By Alex LaGrone, Staff Writer
The City-Wide Youth Basketball League has completed its final week of the regular season. Now teams are gearing up for the playoffs, which starts March 9 and conclude March 16. This will be their version of March Madness.
In a match-up last weekend between Flint Mun and Flint Spirit at Eagles Nest Academy, both teams were trying to fine-tune themselves to compete for a championship in their respective age groups in the 3rd-4th-grade division. Flint Mun got its offense going by making good passes to open teammates. Semaj Jenkins, Jeremiah Selvie and Savior Kidd made baskets to put Flint Mun out front with an early lead.
Flint Spirit was keeping pace with the help of Ken Price. Price hit a couple of baskets to bring the score to 21-7 at halftime. The second half was much of the same as Flint Mun got support from Arsenio Pea, Willie McQueen, Artie Smith, and King Powell.
The Spirit fought hard with contributions from Nick Daub, Demitric Moore, Christian Lyles, and Jonathan Oldham. Flint Mun was able to hold off the Spirit with a 34-14 win.
In the second game of the day, Richfield Spartans played Greater Heights, Flint Dynasty. This was a tough match-up, as both teams battled to score points in the first half. For the Spartans, Davaroe Davis hit a jump shot and a free throw and Courtney Lewis made a basket.
Flint Dynasty got its scoring from Jaquavis Hightower, Darrio Felder and Keyon Day. It was a hard-fought, first-half, as both teams were tied 6-6. The second half, Richfield got a couple of early baskets from Royshean Hunter and Davis, who hit a long three-pointer from the corner.
These baskets were huge, as the Spartans went on to win 18-9. The Spartans got additional help from Nazeer Boone, Ronald Conway, Jamon Paxon, and Jake Daub. Dynasty’s Tremaine Baker, Johnny Walker, and Landon James also played well.
In the high school level games, Elite Basketball Training Academy (EBTA) of Windsor, Ontario came to town to play a doubleheader at Mt. Olive. The EBTA is a premier player development institution in Canada. This Academy offers the highest and most intense level of skill development and training to motivate players of all ages.
The well-known development coach, Jamie Stewart, oversees the program and schedules as many competitive games as possible for his young players. “We enjoy coming here to Flint,” said Stewart before the game. “This gives us the opportunity to play against some good players.”
In the first game, EBTA played the undefeated Mention Savage. Savage jumped all over our Canadian visitors, with a 10-0 lead to begin the game. Makei Richards and Tae Myers got going scoring on fast break opportunities. EBTA started slow, missing on several jump shots. Finally, Canada’s highly touted Felix Bain, capitalized by hitting uncontested three-pointers.
Savage led throughout the contest with a balanced scoring attack. Tray Calhoun, Terrian Armstrong, and Louis Williams all contributed in the win. The Canadians did close the gap to come within 5 points midway in the second half, but Savage pulled away to secure the victory. Final score: Savage – 85, EBTA – 68.
In the nightcap, EBTA was victorious over the Fathers That Care Wildcats (FTCW) 70-59. FTCW jumped out to an early 12-0 lead but EBTA found its shooting touch in the second half for a comeback victory.
Spartans Defense Comes Up Big
Prior to the big game last Sunday against the Michigan Wolverines, Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, formally named Cassius Winston as team captain to provide on-court leadership. This was a much-needed move because the Spartans lost two of its top scorers – Joshua Langford and Nick Ward due to injuries.
The game was highly anticipated as both teams are in the thick of a race to win the Big Ten regular-season title. Not only that, but hey, it’s Michigan vs. Michigan St. The game lived up to the hype as the Spartans went into the Crisler Center in Ann Arbor and beat the Wolverines, 77-70.
Michigan’s offense looked dazed and blue in the second half as the Spartans defense held the Wolverines to 7 points, over a 12-minute span, to help propel them to the victory.
Winston tore apart the Wolverines defense, leading the Spartans to one of the biggest games in the history of this rivalry. With the lost, Michigan 24-4, 13-4 Big Ten fell to second place while the Spartans now 23-5, 14-3 Big Ten first place. Winston finished with 27 points and 8 assists.
The Big Ten race isn’t over yet. The Wolverines will get another chance at the Spartans next weekend in East Lansing. Let’s not count out the Purdue Boilermakers who are also in the running for the Big Ten title.
Have a question, comment or story idea for Alex? Email firstname.lastname@example.org