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Posted on Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 5:57 a.m.

Try to 'Beat Pete' by picking winners for Week 3 of high school basketball season

By Pete Cunningham

I’d love to tell everyone who beat me in picks last week how smart they are, but the fact of the matter is, there’s no one to congratulate. That’s right. Eight readers and I were a perfect 8-0 in picking girls and boys basketball games last week. I will hold my congratulations for the eight who beat me, because if you don’t differ in at least one pick from me, you’re essentially not trying to win. Come on people, you’re better than that.

Perhaps the eight who tied me simply wanted to participate for the chance at winning the $20 in gift cards from Domino’s Pizza and to help their favorite booster clubs win the cash drawing. In that case, you get a free pass from me. (Official contest rules)

Speaking of prizes, this week’s random winner is Rob White of Saline. Recognize the name? White is the athletic director for Saline Area Schools. Lesser known fact about White is that he is a diehard Toronto Maple Leafs fans.

So hopefully the pizza can bring a smile to Rob’s face over the holidays, something the Leafs are rarely capable of.

Note: There will be no “Beat Pete” contest next week as I will be on vacation. This week’s winners as well as the first school to win a $150 donation from will be announced on Thursday, Jan. 5.

Pete’s picks:

When coach Rod Wells took the job as girls basketball head coach Arbor Preparatory Academy in Ypsilanti, he admits he didn’t know what to expect. The newly opened school currently houses freshman and sophomore classes, with the two remaining grades to be added over the next two years.

He’d experienced coaching a team devoid of seniors at Skyline and the result was an 0-21 campaign.

When the season began, Wells decided to go with a full varsity schedule. He figured his team would take a few lumps, and -- just as he had at Skyline -- wondered when that first win would come.

Five games later, the Gators are undefeated and wondering when that first loss will come.

“I didn’t think they’d be able to catch on so quickly,” Wells said. “They’re just a real dedicated group. Captains are dedicated. They work the hardest and everyone else follows that.”

Wells said on most nights girls want to stay after practice and continue to shoot around. The hard work is the fun part for them. Most nights, he has to kick girls out of the gym.

But the team’s leading scorer is always the last to leave with him. That’s because she’s his daughter, Zakiya Wells, who is averaging 15.8 points, 4.6 assists and 3.2 steals per game.

Coaching his daughter has been a benefit and challenge of the job.

“I try to separate the two, try to let her know that at practice, I’m coach. At home I’m dad,” Wells said. “At times it can be difficult because I’m tough on her, but I try to be fair. … Sometimes I gotta say to one of my assistants, ‘You go talk to her,’ and I think that helps, her hearing a different voice.”

Wells said the positives have far outweighed any potential negatives of coaching his daughter for the simple fact that he gets to spend so much more time with Zakiya and see every one of her games.

The father-daughter duo will lead Arbor Prep against Detroit Allen Academy on Thursday looking to improve to 7-0 and the game leads off this week’s picks:

Beat Pete Winners

Sorry, none of you managed to "Beat Pete" last week. Better luck this week.

Pete's picks record: 14-2.

People who have "Beat Pete" so far: 2.

Contact Pete Cunningham at or by phone at 734-623-2561. Follow him on Twitter @petcunningham.