Basketball

Published February 16, 2011

UTICA — Utica High’s boys basketball team is hitting its stride entering the final weeks of the season, and the Chieftains are hoping to capitalize on that momentum come tournament time.

“Right now, I think we’re taking steps forward just getting better,” Utica coach Gerry Kraemer said before a Feb. 10 practice.

“Our team chemistry is getting better,” the coach continued. “I think we’re feeling a little more comfortable with some of our lineups. Things are slowly coming together.”

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Published February 16, 2011

FARMINGTON HILLS — There are two important things on the North Farmington High boys basketball warm-up shirts.

The first is a number, 32. It represents the amount of minutes in a game and the amount of time the Raiders full-court press.

Then there is the word “tradition,” which is there to remind each passing class that they are a part of something larger than a single team.

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Published February 15, 2011

Clawson High’s girls basketball team is enjoying a turnaround, and the season is far from over.

The Trojans have improved their win total dramatically over from last season — posting 6-4 at press time in the Macomb Area Conference Silver Division, 7-8 overall — after going 1-20 overall last season.

With three key games left to play in the final stretch — Clinton Township Clintondale (Feb. 17), Marysville High (Feb. 18) and Madison Heights Lamphere (Feb. 22) — these games are must-wins to finish strong in the division.

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Published February 15, 2011

FARMINGTON — It’s not too often that a win in early February serves as grounds for celebration beyond a few high fives and pats on the back.

With the playoffs still a month or so away, no trophies were won or lost.

With division races still long from settled, bigger games certainly loom on the horizon.

But this wasn’t a typical win.

This wasn’t a typical Friday night.

Instead, this was one of those defining moments.

This was one win on one night that began redefining a program.

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Published February 15, 2011

When a team shares, it’s like the childhood lesson about how good things can happen.

At Utica Ford II, its girls basketball team is at its best when sharing the basketball.

“We pass the ball a lot, and not one of us hogs the ball,” senior Emily King said. “We play as a team.”

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Published February 15, 2011

C&G Newspapers

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Twenty seconds left, hanging on to a one-point lead in the game and a one-game lead in the division standings.

The Chippewa Valley boys basketball teams of the past used to win these games all the time. It was simply infused in their Big Reds blood. Yet in more recent years, the program has struggled to maintain its consistency and identity, slipping back in the standings.

But the Big Reds seemed to have recaptured their mojo, as their crucial Macomb Area Conference Red Division win over Utica Ford II Feb. 4 can attest to.

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Published February 8, 2011

C&G Newspapers

Utica Ford II hosts Utica Stevenson at 7 p.m. Feb. 15
The race for the Macomb Area Conference Red Division league championship is far from over. Ford II (6-3 MAC Red, 12-3 overall) battled Stevenson (6-3 MAC Red, 10-5 overall) in their first meeting Jan. 21 to a close 55-51 loss.

When the two meet Feb. 15, the Falcons will be seeking to atone for the earlier loss and challenge their crosstown rival for the MAC title. Catching this contest is worth the price of admission.

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Published February 10, 2011

Boys basketball Eastside Games of the Night:

Warren De La Salle at University of Detroit-Jesuit, 7:30 p.m., Feb. 11
De La Salle has already wrapped up the Catholic High School League Central Division title, but the Pilots (13-1 overall, 7-1 division) have some unfinished business with Jesuit.

The Cubs are the lone team to hand De La Salle a loss this season, edging the Pilots in double overtime 57-51 Jan. 25.

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Published February 10, 2011

GROSSE POINTE WOODS — University Liggett School girls basketball coach Wayne Gigante calls junior Madison Ristovski “a special player.”

“I wouldn’t take any other kid in Michigan high school basketball over her,” said

Gigante, who has coached Ristovski in AAU and high school. “When you have a kid who can not only score, but can dribble and create for other kids, you’ve really got something. She can deliver the ball at any angle at any time to anybody. And she can score whenever she wants.”

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Published February 9, 2011

ROCHESTER HILLS — On Feb. 4, the Cougars played a complete game and beat Ferndale High, one of the Oakland Activities Association White Division’s top teams, in an away game.

It was exactly what Rochester Hills Stoney Creek boys basketball boys coach Steve Norgrove was searching for all season.

“That’s a very good win for our program, and we won because we shared the ball, we played team defense, and we had a lot off passion and a lot of energy,” Norgrove said of the 71-64 victory. “We need to continue that.”

