Thursday, December 27, 2012

Troy without a doubt the feel good story of the early season

Not many people, if anyone outside of the program saw this type of start to the season for the Troy basketball squad. After Kentucky bound star James Young left Troy to play at Rochester for his senior year, very few expected the Colts to make much noise this winter.
The Colts, who went through a confusing and unfortunate offseason were left in a bit of an awkward situation with the departure of Young, going from a team with high expectations to a spot where not many expected very much from them this season.
But now, things are looking up for head coach Gary Fralick and Co.
After starting off the season with a loss to Troy Athens, the Colts bounced back with a win over Southfield-Lathrup and then Ferndale. Then, Troy made its biggest statement just before the holiday break as the Colts upset Clarkston thanks to a late 3-pointer from Ben Horvath to pick up its second OAA Red win of the season.
On Thursday afternoon at the Motor City Roundball Classic held at Birmingham Detroit Country Day, Troy continued its hot start as it overcame a bit of a slow first quarter and ran away from Dearborn Divine Child to take a 66-39 win.
This season has been far different for Troy than what's been the case in recent years. While it's just six games into the season, it's easy to see that the Colts are far from a one-man show as they've found significant contributions from a number of different players so far this season.
This may be a new look to the season from what people are used to seeing at Troy, but it's been a new look that has worked so far. Hats off to Fralick and the Troy program for making the most out of a season where very few had high expectations for this season.

-- Other Roundball Classic Notes --
- Southfield Bradford might be in a minor rebuilding mode as of now, but shouldn't be a team to be taken lightly in Class C. With guards Juwan Hampton, Maurice Reed II and Roland Hayes III and forwards Antoine Jackson Dwayne Sortor, Bradford will be a team that could sneak up on teams in the future.

- Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes is once again in a great position to be in contention to capture another Class D state title. With seniors Ava Doetsch and Lexie Robak leading the way this winter, the Lakers will be a team that can hang with just about anyone, regardless of what Class, and they showed just that with a win over North Farmington on Thursday

- This isn't the typical Birmingham Detroit Country Day squad that we're all used to seeing, but the Yellowjackets still have some of the top players in the state this winter. With star guard Asia Doss and Brittany Washington and Tianna Glimpse, the Yellowjackets will have playmakers everywhere and that was showcased in Thursday's convincing win over Pontiac.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Oakland County Boys Basketball Rankings -- Holiday Edition

1. Birmingham Detroit Country Day
There really hasn't been anyone who has proven to be able to be as dangerous offensively, or as strong defensively so far this season as the Yellowjackets,

2. Rochester Adams
The Highlanders won't be the team from Rochester grabbing all of the attention this fall, but Adams might be the most complete team in Rochester.

3. Bloomfield Hills Lahser
The return of Yante Maten from injury will make Lahser one of the most dangerous interior teams along with Andrew Gikas, while Armand Cartwright and Khalil Gracey will continue their dominance on the outside.

4. Southfield
Can't argue with a perfect record heading into the holiday. The Jays just have too many players for most teams to handle with Earl Swift, Quintin Arnold and Darnell Butler as well as others.

5. Rochester
Arben Camaj, Mike Murri and Manny Mendoza are three of the best unknown players around, but should be well know names by the end of the season.

6.Lake Orion
The Dragons are once again flying under the radar for some reason, but look poised for another deep playoff run this winter thanks to Chaz Miller, John McCarty and Co.

7. Clarkston
With Jordan Dasuqi back from injury, and Nick Owens proving to be another stellar sharpshooter, the Clarkston back-court is once again looking like it will be nearly impossible to stop.

8.  North Farmington
Might have the most underrated inside-outside duo around with guard Caleb Hogans and forward Jeron "Buddha" Rogers. Both have scored over 30 points already this year.

9. Southfield Christian
Everyone knows about star guards Bakari Evelyn and Lindsey Hunter IV, but forwards Marlo Brown and Damarco White look like they are in store for big seasons as well.

