Ypsilanti's LaVonte Davis blocks ego and shots, Willow Run turns in jerseys plus more notes and leaders
Courtney Sacco | AnnArbor.com 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
Daniel Brenner | AnnArbor.com
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
|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|
|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
Courtney Sacco | AnnArbor.com
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.”
Courtney Sacco | AnnArbor.com 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.
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 Mlive.com, 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 AnnArbor.com