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Hastings hopes to return soon
The Huron boys’ basketball team got an unwelcomed surprise last Friday when they traveled to Romulus. The River Rats took on the host Eagles in the Romulus Holiday Classic and fell big, losing 60-47. Huron, which boasts two of the best players in the state in A.J. Mathew and Dante Williams, struggled to find the basket, while the Eagles seemed unable to miss in the first half. Another reason the Rats struggled was the absence of senior guard Matt Hastings, who sat out with a small tear in his plantar fascia. Hastings said that his coaches wanted to rest him to prevent further injury. The senior said he hopes to be back in action for Huron’s December 28 game against Cass Tech, which will be held at the Breslin Center in East Lansing.
Pioneer wins over Belleville, while top-ranked Huron loses at Romulus Holiday Classic
By Mike Larson
Reversal of fortunes
Belleville team. “I thought we played well against a tough opponent,” Despite a slow start and a late Belleville coach Don Hickman scare, the Ann Arbor Pioneer said. “Down the stretch we realboys’ basketball team came ly did some good things, we just away with a win Friday night couldn’t get over the hump.” over Belleville at the Romulus At the end of the third quarHoliday Classic. ter, Pioneer led 29-22, but the The Pioneers struggled Tigers were threatening. early on, scoring just Late in two points in the first the fourth quarter. quarHowever, the Ann ter, the PIONEER 47 Arbor team bounced Pioneers BELLEVILLE 42 back to win the game held on 47-42. to a 39-32 “Belleville really lead, but came out and put the pressure Belleville refused to roll over. on us defensively to start the Tiger Deante’ Isom scored game,” Pioneer coach Rex three quick points to shrink the Stanczak said. “They really Pioneer lead to just four points. kept us off of our game in the With the clock ticking down, first quarter. That was evident the Tigers kept up their by the score.” defensive After the first quarter pressure. though, the Pioneers came With storming back. just After opening the second nine quarter with six straight secpoints, the Pioneers tied the onds game at 8-8. left Belleville’s offense kept in the churning, but with 2:13 left in game, the half, James Kelly hit a layup to give Pioneer a 15-14 advantage. It was the team’s first lead, and an edge it would never give up. By halftime, the Pioneers led 18-14. “Right before halftime our offense started working a little better,” Stanczak said. “But we still have a lot to work on.” Pioneer kept things working in the third quarter, however, the team was never really able to widen the gap much against the scrappy
December 23, 2010
Detroit teams make history
On Sunday night Detroit’s three professional sports teams made history. The Pistons, Red Wings and Lions games all went into overtime Sunday, and that accomplishment marked the first time any city had its NBA, NHL and NFL teams go into overtime on the same day. The Pistons defeated the New Orleans Hornets 111108, the Red Wings lost to the Dallas Stars 4-3 and the Lions ended their NFL-record losing streak (26 games) against Tampa Bay with a 23-20 win.
Big Chill overshoots attendance, still breaks record
On Saturday, December 11 the Big Chill hockey game between the University of Michigan and Michigan State broke the attendance record for an outdoor hockey game, but the final numbers aren’t as big as originally reported. During the game, it was announced that the recordbreaking attendance was 113,411, however, the folks at the Guinness Book of World Records are reporting the attendance to be 85,451. The new number is still a world record.
Belleville’s Jamie Pearson banked in a three-pointer to make the score 43-42 in favor of the Pioneers. However, that was as close as the Tigers would get to winning, as Pioneer’s Jerimiah Strode hit a pair of clutch free throws with just seconds left to seal the win. “We could have done a lot better late in the game,” Stanczak said. “But I was happy with the way we converted from the free throw line. It’s a good win for us.” Kelly and Isom led their respective teams as each player scored 14 points in the contest. Strode and Mike Kielczewski each added eight points for Pioneer in the victory. “We’ve still got a lot to work on, but I’m happy with the early win,” Stanczak said. Mike Larson can be reached by email at Mlarson@A2Journal.com.
