Top Five Boys Basketball Storylines for this week

Top Five Boys Basketball Storylines for this week

Top Five Boys Basketball Storylines for this week.

Written Sunday January 29th at 10:35 AM

Here are my top five storylines to watch this week.

Royal Oak is in deep trouble.

The Ravens had high expectations after winning the Gold last season. They had almost everyone back from that team and went up to the Blue which was going to be a tough enough challenge for them. Royal Oak started the season at 5-0 with their best win being over Ferndale University at the time but their not as strong non conference schedule in November and December has caught up to them. They are 2-6 since the New Year came. This was the same story as the 2017-2018 Berkley Bears in which something very similar happened to them. What hasn’t helped Coach Aaron Smith’s team has been their inability to defensive rebound which was pretty evident in their loss to Berkley earlier in the season. They are not a big team so fundamentals like boxing out are very important. Another problem has been their mental toughness. There has been times that Royal Oak has had mental lapses that has cost them games. The other problem that has plagued them is that opposing star players have torched them ranging from DJ Morrow (Lake Orion), to Jake Champagne (Oxford), to Tamir Runkenvich (Berkley), to Tre Walker (Stoney Creek), and to Anthony Simmons and Bowen Moore (Holly.) The Ravens rely on their outside shooting and have the proven shooters in Dylan Hoffman, Davis Arbeiter, Nick Hoffman, Rashad Wilson, and Camden Clark. I will talk more about the Ravens problems on the podcast but this team is in deep trouble with the schedule ahead and not to mention their district is brutal with proven teams in Detroit University-Detroit Jesuit, Detroit Renaissance, Oak Park, and Berkley in there along with Detroit Mumford, yikes.


Is Ferndale for real???

The Eagles have played a really tough schedule against proven teams in the State but they haven’t been able to get above 500 however the MPR looks strong. Caleb DeFoe is back and he will be a big help to go along with Cameron Reed and Chris Williams for Coach Juan Rickman. Ferndale could be North Farmington’s biggest challenger in the Red. The non conference schedule despite all that they have went through is still very daunting with Portage Northern, West Bloomfield, and Detroit Edison looming. Rickman really doesn’t care about how tough the schedule is which I severely disagree with but he feels that playing that schedule will get them prepared to get back to the Breslin Center which at times hasn’t been the case. If Ferndale can win over North Farmington on Tuesday then that non conference schedule they played proves that they could be a player even without Jason Drake and Trevon Lewis whom have since graduated.


The White is a gauntlet.

A lot of people look at the Red and that division is a gauntlet but the White has proven to be a gauntlet this season. All six teams have very impressive non conference wins to go with as well. Troy has the early edge on the division with their road win over Bloomfield Hills. Speaking of the Blackhawks, they, West Bloomfield, and Groves already have league wins and are very good teams as well. Lake Orion is also a very good team despite the 0-2 record. There are no easy games in this division that is for sure.


Harper Woods is the front runner in the Gold.

The Woods control their own destiny in the Gold despite being two games over 500. They also have played a really tough non conference as well and has games against Oak Park, Mattawan, and Pontiac Notre Dame Prep. Harper Woods is also in a tough district which has both Grosse Pointe North and Grosse Pointe South. The Pioneers have gotten proven experience from Julian Young and company for Coach TaJuan Porter. Avondale might be their toughest challenger in the division but right now things are looking upward for the Pioneers.


The Blue is wide open again.

The Blue was thought to be Berkley’s for the taking all of sudden changed. The Bears had a very tough home overtime loss to Stoney Creek but they still control their own destiny in the division. Berkley has not won a league crown in a long while and this could be their best chance to get it done. Oxford has been up and down as has Troy Athens whom have had their moments. Seaholm is coming back with a vengeance. The Wildcats, Maples, and Red Hawks are one game behind the Bears while Stoney Creek is two games back and Rochester is two and a half games back. Royal Oak is in a very tough spot in the division being three games back but they can beat anyone with their three point shooting. These next few weeks will tell a lot about the Blue that is for sure.

Top Five Boys Basketball Storylines for this week

Top Five Girls Basketball Storylines for the week

Top Five Girls Basketball Storylines for the week.

Written Saturday January 28th at 10:30 PM

Here are my top five storylines to watch for heading into the week.

How will Oxford adjust without Nevaeh Wood???

The Wildcats took a blow on Saturday when power forward Nevaeh Wood announced on Twitter that she was out for the season with a torn ACL. The Wood injury could impact Oxford’s chances in the White where they are trying to catch North Farmington but also in the district in which they will have to deal with Grand Blanc. Brady Elling or Lexi Yankee looks to be that possible fifth starter for Coach Rachel Bryer in Wood’s absence. Oxford also has proven players in Miranda Wyniemko, Peyton Richter, Sophia Rabb, and Allison Hufstedler as well. Wyniemko, Hufstedler, and Richter combined for 47 of the Wildcats 61 points in their blowout win over Seaholm. Oxford’s depth will be tested for sure.