10. Walled Lake Western
Still early on, but has the looks of a team that was overlooked heading into the season after a tough year last season. Pretty similar to the Oak Park football team, which made a run to the Elite Eight this fall.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Oakland County Boys Basketball Preview - Top 25 Players

1. James Young - Rochester
No surprises here, the Kentucky-bound senior is the No. 1 player in Oakland County because he can do just about everything. Young, one of the top players in the entire nation showed last year he can do just as much damage from the outside as he can driving to the basket. As a junior at Troy last year, Young averaged a double-double, scoring 25 points, while grabbing 10 rebounds per game and could top those numbers in his first and last season at Rochester this winter.

2. Jon-Jon Williams - Southfield-Lathrup
Williams was arguably the most productive player in Oakland County last season with the Chargers, scoring just under 30 points and grabbing six rebounds, while dishing out five assists per contest as a junior. Headed to Toledo, Williams will be in for another big year on a number of different levels as he will be one of the few returning players from last year's Lathrup squad.

3. Yante Maten - Bloomfield Hills Lahser
Maten is arguably the best inside force not only in Oakland County, but possibly in the state. Averaging a double-double as a sophomore last year, scoring 15 points per contest and hauling in just under 12 rebounds, Maten also proved to be one of the premier shot-blockers around, tallying nearly five blocks per game. At 6-9, Maten could have yet another big year for Lahser who is one of the most complete teams in the area.

4. Paris Bass - Birmingham Seaholm
Arguably the best unknown player in the state, Bass is one of the best inside-outside forces you will find. As a junior, Bass averaged just under 20 points per game, while picking up about eight rebounds per contest for the Maples, and is in store for a breakout year this year. Look for Bass to continue his high-scoring ways, but at 6-7, he could become one of the area's best inside forces this winter.

5. Jordan Dasuqi - Clarkston
The latest player to be one of the great scorers for Clarkston in the past few years, Dasuqi will be one of the best guards that Oakland County will have to offer this year. Committed to Lake Superior State next winter, Dasuqi is yet another big time shooter from the outside for the Wolves, but is just as good when it comes to mid-ranged shots and driving to the basket.

6. Miroslav Jaksic - Walled Lake Western
The OC's Dirk Nowitzki, Jaksic is one of, if not the best inside-outside big man you will find. A 6-10 center who can knock down outside shots, but is also one of the better rebounders you will find, Jaksic gives opposing teams all kinds of match-up issues for obvious reasons. It took some time for him to adjust in his first year at Western last season, but look for a big season from the senior big man this winter.

7. Austin Price - Birmingham Detroit Country Day
One of the best combo guards you'll find, Price proved last year that he's just as good scoring the ball as he is passing and finding open shooters. Heading to Lehigh next season, Price is a deadly shooter from the outside, but can also create shots on the inside. Price averaged more than 10 points per game last season and is committed to Lehigh.

8. Armand Cartwright - Bloomfield Hills Lahser
Cartwright followed up a strong freshman season, with an impressive sophomore campaign where he averaged just under 20 points per game. Cartwright, who is as good of a backcourt scorer as you will find, with his ability to hit jump shots and being able to drive to the bastket, paired with Khalil Gracey could make up one of, if not the best backcourt in Oakland County this season.

9. Edmund Sumner - Birmingham Detroit Country Day
As good of a pure point guard as you will find, Sumner is as good as it gets when it comes to creating shots for others on the court. Averaging about five assists per game last season as a sophomore, Sumner showed he could be one of the better point guards in the area last season, but had a big summer and figures to have a big junior season with the Yellowjackets this winter.

10. Khalil Malone - Waterford Mott
After having a breakout season as a junior last season, scoring over just under 14 points per game, while grabbing five rebounds, Malone figures to be in for a monster senior season. Malone is a bit undersized, but is a deadly jump-shooter from just about anywhere on the court who can drive to the basket from time to time.

