Sunday, February 28, 2010
Championship dam has burst for Catholic Central
When arguably the state's best athletic program, Detroit Catholic Central, moved into Oakland County and Novi from Redford in 2005, it figured to change a lot in the county's high school sports landscape.
The Shamrocks frequently would win multiple state championships in a school year, and figured to be further enhanced by their sparkling new campus that opened in 2005.
Instead, for four years, it looked as if the new campus was a curse because the Shamrocks didn't win a state championship in any sport.
Alas, all that's in the rear view mirror now. Big time.
The Shamrocks have now state championships in four sports in the past year. It all started last March, when the hockey team broke the ice by romping it's way to the Division 1 state championship.
Then, the football and cross country teams won state championships in the Fall. On Saturday, the wrestling team followed suit, peaking at the right time and winning the Division 1 state title with a win over perennial power Rockford.
Forget Catholic Central. It's Champion Central now
Thursday, February 25, 2010
It's on now
Doesn't matter if it's smaller high-school sports, or more high-profile sports, because there's one prominent theme now for the entire high school sports season.
It's time to get it on.
The good times are definitely here, because the season crescendo, aka the playoffs, have arrived.
Bowling and cheerleading regionals and team state wrestling finals are this weekend, while the playoffs for girls basketball and boys hockey begin on Monday. The boys basketball playoffs start a week later, so if anyone can't get into high school sports this time of year, then something is wrong.
As always, tune to the pages of the Oakland Press and www.miprepzone.com for the best preps sports coverage.
— Kudos to Madison Heights Bishop Foley, which advanced to the Catholic League boys basketball finals this Sunday. The Ventures will meet Detroit Loyola in the C-D final at Calihan Hall. They'll be the only Oakland County team at Calihan, so Kosmo hopes the Ventures do the area proud. Then again, they've already done so by advancing this far.
— That was quite a riveting story involving Birmingham Brother Rice and Birmingham Marian ski coach Robert Rhoades last week. While doing a training run with his team before Monday's state finals, Rhoades fell and suffered a serious back injury. He was in the hospital when Marian won its first ever state title, so well done to the Mustangs for pulling together for their coach like that. Here's wishing a speedy recovery to Coach Rhoades, one of the great men in high school skiing.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
A vote for conference tournaments
The last couple of weeks has brought a much-debated issue for both boys and girls basketball teams in the area, one that varies from league-to-league.
Should there be conference tournaments before the state tournament?
One on hand, Kosmo can side with the leagues like the OAA who want nothing to do with them.
It's a pain to plan the tournaments around regular season schedules, and teams understandably want to avoid having to play one another four times in year. Some rivals can meet twice in the regular season, once in the conference tournament and once in the state tournament.
The OAA used to have conference tournaments about 10 years ago, but obviously felt it wasn't worth it.
With the season change that moved the girls season from fall to winter, it's especially difficult for a league with as many teams like the OAA to pull off a conference tournament.
On the other hand, the Catholic League, Metro Conference and the KLAA do have conference tournaments, and Kosmo has to admit, the last couple of weeks have been exciting. Kids have gotten a good sneak preview of what playoff atmospheres will be like once the state tournament arrives, so it's been nothing but beneficial.
Kosmo knows conference tournaments aren't the easiest things to pull off, but leagues like the CHSL and the KLAA have it right. Hopefully the OAA can find a way to re-institute a conference tournament in the future that can be both beneficial to the schools competition-wise and easy on administrators to plan and run.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Wild, wild OAA Red
Too often there are things in sports that don't live up to their billing, but fortunately the OAA Red boys basketball league title race hasn't been one of them.
The OAA Red figured to be a balanced league at the start of the year, and has it ever been.
Clarkston and Southfield have a huge showdown tonight, with the winner remaining in a tie for first place with Southfield-Lathrup. However, Clarkston, Lathrup and Southfield all have three league losses, so nobody is really separating themselves. North Farmington is right behind with a 5-4 record, so the Raiders aren't out of it by any stretch of the imagination.
Don't be surprised if it's a three or four-way tie for first in the OAA at season's end. It should be an exciting final two weeks of the regular season.
