Country Day boys hoops team takes out Harper Woods Chandler Park Academy in regional final
March 14, 2012
PONTIAC — The Detroit Country Day boys basketball team is headed back to another state quarterfinal after the Yellowjackets used their size in downing Harper Woods Chandler Park Academy 89-52 in a Class B regional final March 14 at Pontiac Notre Dame Prep.
The Country Day defense held the Eagles to 37 percent shooting from the field, while the Yellowjackets hit a blistering 57 percent of their shots in the contest. Country Day (20-4) also outscored Chandler Park (18-6) 24 to 6 from the 3-point line.
"This may be our best defensive team in a decade. Kids have really bought into it," Yellowjackets coach Kurt Keener said. "They now believe that if shots aren't falling, they can win with defense."
Country Day moves on to a state quarterfinal, set for 6 p.m. March 20 at Imlay City to face Goodrich.
Yellowjackets 6-foot 9-inch senior Robert Puleikis set the tone early, scoring 12 of his game-high 28 points in a first quarter that saw the Yellowjackets take an 18-13 lead into the second.
That's as tight as the contest would get, as the Yellowjackets' lead ballooned to 51-31 at halftime. Puleikis, who Keener said went to town in the post, netted 10 more points in the second stanza using a variety of post moves around the basket and getting excellent position in the post.
"It was more like a flow. The team just kept giving me the ball. It was just my day," Puleikis said.
Chandler Park Academy coach Derrick Walton Sr. tipped his hat to Country Day, calling the Yellowjackets a good team. He said he knew Country Day would go inside, but his squad couldn't stick with Puleikis. Walton Sr. added that had some whistles gone his squad's way, the outcome may have been different.
Keener said this is uncharted territory for this year's squad. Last season's group lost in the state semifinals. The top six performers from that squad graduated last spring.
"This is all new ground for these guys. They're just enjoying it an living it," Keener said. "We always preach it's only eight games to make a memory last a lifetime."
Sophomore Maurice Ways netted 17 for Country Day, while Jodan Price chipped in with 15 for the Yellowjackets.
Junior Derrick Walton Jr. led the Eagles with 17, while senior Robert Andrews netted 12 for Chandler Park Academy.