11. Caleb Hogans - North Farmington
Another very good combo guard in Oakland County, Hogans has proven he's a very capable scorer, while also proving to be one of the area's best passers. Hogans averaged 15 points per game and six assists as a junior last season.

12. Akhemji Williams - Rochester Adams
Williams in another one of the best pure point guards that Oakland County has to offer. After a strong sophomore campaign where Williams averaged over 15 points per game and over six assists per contest, Williams could be in for an even bigger season this winter

13. Mory Diane - Birmingham Detroit Country Day
The third of the Yellowjacket's back-court trio, Diane has proven that he is capable of scoring inside and out with his speed and ability to pull up and knock down the jumper. Diane adds yet another dimension to the Country Day scoring attack, which scored 100 points in the season opener.

14. Khalil Gracey - Bloomfield Hills Lahser
Gracey burst onto the scene last season as a sophomore and will give the Knights another dangerous scorer in the back-court playing next to Cartwright. Last season, Gracey also proved to be one of the top defensive guards around, averaging more than four steals per game to go along with 11 points and five assists as well.

15. Bakari Evelyn - Southfield Christian
Evelyn kicked off the season in impressive fashion, scoring 37 points, five 3-pointers, including the game-tying three at the buzzer to force overtime, which eventually led to the upset win over St. Mary's. Look for the star sophomore to continue his scoring ways this winter.

16. Sam McClendon - Orchard Lake St. Mary's
McClendon is as tough of a point guard as you will find in Oakland County, capable of scoring from anywhere on the court, but is also one of the strongest passers around and is more than capable of creating shots for himself or teammates.

17. Lindsey Hunter IV - Southfield Christian
Hunter is another one of Southfield Christian's dynamic scorer and played a key role in the Eagles' Class D state title last season. The junior is one of the best jump shooters you fill find in the area, and is also just as good when it comes to his ball-handling skills

18. John McCarty - Lake Orion
McCarty is one of the more underrated post players in Oakland County, as he proved to be one of the area's top rebounders. McCarty will also be one of the top scoring threats for the Dragons on the inside as well this winter.

19. Gage Throgmorton - Walled Lake Northern
About as pure of a shooter as there is, Throgmorton has been one of the best at knocking down shots from long distance over the course of the past couple of years. If he's able to find space just about anywhere on the court, the senior sniper will make teams pay this season.

20. Jarod Jones - Pontiac
Jones is one of the top scorers around when it comes to driving to the basket and getting some tough points in the paint for the Phoenix. Only 6-0 tall, Jones was one of the top rebounders for Pontiac last season, averaging about six boards per game to go along with over 12 points per contest.

21. Zack Littleson - Rochester Adams
While Akhemji Williams will take care of the outside game for the Highlanders this winter, Littleson will be one of the dominant forces for Adams in the post. Littleson averaged six rebounds and 12 points per game as a junior last season and is also a very good defender in the post as well.

22. Sterling Sharp - North Farmington
Sharp is as good as it gets when it comes to catch-and-shooting and has some serious range from beyond the arc and can create his own shots on the inside. Sharp will also give the Raiders an advantage defensively with his ability to block shots and haul in rebounds.

23. Jeron "Buddha" Rogers - North Farmington
One of the best sophomore big men in the entire state, Rogers is one of the top shot blockers and rebounders around. Rogers is also capable of scoring on the inside and will give the Raiders an inside threat along with Hogans and Sharp.

24. Stephon Williams - Oak Park
A solid, inside-outside player, Williams can score down low or from the outside, but does plenty of damage on defense as well. Averaging a double-double last season, Williams proved to be a legitimate scoring threat for Oak Park and one of the top rebounders in the OAA.

25. Matt Linehan - Orchard Lake St. Mary's
A lethal jump shooter from almost anywhere on the court, Linehan's range gives the Eaglets another dimension in the back-court playing next to McClendon. Linehan is also capable of creating opportunities for teammates with his passing ability and is one of the better defensive guards you'll find in Oakland County.

