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.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


'Jackets' Prodigious Pair Shines Again 
There are quite a few of spectacular backcourt-pairings playing in Oakland County this season. One of the best, yet least heralded, is Auburn Hills Avondale's duo of junior juggernauts, Ray Tillman and Tony Harris, each averaging over 20 points and five assists per game.  The Yellow Jackets twin playmakers were at it again on Thursday night, helping Avondale overcome a halftime deficit and prevail victorious over the visiting Oak Park Knights, 71-65.
Tillman scored a team-high 23 points, grabbed ten rebounds, and delivered six assists, while Harris tallied 21 points, dished out five dimes, and swiped away three passes. Harris scored 13 straight points in the third quarter to spearhead a rally that propelled the Yellow Jackets into a lead they wouldn't surrender the rest of the way. In addition to their shared exploits on the hardwood, both Tillman and Harris are standout wide receivers and defensive backs on the school's football team.
The win is Avondale's first of the OAA-Red conference schedule which got on its way following the holiday break. This is the Yellow Jackets' inaugural season in the Red Division of the OAA, after winning the White Division title last year. They dropped their conference opener in a tight contest against North Farmington on January 6. Avondale is 4-3 overall.
Although it may be of little consolation and their record might not reflect it, the Knights have played feisty in their less than desired start. Thursday was a primary example. Led by eight points in under a three minute span by talented senior shooting guard Jalen Crawford, Oak Park finished out the first half on a 12-0 run and took a 34-30 lead at intermission.
Inspired by head coach Tim Webb's halftime speech, the Yellow Jackets opened the second half playing like their collective uniforms were on fire and sprinted out of the locker room to a 24-7 run that put them ahead 54-41 going into the fourth quarter.
Per usual, the Knights wouldn't go down without a quarrel and kept pushing until the very end. Kenny Harper's free throw with 26 seconds left to play brought Oak Park to within one possession at 68-65. However, Tillman put things to bed on the next possession when he nailed a pair from the charity stripe to seal up the victory.
Starting center, Malcom Little, played big all night for the 'Jackets and collected 14 points and 10 boards.
Oak Park, which is sporting a roster depleted from graduation and transfer, drops to 1-7. The Knights changed coaches over the off season from George Ward (now at Detroit Southeastern) to former Knights JV coach, Denolious Burkes. Harper, a 6-3 senior swingman, tickled the twine for a game-high 24 points and hauled down a dozen rebounds to add to the impressive effort. Crawford, whose brother Joe played collegiately at Kentucky and brother Jordan currently plays for D1 stalwart, Xavier, registered 22 points and six assists. Knights' big fella, Jamar Durhal, put it up a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds and proved a worthy adversary for the Avondale frontcourt of Little and junior Ryan Brancheau. It should come to no surprise that Harper, Crawford, and Durhal are the only three returners from Oak Park '09 playing rotation.
Avondale faces-off with Harper Woods Chandler Park Academy on Saturday in the 8th annual Pontiac HS DR. Martin Luther King, Jr. Classic. The road to success doesn't get any easier for the Knights. Also participating in the MLK event, Oak Park will take the court against Melvindale ABT, the number one ranked team in Class C, on Sunday night at 7 PM.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

GREAT JOB RAY AND TONY KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK.... GREAT JOB Mr. Tim Webb excellent coachig and motivating of your team.. Glad to see your team doing well. Maybee at the end of the season you can host a coaching clinic and invite the pontiac high coaches over and teach them a lesson in fairness and equality for all players not to metion ethics.. GOODLUCK WITH THE REST OF YOUR SEASON.... PREDICTION FOR FEBUARY 2ND VS. PONTIAC HIGH.. RAY RAY TILMAN EXPLODES FOR 41 POINTS IN ROUTE TO A 78 TO 65 POINT SPANKING OF PONTIAC HIGH/PONTIAC CENTRAL/BETHUNE/LIFE SKILL ACADEMY TEAM..

January 17, 2010 at 9:30 AM 

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