- Just like it was last year, Battle Creek will have to gear up to host some Oakland County wrestling teams. Three teams advanced out of regionals to Cereal City on Wednesday, those being Novi Detroit Catholic Central and Oxford in Division 1 and Auburn Hills Avondale in Division 2. Catholic Central and Oxford also made it last year, so they should be no strangers to the environment in Battle Creek.
Monday, February 15, 2010
Lots of anticipation in Lake Orion
Kosmo still remembers the good old days of Lake Orion basketball, when students and fans would pack the gym excited to see what Drew Maynard would do next. OK, so it wasn't that long ago — try 2-4 years ago — but seemed inevitable that as soon as Maynard graduated, the boys basketball excitement at Lake Orion would be gone. It certainly was the case last year when the Dragons won just three games, but the anticipation over another boys game at Lake Orion will be in full force on Tuesday.
In a first-place battle in the OAA White, red-hot Lake Orion will host league-leading Birmingham Seaholm in what should be a raucous atmosphere at Lake Orion.
The Dragons played the Maples tough at Seaholm earlier in the year and have only gotten better since, so this should be the game of the night.
Richaud Pack and Shawn Conway of Seaholm will have to do everything they can to silence what should be a noisy student section in Dragon country.
— The first night of the KLAA girls tournament starts on Tuesday, with the best matchups being Brighton at Lakeland and Grand Blanc at Waterford Kettering. Another game to watch could be at Waterford Mott, where former Milford coach Don Palmer will bring his Hartland team into Mott's gym. This game could be closer than people think.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Congrats to Williams, McCallum
It's rare for one high school to produce one McDonald's All-American, let alone two. However, Birmingham Detroit Country Day has that luxury with a member of both its boys and girls basketball teams earning the distinguished honor.
Ray McCallum, who has yet to decide what college team he'll play for, has been selected to play in the men's McDonald's All-Star game. Madison Williams, who has signed with Michigan State, has been named to the women's game.
Best of luck to both, who could also win Mr. and Miss Basketball by season's end as well.
Kosmo isn't sure if any school has produced the Mr. and Miss Basketball winners in the same year, but if there's a year where it could happen, this is it with how good McCallum and Williams are.
— Conference tournaments will be in full swing this week, with the KLAA joining the Catholic League in starting postseason tournaments. In fact, the Catholic League girls finals are already set, with Birmingham Marian and Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes ready to represent the county next Sunday at Calihan Hall.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
A true showcase in Trenton
The start of the state boys hockey tournament may be a couple of weeks away, but this weekend will provide quite a preview of what the state playoffs will be like. Some of the best teams around the state will be on hand at one location when the annual MIHL showcase takes place in Trenton. Novi Detroit Catholic Central, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood, Birmingham Brother Rice, Orchard Lake St. Mary's, Farmington, Farmington Unified and Novi will be among the state and county powers that'll compete in the two-day event, which will be a great prelude to the upcoming state tournament.
— Friday is the last night of the regular season for basketball teams in the KLAA, and there's a terrific girls matchup on the slate between Lakeland and Waterford Mott. The last time the teams met, Lakeland handed Mott its first loss of the season in a triple-overtime win. The Corsairs will be ready to make amends and clinch the KLAA North title going into the start of the conference tournament next week.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Kudos to schools who played
Well, this winter storm has come and passed, and Kosmo is happy to see there were a good amount of schools that decided to still play basketball games last night. The disappointing part to Kosmo is why there were a few that decided to cancel games. Yes, the roads weren't the best, but the worst of the weather didn't hit until about 10 p.m. last night, so schools had some time to navigate through it. Also, since a lot of people who drive trucks had plenty of salt in storage and were itching to get out and work because of a lack of snow this winter, roads weren't quite as dicey as they normally would've been. Good job to the schools who played for recognizing this. The only argument Kosmo can see for canceling the games is if lengthy drives had to be made, but there were some teams who didn't have long drives to make that still canceled games. It's too bad, because now those teams are going to have to find dates to re-schedule those games, and there isn't a lot of time left before the regular season to do so.
