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Holiday Hoops 2011


Fulton (68) vs. Fowler (31)  
Holland (58) vs. Frederick Douglass (56) 2OT  
Lansing Catholic (70) vs. TC St. Francis (54)  
East Lansing (68) vs. Ann Arbor Huron (38)  
Bay City Western (72) vs. Detroit Martin Luther King (73) OT  
Okemos (71) vs. Troy (48)  

Most Outstanding Player

  • Matt Costello - Bay City Western

  • All Tournament Team

  • Corey Hungerford - Fulton
  • Dan Buhr - Fowler
  • Coreontae DeBerry - Holland
  • Martez Asberry - Detroit Frederick Douglass
  • Stevie Repichowski - Lansing Catholic
  • Sean Sheldon - Traverse City St Francis
  • John Mcadoo - East Lansing
  • Mike Lewis - Ann Arbor Huron
  • Matt Costello - Bay City Western
  • Marquan Armstrong - Detroit Martin Luther King
  • Chris Harrison-Docks - Okemos
  • Maceo Baston - Troy

  • Team Capsules

    By Stephen Bell
    Bankhoops.com and Blog.mlive.com/highschoolbasketball

    Ann Arbor Huron
    Long the local stepchild to Ann Arbor Pioneer, the River Rats under coach Waleed Samaha have risen to become a program that has to be reckoned with on a state-wide level, most notably reaching the Class A final in 2010. Huron played in last year's Holiday Hoops, and came away with a convincing win over Detroit Cass Tech.

    But the core of those teams has moved on, of the greatest impact Dante Williams, who starts as a freshman for Oakland, and A.J.Matthew, who is a freshman at Toledo. Huron has two senior starters back, 6-1 guard Andre Bond, who signed with Northwood, and 6-4 forward Mike Lewis, a tough inside-outside matchup. Huron isn't tall, so Lewis is the de facto starting center, but one who can drive or shoot the three-pointer.

    "We'll play four guards and Mike most of the time," Sahama said.

    Bond, known for his defense, is coming back from an ankle injury, but the time off had the hidden benefit affording his time to work on and improve his shooting.

    5-10 senior Allen Thomas is the team's best three-point shooter. Senior Kendal Thomas will play the point.

    "He's small, 5-7, but tough," Samaha said. "He's smart and can make plays."

    After that, there's a dearth of experience.

    "We have three sophomores and four freshmen on varsity, and we're expecting them all to be in the rotation," Samaha said.

    So understandably, Huron is a work in progress.

    "We'll be better in March than we are in December," Samaha said. "We have a very tough early schedule, which will hopefully help us meet our goals later in the season."

    Huron opened the season with losses to quality clubs, fellow Holiday Hoops participant Detroit Douglass and neighboring Ypsilanti, then flashed their potential with a 54-40 upset of Saginaw Arthur Hill. Huron made up for its lack of size by pressing Arthur Hill for three quarters.

    Bay City Western
    No need to be politically correct, Bay City Western is here because of one man -- Matt Costello. The 6-10 senior was the 2011 Michigan Gatorade player of the year, the all-stater who led Western to the Class A state semifinals and a top 100 national recruit. Playing here in the semifinals and now for Holiday Hoops, are just warmup appearances for Costello at Breslin. He's a major cog of a Michigan State recruiting class ranked amongst the top 10 in the country.

    “People are ranking them up there with the top recruiting classes in the country, and Matt is a big part of that,” Bay City Western coach Chris Watz told the Bay City Times. “To think that a kid out of Bay City is doing this makes this whole thing pretty awesome. Our community needs to take the opportunity to watch him play. He does things right. He’s a good kid, and he’s earned this opportunity. So when you have a special player like that, you need to grab onto it and enjoy it.”


    “Matt Costello brings us an emotional big man, a guy who plays extremely hard,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said after he signed. “I’ve seen him have some great games -- both in the summer and last year -- and he’s well-coached in high school. He’s versatile. He can do a lot of things. He’s not just a low-post player, he’s a pretty good passer and he can step out and shoot the ball. But he plays hard, and that’s what I love about Matt Costello.”
    Costello is the only returning starter from last year's 24-3 team, the best in school history. But there is some experience. 6-4 senior John Costello, Matt's twin brother, provides a strong rebounding presence. The coach's son, senior Jake Watz, provided valuable minutes last year as Western's first guard off the bench. Junior Connor Foley is the other starting guard.