River Rats routed in Romulus
By Mike Larson
High school sports going on hiatus
The prep sporst sesaon will tak a short break for the holidays after today. Most teams will take a break, with their schedules picking back up after the first of they year. “It’s a nice break,” Pioneer boys’ basketball coach Rex Stanczak said. “Although it’s tough to just get your season started, and then have to take a break. We’ll keep practicing and keep trying to get better.”
Huron prepares for Meijer classic
The Huron basketball team wil get a chance to play at the Breslin Center a little early this season. But not for the state championship, at least, not yet. On Dec. 28, the River Rats will take on Detroit Cass Tech at the Breslin in East Lansing. The two teams are regarded as two of the best in Division 1.––
Photos by Jonathan Knight/A2 Journal
Pioneer’s Jerimiah Strode and Huron’s Andre Bond play during last week’s Holiday Classic at Romulus.
and kept us from doing what we wanted to do.” Romulus came out firing on all The temcylinders to start the game, hitperature was ting four three-pointers in the frigid outopening frame to take a 12-11 side on lead at the Friday end of the night first quarwhen ter. HURON 60 Huron Huron startROMULUS 47 faced off ed the secagainst ond quarter the host looking to take control. Eagles in the The team’s first points of the marquee game frame came on an alley-oop of the Romulus dunk from Andre Bond to give Holiday Classic. the River Rats a 13-12 advanHowever, it was tage. difficult to tell Romulus responded with an what was cold11-0 run, including back-toer, the frosty back three-pointers from Eli outdoors, or Robertson. the Huron After that, Huron never seemed River Rats’ to be able to get back into the shooting. half. Huron By the break, the Eagles had a struggled to 30-17 lead. hit Huron kept trybasing to get into VIDEO ONLINE: kets its patented trap for the defense, but was entire unable to. game “We just as they couldn’t get in fell to and do what the hotwe wanted,” shooting Samaha said. hosts, “We put the See video of this 60-47. pressure on a sporting event at “We just couple times in www.heritage.com couldn’t the third and shoot,” fourth quarters, Huron coach but we couldn’t Waleed Samaha said. get it consistently.” “But Romulus had a lot to The Eagles’ shooting cooled off do with that. I don’t want to in the second half, but Huron take anything away from them. was unable to take advantage They really put pressure on us
PLEASE SEE RATS/2-C
Thursday, December 23, 2010 • HERITAGE MEDIA/A2 JOURNAL
GIRLS’ BASKETBALL ROUNDUP
By Mike Larson
The Ann Arbor Huron girls’ basketball team made quick work of rival Saline on Tuesday night, defeating the host Hornets 59-26. The key to the Rats success came with a high-pressure, full-court defense. Huron forced Saline into 23 turnovers as the River Rats jumped out to a 16-6 lead at the end of the first quarter. Saline couldn’t keep up with Huron as the game wore on. In the end, the River Rats finished the game by outscoring the Hornets 19-4 in the fourth quarter. Huron was led by Devin Talley, who finished with 15 points. Other River Rat leaders were Alexis Garner with 12 points and Kelcy Barott with 11. Saline, which falls to 0-3 on the season, was led by Katie Crysler with six points. Huron is now 3-1 overall and 1-0 in the Southeastern Conference. Huron 72 Skyline 11 The Skyline girls’ basketball team still has a long way to go before it is going to be competitive in the Southeastern Conference.
This was evident Friday when the Eagles traveled across town to take on the Huron River Rats. Huron stomped Skyline, trouncing the Eagles 72-11. The River Rats came out with guns blazing in the first half, taking a 47-7 lead after two quarters. In the second half, Huron let up a bit, but still held a 62-7 lead at the start of the fourth. The River Rats had four players scoring in double digits as Bianca Williams added 13 points, Brionna Kilgore scored 12 and Kelcy Barott and Alexis Garner each added 10. Skyline was led by Anita Vander Meulen with four points, while Kierra Jordan scored three.