Bloomfield Hills controls their own destiny in the Blue.

The Blackhawks are in control of the Blue at the moment with their 60-45 win over Farmington. Bloomfield Hills still has to go to Farmington late in the season which could decide the division. They could win it outright or share of the division but that’s all if the Blackhawks keeps winning. The non conference schedule was beefed up a little bit with Stoney Creek and even though they lost that game but it should help them with the MPR and also the long term. Bloomfield Hills has to go to Birmingham Marian in a few weeks in which could be a district preview. Coach Kristen Massey’s team has taken a ton of lumps in the White last season but with a revamped team led by Ruby Smith and Ashley Forner, they could lead the Blackhawks to their first ever division crown and they have a shot at winning their first ever district crown in school history if things go right.


Will North Farmington ever lose???

The Raiders are running rough shot on the White with their 14-0 record. North Farmington’s big wins were over Oxford and Stoney Creek. Sela Lefler and Penelope Creary have been playing very well for Coach Jeff Simpson and they have gotten third and fourth scoring whether it’s Asiyah Jihad, Eliza Muller, or Hannah Hart. If North Farmington were to go 22-0 then it would set up a likely district finals clash with Farmington Hills Mercy pending if both teams get there but for the Raiders they are rolling and have a ton of confidence.


Can Lake Orion overcome Ian Smith Gym???

The Dragons have managed to overcome a lot of adversity this season and also last season with the district crown but one problem that Coach Bob Brydges’s team faces has been Ian Smith Gym which they visit on Tuesday. It has been a long while since Lake Orion has went into Ian Smith Gym and won over arch rival Oxford and last season the Dragons had their worst shooting performance in that gym. Lake Orion did beat the Wildcats earlier in the season by double digits. Could it change this time around???


Berkley might be back.

The Bears have become a classic “We’re Back a Dinosaur Story” type of team. They really struggled to meet expectations early but they have rebounded in a big way by winning six of their last seven games with their only loss coming to a very good Rochester program. You have to credit players like Sammi Withrow, Ava Beard, Hailey Kirkwood, Mya Jones, Jillian Gomes, and Malve Nolan and also Coach Cody Feltner and his staff for getting this program back on track. Berkley has Oxford and North Farmington in the next two games. If the Bears can win one or both of them then the district talk could be very real again.

Top Five Boys Basketball Storylines for this week

Girls Basketball Top 23

Girls Basketball Top 23.

Written Saturday January 28th 12:50 AM

Here is the Top 23 for Girls Basketball.

  1. West Bloomfield (13-2): Lakers are clearly the best team in the State.
  2. Rochester (11-3): Feel like the Falcons are playing with house money right now.
  3. Lake Orion (12-3): Charlotte Peplowski has really stood out.
  4. North Farmington (14-0): Raiders rolling with confidence right now.
  5. Oxford (12-2): Myranda Wynemkio has stepped up since the season ending ACL injury to Nevaeh Wood.
  6. Clarkston (9-7): Wolves have been up and down lately.
  7. Stoney Creek (10-4): Cougars really miss Mia Carson.
  8. Berkley (7-6): Bears have their two toughest games of the season coming up.
  9. Bloomfield Hills (12-2): Glad the Blackhawks were tested.
  10. Harper Woods (7-5): When the Pioneers score 50 they are good, they are 0-3 when they do not.
  11. Southfield Arts and Tech (4-10): Warriors have been playing much better.
  12. Royal Oak (8-6): Ravens are 2-5 in January, not good.
  13. Farmington (7-7): Falcons are in some trouble in the Blue.
  14. Oak Park (6-5): Knights are 5-1 in their last six games.
  15. Ferndale (4-3): Eagles allowed 11 total points this week.
  16. Groves (4-10): Falcons have really fallen on hard times.
  17. Seaholm (4-10): Maples have really fallen on hard times.
  18. Troy Athens (7-7): Red Hawks playing around 500 lately.
  19. Troy (3-12): Colts have really fallen on hard times.
  20. Adams (2-13): Highlanders have really fallen on hard times.
  21. Avondale (4-10): Yellow Jackets are a weird team right now.
  22. Ferndale University (1-9): Eagles are struggling right now.
  23. Pontiac (0-14): Phoenix back to scoring single digits, not good.
Top Five Boys Basketball Storylines for this week

Boys Basketball Top 23

Boys Basketball Top 23.