20 more to keep an eye on this winter (No Order)
Chaz Miller - Lake Orion
Arben Camaj - Rochester
Nathan Drews Rochester Hills Lutheran Northwest
Korey Wade - Walled Lake Western
Ken Lockhart - Oak Park
Garrett Ross - Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes
Quincy Norman - Waterford Mott
Luke Short - South Lyon
Vezzie Carthane - Pontiac
Quintin Cook - Ortonville Brandon
T.J. Warren - Walled Lake Central
Quinton Arnold - Southfield
Marquian Johnson - Clawson
Nick Troxell - Lakeland
Ben Temrowski - Stoney Creek
Anthony Freeman - Farmington Hills Harrison
Jermaih Johnson - Pontiac Notre Dame Prep
Tim Shayoka - Troy Athens
Nelson Cagle - Novi
John Van Hoef/Jeff Koch - Troy Athens

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Oakland County Boys Basketball Preview -- Top 10 Teams

1. Birmingham Detroit Country Day
The Yellowjackets will be one of the highest scoring squads around this winter as they will have scorers from just about everywhere. With guards Austin Price and Mory Diane capable of scoring from just about everywhere along with one of the best pure point guards you'll find in Edmund Sumner, Country Day will be one tough team to slow down this season.

2. Clarkston
Injuries will be an issue for the Wolves early on, but Clarkston will be once again be one of the top defensive teams around, while also being one of the best shooting teams in the county. The Wolves will have strong guard play from seniors Jordan Dasuqi, and Chance Huth, while junior sharpshooter Nick Owens and junior transfer Press Kampe will add another dimension on the court for Clarkston.

3. Bloomfield Hills Lahser
The Knights will be one of the top forces in Oakland County for at least the next two years, thanks in large part to one of, if not the best junior class in the state. With 6-9 center Yante Maten, considered one of the best big men in the state, along with dynamic guards Armand Cartwright and Khalil Gracey helping lead the way this year, Lahser will be one of the most dangerous inside-outside teams that you will find this winter.

4. Rochester
Let the James Young show begin. While Young, one of the best high school players in the country will undoubtedly give Rochester an advantage over most teams this fall, don't sleep on several other players for Rochester this winter. With senior center Arben Camaj along with guards Manny Mendoza, Mike Murri and Jason Lee, the Falcons will give teams trouble all season long.

5. Rochester Adams
While Rochester is getting all of the attention early on, Adams is not a team that should be overlooked. With point guard Akhemji Williams and forwards Zach Littleson and Andrew McBride, the Highlanders will be able to compete with just about anybody in Oakland County. Look for Adams to be a serious contender to unseat Rochester in the OAA White this winter.

6. Southfield-Lathrup
Senior guard Jon-Jon Williams is about as good of a guard as you will find, proving to be dangerous both inside and out and will give teams fits all season long, while opening things up for teammates along the way. Look for juniors Marlon Tate and Daniel King to be key factors as well for the Chargers this fall as they should have plenty of opportunities this season.

7. Waterford Mott
The Corsairs could have one of the area's best inside-outside tandems this winter with guard Khalil Malone and transfer Quincy Norman, who combined for 34 points in the season opener. Malone can flat out score the ball, whether it's from behind the arc, or driving to the hoop and Norman will give Mott another inside force, filling in for Davonte Daniel who was the team's go-to post player last season.

8. North Farmington
The Raiders will have one of, if not the best backcourt duo this year with seniors Caleb Hogans and Sterling Sharp leading the way. Hogans, one of the best point guards around averaged over 15 points and six assists per contest last season, while Sharp did a little bit of everything last season on both ends of the court. North Farmington will also have sophomore forward Jeron "Buddha" Rogers who was one of the top shot blockers around as a freshman last season.

9. Orchard Lake St. Mary's
The Eaglets, much like North Farmington, will have outstanding guard play this winter with seniors Sam McClendon and Matt Linehan helping lead the way. Both are capable of scoring inside or outside, while McClendon has proven to be one of the area's best point guards over the course of the past few years. St. Mary's will also have an athletic playmaker in Jalen Watts-Jackson, who can do a little bit of everything inside or outside for the Eaglets.

