Friday, December 23, 2011
Christmas is just two days away and New Year's Day is only nine days away, so that means there isn't much time left to enjoy the holidays. Given that, Kosmo is going to take some time away from this blogosphere and relax in his cave for a few days. But don't worry, your seer will return bright and early in 2012, so be sure to check back then for more insight on the high school sports world.
Koz hopes people enjoy all the holiday tournaments next week, particularly the Motor City Roundball Classic at Country Day, which will host five days of girls and boys basketball games.
Happy holidays to you and yours and we'll see you in 2012!
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Good one at Clarkston
Tis the time of year for holiday tournaments and games that really don't carry a lot of intensity in the big picture of things, but that actually won't be the case at Clarkston on Thursday night.
In what should be an interesting matchup to say the least, Troy Athens will play at Clarkston in an Oakland Activities Association boys basketball crossover.
Normally this might not seem like that big of a deal since Clarkston is traditionally a way better program than Athens, but remember a couple of things.
One, Athens beat Clarkston at Athens last year in December. That was no doubt one of the best wins Athens has had in recent memory, so that'll give the Red Hawks some confidence going into Clarkston's gym, and of course it will also give Clarkston plenty of incentive for payback.
Two, these are two teams that are off to a good start. The Wolves haven't lost yet and won at Orchard Lake St. Mary's to open the season, while Athens is also unbeaten with wins over a good Troy team and an improved Oxford team this season.
Without doubt, Thursday should be a lot more entertaining than your usual December game.
- The last two seasons the girls basketball teams with the best chances of getting to the state's final four were Birmingham Detroit Country Day in Class B and Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes in Class D. Doesn't look like much is different this year. With Country Day and WOLL have terrific guard combinations back and no standout Class A team in the area this year, the Yellowjackets and Lakers once again are the best bets to reach East Lansing
Monday, December 19, 2011
Not much holiday after all
Friday was a glorious day for high school students around the area, given for most, if not all, it was the last day of school before a two-week break for the holidays.
However, don't think that this means it'll be two weeks where hardly any high school sports will take place.
That is not the case at all.
In fact, high school athletes will still be plenty busy over the next couple of weeks even though they won't be in school.
This week will feature some interesting contests, such as Novi Detroit Catholic Central vs. Birmingham Brother Rice in hockey on Wednesday and Troy Athens at Clarkston in a boys basketball game on Thursday. Athens will also host Oxford on Tuesday in what should be a competitive game.
Then after Christmas Day, Birmingham Detroit Country Day will play host to the annual Motor City Roundball Classic, which features teams from around the county, the state and even the Midwest competing in a five-day event where each boys and girls team will play at least two games.
Add the fact that other schools are hosting holiday tournaments/invitationals in their respective sports, it's further proof that high school athletes won't be resting on their laurels even though school will be out until Jan. 3
Friday, December 16, 2011
Resurrecting gym at Pontiac Central
It's basketball season once again, which means Kosmo once again gets to read up on games that take place Pontiac's legendary Sy Green gymnasium. Other than Country Day's gym, there is no other gym that's as big of a mecca for high school basketball.
Actually, Kosmo takes that back.
There is another, but it is sitting idle when games possibly could still be taking place in it.
The fabled gym at Pontiac Central has stood empty for three years since the school closed, as the old court and stands are essentially collecting dust.
Since nobody is using it, why not hold some games there? Kosmo isn't saying Pontiac should play all home games there, but a two, three or four a year would probably be a neat thing.
Who in the city wouldn't want to go back and watch a game in that gym?
And especially with boys and girls basketball in the same season, using Central's old gym every once in a while would definitely helped the cramped facilities issue with three boys teams and three girls teams in need of gym time/space.
Kosmo doesn't care if other parts of the building are in shambles and locked up. Just open up the gym and welcome back a great piece of tradition for all who remember it so well.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Lathrup sends a message
Reading up on Matt Mowery's outstanding game report of the Southfield-Lathrup vs. Troy girls basketball game on Tuesday, Kosmo admits he was one of those people who thought Lathrup was in for a down year.
It's not easy to replace talented players who are tall, and the Chargers had to move on without two of them after Amber McCann and Ginnisica Lawler graduated.
But Michele Jackson's team showed that it is still going to be a team to be reckoned with, earning a 49-47 win at a solid Troy team.
The OAA Red was thought to be a wide-open race, and it still is. But if people didn't have Lathrup as a contender for a league title already, it does now.
- Tuesday's basketball action saw a pair of teams win thanks to improbable half-court shots. In a 52-48 Rochester Adams win at Oxford, Lauren Boyle of Adams nailed a half-court shot at the buzzer to send the game into overtime. The Highlanders took advantage of the momentum and won from there. At Hamtramck in a boys game between host Hamtrack and Hazel Park, the visiting Vikings prevailed, 40-38, after Damon Hannon hit a half-court shot at the buzzer. This is the time of the year for miracles, and two happened on the basketball court on Tuesday.
- It was another dominant performance from Clawson forward/center Alli Costine on Tuesday. In a 40-38 overtime win at Center Line, Costine had 28 points and 20 rebounds for the Trojans. Talk about the definition of a force on the interior.
Monday, December 12, 2011
An underrated rivalry
It's pretty well-known that the most decorated boys basketball rivalries in Oakland County are Clarkston vs. Pontiac and Orchard Lake St. Mary's vs. Country Day.
There are few rivalries in the state that have as much tradition and seemingly go back and forth as these games.
But there was more evidence this past Friday to why Troy vs. Troy Athens is another great boys basketball rivalry, perhaps as good as any in the area.
No matter the records of each team, the Colts and Red Hawks always seem to play close games.
