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Posted on Wed, Jan 30, 2013 : 5:45 a.m.

Skyline coach sounds off on refs plus more prep basketball notes and leaders

By Kyle Austin

After another loss and another large foul discrepancy, Skyline High School girls basketball coach Keith Wade is done staying silent.


Skyline coach Keith Wade file photo

Following his team’s 59-49 loss at Pioneer Tuesday night, in which Skyline was whistled for 24 fouls compared to Pioneer’s 14, Wade spoke his mind.

“I’ve taken the politically correct way to answer these questions for the last eight games, and I’m done biting my tongue,” Wade said Tuesday night. “I don’t get how every game we play it’s a 10 to 15 foul difference.”

In Tuesday’s loss, Pioneer was 20-of-29 from the free-throw line, while Skyline was 5-for-10.

The Skyline girls routinely use a press defense that leads to plenty of fouls away from the hoop. But according to Wade, those fouls aren’t called evenly through the Southeastern Conference.

“I don’t know if it’s our conference, and Huron has built up enough reputation and they’re supposedly this great defensive team so they can get away with calls,” Wade said. “They don’t let our guards play at all, and it’s not fair to our girls.”

Huron didn't get away with much when it played at Pioneer either, though. When the teams met on Jan. 17, Huron had just seven free throw attempts (all by Ariel Bethea), compared to Pioneer's 25. Huron won the game 60-37.

Besides the foul disparity, there was one other surprising statistic Tuesday night: Skyline got only four points from its starting five.

But that’s because its starters weren’t its normal starters.

“We’ve been having some issues with effort in practice and spurts of games,” Wade said. “We just kind of told them they had a practice at two and a warm-up to show us who wanted to start. And the girls that started were girls who’ve been working hard and trying to get better.”

Keep the champagne corked

Lincoln coach Rich Marion was excited with what he saw on Tuesday in his team’s 48-46 win over Dexter.

He had his senior point guard step up as a leader and finisher when Tyler Hinton asked for the final shot when his number wasn’t called and delivered with a game-winner.

In addition to Hinton’s “Hoosiers” moment the Railsplitters created turnovers with high-pressure defense and won as tight of a game as possible in what has been an up-and-down season for the .500 club.

Marion was pleased, but not ready to congratulate his team just yet.

“It’s a great win morale wise, to win in that fashion. Are we over the hump? Not yet,” Marion said. “It’s great for chemistry I think it’s great for attitude and I think it’s great for everything. Does it put us over the hump? Not necessarily.”

Gryphons high scorers

The Greenhills boys and girls basketball teams both have star players who can score with anyone in the county.


Greenhills' Andrew Khouri dribbles in a game last season. file photo

But both teams have excelled in part by learning not to rely on their stars.

Senior forward Jackie Oestreich averages 25.3 points per game for the Greenhills girls, first in the area by more than 10 points.

Senior guard Andrew Khouri averages 21.1 points for the boys team, second in the county. Khouri was the area’s leading scorer as a junior last year, and is 54 points shy of 1,000 for his career.

Both have helped their squads to strong second halves of the season. The Gryphons boys have won 10 straight, and have just one blemish on their season record. The Greenhills girls, after a 2-4 start, reeled off four straight in January and now stand at 6-6.

The boys team in particular, though, has had to learn about life without their leading scorer. Khouri has missed six of his team’s games with a stress fracture in his lower back.

Yet Greenhills won all six, thanks to a cast that includes 10 players with varsity experience coming into the season.

“Just having that chance to have two years with a group of’s just the amount of confidence everyone had,” Greenhills coach Andrew Wright said.

Now, with Khouri back, the team is still on a roll. He’s played in the team’s last four games after a two-game absence. After going for five points in that first game, he scored 17, then 23 Friday and 26 Tuesday.

The injury, Wright said, limited Khouri’s lift and altered his jumpshot. But those effects have since subsided.

“He’s kind of been back to the norm the last two games,” Wright said Monday.

The girls team has had Oestreich for the entire season, but even with her putting up big numbers, the start was slow. Rachel Cortis, the team’s first-year coach, attributes that in part to a coaching transition.

But when her team scored a key win over Novi Franklin Road Christian in overtime in December, Hajra Bhurja made a shot to send the game into overtime and Elisia Ceballo-Countryman hit a late 3 to win the game.

“I think that’s when it started to click for them that Jackie doesn’t have to do everything,” Cortis said. “Ever since then they’ve been playing a lot better as a team, and our scoring’s been much more evenly distributed. "

And even through some ups and downs, Oestreich has put up big numbers. Her season-high for points is 42, and she’s scored 30 or more three other times. She’s also had double-digit rebounds seven times.

“She’s doing a really good job of keeping calm, and when she gets the ball in the post not just turning around and shooting but feeling her defender out and making a good move,” Cortis said.

Area scoring leaders

Boys Leaders

Jason Houle, Gabriel Richard 12 276 23.0
Andrew Khouri, Greenhills 7 148 21.1
Mathias Donat, Washtenaw Christian 10 183 18.3
C.J. Turnage, Milan 12 211 17.6
Daquanta Brown, Willow Run 9 154 17.1
Jibreel Hussein, Pioneer 12 198 16.5
Reece Dils, Saline 12 185 15.4
Kamari Davis, Gabriel Richard 11 166 15.1
Latin Davis, Milan 11 160 14.5
Derek Seidl, Dexter 11 159 14.5

Girls Leaders

Jackie Oestreich, Greenhills 12 303 25.3
Desiree Cougill, Pioneer 11 164 14.9
McKenna Erkfritz, Manchester 14 206 14.7
Riley Singleton, Chelsea 13 174 13.4
Taylor Manders, Manchester 14 185 13.2
Jasmine Jones, Ypsilanti 13 169 13.0
Jennifer Fichera, Pioneer 13 165 12.7
Arie Cargor, Lincoln 14 176 12.6
Zakiya Wells, Arbor Prep 12 148 12.3
Dominique Foley, Lincoln 13 160 12.3

Richard students ready to battle

While the Father Gabriel Richard boys team competes against Madison Heights Bishop Foley at home Tuesday, its student section will be competing as well.

