Hazel Park High downs Birmingham Groves for OAA Gold title

League championship is first for Vikings since 1996

By: Christian Davis | C&G Newspapers | Published March 1, 2016


For the first time in two decades, the Hazel Park High boys basketball program has laid claim to a league championship.

The Vikings beat Birmingham Groves 64-60 March 1 at home to clinch the Oakland Activities Association Gold Division. The Falcons entered the contest one game behind Hazel Park and looking for a share of the title.

“We set out to make history,” Hazel Park sophomore Carl Bow Jr. said.

The guard scored 19 points, including eight in the final quarter.

“Word can’t even describe it, just credit to my guys,” Hazel Park coach Brandon Barrett said. “Every day they come to work, put their hard hats on, buckle up their shoes and say, ‘Coach, lets just go for it.’ That was kind of our mindset the whole year, come to every game with our hard hats on and lay it on the line. They did that, so I’m so proud of them.”

The Vikings never trailed and built a 17-4 lead at the end of the first quarter, but Groves methodically chipped away at the advantage for the rest of the game. The Falcons cut it to one-point heading into the fourth quarter and trailed by two with 26 seconds left before three free throws by Bow Jr. helped seal the game.

“We knew coming in that Groves was a second-half team,” Barrett said. “We were prepared for that, but preparing for it and doing it is sometimes hard. Credit Groves, I think they should do well in the districts.”

Groves’ Marcus Pittman led all scorers with 24. Hazel Park's James Jenkins led his squad with 20 points, 16 of them coming in the second half.