10. Southfield Christian
While the Eagles did lose several players from last year's state title squad, Southfield Christian will once again be a force this winter. With sophomore guard Bakari Evelyn and junior Lindsey Hunter IV, Southfield Christian will once again be nearly unstoppable at the guard position. Look for junior transfer Damarco White, a 6-7 forward, to be a force down low all season long as the Eagles look to repeat as Class D state champs.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Elite Eight - Oakland County Football MVP

8. Brian Walker - Birmingham Brother Rice
Walker was the definition of a workhorse in his junior season as the Brother Rice running back carried the ball over 250 times on the season for just under 1,500 yards rushing. Walker also broke the school record for touchdowns in a season with 21, breaking Devin Church's record of 20 set last year, to lead the Warriors to the D-2 state title.

7. Jon Reschke - Birmingham Brother Rice
Reschke was nothing short of dominant this season, showing just why he was one of the country's most coveted linebacking prospects. The soon-to-be Michigan State linebacker finished the 2012 season with over 130 tackles and eight sacks, while helping Brother Rice win its second straight state title.

6. Jake Slobin - Farmington Hills Harrison
Slobin flew under the radar all season long, but was one of the state's biggest force on the defensive line in 2012. Slobin tallied just under 100 tackles, including an 18 tackle effort early in the season, and six sacks from his defensive tackle position as he helped lead the Hawks to the playoffs once again.

5. Matt Kosmalski - Walled Lake Northern
Kosmalski, did a little bit of everything for the Knights in 2012, as he did damage at running back as well as wide receiver and was one of the area's top defensive backs all season long. The senior rushed for over 1,000 yards and received for over 600, while recording 92 tackles and seven interceptions.

4. Anthony Darkangelo - Novi Detroit Catholic Central
Darkangelo was one of the state's best two-way players all season long as he started at running back as well as linebacker for the Shamrocks. The senior rushed for over 1,100 yards and 14 touchdowns offensively, and tallied 124 tackles on defense to help lead the Shamrocks back to Ford Field in the D-1 state final.

3. Richie Wilson - Birmingham Detroit Country Day
Wilson rushed for over 1,300 yards and 200 yards receiving in his junior campaign for the Yellowjackets to help lead them to Ford Field and the D-4 state finals. Wilson also tallied over 30 total touchdowns on the season and was one of the areas best defensive backs in the Country Day secondary.

2. Ian Eriksen - Clarkston
Eriksen, much like Wilson, was all over the place out of the Clarkston backfield this season. Finishing with over 2,000 yards rushing on the season to go along with 30 touchdowns on the season, Eriksen helped keep the Wolves unbeaten into the playoffs and ranked No. 1 in the state for much of the season.

1. Grant Niemiec - Orchard Lake St. Mary's
Niemiec did a little bit of everything for the Eaglets in 2012, rushing for a school record of 1,910 yards and almost 30 touchdowns on the season, while also tallying 128 tackles in his first year starting at linebacker. The Miami (OH.) commit was also named the Division 3-4 player of the year and helped lead St. Mary's to its fourth consecutive D-3 state title appearance.

Honorable Mention (No Order): Josh Jones (WL Western); Cam Thomas (South Lyon East); Kyle Bambard (WL Western); Collin O'Donnell (WL Northern); Jason Alessi (Birmingham Brother Rice); Justice Bolling (Waterford Mott); Austin Johnson (OL St. Mary's); Matt Linehan (OL St. Mary's); Parker McInnis (OL St. Mary's); Lawrence Marshall (Southfield); Nick Matich (Clarkston); Tyler Wiegers (Country Day); Garrett Moores (Catholic Central); Connor Mohr (Farmington); Brian Williams (Oak Park); Spencer McCourt (BH Lahser); Ross Williams (Birmingham Groves); Jesse Chadwell (Clarkston); Derric Williams (Lake Orion); Nick Booker (Lake Orion); Dylan Roney (Catholic Central)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Oakland County Girls Basketball Preview -- Top 25 Players

1. Sydni Davis - Southfield-Lathrup
Arguably the most complete player that Oakland County has to offer, the transfer from West Bloomfield will give the Chargers yet another weapon to use this winter. Davis averaged nearly 20 points per game last season as a junior, making her one of the most dangerous guards in the state and is also one of the top defensive players in the area.

