Thursday Highlights: Lahser Boys Win Basketball Division Title
Ferndale rebounds big against Berkley; Oxford outlasts Andover 76-71; the Knights clinch sole possession of Oakland Activities Association title with 64-48 win over Hazel Park.
* home team in caps unless otherwise noted
Lahser over HAZEL PARK, 64-48
Bloomfield Hills Lahser spent Thursday night cutting down the nets and celebrating after a 64-48 win over Hazel Park.
The Knights clinched sole possession of the Oakland Activities Association Gold division title with an 8-2 record (15-5 overall). It’s their first championship since 2007 when they were co-champs with Andover.
“This is outstanding,” Lahser coach Duane Graves said. “It’s a great feeling, but the kids are the ones who did all the hard work. We were just there to help them along.”
Yante Maten had a game-high 15 points. Martez Jones had nine and Khalil Gracey added eight.
The Knights dominated early and Graves was able to go deep into his bench. All but three Knights players scored Thursday.
OXFORD over Andover, 76-71
Bloomfield Hills Andover jumped out to an early 12-2 lead Thursday night at Oxford, but sloppy play in the second quarter put Andover in a hole. The Wildcats went into halftime with a 49-34 lead and ended up winning 76-71.
“We had something like seven traveling calls in the second and we threw it to a player out of bounds twice,” Barons coach Jeff Rubin said.
Rubin’s team came back in the third and fourth to make it a one-possession game with less than a minute left, but Oxford was able to hold on.
Marcus McQueen had a team-high 20 points for the Barons and five steals. Marlon Pruitt had 16 points and eight rebounds. Zach Smoler had a double-double with 12 points, 12 rebounds and seven blocks.
“I’m really proud of my guys,” Rubin said. “It was a really hostile crowd and we just kept competing.”
Andover finished the season with a 7-10 record overall and it was 4-6 in the OAA Gold. It was a big improvement over the Barons’ 2-19 record a year ago
“We weren’t even competing last year,” Rubin said. “We lost most games by 20-plus points. This year five of our six division losses were by six points or less. And all of those games we had a lead or the score within one possession in the final two minutes.”
Ferndale over BERKLEY, 81-50
Ferndale finished the regular season by blowing out Berkley 81-50 Thursday night.
The Eagles' loss on Tuesday to Adams put them out of the division title picture, but even though a championship wasn’t on the line they came out very focused.
“We went back to our normal selves,” Ferndale coach Tom Staton said. “We had a lot of heart-to-hearts this week about running better offense and trying to come out with more intensity on defense.”
Jordan Ellis made sure the offense ran smoothly with 10 assists. Jermaine King led all scorers with 22 points.
The Eagles finished the regular season with a 14-6 record overall and 7-3 in the OAA White.
Ferndale over Detroit Community, 60-39 (Class B; Livonia Clarenceville District)
Ferndale played a lot of close games during the regular season. The contests helped toughen the Eagles for an extended playoff run.
They are now headed to the district finals after a 60-39 win over Detroit Community on Wednesday night at Livonia Clarenceville.
“The experience our girls have is really helping,” Ferndale coach Berwyn Ellis said. “We played a lot of close games this year like the loss to Andover and the games against Berkley. Those really helped us.”
After a shaky start, the Eagles outscored Detroit Community 14-3 in the second quarter.
“It looked like we were a little nervous, but we settled down and really started getting to the line,” Ellis said.
Taryn Stephens opened the third quarter with a 3-pointer. She attempted another, but was fouled. She hit all three free throws and finished the quarter with eight of her game-high 17 points.
Ellis said in the fourth a team effort helped seal the win. Six different Ferndale girls scored in the quarter. The Eagles outscored Detroit Community 17-5 before the buzzer.
Micaela Ellis finished the game with 16 points and nine assists. Janecia Jenkins had another double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
A battle of the Ferndale High Schools is up next for the Eagles. University High School plays Ferndale at Livonia Clarenceville (7 p.m.) on Friday night for the district championship.
