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Burney's Bites will focus primarily on the local preps sports scene, but will also touch on some college and pro athletics, mostly in regards to athletes who hail and have played high school sports in Oakland County. My goal for the blog is to be conversational and anecdotal, a more relaxed and free formal take on high school athletics than you see in regular game day coverage.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Bumped Off

Encountering its first bump in the road in what has so far been an early-season route-fest, the Birmingham Detroit Country Day boys basketball team had its victory train derailed on Saturday night in a dogfight with a spirited Kalamazoo Central squad on the road. The game, played in front of an overflow crowd of more than 3,000 spectators at the Maroon Giants' Zuidema Gymnasium, ended with Kalamazoo Central pulling the 74-64 upset win over the highly-touted Yellowjackets.
Both squads were playing without the services of star players as a result of injury. Country Day was without 6-11 junior center, Amir Williams, gone until next month with a sprained knee suffered back in the first week of January, and K-Central (ranked number 9 in the state in Class A by the Associated Press) was minus all-state wing and Dayton-signee Devin Oliver.
Stepping up in his teammate's absence, Dyland Hughes did his best Oliver impression by going for 26 points and nine rebounds. T.J. Buchanan also delivered a knockout performance for the Maroon Giants, posting a glittery overall floor game of 23 points (4-of-6 from 3-point range), eight boards, and six assists.
The Yellowjackets, the number one-ranked team in the state in Class B, suffers their first defeat of the season and drop to 10-1. Kalamazoo Central, coming off a 2009 season where it advanced all the way to the Class A state championship game, improves to 9-2.   
The Maroon Giants closed out the game late with a highly-proficient success ratio from the free throw line. Hughes was 11-of-14 from the charity stripe – seven of them coming down the stretch in the fourth quarter – and Buchanan was a perfect 11-for-11.
Establishing control of the game in the first half, K-Central had a 31-24 lead at the break and a 50-41 advantage heading into the fourth quarter. Despite shaving their deficit down to just two possessions with under three minutes remaining, the Yellowjackets could do no further damage and Hughes and Buchanan buried numerous free throws in the closing two and a half minutes to put the final nails in the proverbial coffin.
Ray McCallum, Country Day's heavily-recruited all-state point guard, scored a team-high 21 points to go along with nine boards and five assists to lead the Yellowjackets in the state sheet. 17 of his 23 points were put in during the fast-paced second half. Junior guard Chris Fowler had a more than solid effort of 16 points and seven assists.
Most prep prognosticators believe that Country Day is the best team in the state, regardless of class size. Proving their case last week, the undermanned 'Jackets handily took care of defending Class A champion Detroit Pershing – the two ranked team in the state in Class A – and high scoring Michigan State-recruit Keith Appling by a score of 83-74.
Senior center Angelo Griffis scored 13 points and pulled down eight rebounds and junior power forward Darius Norman netted seven points and hauled in 10 boards for K-Central.
When the Yellowjackets and Maroon Giants met up last season at the Motor City Roundball Classic at Chandler Park Academy in Harper Woods, the 'Jackets emerged victorious in a game that featured more than 165 combined points scored by the two high-octane squads. Ranked number one in the state for all of last season, Country Day lost in the quarterfinals for the second straight year to Flint Powers, a team they had defeated at home earlier in the campaign. Country Day's head coach, Kurt Keener, has won a total of seven state titles in his 32 year career, the most recent coming in 2007.
There will be precious little time for the Yellowjackets to nurse their wounds, as the team takes to the road for their third straight road contest on Tuesday night against a very good Taylor Kennedy team.


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