Covering all 22 OAA teams with insight and thoughts on each team from Northern Oakland County to Southern Oakland County.
Sunday, March 7, 2021
Inside the OAA Top 22 and Top 20.
Written Sunday March 7th at 6:00 PM
Here are the top 22 and top 20 for basketball throughout the OAA. I look at how teams are playing right now as we speak and the rankings tell themselves from my point of view. Here they are.
Boys Top 22.
- Ferndale (8-1) – Jack Kennedy has really surprised some folks.
- Adams (9-3) – Jaret Thomas has done a heck of a coaching job with the Highlanders.
- Clarkston (9-3) – Keegan Waslik is back with a vengeance.
- North Farmington (6-2) – Raiders no longer control their own destiny in the Red.
- Lake Orion (9-2) – Dragons are clicking on all cylinders.
- Bloomfield Hills (7-4) – Blackhawks control their own destiny in the White.
- Troy (4-2) – Something doesn’t seem right with the Colts.
- Stoney Creek (7-3) – Trevor Smith is really carrying the Cougars on his back.
- Troy Athens (7-3) – Jordan Sebaugh is the key for the Red Hawks.
- Groves (4-5) – Falcons are more than capable of pulling off an upset.
- Pontiac (6-0) – Phoenix are rising but would like to see them play some non league teams.
- Berkley (4-6) – It wasn’t a great week for the Bears.
- West Bloomfield (3-7) – Lakers have been very streaky lately.
- Farmington (3-8) – Falcons have been very inconsistent.
- Oak Park (3-6) – Knights have been a mystery team right now.
- Rochester (6-5) – Falcons no longer control their own destiny in the Gold right now.
- Oxford (4-7) – Wildcats are as good as Mason Mulholland takes them.
- Seaholm (3-7) – Maples are as good as Johnny Cross takes them.
- Southfield Arts and Tech (2-7) – Warriors are very suspect right now.
- Avondale (4-6) – Yellow Jackets haven’t been the same since the loss to Seaholm.
- Royal Oak (1-8) – Ravens picked up a monster win over Ferndale University this past week.
- Ferndale University (0-8) – Rising Eagles are still getting used to life in the OAA.
Girls Top 20.
- West Bloomfield (8-1) – Lakers looking strong on all cylinders
- Clarkston (9-2) – Wolves have been scoring in bunches lately.
- Stoney Creek (9-1) – Cougars rolling right now.
- Troy (7-4) – Colts holding strong in the White.
- Groves (7-5) – Falcons are going to be a dangerous team come postseason time.
- Royal Oak (6-4) – Ravens are starting to put things together.
- Oxford (7-3) – Myranda Wynnabego has been a difference maker for the Wildcats.
- Farmington (8-3) – Autumn Bartlett has been the glue for the Falcons.
- Adams (6-3) – Highlanders are still a really odd team to figure out.
- Lake Orion (6-6) – Dragons haven’t been the same team since losing to Oxford.
- Rochester (3-4) – Falcons are back on the court which is a good sign.
- Berkley (6-4) – Ashley Loon has been the key to the Bears success.
- Troy Athens (4-6) – Gillian Ciak has been playing well for the Red Hawks lately.
- North Farmington (2-7) – Heaven Rogers has played well for the Raiders in this stretch.
- Southfield Arts and Tech (1-8) – Warriors got their first win for new coach Shaquila Coltrane.
- Seaholm (2-8) – Maples struggling a little bit.
- Oak Park (2-2) – Knights have done well against Ferndale University but others not so much.
- Ferndale University (2-4) – It’s still going to take some time for the Rising Eagles to get used to the OAA.
- Bloomfield Hills (0-8) – Blackhawks really struggling right now.
- Avondale (0-7) – Yellow Jackets really struggling right now.
Covering all 22 OAA teams with insight and thoughts on each team from Northern Oakland County to Southern Oakland County.
