just short in overtime.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Thoughts on Coach of the Year

Here are who I consider to be the top candidates for the coach from Oakland County for Boys and Girls basketball


After the Southfield Christian girls basketball team’s impressive showing in the playoffs, which included the Eagle’s first district title in 28 years, it became apparent that head coach Seena Allen should be considered as THE frontrunner for coach of the year. In her first year as head coach at the high school level, Allen took the Eagles to new heights, leading the Eagles to a 20-6 record along with a regional finals appearance where we saw Southfield Christian push heavy favorites Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes to the edge before falling at the end.

This season was no fluke either, as freshman phenom Charity Godbold as well as hard-nosed junior Alexis Hart, who was unable to play against WOLL due to an ankle injury suffered in the regional semi-finals, are two of three starters returning next season for the Eagles. In just one season as head coach, Allen has turned Southfield Christian into serious contenders for a very longtime.


Throughout all of his years coaching at Clarkston, Dan Fife may not have had a better of a season on the bench than the one he had this season. After a rough 1-3 start, Fife's Wolves were virtually unbeatable for the remainder of the season, including grabbing yet another district title before falling at the hands of Bay City Western in the Regional final. Up until that regional finals loss, the Wolves went off on a 15 game win streak where Clarkston outscored opponents by an average of 18 points per game.

Even with losing senior standout Marcus Hardy, next season looks just as promising for the Wolves, who have 10 players returning including junior guards Nick Tatu and Mitch Baenziger, along with forward Matt Dellinger who played key roles in the second half of the Wolves season.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Upsets Galore

Reviewing some of Monday's surprising upsets:

Novi Detroit Catholic Central’s convincing double-digit win over last year’s state runners up Ann Arbor Huron might have been the most impressive team performance of the playoffs thus far. Not surprisingly, Catholic Central continues to play their usual tough lock-down defense, holding Huron to just 1-17 shooting from behind the 3-point line. Once again, the Shamrock’s got huge contributions from Brandon Tammaro and Matt Doneth who scored 18 and 17 points respectively. Catholic Central now looks to a showdown in Wednesday’s regional final with familiar foe Orchard Lake Saint Mary’s who made easy work of Hartland on Monday night.

Rochester Adams, had what was possibly the most exciting win of the night, knocking off Pontiac in overtime after senior Nick Zekaj hit a buzzer beating 3-pointer tie up the game at the end of the fourth. Then, the Highlanders seemed to control the entire overtime period and holding Pontiac at bay until the final moments of the game. The Highlanders survived the one-man-show that was Anthony Adams, who went off for a career-high and Pontiac school record 45 points. If Adams wants to advance to the quarterfinals, they’ll have to play the role of giant killers one more time as they take on Southfield on Wednesday.

Clarkston’s road to the Breslin Center just got a little bit easier after Bay City Western pulled off a stunner by knocking off the number four team in the state, Saginaw. Bay City Western is no pushover though, currently holding a 22-2 mark, it should be a must-see match-up between two red hot teams looking to take the next step to making an appearance at the Breslin.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

How We Got Here: Districts/Regionals Review

Pontiac has become the epitome of a true playoff team, finding their stride at the end of the season seems to have carried over to the playoffs. The Phoenix proved to be cool, calm and collected in the districts, winning back-to-back nail biters, a five point win over Troy holding their leading scorer James Young to a modest 16 points, and a three point win over Auburn Hills Avondale.

There’s no stopping Clarkston, the Wolves won their three district games by a combined 63 points over proving it’s going to take plenty to be knocked off. With the way the Wolves have played, it should be no shock if they are playing at the Breslin Center in two weeks.

Novi Detroit Catholic Central is redefining defensive basketball, holding a dangerous Plymouth Canton team to just 38 points in Friday’s district final. Outside of standout point guard Deitrich Lever scoring 25 points; Canton was completely shutdown much like any other team that came across the Shamrocks in the districts.

Game by game, Southfield seems to be gathering more and more momentum. Not only are the Bluejays gaining momentum, but their depth has come up big as they have gotten big time contributions not only from back-court tandem “Pee-wee” Barnes and Carlton Brundidge, but have had Patrick Onwenu and Landon Atterberry emerge as two more primetime performers to add to their dangerous arsenal.

It looks like business as usual for Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes in the regional playoffs. On Tuesday the Lakers took down all too familiar foe Marine City Cardinal Mooney at the last second and on Thursday held off upset minded Southfield Christian, behind a 30 point 15 rebound performance by Lauren Robak to win yet another regional championship. The games seem to be getting closer and closer by the game, but the Lakers are still the favorite to repeat as Class D champions.

The Birmingham Detroit Country Day boys and girls teams are looking eerily similar as they make their way through the state tournament, taking teams down one by one and making it look easy in the process. The lady Yellowjackets have won by 20 or more points in each of their first five playoff match-ups while the boy’s team has averaged a lethal 85 points per game while holding opponents to under 35 per game through their first three games.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Snap Judgements Part II

A quick rundown of the top performances in the girl’s basketball regional opener. (Clarkston, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep, Southfield Christian, Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes, Auburn Hills Avondale, Farmington Hills Mercy and Birmingham Detroit Country Day all advance to the regional finals.)

Southfield Christian freshman Charity Godbold may have had the first of many stellar performances on Monday night. Godbold scored 19 of her game high 22 points in the second half and hit clutch shot after clutch shot in her team’s 46-39 win against Plymouth Christian. With that big time performance, Godbold has put herself on the map for the future.

Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes, who trailed nearly the entire game to Marine City Cardinal Mooney, but senior Lauren Robak, who scored a game high 21 points, knocked down the game winning shot with 1.5 seconds left and sending WOLL to the regional final against Southfield Christian. WOLL is hands down the team to beat in Class D as they continue to find ways to win regardless of their opponent or the situation. The winner between WOLL and Cardinal Mooney in their regional has made it to the state championship game in three out of the last four years.

Auburn Hills Avondale continues to roll as they took down Romeo in impressive fashion, holding the Bulldogs to just 11 first half points and proving that they can score as well, putting up 33 points in the second half in their 49-34 win.

Farmington Hills Mercy continues to mow down their opponents in the playoffs as the Marlins shut down a dangerous Hartland team. Janelle McQueen was, simply put, a force for Mercy, dropping in a county-high 26 points on Tuesday night.

Birmingham Detroit Country Day again proved why they are widely considered as the best team in the state, with a combination of balance and depth, the Yellowjackets put away Harper Woods Chandler Park early thanks to a 12-2 first quarter and 10 players showing up in the scorebook as they cruised to a 59-39 win.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Snap Judgements

Taking a look at some of the top team and individual performances from Monday's district opener

North Farmington isn’t ready to see their legendary head coach, Tom Negoshian, walk away just yet, with their 54-49 win over West Bloomfield, the Raiders will play against Farmington Hills Harrison on Wednesday, hoping it won’t be Negoshian’s final game.

If Novi continues to shoot the ball the way they did on Monday against Plymouth, 11-16 from behind the 3-point line, including junior sharpshooter Scotty Kempa knocking down 4 of 6 behind the arc, they are almost a sure fire lock to win their district and possibly their region.

If Patrick Onwenu and Landon Atterberry can continue to put up the numbers that they put in against Henry Ford, combined with Carlton Brundidge’s consistently solid season, Southfield 
should have no problem making it to the regional finals.

Clarkston didn’t miss a beat from the regular season to the playoffs, continuing their hot streak and taking down Fenton with no problem, 68-42.

James Young once again proved why he’s one of if not the most exciting player in the county. The super soph went off on Monday, scoring 35 points in Troy’s 73-58 win over rival Athens.

Much like Clarkston, Rochester continued to stay hot, with their 13 point win over Lake Orion while rival Rochester Adams held off Oxford in overtime, possibly setting up a showdown between two of the county’s hottest teams in Friday’s district final at Oxford.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Quick Hits: Boys Basketball District preview

Some teams to keep an eye on during the boys district playoffs.

Most Dangerous:
Novi has had some of the best play in the front court, coming from seniors Samer Ozeir, Chris Milon and unsung hero Rob Laney, who has flown under the radar because injuries. With the three headed monster that coach Cory Heitsch has in the front court, look for the Wildcats to advance to the regional round. Keep in mind that if the Wildcats advance, it could possibly set up a rematch of last season’s regional final with Ann Arbor Huron. Last season, the Wildcats fell at the hands of the state runners up with Ozeir on the bench, nursing a hand injury.

Hottest Team:
Without a doubt the hottest team in the state right now is Clarkston. The Wolves, currently on an 11 game win streak have been near impossible to beat as of late, throwing the hammer down on conference foes West Bloomfield and North Farmington, holding the two teams to a combined 46 points. After starting the season off with a 2-4 record, the Wolves turned things around in an instant as they cruise into the playoffs with a 16-5 mark.

Sliding at the Wrong Time:
Currently riding a three game skid, North Farmington is now limping into the districts with losses to Clarkston, Southfield and Pontiac. The Raiders will look to bounce back in the district opener with familiar foe West Bloomfield. Playing in one of, if not the toughest district in the county, North Farmington needs to bounce back to their early season form where they started at 8-1.

Sleeper Team:
I’m going to call this a two way tie between Rochester and Walled Lake Northern. Since losing four of their first five games, Rochester has proven to be one of the most dangerous teams around, winners of 13 of their last 15 and dominating the OAA Blue, capturing the league title with a 12-2 record in league play. Walled Lake Northern won their first district title in school history last season and there the only road block for a repeat looks to be rival Walled Lake Central. The Knights have been hit and miss for the majority of the season, but this team looks a lot like the group that head coach Ron Thompson and Co. put together last season.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Getting Ready

Some of the county's top players you can expect big time performances from come playoff time.

Samer Ozeir- Novi
Last season Ozeir watched on the bench in the regional final as his team lost to the eventual state runners up, Ann Arbor Huron, with a hand injury. This season Ozeir has been dominant, proving to be an all around scorer and a big time shot blocker, doing everything possible to live up to the expectations. Ozeir will be motivated to help get his team back to the regional finals, hoping he can help the Wildcats advance even further.

Marcus Hardy- Clarkston
Hardy has been a big reason that Clarkston has been the hottest team in the state. Hardy has come up big when his team needs him the most and has been one of the most consistent players around all season long and should continue to do just that once the playoffs get rolling.

Spencer Parker- West Bloomfield
Parker was an absolute force early on this season and helped put the Lakers on the map. Parker has shown the ability to be one of the top big men around all season and he should be able to put his scoring and rebounding to good use as West Bloomfield will be more than challenged if they are going to win their district.

Amir Williams- Birmingham Detroit Country Day
Recently selected to the McDonald’s All-American team, the 6’11” Williams should help lead the Yellowjackets to yet another state finals appearance. With his inside presence on both ends of the floor, it’s going to be hard for any team to score on or defend Williams.

James Young- Troy
This super sophomore has been one of the most dynamic scorers in the state. Period. Young has burst onto the Oakland County scene during the regular season and should burst onto the state scene throughout the playoffs. Look for Young to dominate in districts and help push Troy into the regional round.