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BOYS' BASKETBALL: Downriver League roundup (PHOTO)

Truman continued to roll through Downriver League competition last week as the Cougars improved their DRL record to 7-0 with wins over Melvindale and Roosevelt.

On Tuesday, the Cougars traveled to Melvindale and grounded the Cardinals 77-43.

Truman scored eight points before Melvindale was able to attempt a shot, but the Cardinals fought back and scored the next eight before heading into the second quarter trailing 12-8.

Aaron Foster-Smith started to heat up in the second and scored 10 points in the quarter. The frantic pace caused by Truman’s trapping zone defense forced a number of Melvindale turnovers and held the Cardinals to only six points for a 31-14 halftime lead for the visitors.

“We have kids that are improving,” Melvindale Coach Ryan Vranesich said. “Playing against a team a Truman, where they’re long and athletic, you could just tell they never settled in and it seemed like the ball was very slippery out tonight.”

“In the first half, we probably had more turnovers than (shot) attempts. I thought we shot the ball pretty well and we looked good at times, but we just couldn’t keep it going.”

Melvindale found its stroke from the outside after the break and scored all 15 of its third-quarter points by way of the three. Unfortunately for the Cards, Truman’s offense remained hot and pushed its lead to over 20 points entering the fourth, 52-29.

Truman did not take its foot off the gas in the fourth as seven different Cougars scored to close out the victory.

Always looking to improve, Truman Coach Chuck Suttles still sees some areas left to perfect despite the victory.

“We still don’t have them sharing the ball like we want,” Suttles said. “Our court awareness isn’t quite up to where we expect it yet and we need to get more people involved.”

On the defensive end, the veteran coach looks for a more controlled chaos heading into the later stages of the Downriver League season.

“Well, that’s still a work in progress, too,” Suttles said. “We’re happy with the defensive energy that we we’re seeing. What we’re not happy with is our opportunities to play smarter.

“We’re out of position a lot. The energy is there. Once we focus on putting it all together, playing smarter defense (and) playing smarter on the offensive end, we’re hoping that’ll be the thing to help us and get us in the place we want to be.”

Foster-Smith led all scorers with 20 points. Anthony Wartley-Fritz had 15 points and nine rebounds, Devain Newbill added 15 and Devin Goodwell had eight points and six rebounds.

Melvindale’s Malik Boynton knocked down four threes and led the Cardinals with 18 points and six rebounds.

“He can guard a bunch of different guys, he can handle the ball, he can shoot, he rebounds,” Vranesich said. “He’s really coming along and he’s really starting to believe in himself and what he can do on the basketball floor.”

Ricardo Cripps scored all seven of his points in the fourth quarter and KleSean Clark made a pair of three-pointers for six points.

“I just like the fact that they’re all getting better and they’re working hard every day,” Vranesich said. “They do everything they’re asked. They’ll be back tomorrow with their heads up and be ready to work.”

The Cougars returned home on Thursday and defeated Roosevelt 58-40.

Truman outscored the Bears 15-7 in each of the first two quarters and steadily built its lead the rest of the way for the 18-point victory.

“Truman played extremely well,” Roosevelt Coach Dave Cramton said. “It was only close in the first quarter. After that, they just kind of took over.”

“They’re a pretty darn good team.”

Newbill had 17 points, four rebounds and three steals in the win while Goodwell and Wartley-Fritz joined him in double-figures with 10 points each.

Goodwell led the Cougars with 11 rebounds and Foster-Smith chipped in seven points and seven boards in the victory.

Devan Stewart and Divon Robinson each scored seven points for Roosevelt while Damon Singleton and Tyler Thorington scored six points each.

Truman (9-2, 7-0 DRL) hosted Allen Park on Tuesday and will close the first half of the Downriver League season on Thursday at home against Anderson.



Trenton remains hot



Trenton’s defense has been stingy as of late and powered the Trojans to a pair of dominating league wins last week over Allen Park and Melvindale.

The Trojans have held their last three opponents under 40 points and got the week started on Tuesday with a 63-37 win at Allen Park.

Both teams opened the game with strong offensive efforts with Trenton having the edge 24-17 after one quarter.

The Trojans clamped down defensively the rest of the way and allowed only 20 points over the final three quarters.

Jason Zahran had another superb outing with 23 points, nine rebounds, five steals and four assists in the victory.

Dan Hall recorded a double-double with 14 points and 10 boards. Christian Mercure had 10 points and Dan Mercure added eight points, five steals and five assists.

On Thursday, the Trojans held Melvindale to seven points or less in three of four quarters in a lop-sided 72-33 victory.

The Trojans led 12-7 after one quarter and pulled away over the next three quarters for the second time in three days by outscoring Melvindale 60-26.

Zahran posted an unbelievable stat line with 31 points, 17 rebounds, five steals and three assists. The senior shot nine-for-13 from the field, knocked down four triple and went nine-for-10 from the free throw line.

Hall had 14 points and 14 rebounds, Jerry LaBell made three three-pointers and scored 11 and Christian Mercure added eight points in the win.