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Published February 9, 2011

SOUTHFIELD — The stage is a bit smaller these days, the lights hardly shine as bright.

On a good night, attendance figures may top out in the hundreds.

Practice is conducted after school and before homework, minus any television cameras, news conferences or media requests.

As he strolls into the Southfield Christian gym on a typical Tuesday afternoon, he doesn’t do so as the 13th overall pick of the 1993 draft or as the point guard that spent the better part of 12 years with the Detroit Pistons or as the two-time NBA champion he is.

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Published February 9, 2011

FARMINGTON HILLS — As soon as the buzzer sounded on his team’s 47-38 victory against Farmington High on Jan. 18, one goal was officially in the books.

While some close losses made sure the second goal wouldn’t be realized this winter, Tim Carruthers and his North Farmington girls basketball team have now shifted all focus toward the third goal of the season — winning a district title.

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Published February 9, 2011

FRASER — It’s been tough sledding for the Fraser High girls basketball team this season.

The Ramblers fell to 4-9 following a 36-30 non-conference loss to Port Huron Northern Feb. 3. They were 3-4 in the Macomb Area Conference Red Division at press time.

Despite the slow start, Fraser coach Dave Kuppe has seen some bright spots lately, including recently defeating Utica Stevenson, which was on top of the MAC Red, 44-40 in overtime and handing the Titans their second loss of the season.

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Published February 9, 2011

FARMINGTON — There’s very little in sports that can top a good, old-fashioned rivalry.

Whether it’s one based on proximity, history or any other of the handful of reasons that make rivalries what they are, it’s tough to beat the hype, excitement, fanfare, and ultimately, passion that is nearly always a byproduct once the event itself begins.

Of course, a competitive rivalry takes things to an entirely new level.

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Published February 9, 2011

With a few weeks left in the regular season, East Detroit’s boys basketball team is planning to treat its remaining games as rehearsals for a postseason run.

Sure, the Shamrocks have plenty to currently concentrate on, with the Macomb Area Conference White Division title well within their grasps. But the program’s long-term goal is success in the state tournament, which kicks off March 7.

“One of goals is to win the league, but at this point, our focus is the postseason,” East Detroit coach Dave Zauner said.

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Published February 9, 2011

CLINTON TOWNSHIP —Despite a late coaching change at the Clinton Township Clintondale, the girls basketball program has managed to regroup and put together a winning season.

“Once we got a couple games under our belts, the season improved and progressed, and we began working as a team,” senior Rose Fuller said.

The Dragons’ can-do attitude has helped them to a 6-1 mark in the Macomb Area Conference Silver Division at press time, tied at the top of the standings with Marysville High, and 6-2 overall.

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Published February 9, 2011

The last time Clawson High’s boys basketball team won a championship, some of the current Trojans weren’t born yet. And the ones that had been were doing a different type of dribbling.

So with a few weeks remaining in the regular season, Clawson is focused on securing its first title in nearly two decades.

“Clawson has not won a championship in 17 years, and we want that to change,” Trojans coach Billy Shellenbarger said. “And we know we have the ability to do that.”

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Published February 9, 2011

BERKLEY — When he got his first real look at just what he’d be working with, Jordan Gruppen found himself somewhat pleased, as the first-year Berkley High girls basketball coach felt he’d inherited a solid crop of talent.

He knew he had some girls with some basketball savvy, and he felt with the right tutelage, he could piece things together and produce a successful season.

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Published February 9, 2011

It’s the halfway point of the boys basketball regular season, and West Bloomfield High coach Jeremy Denha likes what he sees.

“I think we’re a little ahead of where I expected us to be,” he said Feb. 1. “The kids are picking it up faster than I thought, and we still have an opportunity to have a special regular season.”

The Lakers still have a chance for a special season because they put themselves right in the middle of the Oakland Activities Association Red Division Race.

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Published February 9, 2011

Talk about little margin for error.

Six of St. Clair Shores Lake Shore’s boys basketball team’s first seven division games have been decided by an average of 2.7 points.

Fortunately for the Shorians, the team recently began having more success in navigating the tightrope-walking act that is playing in the Macomb Area Conference Silver Division, winning three games in a row from Jan. 19-27. The wins — all by two points — moved the team back into contention for the title, improving its record to 4-3 in the league, 5-6 overall at press time.

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