You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 5:30 a.m.

Only a few weeks of basketball season left to try to 'Beat Pete'

By Pete Cunningham

Two weeks in a row without anyone beating me ... I got cocky.

Like an animal with no natural predators in its environment, I became fat, slow and lazy. I was vulnerable to the neighborhood dog of the informed reader and the passing car of knowledge.

And now I stand before you, the roadkill of prognosticators.

OK, that's a little extreme, but I was brought back down to earth last week with a 5-3 performance. To borrow my least-favorite cliche in the sports book, it was a humbling experience.

Congratulations to Sami Shalabi of Ypsilanti, who won the $20 Domino’s Pizza gift card. Sami also happened to be one of the 13 whose picks were better than mine this week. Might want to go out and buy a lottery ticket this week, Sami.

Each week we will continue to pick one 'Beat Pete' participant at random for the Domino’s gift card and every month will pick another participant at random and donate $150 to the school of their choice. There are only a few weeks left in the regular season, so try to beat me while you can. (Official contest rules.)

Pete’s picks:

For all but two games over five days in the first week of January this season, the Manchester High School girls basketball team has been perfect.


McKenna Erkfritz, left, leads Manchester with 16.7 points per game. file photo

The Flying Dutch won their first seven games before that week, and have won the nine since. But it is those losses that hang over their heads, 46-45 to Michigan Center on Jan. 6, and 61-57 to Grass Lake on Jan. 10.

In both games, Manchester led heading into the fourth quarter, but let the game slip away and it's been on the players' minds ever since.

“We were up by a lot in the games that we lost and we didn’t give it our all,” said McKenna Erkfriz, who is averaging 16.7 points this season and has seven double-doubles (points and rebounds) on the year. “We go out in the second half now and act like we already lost.”

"After those two losses especially to Michigan Center, it was a reality check," said Taylor Manders, who is averaging 12.3 points for Manchester. "We have to go out like this is our last game."

In order to accomplish the goal of winning a Cascades Conference championship, the Flying Dutch needed more than to just to win its rematches. They needed some help. That help came in the form of a 51-47 Napoleon win over Grass Lake two weeks ago, Grass Lake's first league loss of the season. Michigan Center, meanwhile, is 7-5 in Cascades play and has fallen out of the race.

With its two remaining regular season games against Michigan Center and Grass Lake, Manchester is once again in control of its own destiny in its pursuit of a league title. First up will be Michigan Center on the road, which will lead off our picks this week. It's a Thursday night tipoff, so remember to get your picks in early!

Beat Pete Winners

Joe Bonar
Jack Clark
Sarah Clark
Kora Dreffs
Chuck Fuller
Tony Love
Chinney McGee
Betty Mioduszewski
Angie Psychas
Melanie Robinson
Dave Schrotenboer
Sami Shalabi
C. Taylor

Pete's picks record: 48-14.

People who have "Beat Pete" so far: 46.

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


Pete Cunningham

Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 3:32 p.m.

The Milan boys basketball team will be at home against Monroe St. Mary on Friday, not away as was originally reported. The correction has been made, please do not drive to Monroe.