Sunday, March 7, 2021
Written Sunday March 7th at 9:00 PM
North Farmington might have lost all chances to win the Red with their home loss to Clarkston on Thursday night. The Raiders could still be a force in the Red and eventually in the postseason. North Farmington needs Basheer Jihad and Deon Hayes to play better. They have an opportunity ahead of them when they head to Ferndale this week. Coach Todd Negoshian needs to find a way to get some more scoring like they were earlier in the season.
Ferndale has played good basketball but a huge game looms on Monday when they head to Orchard Lake St. Marys to play the top ranked Eaglets. Orchard Lake St. Marys has looked vulnerable despite winning over Birmingham Brother Rice and Warren De LaSalle. Another storyline is that Jason Drake played for the Eaglets last season. He transferred to Ferndale during Christmas. The Eagles besides the Eaglets have Troy and North Farmington this week. It’s going to be an interesting week to say the least for Coach Juan Rickman and his team.
Clarkston looks to be back to being Clarkston as Keegan Waslik returned to the lineup after an ankle injury that was thought to be season ending. Waslik opens up players like Nathan Steinman to do well to go along with Mike DePillo and Luke Scherler. He means so much to the Wolves lineup and if he gets hurt again then Clarkston could be in some trouble.
West Bloomfield has really struggled lately which is very concerning heading into the final two weeks of the season. The Lakers need to get some wins under their belt heading into the postseason. The district won’t be easy especially with a red hot Bloomfield Hills, Pontiac, and Orchard Lake St. Marys in there.
Oak Park is still a mystery team. They blew out Detroit Cody on Saturday but lost to Farmington and North Farmington this past week. The Knights need to find that consistency going forward if they want to make some noise. Bwanda Miller has played really well for Coach Durrand Sheppard along with the Henderson brothers but they need an interior person to step up.
Farmington played better against Ferndale even though they lost that game. The Falcons are more than capable of scoring points. Farmington will need to keep scoring in bunches despite beating Oak Park. If Coach Terrance Porter’s team can find that scoring then they could surprise some folks.
Troy has been very inconsistent despite being tied for the White however they are coming off losses to Bloomfield Hills and Stoney Creek despite beating Groves. The Colts need more from Jake Emerzian. I know they have played a tough schedule since coming off COVID protocol but Jake Emerizian needs to step his game up and help Brody Parker and Ethan Emerzian. If Coach Gary Fralick can get his big three along with D’Anthony Hamilton going then they will be a tough team to beat.
Stoney Creek had a huge hit with Alex Reiter in COVID protocol which has resulted in Trevor Smith doing more for the Cougars. Reiter is Coach Steve Norgrove’s defensive stopper but they had losses to Adams and Bloomfield Hills this past week. Stoney Creek will be fine but they need someone besides Smith to step up until Reiter returns.
Groves has been an odd team to figure out. They do have some players that have emerged. The Falcons have leaned on Daniel Lee but the play of Nick Lutz and Aaron Dubose has contributed for Coach Benny White. Groves has been a hit or miss team which makes them a dangerous team come postseason time.
Bloomfield Hills has had a really good week with wins over Stoney Creek, Troy, and Romeo. Noah Adamcyzk and Mason Canfield have been very good for Coach Phil Kurajian in the past week. The Blackhawks are in a very good spot right now in the White. Bloomfield Hills is peaking at the right time.
I think Jaret Thomas should be coach of the year in the White for what he has done with Adams in two years since taking over the program. They have a pipeline of proven talent for the now and in the future. The Highlanders had a good week by beating Stoney Creek, Groves, and Farmington. Adams has Justice Mims, Ben Churmside, Brady Prieskorn, Jon Urusy, among others and they have been playing really well. Adams is in a good spot.
Southfield Arts and Tech is a hard team to figure out. What helps the Warriors is their athleticism and they have Jaylen Mack and Caleb Banks. They lost a tough one to Clarkston and have lost five straight since beating Waterford Mott. That’s not a good sign for Coach Darreyle Buchanan and his team going forward. This team concerns me a bit.
