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.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Rolling Rice

The Birmingham Brother Rice boys basketball team are as explosive as a stick of dynamite right now. The red hot Warriors pushed their winning streak to six games and made it two in a row on the road by downing a previously unbeaten Warren De La Salle squad 58-50 in CHSL action on Tuesday night.
Starting the season 0-4, Brother Rice is now 6-4 and sitting atop the conference standings. De La Salle, state quarterfinalists last season, drops to 8-1 overall. Part of the reason for the Warriors' early-season woes was the absence of starters, Kevonte Martin-Manley and Adam Gorski. With both back in the line-up as of late, head coach Ed Shaffer's squad has been firing on all cylinders and looks primed for a serious run at the Catholic League crown.
On Tuesday, it took a little while for Brother Rice to find its groove, however, once it did, it was "all she wrote" for the host-Pilots. Falling behind after the first quarter, the Warriors re-claimed their mojo by getting toasty from long distance. Joey Alessi's three straight triples midway through the second quarter helped catapult Brother Rice into a halftime lead. Extending their lead into double-digits in the third quarter, the Warriors never looked back. The closest the Pilots would get the rest of the way would be when they trimmed their deficit to six points at a score of 52-46 with just under two minutes remaining in the game.
Alessi, who is having a breakout junior campaign, scored a game-high 23 points to head Brother Rice's offensive production for the night. Martin-Manley – an all-conference performer in both basketball and football the past two seasons – netted 15 points and junior forward Drew Holinski put in 10 points and grabbed seven rebounds.
Junior guard Sterling Johnson, one of the only returning players from De La Salle's 2009 CHSL title team, paced the Pilots with a team-high 16 points.
All-State shooting guard, Alex Marcotullio, the star player on the '09 squad, is currently seeing major minutes as a freshman in the Big Ten at Northwestern.
Fortunes for Brother Rice seem to be trending opposite of what happened last season when the Warriors started the year 5-1 and finished 9-12. Brother Rice hits the court next again on Friday night at home against UofD-Jesuit, losers to Orchard Lk. St. Mary's in overtime on Tuesday.
The improved play of Alessi and the return of Martin-Manley, have been the keys to the Warriors winning streak (getting back starting point guard Adam Gorski has helped greatly as well). Since coming back into the fold at full strength earlier in the month, Martin-Manley has been playing out of his mind. This past Friday night, he erupted for 34 points in Brother Rice's 57-50 defeat of arch-rival Novi Detroit Catholic Central on the road in a very hostile playing environment. The Iowa football commit sank an unbelievable 8 of his first 9 3-point attempts en route to hitting 9-of-12 on a hard as rocks CC defense. This 6-2 silky smooth sharpshooter isn't afraid to pull the trigger and coach Shaffer isn't afraid to give him the green light.


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