    The Warriors were 2-1 after the first two weeks of the season, with blowout wins over Traverse City Central and Bay City Central, and a 47-44 loss to Saginaw Nouvel.

    Detroit Frederick Douglass
    Detroit Douglass is young, with just one senior returning starter compared to three sophomores in the starting lineup. But that's no excuse, and they're not looking for any. There's no place for that in the Detroit Public School League East, one of the state's most rugged conferences.

    The Hurricanes were 2-2 two weeks into the season. One of the wins came against another Holiday Hoops participant, Ann Arbor Huron, 47-37 on a neutral court. Their two losses came at the hands of two of the legendary programs of Michigan high school basketball, Detroit Country Day and Detroit Pershing.

    "I thought we might be a year or two away, but we may be ahead of schedule," Douglass coach Nwkane Young said. "Our young guys, the more they play, the better they get. They may lack some game experience, but they're picking things up fast."

    They've already proven themselves off the court. Young said what he's most proud of about this group is that for the first marking period, 11 of his 13 players made the honor roll.

    Douglass' lone returning starter from the 2011 Class B district title team is Martez Asberry. He's a 6-2 power guard who is a dangerous scorer in the lane. He's joined in the starting lineup by another senior guard, 5-10 Blake McCoy.

    "This is Martez' third year on varsity, and he's taken control of the team," Young said. "His shot's improved, he can get up, rebound, he's doing everything for us. In high school, he can play the 1-through-5 spots."

    Firmly entrenched at that 1 spot, the point guard, is a promising sophomore prospect, 6-2 Darrell Davis. He's a rangy, heads-up ball-handler who, despite his youth, plays under control and doesn't force things. Davis already has a scholarship offer from Akron.

    "Darrell reminds me of (University of Detroit starter) Chase Simon when I coached him at Community, with his court vision."

    The other sophomores starters are 6-2 Deshawn Sandrers and Andre Frederick, a 6-6 rebounder and shot-blocker. The x-factor off Douglass' bench is yet another 10th-grader, 6-3 Daavi Bradley, a smooth, dangerous driver.

    "He does a little of everything," Young said. "He has long arms, he's real athletic."

    Detroit Martin Luther King
    King became one of the top programs in the Detroit Public School League under coach Benny White, a one-time Michigan State point guard who is now on the staff at Eastern Michigan. That success has been maintained under second-year coach Pierre Brooks, as the Crusaders were 17-6 last year and 3-0 into two weeks of this season, including an opening night win over Detroit Country Day.

    King has a legitimate contender for the Mr. PSL honor in 6-3 senior Malik Albert, who has honed his game playing nationally during the summer in Nike's Elite Youth Basketball League. Albert is athletic, has a high hoops IQ and is improving shooting off the catch. He scored against 26 points against Country Day, 18 against Detroit Finney and 26 against East Detroit.

    As talented as Albert is, MLK's emotional leader is Dennis Norfleet. A 5-7, all-state running back who is headed to Cincinnati to play football. Despite his size, had he concentrated on football, Norfleet would be regarded as one of the top point guards in Michigan. They don't come any tougher.

    The Crusaders are blessed with two outstanding point guards, as 6-0 junior CJ Sumner joins the lineup after transferring from Detroit Southwestern. At Southwestern Sumner was the leading sophomore scorer in the PSL, but in King's more balanced lineup his point guard skills should take to the fore.

    Marquan Armstrong, a 6-4, 220-pound senior, is King's top forward. There's some size in the post with 6-4, 245-pound senior Lorenzo Geeter, 6-6, 230-pound senior Will Abbot and, if he's healthy from a football knee injury 6-6, 275-pound senior Sam Tate.

    The Crusaders have two talented underclassmen on the roster is 6-2 sophomore Dayvon Austin and 6-4 freshman Armoni Lee. Austin has been a pleasant surprise, starting and averaging 14 points per game, while Lee is considered one of the top freshmen in Detroit.

