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Posted on Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 3:11 p.m.

Ypsilanti's LaVonte Davis blocks ego and shots, Willow Run turns in jerseys plus more notes and leaders

By Pete Cunningham


Ypsilanti senior LaVonte Davis, left, said he's getting better at going for the smart block (or charge) rather than the highlight reel one.

Courtney Sacco | file photo

Sending a block into the second row of the bleachers is a sure way to get the crowd into a game. It looks good on highlight reels and pumps up players on the court and fans in the stands.

But at the end of the day, no matter how pumped everyone gets from the play, the result is the opponent retains possession and gets to run an inbound play near the basket.

This is the message 6-foot-7 Ypsilanti senior LaVonte Davis said his coaches instilled in him this year: getting a huge block may look cool, but possession is more valuable.

“Coach (Steve Brooks) has really been trying to work with me on blocking shots inbounds and not trying to block shots out of bounds and starting the transition off of it,” said Davis, who had five blocks to go along with 15 points in Ypsilanti’s 66-46 win over Dexter on Friday. “A block out of bounds is nothing but just giving them the ball back.”

Davis said he’s not only learned to resist the temptation of going for the big block, but also when to not go for one at all and take the charge.

Again, net result: possession Ypsilanti.

“My natural instinct is to block the shot, but sometimes taking the charge is the better play. The smarter play,” Davis said.

Brooks has been pleased with Davis’ growth this year and impressed with his work ethic after signing his National Letter of Intent to play at Northwood University.

“He’s already got a scholarship to school and we’re proud of him because most guys, when they sign, they get lazy,” Brooks said. “He’s really been a great senior leader, he’s even a leader in the warmups, you’ll see him get the team together. So we’re really really proud of him. He’s pretty much been our most valuable player all year long.”

Oestreich scores 1,000th


Greenhills forward Jackie Oestreich controls a rebound last week against Arbor Preparatory.

Daniel Brenner |

For the second time in less than a month, Greenhills is celebrating a 1,000-point scorer.

On Feb. 5, Greenhills boys basketball guard Andrew Khouri notched his 1,000th career point in the Gryphons’ win over Taylor Baptist Park.

Friday, Greenhills girls basketball forward Jackie Oestreich reached the milestone in Greenhills’ win over Lutheran Westland. Oestreich is averaging a Washtenaw County-high 24.9 points per game this season.

Greenhills also clinched a share of the Michigan Independent Athletic Conference Blue title with Friday’s win, after the boys team did the same last week.

Area Scoring Leaders

Girls Leaders
Name, School Games Points PPG
Jackie Oestreich, Greenhills 18 448 24.9
McKenna Erkfritz, Manchester 19 279 14.7
Taylor Manders, Manchester 19 266 14.0
Jasmine Jones, Ypsilanti 19 254 13.4
Zakiya Wells, Arbor Prep 19 253 13.3
Nastassja Chambers, Arbor Prep 20 260 13.0
Desiree Cougill, Pioneer 17 221 13.0
Dominique Foley, Lincoln 18 232 12.9
Anika Sproull, Rudolf Steiner 13 166 12.8
Riley Singleton, Chelsea 19 240 12.6

Boys Leaders
Name, School Games Points PPG
Jason Houle, Gabriel Richard 17 380 22.4
Andrew Khouri, Greenhills 12 254 21.2
C.J. Turnage, Milan 18 335 18.6
Mathias Donat, Washtenaw Christian 15 260 17.3
Reece Dils, Saline 17 290 17.1
Daquanta Brown, Willow Run 17 270 15.9
Jibreel Hussein, Pioneer 17 268 15.8
Kamari Davis, Gabriel Richard 16 252 15.8
Latin Davis, Milan 18 248 13.8
Adrian Harrison, Arbor Prep 13 173 13.3

Flyers turn in the jerseys


Willow Run coach Tim Cain

Courtney Sacco |

After Willow Run’s 53-28 loss to Harper Woods Jan. 15, which dropped the Flyers to 1-7 on the season, coach Tim Cain had seen enough. The effort wasn’t there, and the team was “starting to break.”

So before the team’s next practice, he did something drastic.

“I said ‘Hand in your uniforms,’” Cain said. “‘Everybody no longer has a spot on the team.’”

Cain, the team’s first-year coach, brought in all of his junior varsity and varsity players and told them that the 12 varsity spots were now open. The players spent their practice holding a second, midseason tryout.

In the end, nobody made the move from JV to the varsity. But the exercise had its intended effect.

The Flyers are 7-2 since that practice, and their record now stands at 9-8 (one of their early losses was changed to a win after the MHSAA determined River Rouge used an ineligible player).

Cain traces it back to that practice, which he calls a “rededication to basketball.”

“It’s been pretty intense ever since,” Cain said. “Every day they’re going to work, they’re working hard, and it’s just a completely different atmosphere.”

Turner’s back


Pioneer's Emily Turner

Courtney Sacco | file photo

Pioneer saw point guard Emily Turner return from a 12-game injury absence Friday, and if Pioneer’s season stats are any indication, she could provide a much-needed boost just before district play.

The Pioneers got out to a 5-0 start with Turner in the lineup. In her absence, the team was 3-9, and scored 15 fewer points per game.

Turner returned and scored 14 points Friday in Pioneer’s 52-43 win over Monroe. And her return may help Pioneer get back to the way it was designed to play, with Jennifer Fichera moving back down low from the ballhanding role she held in Turner’s absence.

Girls crossovers set

The 12 Southeastern Conference girls basketball teams will wrap up their regular seasons with divisional crossover games Friday night. The Red division will host this year’s crossovers.

In what could very well be a district final preview, Dexter will travel to Huron in a matchup of first-place teams, both 10-1 in league play heading into Tuesday’s play. Huron won the first matchup between the two teams, 49-37, Feb. 5.

Chelsea will visit Temperance Bedford in the second-place crossover, while Ypsilanti will face Saline and Lincoln will play Pioneer.

Tecumseh will play Skyline in the fifth-place crossover and Adrian will face Monroe in sixth-place.

Check out district brackets

We’re less than a week away from the playoffs on the girls basketball side, and it's almost time to start breaking down the matchups.

We have all the brackets now posted at, from Monday’s first-round games through Friday’s finals, plus the regional and state tournament brackets after that.

Washtenaw County teams will be competing at six different district sites, including Huron, Manchester and Washtenaw Christian.

-- Kyle Austin contributed to this report

Pete Cunningham covers sports for