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BOYS' BASKETBALL: Downriver League roundup

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Never ones to take the easy road, the Truman Cougars opened the 2012-13 season with a tough Southfield-Lathrup team and came away with an 80-64 victory.

A staunch opponent was not the only thing working against the Cougars, as an early injury and foul trouble plagued Truman from the start.

“We knew it was going to be a war and that we’d have to play our best game,” Truman Coach Chuck Suttles said.

The Cougars suffered an early loss when point guard Devain Newbill was knocked out of the game four minutes in when an errant elbow opened a cut just above his eye.

“When he went down, things weren’t looking very good,” Suttles said. “We were thinking we were going to be in a lot of trouble, but we got a great defensive effort from the team.”

Two of the key contributors in Truman’s victory were seniors Chris Butler and Devin Goodwell.

Butler, in his first game wearing a varsity jersey, was five-of-six from the field for 10 points and also pulled down 10 rebounds.

“He played a flawless game,” Suttles said.

Goodwell also delivered for the Cougars with 13 points and 12 boards.

“He just really got busy on the boards,” Suttles said. “He played good defense and scored as well. He had the game of his life.”

Aaron Foster-Smith returned to form and led the Cougars with 22 points with seven rebounds, six assists and two blocks.

Anthony Wartley-Fritz battled foul trouble, but contributed 10 points. Robert Whitehorn added eight in the victory.

“We attribute everything in that win to our defense,” Suttles said. “We were really pleased with the effort the team gave, especially on defense and on the glass.”

The Cougars (1-0) will compete in the Metro Detroit/Saginaw Valley Basketball Challenge Showcase on Saturday at West Bloomfield High School against Ann Arbor Huron at 5:30.

ABT tops Lincoln Park

The two-time defending Downriver League champs fell in their season opener as Melvindale Academy for Business & Technology defeated Lincoln Park 63-49.

ABT held a distinct rebounding advantage over the Rails and took advantage with second-chance points.

“Their front line gets after it pretty good,” Lincoln Park Coach Todd Tobin said. “They have a lot of size and athleticism and that was probably the biggest factor in the outcome.”

The Rails were within five at the half and trailed by nine with four minutes to go, but could not get over the hump against an athletic group.

“We played a really good team and lost, which you never want to do, but getting experience like that will really help us in the future,” Tobin said.

Tywan Cage led the Rails with 15 points in the loss.

The road remains tough for Lincoln Park (0-1) this week as the Railsplitters host Novi tonight and will travel to Novi Catholic Central on Friday before opening the DRL season at home against Truman on Tuesday.

Anderson starts 2-0

Anderson began the winter season on the right foot with a pair of victories last week over Riverview and Monroe.

The season opened for the Titans with a 67-49 home victory over Riverview last Tuesday.

The Titans held a 32-30 advantage at the half, but blew things open in the final two quarters thanks to a spirited defensive effort.

“The game was close and we had some foul trouble, but when we needed to in the second half, we really got into their guards and forced some bad passes,” Anderson Coach Dave Pratt said.

Shane Frietag was one of four Titans in double figures led the team with 14 points.

Connor Phee scored 11 and Dejon Matthews and Joe Galetto each added 10 in the victory.

“I was really pleased with our bench in this game,” Anderson Coach Dave Pratt said. “They really came out and helped our starters big time.”

Nolan Glime led the Bucs with 15 points while Greg added 12 and Max Mousouleas chipped in with eight points and eight rebounds.

“I think their coach and players did a great job of slowing the ball down, taking care of the basketball and making us work,” Riverview Coach Sam Lamb said. “Once they started making their run in the second half, we panicked a little and we need to get better at that and not letting teams dictate how we’re going to play.”

It was more of the same on Thursday as the Titans traveled to Monroe and came home with a 54-37 win.

“Once again, in the second half, our defense came alive and forced Monroe into a ton of turnovers and missed shots,” Pratt said.

Like Tuesday, the Titans led by two at the half before taking things over in the final two quarters.

“From the end of the third into the fourth, we just blitzed them,” said Pratt, whose Titans accumulated 12 consecutive defensive stops in the second half. “I’m very, very pleased with this group of kids and everyone contributed again.”

Juwan Graham led the Titans with 14 points and Phee added 10 in the victory.

The Titans (2-0) hosted Saline last night and will open Downriver League play on Tuesday at Melvindale.

Melvindale wins opener

Early season wins aren’t always pretty and the Melvindale Cardinals showed this on Wednesday with a 42-30 victory over Edsel Ford.

“We made a lot of mistakes, but the effort was really good and we were really intense,” Melvindale Coach Ryan Vranesich said. “I definitely took a lot of positives from an effort and toughness standpoint.”

Though they did not put on an offensive clinic, the Cardinals pressured Edsel Ford the entire game and held a double-digit lead for most of the night.

“It’s just that first game kind of thing,” Vranesich said. “Offensively, we weren’t very good either and we made a lot of mistakes, but we defended, hawked the ball and the kids did what they were supposed to do.”

The Cardinals received a balanced offensive effort as nine players scored and six of them knocked down three-pointers.