    East Lansing
    From disharmony, to bliss. Last season, first-year head coach Steve Finamore stepped into what many on the outside thought was a toxic situation at East Lansing, where coach Doug Fleming was fired after seven seasons. All the Trojans did in Finamore's debut was go 17-4 and share the CAAC Blue championship with Okemos.

    Still, amidst that memorable season, there was one black mark -- East Lansing's Holiday Hoops loss to Rockford.

    "That was our worse loss of the season, (Rockford senior, now Toledo freshman) Ryan Majerle played like Mr. Basketball," Finamore said. "We want to make amends for that game."

    The Trojans are certainly talented enough to win this time around. They began this season 2-1, with the only loss coming to a top 10 Class A team, and CAAC Blue rival, Lansing Eastern.

    "Our seniors kind of took a back seat last year," Finamore said. "Now they're stepping up and asserting themselves, and taking on leadership roles."

    Tracy Edmond, a 5-9 senior, is back at the point guard spot for East Lansing, where he averaged 4.5 assists per game as a junior. He's a true point guard who looks pass first, get to the free throw line, and create his own points when he has to. In the season-opening win against Jackson, Edmond scored 28, including 15-of-21 foul shots, and 30 against Lansing Eastern. The other senior starters are 6-4 John McAdoo, a good defender whose shot has improved, and 6-5 Efe Scott-Emaukpor, a Division I football prospect who holds down the post on the hardwood.

    The real surprise thus far has been the development of junior guard Javon Haines. He scored 24 points against Jackson and 28 against Lansing Eastern. He's joined in the starting lineup by another junior, lefty guard Ahmad Newsome.

    Fowler has traditionally been one of the state's most consistently good Class D programs. So second-year coach Daric Feldspausch can only hope last season, his first, was an anomaly, when the Eagles went 2-19 and finished last in the always tough CMAC. It didn't help the cause when that time lost an all-state caliber player in Corey Hungerford, who transferred to Fulton when his dad, former Fowler coach Paul Hungerford, became the principal there.

    It's not like Fowler is anathema to athletic success. In addition to their historically competitive basketball program, in November the Eagles played in the Division 8 state championship game in football. Given the size of the school, many of those successful football players are also members of the basketball team.

    But that's in the past, good and bad, as Fowler begins the 2011-12 season. They were 1-2 through the first two weeks, beating Potterville 62-53 and the only bad loss coming at the hands of CMAC foe Pewamo-Westphalia, a team ranked in Class C.

    "We played a lot of sophomores who are juniors now, so we should be improved," Feldspauch.

    Fowler returns three starters, 6-3 senior Blake Snyder and 6-2 senior Alex Goerge in the front-court, with senior Mitch Thelen and junior Kevin Koenigsknecht at guard. New to the starting lineup is 6-1 junior Andy Birchmeier, with depth coming from 6-1 senior Cory Schaefer, junior guard Trent Goerge, junior forward Dan Buhr.

    "We want to play a high teampo," Feldspausch said. "This year we have enough bodies to do that, we'll have five fresh guys on the bench and three more who can still play as well."

    Fulton is no stranger to the Breslin Center, having played for the Class D state title here in March. They came up short to Wyoming Tri-Unity Christian in the championship game. The Pirates graduated three key seniors but return four starters from that 25-3 team.

    "Our goal is to go one step further than we did last year," Fulton coach Todd Walden said.

    So far so good. Two weeks into the 2011-12 season, Fulton was 3-0, including a 58-51 victory over Laingsburg, a CMAC rival and strong Class C club.

    The coach's son, 5-11 all-state senior Tyler Walden averaged 17 points per game as junior. He scored 20 in the Laingsburg win. Known as one of Michigan's most dangerous three-point shooters regardless of school size (no one in Mid-Michigan made more last year) he has signed with Siena Heights. So has 6-3, 220-pound senior Corey Hungerford, who averaged 15 points per game as a junior then had an all-state football campaign this fall. Both of Fulton's star players have expanded their games.

    "Tyler has worked hard on his mid-range shot and will handle the ball a bit more," said Todd Walden, now in his 16th season at Fulton. "Corey's able to play facing the basket, and he's always been a pretty good shooter."

