West Bloomfield High senior Donavan Moore looks for someone to pass to in a game against Detroit Cass Tech Dec. 4. The Lakers are back in the OAA Red Division this season.

West Bloomfield High senior Donavan Moore looks for someone to pass to in a game against Detroit Cass Tech Dec. 4. The Lakers are back in the OAA Red Division this season.

Photo by Donna Agusti


A closer look at OAA boys hoops

By: Zachary Manning | C&G Newspapers | Published December 19, 2018

OAKLAND COUNTY — Boys basketball season is heating up, and Oakland Activities Association play is underway.

All divisions began play on Dec. 18.

Following is a division-by-division look at the conference and thoughts from local coaches on where their teams, and opponents, fit in.

For a breakdown of the Macomb Area Conference, visit candgnews.com/sports.

 

OAA Red
Teams include (last season league record): Clarkston High (12-0), Troy High (8-4), West Bloomfield High (6-6), Bloomfield Hills High (3-9), North Farmington (2-10), Oak Park High (12-1 in OAA White) and Lake Orion High (12-2 in OAA Blue).

Oak Park and Lake Orion have joined the Red Division, as Southfield A&T and Hazel Park High have dropped out. Clarkston is coming off back-to-back state titles, but Dan Fife has retired and new coach Tim Wasilk has big shoes to fill.

At press time, Oak Park and Lake Orion were both off to good starts, sitting at 2-1 and 5-0 overall, respectively.

Troy, West Bloomfield, Bloomfield Hills and North Farmington are no strangers to OAA Red play. All four programs return from last year and want to make a splash in the division.

Over the last three years, four teams from the current Red Division have won at least one district title, and three have advanced to the final four at the Breslin Center.

For North Farmington coach Todd Negoshian, he noted that his team has lost 93 percent of its scoring from last season. He listed Clarkston, West Bloomfield and Oak Park as his projected top three.

West Bloomfield coach Jeremy Denha likes the mix of his team and believes the Lakers can make a run toward league, district and state titles. He said that being in the OAA Red prepares his team for the tough matchups that it will see down the road.

“I speak very highly of the OAA Red and being part of that. I think that there’s really phenomenal teams. In the past three years, with Clarkston winning the state championship the past two and us getting to a final four, then North Farmington getting to the final four a year before, I think we’ve proven that this is a conference to be reckoned with,” Denha said.

 

OAA White
Teams include: Southfield A&T (1-11 in OAA Red), Troy Athens (9-4), Rochester Adams (8-5), Auburn Hills Avondale (6-7), Birmingham Groves (5-8), Rochester Hills Stoney Creek (5-8), Rochester High (12-2 in OAA Blue) and Farmington High (11-3 in OAA Blue).

Rochester coach Vance Kirkwood called Farmington and Adams the favorites, but wants to see his team compete. Rochester beat both teams last season.

“Very different league this year. A lot of talent in this league,” Kirkwood said. “We’re excited for the challenge. We played them both last year, and we know what it’s like to beat them. We know that it’s not going to be easy, but we know that we have the talent, the ability and the experience to beat them. We’re not necessarily the favorite like we were last year, but we know what we have to do, and we’re excited for the challenge.”

Farmington coach Terrance Porter said that every division in the OAA is very competitive, but he expects his team to compete for league, district and state titles this season.

“From top to bottom, it’s going to be very competitive,” Porter said. “You have teams that are really well-coached. I don’t think there’s a clear-cut favorite in the White Division. Any team can come out of the White.”

Athens is coming off a second-place finish in the White Division and will look to build off last year’s success. Red Hawks coach David Scott said his team’s goal is to win the division, but he knows that it will be tough.

“You’re looking at teams like Farmington, who’s got some great returners,” Scott said. “Adams is (going to) be a terrific team; Avondale’s always tough; Stoney Creek’s good; Southfield came down from the Red.”

 

OAA Blue
Teams include: Hazel Park High (10-2 in OAA Red), Birmingham Seaholm (4-9 in OAA White), Oxford (3-10 in OAA White), Ferndale High (5-8), Berkley High (4-10), Pontiac High (4-9), Royal Oak High (4-10) and Farmington Hills Harrison (3-11).

Like the White Division, the OAA Blue has added three new teams in Oxford, Seaholm and Hazel Park. Hazel Park is coming off an 18-3 season, while Seaholm and Oxford are looking to rebound after combining for a 17-28 record last year.

Ferndale, Berkley, Pontiac, Royal Oak and Harrison return from last year, and all four will look to rebound from under .500 seasons in the division.

Royal Oak coach Aaron Smith called Ferndale the favorite and believes there are a couple of teams that could challenge the Eagles. As for his team, Smith would like to see the Ravens continue to get better and compete in each game.

“I think the conference is tougher than it’s ever been with the addition of two larger schools in Oxford and Seaholm,” Smith said. “I think Oxford could also be considered a favorite as well. As far as surprise teams, I believe Berkley could be that team. With regards to our team, we will hopefully be a scrappy team that will compete each and every game, and will continue to improve as the season progresses. Not sure where that will land us with regards to league standings, but hopefully we can be competitive.”

In an email, Berkley coach Joe Sermo listed Oxford, Pontiac and Ferndale as his projected top three in the division. For his team, the motto has been “finish.” After getting off to a 10-1 start last year, his team dropped eight of the last nine games of the year.

“We are young and inexperienced. We graduated 82 percent of our scoring from last year. I see this as an opportunity for new names and faces to step into big-time roles for our team,” Sermo said.

Sports Writers Mark Vest and Jacob Herbert contributed to this story.