2. Sami Stormont - Royal Oak
Stormont can flat out score the basketball. Plain and simple. Averaging over 22 points per game and over nine rebounds per contest as a junior last season, Stormont earned first team all-state honors in Class A. Having already scored over 1,000 points in her high school career in just three years and tallying over 40 double-doubles, Stormont will once again be one of the state's most prolific scorers this winter.

3. Shannon Wilson - Bloomfield Hills Andover
One of Oakland County's best inside-outside players, Wilson is dangerous from anywhere on the court. Averaging 17 points per game last season, Wilson was one of the biggest scoring threats around at the guard position with her ability to shoot and drive to the basket, but can also be just as effective inside.

4.  Lexie Robak - Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes
Named to the first team all-state Class D squad as a junior last year, Robak finished off the 2011-12 season averaging over 10 points and five rebounds per game, while helping the Lakers take home their third consecutive state title. Look for Robak to be one of the top scorers and defenders in Class D once again this winter, as Lakes will look to make it four straight state titles.

5. Delaney Kenny - Clarkston
Kenny has been a starter for the Wolves dating back to her freshman season and will once again be one of the top guards in the area this winter. Last season, Kenny averaged over 10 points per contest on her way to being named honorable mention on the Class A all-state squad as a junior.

6. Candace Leatherwood - Farmington Hills Mercy
Yet another versatile guard, Leatherwood showed last year that she can be one of the best around when it comes to scoring the ball, or passing. With a team filled with shooters, Leatherwood will have plenty of options to pass, but will have just as many opportunities to score as well.

7. Asia Doss - Birmingham Detroit Country Day
Doss flew under the radar for much of the year last season, because of the star power the Yellowjackets had, but now the junior will be right at the center for Country Day. Doss, already considered as one of the top college prospects in the class of 2014 after pouring in 10 points per game in her sophomore campaign.

8. Ava Doetsch - Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes
One of the top point guards in the area this winter, Doetsch will be racking up the assists all season long, but is just as dangerous of a scorer and defender for the Lakers. Doetsch and Robak will make for one of, if not the best back court duo in Oakland County this year.

9. Alyssa Copley - Holly
One of the best inside forces there are, Copley was one of the top rebounders and shot blockers in Oakland County as a sophomore last season. Look for more of the same on that end and Copley could emerge as one of the top inside scorers as well this winter.

10. Natalie Voss/Lauren Voss - Stoney Creek
One of the best 1-2 punches you will find, as both have proved to be legit inside forces, averaging just under 10 points and 10 rebounds per game last year as sophomores. Natalie also proved to be one of the more dangerous shot blockers in Oakland, while Lauren showed last year and early this year that she can be the latest sharpshooter to play for the Cougars.

11. Kerri McMahan -  Novi
McMahan will be one of the top distributors in the area entering this season, but will do her fair share of scoring as she will be one of just a few returning players for the Wildcats this winter.

12. Amber Jamison - Rochester Adams
Jamison might have had her "breakout game" on Friday night with a 19 point, 16 rebound and five block effort. The sophomore will likely be one of the top inside players in the county for the next three years.

13.  Christina Green - Southfield-Lathrup
Another dominant inside force, Green will give the Chargers a strong post player to go along with Davis on the outside. Green will be one of the area's best rebounders and shot blockers this winter.

