Archive for the ‘Metro League’ Category

 

But that was hardly just a side note to the best thing I’ve seen this season

By Marcellus C. Miller, Columnist

SWARTZ CREEK, Michigan — I have literally lost track of all the high school basketball games I have been to in my life.  From sitting on my dad’s shoulders as a kid watching Glen Rice at Cobo Hall to coaching from the sidelines, I have seen a lot of them.  However, I would be hard pressed to think of any one moment that topped the one I saw at Swartz Creek Friday night.

It wasn’t a JD Tisdale monster dunk (although there was one).  It wasn’t a Max Cummings bomb from beyond the arc.  It wasn’t Matt Romano going nuts for 28 points and a plethora of low post moves.  It wasn’t even young Bryce Jenkins showing his growth while scoring in a variety of ways.  No, it was a far bigger basket than that.  It was one that reached further than the basketball courts and resonated in our hearts.  It was the one shot and score by Swartz Creek’s Tristan Heinz.

On senior night, Tristan led the Creek team out onto the floor.  He led the team on the shoulders of Tisdale in the pregame huddle.  Tristan was announced as the final member of the starting lineup sporting red Creek shorts and a white #10 jersey.  Barely reaching the waist of Creek’s tallest player, Shawn Brouwer, Tristan still looked like he was right where he belonged.

You see, Tristan lives with the condition of dwarfism that has stunted his physical growth.  The look on his face in those moments told me his emotional growth was at 50 feet tall.  Swartz Creek conceded the jump ball and first score to Kearsley in a prearranged move.  That was followed by the best moment of the game.  On his third attempt, Tristan sank a 10 foot basket to the delight of every attendee.  I literally had chills in the moment and it struck me that it was indeed better than any moment I had seen in all of the games this year and maybe ever.  I don’t know who originally came up with the idea, but whoever it was deserves a thank you from us all who were fortunate to be there.  Coach Scottie Wright and Coach Paul Adas both deserve kudos for seeing this though as well.

The game was anticlimactic at best after that.  Kearsley used a 20-point fourth quarter to pull away from Creek for the final scoring margin.  Romano was a man among boys this night with his career high 28 points and 10 rebounds to lead Kearsley.  Jenkins added 14 as well.  Cummings led Creek with 18 points and 10 rebounds despite a nasty fall and hitting his forehead on the ground in the second quarter.  That fall happened just after Tisdale returned from injuring his right ankle coming down from a dunk on a defender’s foot in the first quarter.  Tisdale finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds as well.  Cal Henry threw in 8 points in too.

Game Notes

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Hat tip to Prep Hoops TV:

Swartz Creek junior Max Cummings drives to the basket for two of his game-high 28 points against Holly on Friday night.

SWARTZ CREEK, Michigan — Holly’s only two blemishes this season have now come against the top two teams in the Flint Metro League; and both, oddly enough, beat the Bronchos in the most inconceivable way.

The Bronchos and their hard-to-handle zone defense have surrendered only an average of 46 points per game this season. In their losses to conference rivals Fenton and Swartz Creek, however, Holly gave up 68 and 69 points, respectively.

For Swartz Creek, a win tonight really meant only one thing: win out and win a championship. That’s all this team thinks about, and it showed tonight as they stormed the boards in the second half, winning 69-51.

The presence of 6-5 junior J.D. Tisdale was felt early on, as the Bronchos focused the bulk of their attention on the athletic combo guard. With Tisdale on the floor, it’s easy to forget that Swartz Creek has one of the top guards in the county in junior Max Cummings. Holly probably won’t forget again. The crafty Cummings is about as creative a scorer as you’ll find at this level. He sees all the angles, uses every inch of the lane and will surprise you with his quickness. Cummings scored a game-high 28 points.

Tisdale, for his part, did the bulk of his damage in the second half to turn what had been a war (Creek led by only five points at the half) into a near rout. Creek led by as many as 22 in the half. Tisdale finished with 14 points and 16 rebounds (a season high).

Senior guard Jared Plawski led Holly with 15 points.

Over the years I’ve come to admire Coach Lance Baylis and his program; I expect the Bronchos to bounce back. They play hard and are well-coached. Baylis’ team struggled with Swartz Creek’s pressure, especially in the second half, leading to 21 turnovers. They also struggled mightily from the foul line and the 3-point range, two spots on the floor from which you’d expect much better from the Bronchos.

The other variable was the absence of senior forward Nic Stoll. The Michigan Tech-commit watched too much of the game from the bench, as his troubles with fouls started early. He’s is the Bronchos’ best player on both ends of the floor, so losing him was crucial. Creek, to be fair, had foul issues of its own after a whistle-laden first quarter that nearly had Coach Jeremy Trent pulling his hair out.

The future is bright for both these programs, as numerous underclassmen logged big minutes in a big game. Holly has a trio of freshmen who actually play (Parker Rowse, Isaac Casillas and Morgan Baylis) and Swartz Creek starts three juniors. In addition, the Dragons will soon reunite with sophomore scorer Marquavian Stephens, who doctors should clear to play in the coming weeks. He’s going to surprise a lot of people in both Fenton and Holly when he returns.

This should be a great rivalry for many years to come.

SWARTZ CREEK, Michigan — Last season’s script was recycled on Friday night. The last time Fenton played in Swartz Creek’s gym, the Dragons were the better team for three quarters and lost. The very same scenario played out again on Friday night, as Fenton downed Swartz Creek, 51-48.

Creek had a stranglehold on the game; the Dragons had the ball leading by eight points with under four minutes to go. And then came the turnovers. I must say I don’t think I have ever seen a team less comfortable playing with a lead. Fenton went on a 12-0 run and it was curtains for Swartz Creek. The only basket in the final four minutes for the Dragons came with under 30 seconds left in the game.

Give Fenton credit; in an instant, that team turned from prey into predator.

Oh, and this just in: Cory Cox is the best player in the Flint Metro League. The Fenton junior might not be the most talented, but he’s playing the best ball in the conference right now. He’s about as multi-dimensional as they come in high school, and actually better than his brother (Nate Cox, Flushing) was at this point in his development. Nate Cox went on to be a great player at Davenport University — arguably the best player in the school’s history.

Cox had 13 points for Fenton and Eric Readman added 12. Junior Max Cummings had 15 points and senior Jarod Jones had 13 points for Creek. The big surprise for Creek was the lack of production from junior J.D. Tisdale. This was probably the most disjointed game I’ve seen him play. He never got into the flow of the game and lacked the aggression on the offensive end that he normally displays.

Fenton now sits atop the Metro League standings. Swartz Creek is one game back.

Left to right, Chris Hutton, Damon Franklin and Nate Cox.

Last week, we took a look at how Flint area kids are doing at the JUCO level. Here’s the list of updates on kids at the NAIA and Division III level. If any have been left off, feel free to add names in the comments and I’ll at them into the story. (more…)

Left to right, Vince Adams, Ryan Hickoff, Syrus McDonald and Shaquille Smith.

I’ve been contributing some articles to Michigan Preps, the state’s Rivals-owned, subscription-based high school sports page, throughout the last month or so, and they’re online if anyone has a pays to subscribe and wants to check them out. Here are excerpts from a few recent ones: (more…)

The weekly updates to the Flint area standings and scoring leaders are posted through last Friday’s games. Send any corrections or omissions to patrickhayes13(at)gmail(dot)com or leave them in the comments.

— Patrick Hayes | Great Lakes Hoops