Representatives from the MHSAA will be on hand to judge the Gabriel Richard student section, as it competes for the title of best in the state in the association’s “Battle of the Fans” contest. The students have announced a beach theme for the game.

Gabriel Richard was named one of five finalists last month, after submitting a video application. The winner will be announced Feb. 22.

Huron-Pioneer girls rescheduled

For the second time this season, the Huron-Pioneer girls matchup has been rescheduled to allow fans to watch both the boys and girls matchups.

The Feb. 8 game, originally scheduled for 7 p.m. at Pioneer, is now scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at Huron, immediately before the boys game.

The teams' previous matchup was moved from a Friday to a Thursday so fans could attend both games.

Game of the Week

The Dexter girls' game at Huron has drawn the most votes so far in this week's Game of the Week poll, but voting stays open until noon Saturday.

Kyle Austin covers sports for He can be reached at or 734-623-2535. Follow him on Twitter @KAustin_AA.



Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 2:49 p.m.

This is a joke. Teach some defense Coach. Blaming refs for lack of defensive skills and basic talent is old hat. Oh, and have those girls trim their fingernails the girls of the SEC are a tad tired of being scratched up. The game in question was officiated by a very solid crew.


Thu, Jan 31, 2013 : 1:40 a.m.

Keith, I understand your frustration with call, the quality of calls on each end of the court has been at times way off, it started with the realignment of the sports seasons. But with said you have to remain professional. I like your post, your response to the article was a good response, however think your staff needs to be better, it seems the players need stronger coaches under you. I interviewed for your opening last season, and would have loved to help you and all of the players with their skills and fundamentals. Your struggles this season (5 wins against teams that are struggling severely). Its a process and the hard work will pay off. Coach N


Thu, Jan 31, 2013 : 1:48 a.m.

* But with that said you have to remain professional.


Wed, Jan 30, 2013 : 3:53 p.m.

I would like to clear up that my comments by no means should take anything from Pioneers victory, I have nothing but respect for all the coaches and players over there and they won the game fair and square. My comments stem from frustration over the last month on the foul disparity in most of our contest. My coaching staff and I have to do a better job teaching footwork and defensive fundamentals but our guards also need to be allowed to apply defensive pressure without worrying about a whistle every time down the floor. I probably should have used a different venue to spew my frustraions but having to look those girls in the face again last night and see their frustrations just took me over the top. Our program is a young work in progress and all of us (including me) will learn from our mistakes. Coach W

Kyle Austin

Wed, Jan 30, 2013 : 7:46 p.m.

I have to say I like the last two options too, Redlib2. The last one in particular.


Wed, Jan 30, 2013 : 5:37 p.m.

Having played basketball for over 25 years, I know all too well how frustating it can be wher there is a disparity in fouls. There are four avenues one can travel: since fouls will be called anyway, make them really count, i.e. foul extra hard, complain to then with the hope that they will rectify the injustice, drive towars the hoop every time and force the refs to make calls, or use the disprity as a rallying call and win despite the refs, for it feals so good when you do. I advise the final way.


Wed, Jan 30, 2013 : 3:51 p.m.

What I don't understand is how the coach states that "how every game [they] play there is a 10-15 foul difference." There are different officials every game...only two things have been constant throughout that stretch - the players and the coach. Play within the confines of the rules and perhaps you won't have such a problem...

Macabre Sunset

Wed, Jan 30, 2013 : 1:33 p.m.

Well, whatever sport you're watching is going to seem arbitrarily called. Try analyzing holding or pass interference in football. But one thing coaches are supposed to learn right off the bat is that unless you're in a '60s movie about Indiana basketball, referees try to be fair. Whining about disparities, especially when you teach an aggressive defense, is going to hurt your team in the long run. Blaming the refs for your own failures is a terrible message for young athletes. What's the point of sports if all you do as a coach is whine about what you feel you're entitled to get?

Craig Lounsbury

Wed, Jan 30, 2013 : 2:18 p.m.

I think pass interference for the most part is pretty clear. Sure there are calls and noncalls that make me scratch my head. In a typical football game there might be 2-3 calls that seem a bit odd. In a basketball game I often see a dozen or more. I used to contend that I could have fouled Shack out of almost every game he ever played in on 6 offensive fouls.

Craig Lounsbury

Wed, Jan 30, 2013 : 1:02 p.m.

I played a little basketball in high school way back in the dark ages. I also played adult league basketball for several years with referees. I watch basketball on TV though not much recently. I can say without hesitation that basketball calls in general are the most arbitrary in all of sports. Maybe only holding in football is as nebulous.

Kyle Austin

Wed, Jan 30, 2013 : 3:05 p.m.

I think basketball, more than any other sport, the refs can determine the course of a game based on how tight they call it. A blown call near the end can be huge in any sport, but basketball referees can affect strategy and player availability during a game, too.