14. Shelby Watts - Waterford Kettering
Keeping with the trend of post players, Watts will be the leader of what will be a young and inexperienced Kettering squad. Look for Watts to be one of the top shot blockers and rebounders in the KLAA next season as Kettering will look to win another North division title.

15. Lauren Hung - Waterford Mott
Hung can flat out shoot the ball. One of the best pure jump shooters in the area, Hung averaged nearly 20 points per game last year and has over 1,000 points in her high school career already.

16. Kristin Massey - Novi Franklin Road Christian 
Massey is one of the unknown stars in Oakland County as she averaged nearly 30 points per contest last season as a sophomore. It will be interesting to see how many more points she will score in the next two seasons.

17. Raiven Owusu - Rochester Adams
The second half of the sophomore twin towers for the Highlanders, Owusu also had a bit of a breakout in the first week of the season, scoring 37 points in two games and is also a good distributor at guard and is a good rebounder as well.

18. Caitlin Crowley - Walled Lake Northern
Crowley is another Oakland County guard who can score in a number of ways. Crowley averaged 15 points per game last season as a junior and is a very good shooter, but can also score inside as well.

19. Aaron Howell - Farmington
Howell is one of the top all-around players in Oakland Count because of her ability to both score the ball and defend. Look for Howell to have a big year in a number of ways for the Falcons.

20. Allie Gorcyca - Farmington Hills Mercy
Gorcyca might be the best shooter in Oakland County, and possibly the state. Regardless of where she is on the court, she can knock down shots from just about anywhere, giving the Marlins a dangerous 1-2 punch between Gorcyca and Leatherwood.

21. Charity Godbold - Southfield Christian
Another multi-dimensional player who can flat-out score, Godbold averaged over 20 points per game as a sophomore last season and could be well on her way to matching that this year after tallying a triple-double in the season opener.

22. Marissa Cotton - Farmington Hills Harrison
Cotton will be one of the constant contributors for the Hawks for a third straight season. Having not missed a game in the past two seasons, Cotton averaged more than 10 points per game last year and should be ready for a big year this winter.

23. Shelby Davis - Oxford
Davis will be one of the better inside-outside players around this winter, with her ability to both rebound and shoot. Last year, Davis nearly averaged a double-double as a junior, and you can expect more of the same this year.

24. Sarah LewAllen - Pontiac Notre Dame Prep
LewAllen did a little bit of everything for the Irish last year, averaging nine points per game, while also picking up her fair share of rebounds, assists and steals. This year could be a breakout year for the junior who is the top returning scorer for Notre Dame Prep.

25. Erika Davenport/Erin Davenport - Clarkston
One of the best inside-outside sister combinations that there is in the state. Erika is one of the best post players that Oakland County has to offer with her rebounding, shot blocking and scoring ability, while Erin is one of the top point guards around with her ability to pass and score.

15 More to keep an eye on this winter (No Order)
Tierra Binder - Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood
Zhana Randolph - Rochester
Jayla Nichols - Walled Lake Western
Sydney Heath - Troy
Courtney Williams - Southfield
Dominique Zigo - Lakeland
Becky VanSloten - Auburn Hills Oakland Christian
Sabria Cotton - Southfield Lathrup
Quinnence Garrison - Auburn Hills Avondale
Anne Tucker - Rochester
Emilie Kipp - Lake Orion
Micaela Ellis - Ferndale
Brittany Washington - Birmingham Detroit Country Day
Taylor Steinhelper - Waterford Kettering
Kaitlyn Kendall - North Farmington

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Oakland County Girls Basketball Preview -- Top 10 Teams

1. Southfield-Lathrup
The Chargers enter the 2012-2013 season as the best team in Oakland County thanks in large part to three high-profile transfers into Lathrup for the upcoming season, including Sydni Davis (West Bloomfield), Sabria Cotton (Troy), and Asia King (Pontiac). But don't forget about some of the players that are back with the Chargers from last season's squad, including Erica Longmire as well as one of the best inside players in the county Christina Green.