Pioneer 70 Saline 30 Pioneer’s Kamilah Carter continued her dominance and Saline continued to struggle. On Friday, Carter scored 29 points as she led the Pioneers past the lowly Hornets, 70-30. Pioneer started the game on a 21-8 run, but the Ann Arbor lead swelled to 29 points by the half. The Hornets had their best offensive showing of the game in the third quarter, putting up 13 points, but in the end, Pioneer still won the blowout by 40 points. Maya Richmond scored 17 points for Pioneer, and capped off her double-double with 11 rebounds. Emma Brann also added 12 rebounds and three points. Saline was led by Amanda Price with nine points. Mike Larson can be reached by email at Mlarson@A2Journal.com.
Pioneer basketball just trying to get better
By Mike Larson
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Pioneer can’t stand up to Detroit Country Day
By Mike Larson
A sloppy second quarter led to the Ann Arbor Pioneer basketball team’s first loss of the season. On Tuesday, the team traveled to Beverly Hills to take on Detroit Country Day, and after a rough second frame, the Pioneers fell 74-40. With the score tied at 15-15 at the end of the first quarter, Country Day went on a tear. The Yellowjackets held the Pioneers to just a field goal in the second quarter, outscoring the Ann Arbor squad 23-2. After that, the Pioneers were never able to
climb back into the game. Despite the loss, Pioneer was led by James Kelly, who scored 11 points. Other Pioneer scorers were Aaron Schoenfeldt and Jeremiah Strode with nine points each and Jimmy Holman and Anthony Hugan with four points each. Country Day had five players in double digits as Lee Bailey led the team with 15 points and Adam Zavadil, Austin Price, Mahesh Umasankar and Amir Williams all scored 10. With the loss, Pioneer falls to 2-1 on the season. Mike Larson can be reached by email at Mlarson@A2Journal.com. “It’s still early,” Samaha said. “We play teams like this so we can prepare for March. Now we just need to get back to work.” Mike Lewis and Kyle Baker each scored nine points in the losing effort for Huron. The River Rats are now 2-1 on the season. Mike Larson can be reached by email at Mlarson@A2Journal. com.
FROM PAGE 1-C
as the River Rats couldn’t get shots to fall. “None of our players shot well,” Samaha said. “We really needed a player to step up and make some shots. But we didn’t have that.” In the fourth quarter, the River
Rats started to make a run, whittling the Romulus lead down to five points with 4:12 left, however, that was as close as the Ann Arbor team would get. The Eagles refused to get rattled, and converted their free throws to stay one step ahead of the River Rats. In the end, the Eagles won 6047.
Wasn’t Huron supposed to be the best prep basketball team in the area? Apparently nobody told that to the Ann Arbor Pioneers. “We don’t worry about what anyone else says,” Pioneer coach Rex Stanczak said. “We know we’ve got some good things going, and we just try to play our game.” On Friday, both Pioneer and Huron played in the Romulus Holiday Classic, but only Pioneer was able to come away with a win. Huron fell to host Romulus while Pioneer defeated Belleville in a 47-42 shootout. Pioneer proved that not only can they play with top-notch opponents, but the team proved that it has the potential to be more than just an also-ran in this season’s Southeastern Conference race. “This is a good win for us,” Stanczak said of the Belleville game. “It is going to give us some confidence as we move on. And that’s always a good thing.” The Belleville win even became a little more valuable as the Tigers proved they were a legit opponent with a recent win over state-ranked Cass Tech. Although it’s easy to compare the Pioneers to the River Rats early in the season, Stanczak says his team isn’t ready for comparisons. “They have a great team over there,” the Pioneer coach said of Huron. “And we will get to play them twice. It’s too early in the season to start looking ahead to those games, but you know, we shocked them last year.” Last season, the Pioneers defeated Huron at the Riverdome. However, this year’s Pioneer squad is much different than last year’s. Most notably is the loss of David Veals, who graduated in the spring. This season, the Pioneers are relying on James Kelly to lead the way. “James is a force,” Stanczak said. “He’s one of the best athletes we have.” In fact, if Kelly is able to stay eligible, something he struggled with last season, there is little doubt he’s one of the best post players in the region. “He’s got great touch around the basket, and knows how
Photo by Jonathan Knight/A2 JOURNAL
Pioneer’s Anthony Hugan drives to the basket against Belleville. to move people,” the Pioneer coach said. “He really adds a lot to our team.” In addition to Kelly, Pioneer will look to guards Jerimiah Strode and Jimmy Holman to lead the Pioneers on the floor.” “I really like our guard play,” Stanczak said. “We really rely on our guards to lead our team. The way we did things (against Belleville), I’m really happy with our guards.” Despite the big win, the Pioneers aren’t looking too far ahead. “We have our own goals and expectations,” the coach said. “We aren’t comparing ourselves to any other teams. We are just doing what we need to do to be successful. We are just doing our thing and playing our game. That’s all we are concerned with right now.” Mike Larson can be reached by email at Mlarson@A2Journal. com.