Trenton (9-2, 6-1 DRL) remains just a game behind Truman in the Downriver League standings. The Trojans traveled to Anderson on Tuesday and will host Carlson on Thursday.



Bears top Woodhaven



Roosevelt earned its fourth league victory of the season last Tuesday with a 60-49 road win over Woodhaven.

The Warriors remained close throughout the first half and trailed 29-21 entering the break.

A scoring drought plagued Woodhaven in the third quarter as Roosevelt outscored the home team 15-9 in the quarter to extend its lead to 14 points entering the fourth.

“The kids played tough,” Woodhaven Coach Greg Scheffler said. “It just showed that they weren’t giving up on the season.”

Devan Stewart led the Bears with 23 points and Divon Robinson added 10.

“We needed that win on the road,” Roosevelt Coach Dave Cramton said. “We need every league win we can get right now.”

Donnie Stoddard paced the Warriors with 16 points and Brandon Imperati added 15.

Roosevelt (8-3, 4-3 DRL) hosted Lincoln Park on Tuesday and will travel to Kennedy on Thursday.

On Friday, Woodhaven traveled to Carlson and fell to the Marauders 65-43.

Second-half scoring troubles struck again for the Warriors as another eight-point halftime deficit grew in the final two quarters.

“We were outrebounded in the second half,” Scheffler said. “They just killed us on the boards.”

“In the first half, we played fairly well, but in the second, we gave up way too many offensive rebounds. It seemed like every loose ball there was, they got a hand on it.”

Daton Aaron led the Marauders with 11 points.

Imperati paced Woodhaven with 12 points while Stoddard and Nick Towianski each scored 10.

Still in search of its first league win, Woodhaven (3-9, 0-7 DRL) hosted Kennedy on Tuesday and will remain home against Lincoln Park on Thursday.



Carlson nips STA



In a game that remained within a few possessions for its duration, Carlson outlasted Anderson at home last Tuesday and came away with a 46-42 victory over the Titans.

“It was pretty much close throughout,” Carlson Coach Rob Raymond said. “Neither team really shot the ball well at all and we just made a few more shots than they did in the fourth.”

“We were just lucky to get out with a win.”

Larnell Tidwell was impressive for the Marauders and recorded a double-double with 16 points and 15 rebounds.

Daton Aaron had 11 points, five steals and five assists and Eddie Perry chipped in with nine.

“We made some mistakes towards the end and Carlson capitalized on them,” Anderson Coach Dave Pratt said.

Connor Phee led the Titans with 13 points.

Carlson (9-4, 3-4 DRL) traveled to Melvindale on Tuesday and will close out the first half of the league season on Thursday at Trenton.

Anderson (6-4, 3-4 DRL) hosted Trenton on Tuesday and will travel to the unfriendly confines of Truman on Thursday.



LP splits



Lincoln Park went 1-1 last week with a close loss to Kennedy and an unusual win over Allen Park.

On Tuesday, the Rails fought hard in the fourth quarter, but could not get over the hump in a 51-48 loss at Kennedy.

Kennedy held an eight-point lead entering the fourth quarter and held off a Railsplitter comeback effort to secure the win.

“We were able to score in a variety of ways off our break, off our defense and in our half-court offense,” Kennedy Coach Rich Lannon said. “We were also able to do a good job on the glass.”

Lincoln Park was unable to get the ball moving in transition and Coach Todd Tobin feels that was a deciding factor in the game.

“We had a lot of turnovers,” Tobin said. “It wasn’t a good game on our part.”

“Give them credit. I don’t think we had any transition buckets.”

Andia Marsh had a solid all-around performance for the Eagles with 19 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals.

“He really filled the sheet,” Lannon said.

Matt Woloszyk added 13 points, four rebounds, three blocks and three steals in the win.

Delvon Byner-Simmons led the Rails with 16 points. Lucas Espitia added 11 and Michael Tillmon-Cornett had nine.

On Thursday, the Rails saw a 22-point lead evaporate in the game’s final four minutes, but held on for a 70-64 victory over Allen Park.

Lincoln Park held a healthy lead for most of the game and went into the fourth quarter ahead 52-30.

Still leading by 22 with four minutes remaining, a mixture of fouls, turnovers and timely Jaguar shooting brought Allen Park roaring back into the game in the waning minute.

“We continued to turn the ball over, miss free throws and let them back in,” Tobin said. “We never lost the lead, but in the last three or four minutes, we tanked.”

“I will say for three-and-a-half quarters, we played pretty well.”

Espitia led the Rails with 22 points, Tywan Cage had 17 and Tillmon-Cornett added 10.

Allen Park’s Tyler Warga scored nine of his team-high 17 points in the fourth quarter. Richie Slate added nine in the loss.

Lincoln Park (6-6, 4-3 DRL) traveled to Roosevelt on Tuesday and will remain on the road to wrap up the first half of the Downriver League season at Woodhaven on Thursday.

Last Updated: 1/29/2013 2:13:00 PM EST

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