Boys hockey, girls basketball teams in full postseason mode

By: Mike Moore | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published March 5, 2013

 Sophomore Michael Kolodin and the West Bloomfield hockey team opened the state playoffs with a pair of wins.

Sophomore Michael Kolodin and the West Bloomfield hockey team opened the state playoffs with a pair of wins.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

FARMINGTON HILLS — In what was one of the most anticipated openers in recent memory, two of the state’s best hockey teams squared off in an instant classic.

And with that, the state playoffs were officially under way.

The frenzy began Feb. 25 for hockey and girls basketball teams across the state, and on the ice, the Division 1 bracket was busted right away with Brother Rice’s down-to-the-wire 3-2 victory against Orchard Lake St. Mary’s.

“I’m so proud of the effort from our guys tonight,” Rice coach Lou Schmidt Jr. said afterward. His team won all four meetings this winter against the Eaglets. “We came out with that intensity you have to have. They had the fire in their eyes, and when that’s the case, we’re a tough team to beat.”

“You have to tip your hat to Rice,” St. Mary’s coach Brian Klanow said. “That’s a fantastic team. Our guys played their butts off, and I think we took control late in the game. … (Rice) is just one of the best teams in the state.”

St. Mary’s struck first in the opening period, only to see Rice score the game’s next three goals.

The Eaglets pulled within one with 4:42 remaining but weren’t able to get the equalizer.

“I’m so proud of these kids,” Klanow said of his team and its season. “I feel bad it had to end here tonight, but this was a great group of guys that worked for everything they got.”

In D-2 action, Walled Lake Northern played for a regional title March 2. The game was played after press time.

Northern advanced to the final after beating Walled Lake Western 7-2 in a Feb. 27 semifinal.

Western beat Walled Lake Central 6-3 in an opener, while Northern needed five overtimes to sneak past Novi High 4-3.

Meanwhile, West Bloomfield High took on Royal Oak High in another D-2 regional final March 2, after press time.

The Lakers beat Waterford Mott 7-2 in a semifinal after opening the postseason with a 6-3 victory against Waterford Kettering.

The D-2 quarterfinals were also played after press time.

The semifinals are set for March 7, and the D-2 final is at 10 a.m. March 9 at Compuware Sports Arena.

On the hardwood
As for the girls basketball tourney, West Bloomfield beat Birmingham Seaholm 58-32 in a Class A district semifinal.

The Lakers faced Bloomfield Hills Marian in a final after press time.

In a Class A district at North Farmington, Walled Lake Western faced Farmington Hills Harrison in a district final after beating White Lake Lakeland 50-45 in a semifinal and Walled Lake Central in an opener.

Walled Lake Northern lost to Harrison 70-33 in the other semifinal.