Justin Turner led the Cards with 14 points and nine rebounds and KleSean Clark was an effective floor general and contributed 10 points, seven assists and four steals.

Melvindale (1-0) traveled to West Bloomfield on Monday, will host Detroit Allen Academy tonight and will open DRL play on Tuesday at home against Anderson.

Trenton falls

Trenton came up short in its first road test of the season as the Trojans fell to a talented Dearborn Heights Annapolis team on Thursday 59-57.

The Trojans trailed by seven entering the fourth quarter and a rally over the final eight minutes came up two points short in Trenton’s season opener.

“After studying film and looking at stats, the whole thing is that we didn’t execute our offense at all,” Trenton Coach Rick Morrow said. “The whole game breaks down to that we didn’t execute our game plan.”

The Trojans dominated the glass, but missed several scoring opportunities, including six putback chances from within four feet.

“They are just things that hopefully will change down the road,” Morrow said.

Jason Zahran scored 11 of his team-high 22 points in the fourth quarter and also pulled down 11 rebounds in the loss.

Dan Hall had 17 points and six rebounds for the Trojans and Jerry LaBell added six points and eight rebounds.

As a team, the Trojans knocked down 10 triples in the loss.

“It all comes down to playing defense,” Morrow said. “I don’t care how good you are offensively, you have to play defense.”

Carlson ground T-Birds

In the hopes of making it back to the regional finals after an impressive postseason last year, the Carlson Marauders rolled over Edsel Ford on Thursday in a season-opening 47-30 victory.

The Marauders held a 20-point lead for much of the game and took advantage of the opportunity to play all 14 players on the roster.

Larnell Tidwell had 20 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Marauders while Jared Henson made all three of his shots, including a pair of triples, for eight points.

Daton Aaron had seven points in the win and Alex Headon pulled down seven rebounds for the Marauders.

The Marauders (1-0) will take on Buena Vista on Saturday at West Bloomfield High School in the Metro Detroit/Saginaw Valley Basketball Challenge Showcase.

AP beats Fordson

Physical play will be a staple in Allen Park this season and it started with a tight 63-61 victory over Fordson last Tuesday.

In a back-and-forth affair, the Jags dug themselves a hole early in the second half when a 13-0 Fordson run to open the third quarter gave the Tractors a 14-point lead over the Jags.

“They kind of punched us in the mouth, so I called a timeout to calm the kids down a bit,” Allen Park Coach Jim Victor said.

Trevor Simms responded with a big three-pointer to cut the deficit to 11 points and the Jaguars clawed their way back to within four entering the final quarter.

Allen Park continued its momentum and led by six midway through the fourth quarter. The Jags were able to hold on late for the two-point victory.

“We played unselfish and we were not rattled,” Victor said.

Tyler Warga did most of his damage in the second half, scoring 19 of his team-high 24 points in the final two periods to go along with eight second-half rebounds.

“He really sparked us and was really aggressive in the second half,” Victor said. “He basically said ‘get on my back’ and he got us there.”

Simms knocked down four triples on the night and scored 13 points while Richie Slate added 10 points off the bench.

The Jags (1-1) traveled to Edsel Ford last night and will open Downriver League play on Tuesday at home against Woodhaven.

Woodhaven outlasts GC

After a season-opening loss to Grosse Ile on Tuesday, Woodhaven bounced back with a 50-47 home victory over Garden City on Friday.

The Warriors built a 13 point lead midway through the third quarter, but Garden City battled back and held a three-point lead with less than two minutes to go.

Donnie Stoddard tied the game with 1:30 remaining with a three-point play and Donovan Williams put the Warriors ahead by three shortly after with a steal-and-score that also resulted in a three-point play.

“Our defense was a lot better and we didn’t give up a lot of second chances,” Woodhaven Coach Greg Scheffler said. “It was a scrappy game and Garden City is a scrappy team that always plays us tough.”

Stoddard led the Warriors with 25 points, 11 of which came in the third quarter. The senior also pulled down seven rebounds in the victory.

“He did really well in the high post areas,” Scheffler said.

Williams scored 11 points and Maurice Witherspoon added 10.

Kevin Yanos and Kenny Williams came off the bench and each provided a defensive spark for Woodhaven in the second half.

“We concentrated on keeping the man in front of us,” Scheffler said. “It was more of a three-quarters and half-court style, but we pressured late and our boys played well with that tempo.”

Woodhaven (1-1) traveled to Huron last night and will host Temperance Bedford on Friday.

Kennedy

Kennedy’s season did not begin as planned on Friday as the Eagles traveled to Novi Catholic Central and fell 59-33.

“It was not what we envisioned on our side at all,” Kennedy Coach Rich Lannon said. “I thought we were prepared, but we just didn’t execute the game plan and, defensively, we didn’t get it done.”

In an emotional atmosphere, the Eagles could not match with the physical play of Catholic Central.

“They were very physical and it didn’t bother them,” Lannon said. “Our guys were starting to chase around screens instead of going through them.”

Andia Marsh led the Eagles with 12 points.

The Eagles (0-1) will look to rebound tomorrow night at home against Riverview.

Last Updated: 12/11/2012 1:59:09 PM EST