Written Saturday January 28th at 12:40 AM

Here is the Top 23 for Boys Basketball.

  1. North Farmington (11-1): Tyler Spratt saved the Raiders against Clarkston.
  2. Ferndale (5-6): It won’t be too much longer that the Eagles will be above 500.
  3. Oak Park (8-2): Geon Hutchins was big against Adams and also Westfield Prep.
  4. Clarkston (10-4): Welcome back Jon Kaul.
  5. Troy (11-2): Mason Parker has really been playing well for the Colts.
  6. Adams (8-4): Big one for the Highlanders loom when they head to Clarkston this week.
  7. Bloomfield Hills (9-3): Tough loss to Troy really puts the Blackhawks behind the eight ball.
  8. Groves (9-4): Elijah Yelder has been that third scorer the Falcons were looking for.
  9. Harper Woods (7-5): Pioneers are playing good basketball despite record.
  10. West Bloomfield (9-3): Lakers have been a hard team to figure out.
  11. Lake Orion (6-5): Dragons need secondary scoring in the worst way.
  12. Berkley (9-4): Bears still the team to beat in the Blue.
  13. Seaholm (6-7): Maples might be the hottest team right now.
  14. Troy Athens (6-6): Red Hawks have won three straight which is a good sign.
  15. Oxford (7-5): Wildcats are 1-2 in their last three games.
  16. Farmington (4-7): Falcons have been a hard team to figure out.
  17. Stoney Creek (2-10): Big win over Berkley might have saved the Cougars season.
  18. Avondale (6-8): Yellow Jackets could be Harper Woods biggest challenger in the Gold.
  19. Royal Oak (7-6): Ravens are 2-6 since their 5-0 start.
  20. Ferndale University (8-6): Eagles have been a Jekyll and Hyde lately.
  21. Rochester (4-8): Falcons are 1-5 in their last six games.
  22. Southfield Arts and Tech (4-9): Warriors are a classic Jekyll and Hyde.
  23. Pontiac (3-10): Phoenix are 1-5 in their last six games.
Top Five Boys Basketball Storylines for this week

Bell Steps Down at Avondale

Bell Steps Down at Avondale.

Written Monday January 23rd at 7:10 PM

The Yellow Jackets will have a new football coach this fall.

Avondale Coach Corey Bell has stepped down after four years coaching the Yellow Jackets. It was a move that shocked many after Avondale was expected to be one of the favorites this season in the Gold.

It is unknown why Bell stepped down from coaching.

“Over the last four years it has been an absolute blessing to lead you on the field on Friday nights. There have been very few things that have made me prideful, passionate, and enthusiastic as being your head coach. The experience that we have had and some of the greatest memories I’ll ever hold, Midnight Madness, Manly Mondays, team field trips, practice, and game days. After a significant amount of time and reflection I have decided to step away from the program and resign as your head coach. Avondale will always hold a special place in my heart and I will have a tremendous amount of love for the Yellow Jackets” Bell said on Twitter.

He thanked the players, parents, and coaches whom had helped build the program.

“I first want to thank all of the administrators that believed in me and gave me the opportunity to lead this program as a young head coach. Thank you to all of the AHS staff, parents, and community members that bought into our mission and helped grow this program. Secondly, I want to thank my staff, I could not think of a greater group of individuals who gave everything they had to grow our culture and coach our players. You have all made a tremendous impact on our players lives and played a critical role in every success that we had. Lastly but most importantly, I want to thank my players, I love you all more than you know, your dedication and commitment to this program will always be appreciated. The memories on the field with you will be something that I cherish forever. Leaving is never easy but I hope that you can continue to push yourselves to be the best that you can be. Thank you for everything. Thank you #OneAvondale and forever Go Jackets” Bell concluded on Twitter.

Bell was 17-19 with the Yellow Jackets in his four years but had three postseason appearances.

Bell is the nephew of Lake Orion Athletic Director and Football Coach Chris Bell.

Whomever the new coach will be will have big shoes to fill. Avondale is expected to be one of the favorites in the Gold this season will have Tyler Herzog coming back at quarterback along with wide receivers Cooper Voeffary and Justin Sykes. They also have proven linemen in Dhruv Thakur, Charlie Killian, and Cameron Washington. The defense is solid as well with the three mentioned linemen along with linebackers Myles Moore and Matthew Lloyd along with Alfenso Merritt in the defensive secondary.

Avondale is a very good job for a new coach. It will be very interesting to see where the Yellow Jackets go but they will have big shoes to fill. Bell did a great job in building this program for the now and into the future.

Stay tuned to OAA Now for the latest on this developing story.

Here is the Tweet confirming this.