“We know they have some good guards,” Ellis said. “Hopefully we’ll be able to pull it out and really make it a successful season.
ANDOVER over Groves, 54-52 (Class A; Andover District)
Groves nearly stunned Andover on Wednesday night with a furious comeback in the fourth quarter.
The Falcons erased a 9-point deficit in the final minute. Jordan Blackwell started the run with a 3-pointer to put her team within two possessions. The Barons (19-2) missed nearly all of their free throws down the stretch to give the Falcons (6-15) an opportunity to send the game into overtime.
“We almost gift-wrapped the game for them,” Andover coach Jeff Rubin said. “We clanked a couple of free throws and they actually had like four chances to tie in the final 20 seconds. They missed a couple of shots inside and then Alexis Tillory missed free throws that would have tied the game.”
Rubin said his team was lucky to escape with the win.
“We need to play more confident and more disciplined,” he said. “We had a lot of turnovers, missed free throws and made a lot of mental mistakes.”
The only time Andover really played its game was in the third quarter when it limited Groves to only six points.
Shannon Wilson had a game-high 26 points, seven rebounds and six steals in the win. Blackwell led the Falcons with 19 points.
The Barons advance to the district finals against Marian on Friday night at 7 p.m.
“I know they were watching and scouting us during the game, based on what they saw I know they probably aren’t scared,” Rubin said. “We will need to play better on Friday.”
Marian over Seaholm, 69-34 (Class A; Andover District)
Marian (8-11) breezed past Seaholm in the district semifinals on Wednesday night at Andover.
The Maples (8-13) were outscored 17-2 in the first quarter and it wasn’t much of a game after that. Seaholm didn’t score a field goal until the middle of the second quarter. By halftime, the Mustangs were up 27 points and they didn’t look back.
Katie White had a game-high 12 points. Kiaja Pack had 11 points for Seaholm.
LAHSER over Groves, 65-46
“It was a huge win,” Knights coach Duane Graves said.
Graves’ team was coming off an emotional 63-51 win over first-place Oxford. Any worries he had about his players not having the same kind of intensity were quickly put to rest.
In the second quarter, Lahser (14-5; 7-2 Oakland Activities Association Gold division) didn’t allow a single point to go into halftime with a 24-11 lead.
“This is the second time this season where we had a big win and came right back with a win,” Graves said. “That’s so important.”
Yante Maten had another double-double leading the Knights with a game-high 25 points, 15 rebounds and six blocks. Three of those blocks came in the second quarter. Khalil Gracey just missed a triple-double with 10 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists.
Guards Kyle Riley and Martez Jones each had only five points, but they were the catalysts. Riley had seven assists; Jones had four.
“Jones led the team with his unselfish play,” Graves said. “On offense we moved the ball better than we ever have.”
Graves started his seniors and they played the opening four minutes of the game. When the group went to the bench, the score was tied 5-5. David Adams scored the Knights first five points.
“They came out and played extremely hard,” Graves said. “We have such good senior leadership. A lot of the seniors don’t play a lot, but they come to practice and play every game like it’s a championship game.”
The loss drops Groves out of the Gold title picture. It was the Falcons fourth loss of the season in the division. They are now 5-14 overall and 5-4 in the league.
ATHENS over Stoney Creek, 55-45
The Red Hawks made sure the Cougars would have to find it somewhere else with a 55-45 victory.
“We talked about it,” Athens coach Dave Scott said. “We have a habit of overlooking people and we didn’t want to be the team that put them in the win column.”
The game was close for a half, but Scott said his team ratcheted up its defensive intensity after halftime to take a comfortable lead.
“We used our pressure to force some turnovers,” Scott said. “Their guards had time handling it.”
Caleb McIntosh had a game-high 14 points. Aaron Fox added 9. Stoney Creek’s leading scorer was Stephan Makowski with nine points.
