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 24, 2010

Riding High!

Two of the county's three remaining undefeated teams took the floor early Saturday night but only one of them could stake claim to being the owner of an unblemished record by evening's end. That team was small school upstart, Birmingham Roeper, upping its record to a perfect 10-0 by dominating a visiting Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook team, 46-28 in a game that took less than 90 minutes to complete.
Senior point guard Ryan Zinser continued his more than stellar career running the Roughriders' offense by scoring 13 points, dishing eight assists, and swiping away four steals to lead the team's winning effort. A senior dominated team, Roeper is off to the best start in boys bball school history. Power forward Cole Stasek notched eight points and 10 boards and shooting guard Jacob Saslow put in nine points, while doling out three assists and collecting three steals. Zinser (all-conference the past two seasons), Saslow, and Stasek are the squad's tri-captains and Zinser and Stasek are both four year varsity players. Fellow seniors, Derek Dunlap, Damani Tilton, Tomas Jhashi, and Aaron Solomon give sturdy support as role players.  6-5 sophomore center Jack Gorland is a growing presence in the post. Saslow, an all-state soccer player in the fall, is the team's top defender and Jhashi, the 'Riders sixth man, along with Saslow and Zinser are the team's top 3-point shooters.
The Roughriders started 10-1 in 1994 and 10-2 in both 1995 and 2001. Longtime Roeper head coach Ernie Righetti, who is one of only a handful coaches left who still pull double duty coaching both boys and girls, thinks his 2010 team could end up being a very special one.
"These guys are true to each other and to the program," said Righetti following his squad's defeat of Cranbrook. "Everyone knows their role and they embrace it. That's rare in high school basketball. We can't worry about rankings or what we are going to end up doing in the state tournament right now. Our primary focus for the rest of the season is winning the conference. We'll deal with what comes after that when the time comes."
Roeper's boys hoopsters have not raised a conference championship banner since 1995. Although the 'Riders find themselves without a single smudge on their overall record, the state pundits have yet to take notice and Roeper fails to appear in any of the major state rankings. The program's last district title was in 2006 when Ryan Zinser's brother, Eric, an all-state selection, captained the Roughriders to a 19-5 record and a spot in the Class D Sweet Sixteen. Righetti-coached boys teams have won a total of seven district championships since 1994.
Birmingham Detroit Country Day, the number one ranked team in Class B and arguably the best team in the state regardless of class, dropped its first game of the season in Kalamazoo early Saturday night. The Yellowjackets, playing without 6-11 starting center Amir Williams – out until the start of February with a knee sprain – lost to unranked Kalamazoo Central, 74-64. Oddly enough, DCD routed # 2 in the state, Detroit Pershing, last Saturday on a neutral floor in Lansing, while playing without the services of the heavily-recruited Williams. Country Day is now 10-1. Senior point guard Ray McCallum scored 23 points in the game.


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