It’s much too early to start to worry
December is a time for celafter three-pointer, while Huron ebration, a time for renewal and tossed up more bricks than an a time to reflect. upset toddler at Legoland. But it is certainly not the So what gives? time to start panicking. Well, the answer is pretty This is especially true if you simple. have anything to do with the Nothing. Huron River Rats basketball Like I said, it’s not time to program. start panicking. Huron lost to It’s not like Romulus on Friday, Huron lost to and the Rats lost some slouch team huge. from Cascades They played terConference or ribly and were beaten something. by a team that just The River Rats flat out played better. lost to Romulus, Not to beat a dead which is also conRiver Rat, but the sidered one of the team didn’t deserve best teams in the to win. In fact, with state. the exception of a few They also lost minutes in the fourth to Romulus on quarter, Huron never the Eagles’ home MIKE was really close to court. making a comeback. Sure, Huron has LARSON What happened? plenty to improve Huron was supon, but that’s nothposed to be the best team in the ing that the River Rats weren’t state. aware of. It was reported in this newsAfter the game, Huron coach paper, as well as pretty much Waleed Samaha talked about every other rag and online his team, saying that he was dissports site in the state that the appointed with the loss, but he River Rats were almost certain- certainly wasn’t worried. ly going to make it back to the And he didn’t look it. Division 1 state championship. The coach wasn’t rattled. And this time they would win. Sure, he seemed frustrated, but The Detroit Free Press even that’s to be expected. ran an article declaring not only He just watched his team, a that Huron was the best team in team that he knows to be incredthe state, but that everyone who ibly talented, throw up rim follows high school basketball bangers for about two hours or should know that Huron is the so. favorite. You’d probably be frustrated But the River Rats lost in just too. their third game of the season. But he wasn’t worked up. And boy was it ugly. In fact, he was quite the oppoRomulus hit three-pointer site; he was calm.
Photo by Jonathan Knight/A2 JOURNAL
Huron’s Kyle Baker takes the ball to the hoop during the River Rats’ game against Romulus.
You see, Samaha is smart enough to know that losing a basketball game in December doesn’t define his team. He knows that his team could (and probably will) lose a few more games before all is said and done. Heck, when you think about it, the River Rats, could technically lose every other game on their schedule, and as long as they get things figured out by the time the district tournament started, they could still make a run. Of course, the River Rats won’t lose ever game. Huron, despite the recent loss, is a really good team. But the point is that Samaha knows that it doesn’t matter what his team does right now. As long as they keep improving and keep learning, it doesn’t matter if the team wins. As long as the team is ready to play once March rolls around, it doesn’t matter who the team loses to. However, the team can’t really be satisfied with mediocrity either. So Samaha shouldn’t be worried about his team not making it to the playoffs, but he should be making sure that his players are ready to get back and compete and right the ship, so to speak. December is a time for hard work and learning from mistakes, it’s not a time to panic. The Huron team still has three months before it needs to even think about panicking. Mike Larson can be reached by email at Mlarson@A2Journal. com.
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