Athens is now 13-6 overall and 4-5 in the Oakland Activities Association Blue. The Cougars are 0-19 and 0-6 in the Blue. Their last chance for a win is on Thursday against Farmington.
ANDOVER over Hazel Park, 82-60
Bloomfield Hills Andover (10-9; 4-5 Oakland Activities Association Gold) pushed its winning streak to season-high three games by beating Hazel Park 82-60 on Tuesday night.
“It was our last home game this season and we were able to get everybody in the game,” Barons coach Jeff Rubin said. “So it was a nice win for us.”
Rubin’s team pulled away in the second half by outscoring the Vikings 23-10 in the third quarter. After a sluggish first, Andover really picked up the tempo to take a commanding 20 point lead in the third quarter.
Diop Shumake led the Barons with a game-high 17 points. Endre Christmon added 16. As a team, they hit 12 3-pointers.
For Hazel Park (5-14; 0-9 OAA Gold) Matthew Dial scored 16 points. Alexander Bateman had 13 points.
Girls Basketball (district results)
Ferndale over OLD REDFORD, 69-45 (Class B; Livonia Clarenceville District)
A team effort helped make sure Ferndale didn’t suffer a second straight disappointing exit from the playoffs.
On Monday, the Eagles (10-11) scored a 69-49 victory at Old Redford to advance to the second round of districts.
Last year, the Eagles blew a lead in the final 30 seconds against Warren Lincoln behind some frustrating mental mistakes and lost in the first round, 58-56.
“I wanted to win this for them,” Berwyn Ellis said, of his returning varsity players. “We lost a lot of tough games this season and last year things went haywire for us in the playoffs. This was a good win for us.”
Ferndale scored 20 points in the first quarter to take an early lead. Old Redford kept the game close until the third quarter.
Taryn Stephens came off the bench and hit two 3-pointers to put the Eagles up 16 points. The sophomore finished the game with 14 points.
“We opened it up in the third quarter, “ Ellis said. “We just were too strong, too fast and really kept the ball moving.”
Janecia Jenkins had a double-double with 18 points, 10 rebounds and six steals. Starting point guard Micaela Ellis had 14 points, five steals and two assists.
In the fourth, Ellis was able to go to the bench and give his reserves extended playing time.
“It was nice,” Ellis said. “Everybody got in and everybody got to contribute.”
CLAWSON over Hazel Park, 40-36 (Class B; Detroit Country Day District)
Clawson’s inside game was too much to handle for Hazel Park in the first round of districts on Monday. Alli Costine and Ryann May helped the Trojans (12-9; 9-5 Macomb Area Conference Silver) win 40-36 to advance to the semifinals.
The frontcourt tandem scored 29 of Clawson’s 40 points and each girl also had a double-double.
Costine finished with a game-high 18 points and she grabbed 10 rebounds. Despite foul trouble, May had 11 points and 10 rebounds.
“They were great,” Trojans coach Kelly Horne said. “On the baskets they didn’t score for us, I think they picked up assists.”
Horne’s team went up 10 points in the first half. The Vikings cut Clawson’s lead to two points at the beginning of the fourth.
“Once they were within two points we really had to work defensively to hold them off,” Horne said. “We went to a full court press and came up with some huge steals. Lizzie Pasquin had seven steals and most of them were in the second half. She really stepped up.”
The Trojans prize for advancing to the semifinals is a matchup against one of the top teams in the state. Clawson will play at Detroit Country Day on Wednesday (5:30 p.m.).
“I told the girls any high school team can beat any high school team,” Horne said. “We just are going to try to play to our strength and I think we’ll be able to do good things.”
Seaholm over Lahser, 42-39 (Class A – Andover District)
Seaholm held on to beat Lasher on Monday in the first round of districts after Suzanne Miller’s 3-point attempt fell just short at the buzzer.