Monday, February 8, 2010
Big one in the KLAA North
Assuming the coming snow storm doesn't wipe the game out, the KLAA North boys basketball title could be decided on Tuesday when Walled Lake Central visits Waterford Mott. Each team has one league loss, although Mott recorded a win at Central last month in the first meeting of the season between the teams.
The Corsairs didn't have Oak Park transfer Chris Dewberry available for that game, so his presence this time will make Mott even more formidable. That'll mean Joe Zubrickas and the rest of his Central teammates will have to be on their game even more.
Should be a great game. Hopefully the snow doesn't cancel it.
— Has there been a more impressive freshman girls player this year than West Bloomfield's Sydni Davis? Kosmo certainly doesn't think so. Even though the Lakers are winless in OAA Red play, their future is bright with Davis in the fold. She scored an incredible 42 points last week against North Farmington, which is the best team in the league and has two Division I players, Jenna Bachrouche and Lyndsey Booker.
Saturday, February 6, 2010
Athens with an overlooked win
Friday definitely proved to be one negative about the season switch that moved girls basketball to winter three years ago.
There was a first-place showdown in the OAA White between Troy Athens and Stoney Creek, with Athens defending its home court and taking over first place in the league with a 48-32 win.
Sadly, the game also occurred on the same night as some terrific boys matchups, such as Clarkston vs. Pontiac, Southfield vs. Southfield-Lathrup and Waterford Mott vs. Waterford Kettering.
Add the fact the Waterford Mott and Kettering girls team met as well, and it's too bad Athens and Stoney Creek kind of got pushed out of the spotlight.
Both the Red Hawks and Cougars have had great seasons, and Kosmo wishes they would've just played on Thursday.
They would not only have had all the attention of both schools to themselves since the boys teams played each other on Friday, but the attention of the county as well.
Thursday, February 4, 2010
CC's Gatt signs to play in Europe
If there are those wondering why Novi Detroit Catholic Central boys soccer player is a player who might not come around Oakland County again some time soon, then the latest development in his career should convince those people.
The 18-year old Gatt has signed a professional contract to play in Europe for SCR Altach in Austria.
Gatt has been one of the best youth soccer players in the entire nation the past four years, and his signing is no doubt a great standard for future American soccer players to set.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
OLSM's Thomas to Illinois
First, he was going to UCLA. Then, he reconsidered and appeared headed to either Minnesota or Michigan.
Finally, Orchard Lake St. Mary's linebacker Earnest Thomas decided on Wednesday to sign to play football at Illinois.
Thomas was one of the area's best players last Fall as a linebacker for the Eaglets. He was a tackling and playmaking machine to help lead St. Mary's to the Division 3 title game, and is a nice catch for the Fighting Illini.
In college, Thomas projects as one of those hybrid players who'll play either linebacker, safety or both.
Time flying for wrestlers
My, where does the time go, especially if you're a high school wrestler. Hard to believe, but tonight represents the last full Wednesday of dual matches for teams around the state.
After tonight, it's crunch time for wrestlers.
League meets around the area will take place Friday and Saturday, with most of them taking place on Saturday.
The OAA Blue will be one of the few that is held on Friday. The OAA Red tournament, which includes teams such as Clarkston, Lake Orion, Rochester, Rochester Adams and Hazel Park, will be held at Hazel Park. Ferndale will host the OAA White event on Saturday.
The Catholic League, KLAA and Flint Metro meets will also be held on Saturday.
Once Saturday ends, wrestlers then will have just three days to gear up for the start of wrestling team districts next Wednesday.
The best one will be at Lake Orion, where Clarkston, Lake Orion, Rochester Adams and Pontiac will compete for a spot in regionals.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Hazel Park the place to be tonight
Of all the millions of basketball games that'll take place in Oakland County tonight, the one Kosmo is most excited about will take place at Hazel Park.
First place in the OAA Blue will be on the line when Ferndale visits Hazel Park in a matchup of two of the most improved teams in the county this year. Kudos to Ferndale coach Tom Staton and Hazel Park head coach Geri Fuhr for the wonderful turnarounds they've orchestrated this year. Ferndale is led by dynamic guard Shawn Amiker, while Hazel Park's Dakota Ogles has been a double-double machine so far this year. Add the fact these two are traditional rivals, and it should be a fun night to be in Hazel Park.