2. Birmingham Detroit Country Day
This season's Yellowjacket's squad is going to have a much different look to it than in year's past as Country Day won't have Aerial Powers or Amber Deane leading the way. But the Yellowjackets will have other "stars in the making" running things this season with Asia Doss, Brittany Washington and Tiana Glimpse hoping to lead the Yellowjackets to yet another regional title this fall.

3. Rochester Adams
The Highlanders will be a team that will be more than difficult to score against as Adams will have three players who are either at, or close to six feet tall, including sophomores Raiven Owusu, who poured in 20 points in the season opener and 17 more against Groves on Friday, and Amber Jamison who registered 19 points and 16 rebounds in the win over Groves. With seniors Brittany Boyle and Katie Milke and junior Jenny Rosonke Adams is built for both short team and long term success and could be a sleeper team come playoff time.

4. Farmington Hills Mercy
Much like Adams, Mercy is built for both short and long term success. The Marlins will have a group that is built from almost all juniors this season, which includes one of the area's top point guards in Candice Leatherwood and sharp-shooter Allie Gorcyca as well as one of the best defenders in Oakland County in Sam Bauer. Look for a number of other underclassmen to help lead the Marlins this year, with Sierra LeGrande and sophomore transfer Sierra Wangler (Royal Oak Shrine).

5. Clarkston
The Wolves will feature one of the best backcourts that Oakland County will have to offer this winter, with four year starter Delaney Kenny and Erin Davenport, who should be able to handle the majority of the scoring for Clarkston this fall. But don't sleep on the Clarkston frontcourt, which will have one of the area's top young post players in Erika Davenport along with a strong junior rotation helping with some defense and rebounding.

6. Stoney Creek
It will be a challenge for the Cougars to make-up for the loss of Gabby Yurik, but Stoney Creek has some sharpshooters on the roster once again. In the season opener against Utica, the Cougars buried 11 3-pointers on the night, four coming from Maria Zandi and Lauren Voss and two more coming from Natalie Voss. It will be a work in progress for Stoney Creek at times this winter, but with three sharpshooters on board, the Cougars are capable of beating just about anyone at anytime.

7. Royal Oak
With star guard Sami Stormont back for her senior year, the Ravens will be another team that is capable of beating just about any team on its schedule this season. Stormont was already in midseason form in the season opener as she scored 34 points to lead Royal Oak to a win over Walled Lake Northern. But there will be a strong supporting cast along with Stormont, including Ashley Krenzer, who poured in 12 points in the opener, and Bella Leone who scored nine in the second game of the year on Friday.

8. Rochester
It wasn't an ideal start to the season for the Falcons after falling to Oxford to start the season, but Rochester will be one of the area's top defensive squads, and has proven just that in the opening week. The Falcons limited Oxford to just 35 points on Tuesday and then held Lake Orion to 27 points on Friday. Rochester will have a few go-to scorers, including Aubrey Konal, who poured in 13 points to lead the Falcons to their first win, but the defense will win plenty of games for them this season.

9. Waterford Out Lady of the Lakes
It'd be hard not to include the defending Class D state champions, who will be in search of a fourth straight state title this winter. The Lakers will have a trio of players who will be shooting for a fourth state title ring in Lexie Robak, Ava Doetsch and Jessica Parry along with junior Anna Robb, which will account for four of one of the most experienced starting fives in the state. It's definitely not out of the question to think that Lakes could win its fourth straight state title for just the second time in state history.

10. Waterford Kettering
The Captains lost plenty of key senior contributors off of last year's squad, but should once again be the favorite to win the KLAA North division this winter. Senior forward Shelby Watts should help lead the way for Kettering, who should once again be one of the top defensive team's in Oakland County. Look for senior guard Taylor Steinhelper to help pace the offense along with a handful of other new starters this year for the Captains.

10 More to keep an eye out for (No Order)
Auburn Hills Avondale
Birmingham Seaholm
South Lyon East
Bloomfield Hills Andover
Waterford Mott
Walled Lake Western