Royal Oak High’s Patrick Burke tries to work around a West Bloomfield High defender earlier this season. The Ravens open the postseason against Royal Oak Shrine.

Royal Oak High’s Patrick Burke tries to work around a West Bloomfield High defender earlier this season. The Ravens open the postseason against Royal Oak Shrine.

Photo by Donna Dalziel

Hockey and girls basketball teams set for first round of playoff action

By: Mike Moore | Royal Oak Review | Published February 21, 2018

In less than three weeks, the first baseballs and softballs will pop into gloves and off bats, track shoes will lace up and soccer balls will bounce on the pitch.

Yes, in roughly 18 days or so, the first practices of the spring athletic season will officially commence.

This means two key things: First, the snow needs to melt, and second, the winter sports are about to embark on their postseason tournaments.

For girls basketball and boys hockey, the launch date is Feb. 26, with districts and regionals hitting the go button.

Here’s a quick look at the local brackets in each sport as the drive to a state title begins.

On the ice

Hockey state playoffs are here today and gone tomorrow, so it seems, with the entire tournament wrapping up in less than two weeks.

And for a pair of local teams, the first day will be the last night for one.

“We have the advantage or disadvantage of playing at the same place,” Royal Oak High coach Greg Paddison said of his team’s first-round meeting against Royal Oak Shrine at 8 p.m. Feb. 27 at the Oak Park Ice Arena. “They watch us. We watch them. I think for them, this is a chance to make something special of their season. We’re not taking anybody lightly, that I can promise you.”

The Ravens were in the midst of a 10-game losing streak at press time and were 8-12-1 overall.

Shrine was 0-18-2 and fell to Royal Oak 9-1 back on Nov. 22.

“We’re getting healthy at the right time, which is so key,” Paddison said. “The strategy against Shrine is to jump out early. We have to rely on our depth. That’s a team with two very solid lines, but without numbers, we have to find a way to try and get ahead.”

The winner faces Berkley Unified (7-14-1) in a 5 p.m. March 1 tilt at Oak Park.

“We’re going to be a different team and have a different look when the playoffs start,” Paddison said. “We feel we have a good shot to get to the regional final, and whoever we’d have the chance to play, we’d look forward to the challenge.”

The regional final will include Grosse Pointe North, Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett or Warren De La Salle in a noon contest March 3 at the McCann Ice Arena in Grosse Pointe Woods.

On the hardwood

In basketball action, Royal Oak (13-2) begins Class A action at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 28 against Birmingham Seaholm at Birmingham Marian in a district semifinal.

The winner faces Marian, Troy Athens or Troy High in a 7 p.m. March 2 final at Marian

In the Class B tourney, Clawson High (14-4) takes on Madison Heights Lamphere at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 26 at Beverly Hills Detroit Country Day.

The winner faces Ferndale High in a 5:30 p.m. semifinal Feb. 28 at the Country Day district.

The other side of the bracket includes the host, Center Line High and Ferndale University.

The final is set for 6 p.m. March 2.

In the Class C bracket, Shrine (12-4) faces the winner of Madison Heights Bishop Foley and Detroit Leadership Academy in a 7:30 p.m. Feb. 28 semifinal at Foley.

Rochester Hills Lutheran Northwest, Madison Heights Madison High and Bloomfield Hills Sacred Heart are on the other side of the bracket.

The final is set for 7 p.m. March 2 at Foley.

For playoff scores, visit candg