Articles from mlive.com:
Sunday, January 3, 2006
By Del Newell
Only four area prep basketball teams are unbeaten as the 2006 portion of the season tips off tonight. And after tonight, the ranks of the undefeated will have thinned by at least one, maybe two teams.
Two of the unbeatens -- Vicksburg (4-0) and Parchment (5-0) -- run into each other at Parchment tonight. A third, Kalamazoo Christian (5-0), faces a tough test at Gull Lake. The fourth unbeaten, Battle Creek Central (6-0), has the night off after winning two games in its own Chuck Turner Holiday Classic last week.
And there's also another unbeaten in town tonight in Ypsilanti (5-0), which plays at Kalamazoo Central. ``Ypsilanti's one of the top teams in the state,'' K-Central coach Bernard Varnesdeel Jr. said. ``One of the Detroit papers had it rated No. 3 (in the preseason in Class A).'' Ypsilanti is small, tall and talented. The Braves can start a three-guard lineup that includes 5-foot-10 Woody Payne, 5-9 L.J. Frazier and 5-6 Marvon Sanders. And they also have height in 6-8 Manny Richardson and 6-7 Ababacar Ndoye, plus a sharpshooter in C.J. Simmons.
Kalamazoo Central, which is coming off a one-point loss to Jackson at the Turner tourney, has made the biggest turnaround from this time a year ago. The Maroon Giants lost their first six games last season and it wasn't until they traveled to Ypsilanti on Jan. 4 that they won their first game (79-77 in overtime).
Christian was also 5-0 at this juncture last season -- and then was nipped at home, 52-50, when Matt Thielking's layup with 13 seconds left put Gull Lake ahead for good. Gull Lake is again a dangerous opponent, even though it has a 3-2 record. The Blue Devils will be even more dangerous after the Christian game as point guard Josh Beeke returns to the team after a six-game suspension.
On a night when every game is nonconference, there's another interesting matchup because it pits unbeatens. Vicksburg, which hasn't given up more than 51 points in its four victories, should test a Parchment team that is coming off another Legends Tournament sweep. Parchment features multi-talented guard Alex Wolf, whom Panther coach Larry Bailey called a ``coach on the floor'' before the season. Wolf did have to play multiple roles in the Legends final against Galesburg-Augusta as Bailey missed the game. ``He was out of town,'' Parchment's athletic director Tom Beals said of Bailey. ``He was on a planned trip and had paid a lot of money for the ticket. I told him to go. Back in the summer, he made plans for this trip, but he thought the Legends Tournament was going to be Wednesday-Thursday like before, and not Thursday-Friday.'' Darrick Gregory took Bailey's coaching place and Wolf led the Panthers to a come-from-behind 64-54 win with 28 points.
Parchment pummels Vicksburg
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
By Bill Templeton
For the first 13 minutes of Tuesday night's nonconference basketball game between prep unbeatens Vicksburg and Parchment, it appeared the outcome would not be decided until late. Then Parchment turned up its defensive intensity.
The result was a 19-3 scoring run that spanned the final three minutes of the first half and the first three minutes of the third quarter, enabling the Panthers to cruise to a 57-41 victory. ``We're a team that turns defense into transition offense,'' Parchment coach Larry Bailey said. ``That's the kind of team we are. We've had a lot of runs like that in six games, and I don't think it's by accident. ``That run turned out to be the difference in the ballgame.''
While senior all-state candidate Alex Wolf was struggling to score early, Parchment (6-0) received key first-half performances from seniors Matt Chappell and Todd Shadley. Chappell's lone 3-point basket came during the opening minute and staked Parchment to a lead it would not relinquish. Chappell scored 13 of his 14 points before halftime.
But it was Chappell's defensive job on Vicksburg senior sharpshooter Kyle Nelson that was really the key. Nelson managed just three first-half shots and finished with just two points. ``You have to hand that to Chappell, because he had (Nelson) for every minute he was in there,'' Bailey said. ``They did an outstanding job of making sure somebody was on (Nelson) at all times,'' added Vicksburg coach Rob Brown. ``It really took him out of his flow and he got frustrated.''
Shadley, meanwhile, came off the Parchment bench to grab seven first-half rebounds and ignite a dominant second-half performance on the backboards by the Panthers. ``I told him to go in and get me some rebounds,'' Bailey said of Shadley. ``He's maybe 5-foot-11, but he is as strong as they come and he takes up some space in there.'' Wolf's first basket came with 2:15 remaining in the second quarter and in the middle of the Panthers' 10-1 scoring run to end the first half. Parchment led 26-16 at intermission.
A 3-pointer by junior Corey Verdon ignited the Panthers' 9-2 run early in the third quarter, and Parchment led by as many as 20 points with less than two minutes remaining in the stanza. Vicksburg (4-1) scored the final eight points of the third quarter to cut Parchment's lead to 42-30, but the Panthers' work on the glass was too much for Vicksburg to overcome. ``They killed us on the boards and it started at the end of the first half,'' said Brown, whose team was outrebounded 20-9 in the second half and 38-29 overall.
``It seemed like we forced them into the shot we wanted and we couldn't box out. They did a great job of going after the ball and getting offensive rebounds and second-chance points.'' Wolf scored 16 of his game-high 23 points during the second half, while adding five rebounds and six assists. Parchment shot 34 percent (17 of 50). ``Eventually, Wolf is going to get his (points),'' Bailey said. ``I think the beauty of this team is that he recognizes when he's drawing that much attention that he needs to find his teammates.''
``He's an outstanding player who makes everybody else on that team better,'' Brown said about Wolf. ``He's one of those special players who can do that.'' Vicksburg received a team-high 11 points from 6-3 senior Joe Prater and the Bulldogs shot 38.6 percent (17 of 44).
Player Pts #11 2 #13 8* #15 14* #21 #23 #25 23*** #31 #33 #35 3 #41 2 #43 4 #45 1 * = 3-pointer
Coach T comments: Man talk about your trench warfare. I got home after the game and found Alex bruised from head to toe. I heard Toolshed had a huge nugget on his nugget and I saw pretty much every other panther get smacked all over the court all night long. Nice job of playing through all those nasty moving picks. I'm starting to sound like a broken record but lets face it D won another one. That and a nice dose of MC (15 points in the first half) and Al (16 points in the second half). Student section you brought the RUCKUS this game. SWEEEEET!!! Band, I love ya even if you can only rock the house until halftime. And cheerleaders, you were OUTSTANDING!! If the student section, the band, and the cheerleaders put on a show like that at all the home games I think we don't loose a home game this year. How can we?!?! Perm, nice put back on Channel 3!! Next time though you gotta finish on the Al behind the back pass as I would rather see Channel 3 sending that clip to ESPN for a little love (ha)! Corwin, you had some sweet dishes. Fuzz, nice post move!! All in all a very solid win against a very solid Vicksburg team! 6-0 is a heck of a start. Let's hope the Gazette gives you some love next week when the ranking come out! One last thing. Roach and Richie, it was nice to see you both in the house cheering for you old teammates. I miss you guys and hope all is going well for you!! Erica and Hollie it was equally nice to see both of you at the game. Alex and MC have a long way to go before they will equal the 14-6 mark you set playing the 1 and 2 spots!!
A Championís Creed...
Comments about anything?Thomas R. Wolf, Jr. <firstname.lastname@example.org>