    The other key returners are 6-3 senior center Cody Johnson and senior guard Brandon Trefil.

    "Cody's a big kid who really helps inside, and Brandon will play both point and shooting guard for us," Coach Walden said. "There are four other seniors in the mix and a junior, but that fifth spot may be filled by committee."

    Holland is lucky. Not only do they get to play in the venerable Dutch Dome for their home court, but this is their second straight appearance in the Breslin Center for Holiday Hoops. They lost last year to Lansing Waverly, 70-56. They ended the season 13-8.

    The Dutch were 1-2 to start this season, beating Kenowa Hills while losing to Wyoming Godwin Heights, a top 10 team in Class B, and Grand Rapids Northview.

    Holland has a dangerous post-shooter combination in 6-9 Coreontae DeBerry, who has signed with the University of Detroit, and 6-2 Trent Windemuller, the son of coach Steve Windemuller. Both are seniors.

    "Coreontae looked really good in fall workouts," Coach Windemuller said. "He's getting stronger and even though he's 6-9, he still moves well. He's definitely a force.

    "Our backcourt is young. We may have to use Trent more in a ball-handling role than we had planed. He's gotten quicker and more athletic, and is shooting better on the move."

    Holland is coming off perhaps the most successful football season in school history, and two of the stalwarts from that team are back with the basketball squad. Dynamic all-state quarterback Corey Willis, a junior guard, has a different role on the hardwood -- take care of the ball and play defense. Meanwhile another Division I football recruit, 6-3 senior Nathan Ricketts, plays basketball as if it's still the fall -- like a linebacker.

    Lansing Catholic Central
    This is Lansing Catholic Central's second straight Holiday Hoops appearance. They dropped a close one last year to Detroit Consortium, a rare loss in an 18-5 season that saw them share the CAAC White title. The Cougars look even better this time around. They were 3-0 after the first two weeks of the season, including a 63-56 win at Okemos, another Holiday Hoops participant.

    Often known as a team made up primarily of 6-0 guards, Lansing Catholic has a big team this season, with six players standing at least 6-4. The most talented of the lot is 6-5 senior Stevie Repichowski. He's a long, athletic wing who can shoot it or cover a lot of space quickly driving to the hole. Fans who were at last year's Holiday Hoops may remember his dunk against Consortium.

    "He's a third-year varsity player and a college-level player," Lansing Catholic coach Darren Zwick said. "He's a pure scorer, he can do it inside or outside, at the 2 or the 3."
    The Cougar's other key seniors are better known for other sports, but have still left their mark on the hardwood. 6-4, 225-pound Cooper Rush was the state Gatorade Player of the Year in football. A quarterback headed to Central Michigan, Rush led Lansing Catholic to the Division 5 state championship game at Ford Field. Guard Peter Murray is a three-time tennis state champion.

    "Cooper's a team leader who will play the 4 and 5, but can handle the ball too," Zwick said. "Peter will play both guard spots. He's just a winner."

    Lansing Catholic's starting center is a sophomores, 6-7 David Poljan. He's backed up by another 6-7 sophomore, Dequandre Dentmond. 6-2 junior Dillon Rush is a dangerous three-point shooter.

    This is a repeat Holiday Hoops appearance for the Chieftans, who last December fells to Flint Powers 58-53. Okemos didn't have much of a hangover from that one, and went on to have yet another outstanding season under coach Dan Stolz, finishing 19-4. They finished atop one of the state's very best leagues, the CAAC Blue, along with fellow Holiday Hoops participant East Lansing.

    The man then, and now, for Okemos was point guard Chris Harrison-Docks. One of the state's top 10 seniors, he has signed with Butler.

    "He averaged 23 points her game, but he's an even better defender," said Stolz, now in his 17th season at Okemos.

    Mr. Inside to Harrison-Docks' Mr. Outside is 6-6, 280-pound Taylor Moton. His athletic future is on the football field, and Moton will sign with Western Michigan, but he's a much-improved basketball player who clears space, can catch the ball, and cleans up the offensive glass.

