Blogs > Burney's Bites

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 17, 2010

Mister, Mister

Birmingham Detroit Country Day boys basketball coach, Kurt Keener, was afraid that playing without 6-11 junior starting center, Amir Williams –sidelined until the start of February with a knee sprain – would put his Yellowjackets at a severe disadvantage in their mega-watt match-up with defending Class A state champion, Detroit Pershing, on Saturday night.
In retrospect, the county's most tenured sideline general actually had little to worry about. Picking up the slack for their injured teammate in spades by putting in a spirited performance, Country Day held off two furious late comeback runs by the Doughboys to come away with an 81-72 win. The sold out affair, dubbed, "The Mr. Basketball Classic", was played in an electric atmosphere at Lansing Eastern High School.
The game's moniker referred to the showdown of arguably the top two candidates for the ever-coveted Hal Schram Mr. Basketball Award in the Yellowjackets, Ray McCallum and Pershing's Keith Appling.
McCallum is currently still undecided on his college destination, while Appling, who scored a championship game record 49 points in the Doughboys' victory in the 2009 Class A state final, is committed to Michigan State University.
With the crowd expecting a classic one-on-one dual, they got their money's worth. Country Day, ranked number one in the state in Class B, was led by McCallum's game-high 24 points, five assists, and seven rebounds. Pershing, ranked number two in Class A, was led by Appling's 22 points, four assists, four steals, and seven rebounds.
Coming off a week long lay-off between games, the Yellowjackets looked sharp and focused in running their record to a perfect 10-0 overall on the season. Sparked by junior guard Chris Fowler's 14 first half points, Country Day led 42-25 at the break and took its lead into the "twenties", 45-25, early in the third quarter.
But as expected, the Doughboys (8-2) displayed championship-caliber composure and responded to the embarrassing deficit in front of a packed house by putting together a 19-2 run that trimmed their disadvantage to one possession less than five minutes later. Kidez Foster's pair of free throws made it 47-44 with a little more than two minutes left to play in the frame.
Seeing all of his team's hard work slipping through its proverbial fingers, McCallum stepped to the forefront (per standard procedure for this 6-2 wunderkind of a floor leader) and took charge. He scored 10 in a row to conclude the third, capping the heady scoring purge by sinking a triple just before the horn to give the Yellowjackets a 57-50 lead going into the fourth.
The closest Pershing would get the rest of the way would be when Appling's steal and score on a rip of McCallum at midcourt put the score at 69-64 with three minutes left to play. Foster finished with 17 points and Juwaan Howard, Jr. (Western Michigan), chipped in with 15 points.
Yellowjackets junior forward Kenny Knight had his second consecutive stellar outing in the wake of Williams' injury. After going for a double-double of 12 points and 10 boards in a win over Canton Glen Oak last Saturday, Knight scored 15 points and collected eight rebounds against the Doughboys' athletic frontcourt. Junior guard Lee Bailey registered 14 points and five assists to admirably augment McCallum and Fowler.
Williams – a dominant post presence for Keener's talented bunch and the only player that tops 6-5 in the squad's playing rotation – hopes to make it back for the Yellowjackets game against Belleville on February 9. There is a chance he could play on February 6 when Country Day plays Columbus (OH) Northland at Delta Community College in Saginaw.
Country Day will face another stiff test its next time out, as the 'Jackets travel west to face 2009 Class A State finalist, Kalamazoo Central, next Saturday.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kenny Knight had a great game for sure, and we had him with a second consecutive double-double with 15 pts and 11 rebounds

January 17, 2010 at 2:38 PM 

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