The Knights (8-13) erased a 15-point deficit in the fourth quarter and nearly forced overtime at Andover High School.
A balanced attacked for the Maples maintain control. Gabby Love scored 13 points, Lauren Yousif had 12 points and Kiaja Pack added 10. For Lahser, Shailynn Brown had a team-high 13 points. Alex Jackson had eight points.
Seaholm advances to the semifinals to play Marian on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.
What a difference a half makes.
Berkley (12-9) started the first round of districts against heavily favored Lathrup with a 9-2 run in the first quarter. The Bears went into halftime happy to be down only two points to the host of the district.
But the Chargers weren’t the same team in the second half; and neither was Berkley.
“I don’t think we came out in the second half with the same energy level,” Bears coach Jordan Gruppen said. “Things kind of fell apart for us in the second half.”
Lathrup established itself almost immediately in the third quarter. It switched to a full court press and senior captain Michele Hayes dominated on both ends of the floor. She helped her team outscore Berkley 22-5 in the quarter to help the Chargers advance with a 55-34 win.
“We came out with a lack of focus, lack of discipline and not playing very hard,” Lathrup coach Michele Marshall said. “At half time, you go in give them a gentle (laughing) reminder of what’s this game is about and you see the real team come out in the second half.”
Hayes scored the first seven points of the quarter with back-to-back layups and a 3-pointer. The senior scored 13 of her game-high 15 points in the third.
“Sometimes she doesn’t want to take over the game, she wants to get her teammates involved,” Marshall said. “But as she’s played well this season, we’ve played well this season. When she’s aggressive, we ride on her shoulders.”
She also made sure the Chargers pressure defense produced results. The University of Toledo recruit forced Berkley’s guards to make a lot of mistakes. The turnovers led to a lot of transition baskets for Lathrup’s guards.
“The pressure got to us,” Gruppen said. “I don’t know if we were ready for it.”
Southfield over Royal Oak, 39-33 (Class A - Southfield Lathrup District)
The Royal Oak girls basketball team’s feel good season came to an abrupt halt on Monday in the first round of districts.
Southfield eliminated its division rival from the playoffs Monday night at Lathrup with a 39-33 win.
It was the second time in four days the two teams played each other and the third time this season. The Ravens (18-3; 14-2 Oakland Activities Association Blue) won on Friday 31-27. Back on Jan. 13, they beat the Bluejays 41-27.
“There’s an old saying, it’s hard to beat a team three times in one season,” Royal Oak coach Brian Sopata said. “Tonight, Southfield played really well and really got after it. I thought we battled, but just couldn’t get over the hump.”
The difference in Monday’s game was Southfield’s defensive game plan.
It was able to contain the Ravens leading scorer Sami Stormont with a box-and-one defense.
Anytime Stormont would drive into the lane, the defense would collapse down. The junior was forced to shoot in the face of double and triple teams all night.
“She’s a great player, you’re not going to completely hold her down, but we put the challenge to Faith Westley,” Southfield coach Jamie Glinz said. “She took the challenge and didn’t back down. She owned that position today, playing her all over the court. I know Sami was tired off Faith chasing her down.”
Stormont finished the game with 14 points, but all of them came from the free throw line. She held without a field goal (0-of-12) for the first time all season.
A full court press also gave Royal Oak’s guards lot of problems in the third quarter. The Bluejays (13-8; 12-4 OAA Blue) quickly erased an 18-15 halftime deficit by forcing 10 turnovers in the third.
“The press changed things up a little, that effected our rhythm a little bit,” Sopata said. “They certainly made everything difficult.”
As a team, Royal Oak only managed one field goal in the second half.
Kiara Salisbury helped Southfield advance with a career-high 17 points. She kept the score close early by scoring eight of the Bluejays’ first nine.
In the fourth, she hit a layup with 4:02 left on the clock to break a 29-29 tie and put her team ahead for good.
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