Troy Athens has won three straight games since losing to Lake Orion. Michael Justice has played really well but the key players are Jacob Thornton and Jordan Sebaugh. If the Red Hawks can get consistent play from Sebaugh and Thornton then Coach Dave Scott’s team will be better in the long run especially heading into the postseason where they have a favorable district at home despite a huge challenge from Sterling Heights Stevenson.
Berkley had two tough losses to Lake Orion and Stoney Creek this week. The Bears are an interesting team going forward. Coach Joe Sermo is going to need players like Joey McNamara, Logan Thomas, and Jon Sherif to step up and help Arshad Walker. If they can find this then they could be a very dangerous team come postseason time.
Oxford is in an interesting spot. Mason Mulholland has led the Wildcats night in and night out but Coach Steve Laidlaw needs someone else to step up, could it be Trent Brown, Palmer Speck, etc. Oxford has really struggled to find that second scorer even though there are numerous others that can do that as well. It hasn’t been easy for the Wildcats.
Lake Orion got three huge wins including two of them over rivals Oxford and Lapeer and they control their own destiny in the Blue. The Dragons have been getting contributions from Andrew Bryant, Malachi Grandberry, Nick Fisher, Mark Smith, and Will McClear. Brennan Jones and Xander Blackney have really been playing better. Lake Orion has been playing loose which is a good sign not only for the team but Coach Joel Schroeder as well heading into the postseason.
Seaholm has struggled recently losing two straight games. The Maples have gotten contributions from Johnny Cross but they need to score more points. It’s been a challenging year for Coach Mike DeGetter but they are getting healther and they have Troy Athens and Oxford coming to Birmingham in the next two weeks. The Maples could play spoiler in the Blue.
Pontiac stands on top of the division after their huge win over Rochester on Saturday. The Phoenix have managed to improve each week which resulted in wins. Dionate Harris has played really well for Pontiac and Coach Dameon O’Neill. I would like to see Pontiac test themselves against non league competition because they would not see Gold competition in their district especially with Orchard Lake St. Marys, West Bloomfield, and Bloomfield Hills in there. It would prove to be a measuring stick for the Phoenix.
Rochester took a tough loss to Pontiac on Saturday afternoon at home and no longer control their own destiny. The Falcons have been getting contributions from Matt Stone and Mark Williams for Coach Vance Kirkwood. Rochester needs to hope Pontiac loses at least a game to get back in the league race.
Avondale has not been the same team since losing to Seaholm a few weeks ago. They fell to Rochester, Pontiac, and Warren Cousino. There are some serious concerns for Coach Pat Clancy’s team. The Yellow Jackets haven’t figured things out yet which is a concern heading into the postseason. Avondale is trending down right now.
Royal Oak has been competitive but they haven’t been able to put together wins. The Ravens picked up their first win of the season by beating Ferndale University on Thursday night. The schedule gets tough with games against Royal Oak Shrine, Berkley, Troy Athens, and Holly on the slate. It won’t be an easy ride for Coach Aaron Smith and company.
Ferndale University has been very competitive but they have struggled in their first year in the OAA. The Rising Eagles will be fine. They are scoring at a high rate but they are allowing more as well. Ferndale University should be fine as they settle into the OAA.
West Bloomfield has been playing on a high level which resulted in an impressive blowout win over Clarkston on Wednesday night. Coach Bert Mosley got more good news as Myonna Hooper was just cleared to play and adds to an already very dangerous Lakers team come in the postseason. West Bloomfield and Birmingham Marian are on a collision course in the postseason.
Clarkston has played really good basketball despite the blowout losses to West Bloomfield including what happened on Wednesday night. The Wolves scored 58 points which normally wins you games. Clarkston has gotten contributions every night from different players. Coach John Weyer has done a very good job with this team. The Wolves are heading in the right direction.
