OAA boys basketball season ready to kick into high gear

By: Christian Davis | C&G Newspapers | Published December 31, 2015

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OAKLAND COUNTY — With the calendar turned to 2016, the boys basketball season is beginning to dive straight into division play.

There’s been some movement among the teams in the Oakland Activities Association. Here’s a look at where each squad calls home and how some of the coaches see the season playing out.

Red Division
Clarkston High has been king of the division for nearly a decade, winning the last nine Red championships, including a 10-0 mark last season.

North Farmington (8-2 last season), Rochester Adams (5-5), Southfield High (4-6), Southfield-Lathrup (3-7) and newcomer Troy Athens are also in the division.

Lathrup coach Desmond Denham said the division reminds him of his days coaching Detroit De Porres in the Catholic High School League.

“It has legitimate coaches that really coach,” he said. “The Red keeps me on my toes and makes me a better coach, honestly.”

Athens is new to the division after winning the White the past two seasons. This is the first time in program history that the Red Hawks have played in the Red.

“We’re kind of looking at ourselves as trailblazers this year,” coach Dave Scott said. “There will be some growing pains early on, but hopefully we can learn from them and be playing our best basketball in February and March.”

At Southfield High, Mike Avery has taken over the program, but he’s plenty familiar with the division. He coached Southfield-Lathrup for 15 seasons before stepping down in 2012.

“The OAA Red has a tournament feel every week,” he said. “Coaches are doing a great job with their programs in the Red, in the OAA itself.”

White Division
With Troy Athens (9-1 last season) moving to the Red, Bloomfield Hills High (0-10) has come to the White.

Pontiac High (8-2), Oak Park High (6-4), Troy High (4-6), Auburn Hills Avondale and West Bloomfield High make up the rest of the division. Avondale and West Bloomfield shared the Blue Division title last season after splitting their two games, with both finishing 9-1.

Blue Division
The Blue has had a major shakeup, with half of the teams playing in a different division last season.

Lake Orion High (3-7 last season) and Rochester High (0-10) make their way from the White; Farmington High (7-3) joins after winning the Gold. Birmingham Seaholm (4-6), Rochester Hills Stoney Creek (4-6) and Oxford High (3-7) remain.

Gold Division
Berkley High (6-4 last season) played Farmington High for the division title in the final game of the season last year, and it was a loss that coach David McGlown hopes his team learns from.

“It might come down to the last week, last game, again,” he said. “Every night you have to give it your all, because you never know what it’s going to come down to. If you have a letup, your league title can be over with like it was for us last year.”

Hazel Park High (6-4) tied the Bears for second a year ago. Royal Oak High (4-6), Ferndale High (4-6) and Farmington Hills Harrison (3-7) also return to the Gold. Birmingham Groves (1-9) is new to the league, coming from the Blue.

Hazel Park hopes to be back in the mix, but coach Brandon Barrett knows it won’t be easy.

“The recipe is there to win, but winning is hard, especially in the OAA,” he said. “It’s a very tough league from top to bottom.”

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