Kosmo thought that Friday might be a time where the Colts would have a decided edge and produce a lopsided result, since Troy has one of the best juniors in the state in James Young and plays up a Division within the OAA from Athens.
But Athens not only dispelled any notions of a blowout, but it beat the Colts on a game-winning shot from Caleb McIntosh with 2.7 seconds remaining.
It had to have bedlam at Athens and added another chapter to what is a rivalry full of close, intense games. It's why it's one of the more underrated rivalries in the area.
- There was another team from the OAA Blue that got a big win on Friday other than Athens, and that team was Rochester. The Falcons got a big road win at Southfield, which is obviously depleted from the last two years when it advanced to the state semifinals. But still, an OAA Blue team winning at an OAA Red opponent is a significant achievement.
Friday, December 9, 2011
Ross will be boss in San Antonio
As if Orchard Lake St. Mary's senior linebacker James Ross hadn't accomplished enough this season by helping the Eaglets to the Division 3 state title and earning all-state honors, he received an honor few around the country do on Friday.
Ross on Friday was selected to play in the prestigious U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Jan. 7 in San Antonio, which is the most reknown high school football all-star game in the country.
The game will feature the best high school football players from around the country, so if there were any doubts as to just how great of a high school player Ross has been for St. Mary's, than those can't be in play anymore now.
Michigan and head coach Brady Hoke are certainly lucky to have him, and Ross will get to show the nation just why on Jan. 7.
Thursday, December 8, 2011
The boys basketball season opens on Friday for traditional state powers Clarkston and Orchard Lake St. Mary's, and Kosmo is happy to see that the two are opening up the season against ..... each other.
The Wolves and Eaglets will hook up in a season opener at St. Mary's in what will be a game between not only strong programs, but as friendly of rivals as you can have.
As many know, St. Mary's head coach George Porritt is a native and alumn of Clarkston and roots for the Wolves harder than any other team in the state with the exception of his.
When the teams met last season, Clarkston head coach Dan Fife spoke about how hard it was to win a game against a good friend like Porritt.
All this would've made it really uncomfortable for both had they met in the Class A state quarterfinals last year, which nearly happened.
If Clarkston would've found a way to upset Bay City Western and MSU bound Matt Costello, the Wolves and Eaglets would've played in the quarterfinals.
But it didn't happen, and now the teams will meet again in the season opener for 2011-12.
It should be a great game and atmosphere in the storied St. Mary's gym.
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Get ready to rumble
We've already seen the season for preps hockey and basketball start in the past weeks, and now another major sport will get underway on Wednesday.
It'll be the first day of contests for wrestling teams around the state, and Kosmo is actually happy to see the grapplers are back, particularly after how exciting of a finish it was to last year's season.
In case you forget, one of the most exciting prep events within the county in quite some time took place last February when Oxford beat Novi Detroit Catholic Central by one point in the Division 1 state final in a championship that came down to the final match.
There were then numerous individual champions the following week at The Palace of Auburn Hills at the individual state finals.
Yes, it seems like yesterday all that happened, but it actually was about 9 months ago. Time does fly, but Kosmo is happy to see area wrestlers back in action starting on Wednesday.
Kosmo's main man Marvin will come out with his season preview in Sunday's edition of the Oakland Press, so be sure to read that.
- Looks like the European basketball influence will be alive and well in the county this season with a couple of big men from Eastern Europe playing at two area schools this winter.
Walled Lake Western will have a 6-10 player from Serbia named Miroslav Jaksic, a junior who already is being recruited by Big 10 schools. Country Day also has a Division I college prospect in senior Robert Puleikis, a 6-9 big man from Lithuania.
Puleikis has already been offered a scholarship by Central Michigan.
Both players can score from inside and on the perimeter as is the case with many European big men. They should be fun to watch and a nightmare to guard for opponents.
Monday, December 5, 2011
Look out for Walled Lake Western
This past fall Walled Lake Western drew a lot of attention on the football field for both good and bad reasons with its run to the Division 2 state semifinals and a hazing scandal as well.
This winter, look for the Warriors to make some headlines as well with what could be the most intriguing basketball team it's had in years.
Western has a new head coach in Ra'Redding Murray, a former coach at Detroit Crockett who led that school to the state's final four and coached former Michigan State standout Maurice Ager.
Murray will have some talented transfers coming in, led by 6-10 Serbian center Miroslav Jaksic, one of the top junior prospects in the state who played last year in Canada. The Warriors also will have one of the area's top freshman in Jalin Gardner and a solid point guard in Korey Wade.
Western isn't known traditionally as a basketball school, but there should be a lot of excitement around the Warriors program this winter.
Friday, December 2, 2011
A salute to Lantzy
Rarely does Kosmo talk about any high school sports news involving a school not in Oakland County, but he feels one recent development is worth talking about.
Utica Eisenhower football coach Bob Lantzy retired after 41 yards on the job this past Wednesday, the end of a legendary career.
He was the only coach the school had ever had and won 13 league championships. He also led his team to four state title game appearances, with two major heartbreaks among those games.
Eisenhower was an onside kick away from beating Grand Ledge in 2000, but Grand Ledge recovered that onside kick and scored a touchdown in the final seconds to pull out a win.
A year later, Eisenhower lost 24-21 to Catholic Central, giving up a touchdown on a fourth-and-goal from inside the 5 with over a minute remaining.
It was too bad it wasn't in the cards for Lantzy to win a state title, but that still doesn't diminish a wonderful career record wise and more importantly, impact wise.
A terrific gentleman in addition to a great coach, Lantzy positively impacted the lives of so many kids over the last four decades.
Certainly too many to count and a reason why he should be saluted for a great career.