Royal Oak has turned the corner a bit and they have seemed to found a Robin in Kira Vance. Vance has been filling the score sheet lately and has played well alongside Sarah Soroghan. The Ravens have won three of four which is a good sign heading into the postseason and if Soroghan doesn’t have to carry the load even though she is more than capable of putting a team on her shoulders than that would make the team that more dangerous heading into the postseason.
Groves has me very concerned despite losing three of their last four games. The foundation is there for the Falcons and Coach AntJuan Simpkins. The tough non league schedule can be very taxing on a young team. Groves is fine though but they are in a rut right now.
Southfield Arts and Tech won their first game of the season on Friday night but there are still some concerns defensively going forward. The Warriors have allowed over 70 points in five of the last six games. Getting their first win was a start but it’s the start of a long process.
Troy has been moving along but they have been putting the ball in the basket. Lauren Gumma has really taken off especially from three point land including in which the Colts made 14 threes against Troy Athens on Friday night. Kendal Zeiter hasn’t really needed to be “Super Girl” even though she is capable of taking over games also Charlotte Sobotka and Alyssa Matuza has also been productive as well. Coach Julius Porter if things are on track should be a team to watch moving forward and they control their own destiny in the White.
Stoney Creek has been rolling along which is a great sign for Coach Kellen James. The Cougars still control their destiny and they have Troy coming to Stoney Creek. Mia Carson and Milana Skoric has played really well for the Cougars. Stoney Creek also has a strong future as program strength is on the rise.
Adams has been a mystery team despite losing to North Farmington but they beat Farmington on the road behind their experience. I’m very concerned for the Highlanders despite the experience factor. If Coach Shay Lewis can get the less experience players on the same page then Adams could surprise some people
North Farmington has had a very tough week even though they beat Adams but lost to Stoney Creek and Walled Lake Northern. Heaven Rogers has played well for the Raiders but Coach Jeff Simpson needs more production from Sela Lefler. If Lefler and Rogers are on the same page and have double digit point totals then North Farmington will be in basketball games.
Bloomfield Hills has had a long year for first year coach Kristen Massey but Emila Johnson has played really well for the Blackhawks. Bloomfield Hills has had games where they looked good and games they looked bad. It will be interesting to see what happens with the Blackhawks going forward.
Avondale has been a disaster which has resulted in multiple blowout losses. It has been a very difficult ride for Coach Roy Christmon despite having Regian Lawrence and Savannah Schmidt. The Yellow Jackets are in a world of hurt right now.
Troy Athens had an interesting week but they are starting to score. Nitya Balsu has played well along with Ciara Shoales and Gillian Ciak for Coach Stacie Klumpp. The Red Hawks should be fine going forward. As long as they are scoring they are in good shape.
Rochester is back from COVID protocol and they battled Stoney Creek to the brink on Saturday afternoon. Megan Lorenzo had 16 points in that game but they need Jackie Hurst to also step up as well. It will be interesting to see what the Falcons do but right now Coach Bill Thurston has to be happy to be back on the court.
Berkley has been a very odd team to figure out even though they also control their own destiny in the Blue. The Bears have relied on three girls in Ry Sanom, Ashley Loon, and Ava Beard for Coach Kirk Carolan. Berkley has had some huge wins like Troy and Oxford but also some questionable losses. Will the real Bears please stand up???
Oxford has been red hot lately and controls their own destiny in the Blue. They have gotten confidence from Mackenzie Methner and Miranda Wymeniko. They did get some bad news with the season ending shoulder injury to Emma Morris. Wymeniko has really stepped up her game for Coach Rachel Bryer. The Wildcats are gaining a ton of confidence as a group especially with that district looming in Grand Blanc where they have to see Davison, Flint Kearsley, Grand Blanc, and Lapeer.
Lake Orion has lost two straight games which is a huge concern going forward but they still control their own destiny in the Blue. The Dragons need to find their confidence when they won four of five last week. Lake Orion if confident can be very dangerous going forward.