    The big hole in the lineup since last season is Mack McKearney. Now playing at Dartmouth, he was a guard who could score, rebound, defend and distribute. Harrison-Docks and Moton are Okemos' only returning starters. Joining them in the starting five are senior guards Denny Hodge and Jared Motley, and 6-4 senior Jackson Miller. 6-3, 230-pound junior Nathan Lafayette gives the Chieftans some muscle and bounce off the bench.

    Okemos began the season 3-1 through the season's first two weeks, with wins over Detroit Chavez, Lansing Everett and Grand Ledge, and dropping one to fellow Holiday Hoops participant Lansing Catholic.

    Traverse City St. Francis
    After going 15-7 in his first season at St. Francis, Keith Haske appears to have things rolling with the Glads. They're a top 5 team in Class C, and started the season 3-0 including a 67-42 win over Class A Birmingham Brother Rice and a 66-44 victory against Boyne City, a top 10 team in Class C. That's no surprise. In a 13-year stint at Charlevoix, like St. Francis a member of the Lake Michigan Conference, Haske accumulated a 240-77 mark, with 10 district championships, six regional titles, four Class C state semifinal berths and two state runner-up finishes.

    After taking a year to figure out Haske's full-court pressure, all the time, approach, St. Francis looks poised to emulate that Charlevoix success.

    "Getting through one season and then over the summer, they'rve really picked up on our philosophy and what we want to do," Haske said.

    It takes talent. In that department, we give you Sean Sheldon, a 6-9 senior ranked by the Detroit Free Press the state's No. 6 player regardless of class. He's tough to stop on the blocks and can also step out and shoot it. Like another former Gladiator and Holiday Hoops participant, Holden Greiner, Sheldon will commence a Division I college career out East, at William & Mary.

    St. Francis doesn't lack for size, as next to Sheldon on the front line is 6-6 senior Kody Kleinrichert. 6-5 senior Conner Archer is the first big off the bench. If they want to really go big, there's another 6-9 senior, Marc Stein.

    On the perimeter, St. Francis starts 5-11 senior Devin Sheehy, 6-1 senior Nicholas Clear and 6-1 sophomore Byron Bullough. Sheehy came to the game late, but is vastly improved and is the perfect fit for St. Francis' hectic style with how he creates offense through his defense. He's very quick to the hole but can also shoot outside. Sheehy scored a career-high 28 points in the Glads' win over Boyne City.

    With Bay City Western's Matt Costello, Holiday Hoops affords Michigan State fans the chance to see a  future Spartan, signed and sealed, if not yet delivered. There's no such guarantee, but many signs are pointing to James Young, Troy's 6-6 junior, become a future Michigan State recruit as well. MSU is said to lead for his services and has offered a scholarship to the consensus top 50 national recruit, as has Florida State. This is Gary Fralick's 18th season at Troy, where he's won over 300 games. But he's never had a player like Young, a smooth lefty whose game calls to mind MSU legend Morris Peterson. Young averaged 21.7 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game as a sophomore.

    Young is one of four returning starters  for the Colts. One of them, third-year varsity point guard Evan Mahone, didn't play in their early games. But junior Zak Noor filled in admirably for him, and is a true pass-first point guard. In addition to Young, Troy may have another Division I recruit, 6-4 sophomore Maceo Baston. His father of the same name played at Michigan and had a stint in the NBA.

    Other key players for Troy are junior forward Jeff Leonard, senior forward Jeff Holmes and senior foward Leo Aryault.

    “This is far from a one-man team,” Young told the Oakland Press. “We have a bunch of weapons that can hurt you and we love to play together as a unit.”

    Troy won the OAA White title and went 16-5 overall. They started this season 3-1, their only loss coming on a last second shot to cross-town rival Troy Athens.

    Fowler vs. Fulton
    These CMAC rivals have chosen to take one of their league contests to the big stage. The Breslin Center is familiar territory for Fulton. They have four starters back from the team that played here in the Class D state championship game in March.

    "We want to play up-tempo and share the ball," Fulton coach Todd Walden said. "We have lots of kids who can score, so we don't have to rely on just one or two kids to carry the load."

    Fowler may be game for that up-tempo, as coach Daric Feldspausch wants to play an aggressive style and, unlike last season, the Eagles have the depth to do it.

