Troy seniors Jon Whiteside, left, and Chase Kuiper work together on defense to get the ball from a Harper Woods player.

Troy seniors Jon Whiteside, left, and Chase Kuiper work together on defense to get the ball from a Harper Woods player.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

Colts catapult to top of OAA White courtesy of 14-game winning streak

By: Jonathan Szczepaniak | Troy Times | Published February 6, 2024

 Troy junior guard Mason Parker controls the ball.

Troy junior guard Mason Parker controls the ball.

Photo by Erin Sanchez


TROY — They’re one of the hottest teams in Michigan high school boys basketball right now, and nobody has shown any signs of stopping them.

Currently ranked No. 33 in the state according to The D Zone and riding a 14-game win streak, Troy High School is in full control of the Oakland Activities Association White league with a perfect 9-0 record.

The Colts (14-1) came out opening night and suffered a 69-63 overtime loss to Berkley High School Dec. 1 to start their regular season campaign, and from night one it’s been a collection of wins across the board.

“I think they thought they were a little better than they were at that time, and to have Berkley come in and beat us in overtime, and it was a good Berkley team and a well-coached team, but we made 23 turnovers that night,” Troy coach Gary Fralick said. “You can’t do that against Berkley.”

Fralick’s guys took the Berkley loss personally, and it’s been a mission ever since to make sure they’re never as flat-footed on the court as they were against Berkley.

While Troy has taken care of business in the league, the strength of their out-of-conference schedule shows a battle-tested team that is more than prepared for the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 1 State Tournament.

The Colts have bested a plethora of ranked teams with wins over Detroit Edison (No. 66), Clarkston (No. 63), Pontiac Notre Dame Prep (No. 51), and Birmingham Groves (No. 59).

A district champion last season, Troy pulled the short straw in the regional semifinals facing North Farmington, which ended the season ranked No. 6, but senior captain Chase Kuiper said the team knows they didn’t give their best effort.

“A lot of people probably see that North Farmington is one of the best teams in the state and see that we lost by six and say that we put up a good fight,” Kuiper said. “We knew after that game that it wasn’t our best effort. If we played to our maximum ability, we could’ve come out with the win.”

With a schedule like theirs, effort shouldn’t be a question when the state tournament rolls around, and there’s been plenty of effort given on the offensive side of the court.

Averaging 68.2 points per game, Troy’s +231-point differential showcases an explosive offense led by Kuiper, a four-year varsity player; senior guard/forward Jon Whiteside; and junior guard Mason Parker, an all-State honorable mention last season.

“All three of them are explosive, can get to the basket and score, and all three of them can shoot the three-pointer, so they’re hard to guard,” Fralick said. “They also play pretty solid defense and rebound pretty well. They bring a full package to the floor, which any coach wants to see in his players.”

Kuiper is a matchup nightmare at 6-foot-6, with his ability to beat players behind the arc and in the paint, while Whiteside and Parker can score at will with their athleticism.

The trio have been inseparable as not only close friends, but training partners in the offseason, getting shots up every weekend together.

With Kuiper and Whiteside set to graduate, Kuiper said they’re focused on ending the season on the right note.

“It’s my last year playing with Jon (Whiteside) and Mason (Parker), who are my two best friends even outside the basketball court,” Kuiper said. “We can get through the whole season together and accomplish what we want to accomplish if we put our minds to it.”

Junior guard Andrew Lake, who didn’t see a ton of varsity minutes last season, has come into his own in the starting five with his ability to facilitate the offense.

Lake has shown that he can score double digits when needed, but his impact as the floor general has helped the Colts’ offense flow.

“He’s really developed into an outstanding point guard and really gets the ball to the right people at the right time,” Fralick said. “He minimizes his turnovers and plays good, solid defense. We’re very happy with his development.”

Other key contributors for Troy have been senior Bryce Bauman, junior Leo Penoza and sophomore Jack Sobotka.

Penoza and Sobotka are efficient in what everyone on the Colts seems to specialize in — the three-point ball.

But it goes far beyond the starters and role players. Kuiper said every player on the roster plays an important role in the team’s success.

“A lot of people don’t see the juniors and sophomores who don’t get much playing time and how they really help us in practice and make us compete better,” Kuiper said. “They’re what’s helping us win so much and be successful so far.”

Graduating seven seniors last year, there was a weight put on Troy’s veteran leaders to fill the leadership void the seniors left behind.

Fralick said the work ethic from his 2023 class was what really stood out, and he believes his guys saw every minute of it and took it all in.

For Whiteside, entering the mentor role was based on knowing what he’d been through his sophomore year and understanding the shoes the underclassmen are in.

“I remember my sophomore year I was a small, 6-foot kid,” Whiteside said. “I was maybe 150 pounds, and I was struggling in practice. The older guys would help me, and it’s cool I get to do that for the young guys now.”

Troy currently holds a two-game lead over hometown rival Troy Athens for the top spot in the OAA White, and the two teams are slated to face twice before the end of the season.

Between their leadership, athleticism and supporting cast, there’s a lot to love about where Troy basketball is at right now heading into the state tournament.

The offense is there, but Fralick said he’s hoping to shore up the defense before the end of the regular season in efforts to earn the senior group its first regional championship, and maybe even give the 2016 team’s 21-game season a run for its money.

“Our defense is improving,” Fralick said. “We’re not really where we want to be at, but we’re getting better. It’s a process, and it’s a really long season.”