Farmington had been playing anyone no matter who the challenge is and that’s a good thing. I like what Coach Laura Guzman has done with the non league schedule. The play of Autumn Bartlett has been very good lately along with Kennedi Jones among others. The Falcons are doing the right things heading into the postseason.
Seaholm has lost five in a row which is not a good sign going forward. The Maples need to find a way to get back in the win column. Coach Chris Manchester’s team could be in some huge trouble going forward.
Ferndale University has struggled thus far. It’s going to take some time for them to make some noise in the OAA in their first year in the league.
Oak Park beat Ferndale University twice but they haven’t beaten anyone else which has hurt them. The Knights need to find that consistency against other teams besides Ferndale University especially with a tough district looming.
New Navy Ship Named in Honor of Local Korean War Veteran and Medal of Honor Recipient
Farmington Hills, Michigan – Farmington Hills resident, Korean War veteran and Marine Corps Medal of Honor recipient Robert Simanek, 90, is being further recognized for his bravery in combat by having a new U.S. Navy ship named in his honor.
Secretary of the Navy Kenneth J. Braithwaite recently announced the Expeditionary Sea Base USS Robert E. Simanek, has been ordered, noting it will carry on the Navy’s sacred mission to secure the sea lanes, stand by our allies, and protect the United States against all adversaries.
“Mr. Simanek, a long-time Oakland County resident, is the epitome of an American hero,” said Oakland County Executive David Coulter. “I’m in awe of his selfless act of bravery nearly 70 years ago and so happy for him and his family today. Not only did he receive the Medal of Honor for his valor, but now a Navy vessel with his namesake will be supporting Marines across the globe.”
This ship is currently scheduled to be completed in 2024. Weighing 100,000 tons when fully loaded, the USS Robert E. Simanek will perform a variety of missions, including launching helicopters, small boats, unmanned surface vehicles, special operations, troop transportation and maintenance services.
“I didn’t think having a ship named after me would happen,” Simanek said. “I was tickled to death when I found out about it.”
Simanek was a 22-year old Private 1st Class in 1952, when his squad was ambushed by Chinese troops. Already wounded by shrapnel, he threw himself onto a grenade to absorb the blast and save his fellow soldiers from injury or death. Somehow, he survived while sustaining serious leg wounds. After a nearly year-long recovery, he was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Simanek enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1951. He joined Company F, 2d Battalion, 5th Marines in 1952 as a rifleman and radioman when needed. The honor of having a ship named after him this year is but the latest recognition for service to his country. In addition to the Medal of Honor and Purple Heart, he also was awarded the Korean Service Medal with two bronze stars.
Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine Arrives In Oakland County Medical Director Says Vaccine Is Safe And Effective
Pontiac, Michigan – Seventy-four hundred doses of Johnson & Johnson single-dose COVID-19 vaccine arrived at Oakland County Health Division today. That’s 700 more doses than the county originally expected to receive.
“With the news that Merck is going to be joining with Johnson & Johnson to manufacture this one dose vaccine, this increased supply of vaccine will help accelerate the end to the pandemic,” Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter said. “We are making steady progress in vaccinating Oakland County residents with nearly one in five having received their first dose.”
Oakland County Health Division will be working with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to determine the guidance for administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The Health Division will begin scheduling the doses once it receives that guidance.
Oakland County Medical Director Dr. Russell Faust said the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is safe and effective.
“I am confident in the effectiveness of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine,” Oakland County Health Division Medical Director Dr. Russell Faust said. “All three COVID vaccines prevent death and severe illness, which is what most concerns us in public health.”
Editor Note: Photos of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine that arrived at Oakland County Health Division are attached. Please credit Jaime Fenner, Oakland County, who shot the photos at the North Oakland Health Center in Pontiac. You may notice the label says Janssen. This is the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.