    Detroit Douglass vs. Holland
    Take the "under" in this one. Douglass comes in averaging 45 points per game, Holland 47 points. However, with Douglass' collection of young but athletic guards, it might be best-served to pressure the Dutch and play and up-and-down game that neutralizes 6-9 Holland senior Coreontae DeBerry. That's what Wyoming Godwin Heights did in the season opener at Holland, and won by 20.

    "That was a contrast in styles," Holland coach Steve Windemuller said. "Godwin really looked to push it and was just clicking on all cylinders."

    "We can play fast or slow, depending on the opponent," Douglass coach Nkwane Young said. "We have lots of guys who can handle, shoot and get up."

    Lansing Catholic Central vs. Traverse City St. Francis
    Will this be revenge for St. Francis coach Keith Haske? His first coaching stop was at St. Johns, where he once lost a game to Holt on a last-second shot. The shooter? Holt guard Darren Zwick ... now the successful coach at Lansing Catholic.

    The key for the Cougars, or any team trying to beat St. Francis, is to handle the Gladiators' full-court pressure. They press the entire game, regardless of the situation, with 6-9 senior Sean Sheldon on the point, and a bunch of athletes behind him not caring if they foul, they just want to wear down their opponent. And you can't go over the top, that's just what they want you to do. St. Francis has too much size and will simply intercept it.

    When Lansing Catholic is on defense it might want to go zone like it did in their win over Okemos, using their front-court depth (six players 6-4 or taller) to clog the lane against Sheldon, because St. Francis may lack the three-point shooting to open things up.

    "We haven't shot it well yet, but when we do I think we'll be a really good team," Haske said.

    Ann Arbor Huron vs. East Lansing
    At last year's Holiday Hoops, Huron put on a 2-2-1 trapping clinic on Cass Tech, basically embarrassing the Detroit PSL school. But those River Rats were exceptionally long and could cut down the court. This group, with a 6-4 de facto center in senior Mike Lewis, will still use pressure, but maybe in different spots. They haven't been bad defensively thus far, holding opponents to 50 points per game.

    But East Lansing is averaging 75 points per game, so something has to give. The Trojans like to extend the defense themselves to increase tempo, and rely on senior point guard Tracy Edmond to get things going in their player-friendly dribble-drive motion offense. East Lansing coach Steve Finamore suspects his Huron counterpart, Waleed Samaha, may have something up his sleeve awaiting the Trojans.

    "Waleed is one of the best coaches I've seen in the 15 years I've been in Michigan," Finamore said.

    "East Lansing is a strong team from one of the best leagues in Michigan," Samaha said. "we're going to have our hands full."

    Bay City Western vs. Detroit King
    Detroit King knows what it has to do, slow down Matt Costello, Bay City Western's 6-10 Mr. Basketball candidate. Of course, that's easier said than done when you're talking about one of the nation's elite players, one who has four inches on your nearest would-be defender. Costello was terrific playing in March in the Breslin Center, in the Class A state semifinals, and will be looking to impress his future Michigan State fan base.

    But, no matter how good a center is, high school ball remains a guards game, and that's where MLK has the clear advantage. The Crusaders feature not one, but two, high-caliber point guards, in senior Dennis Norfleet and junior Corry Sumner, as well as a dynamic perimeter scorer in senior Malik Albert.

    Okemos vs. Troy
    What is Troy to take away from Okemos' lone loss thus far, to fellow Holiday Hoops participant Lansing Catholic Central? Can the Chieftans' all-state senior guard, Chris Harrison-Docks, be slowed down? Or, the more frightening but no unrealistic explanation, was that game just an anomaly, and a player that good isn't likely to shoot that poorly again?

    If Harrison-Docks is on his game, Troy has the firepower to match him with its own Division I prospect, 6-6 junior James Young. Both schools feature successful veteran coaches, Okemos' Dan Stolz and Troy's Gary Fralick, and it will interesting to see how they game-plan to counter the other's star.

    This is one of Troy's more athletic teams, and the Colts take advantage of that mixing it up defensively between man, 2-3 zone, and a 1-3-1 using Young's length on top. But that might be more impressive back home because, while Oakland County basketball is strong in its own right, Lansing basketball, particularly in Okemos' league, the CAAC Blue, is better.