Up North Challenge Schedule May 22-24

It’s tourney time!  We are finishing our spring season in Mt. Pleasant at the Up North Challenge.  Last year, we were able to reach the silver division championship game in this tournament so our expectations are high.  While we will be shorthanded due to injuries and other reasons, we expect players to step up and fill roles as needed without hesitation.  We should be better than we were in April!  That said, the schedule is as follows.  Each team should be able to support the other at some of the games and that would be great to have our program standing behind each other.

MML White (Pool J):

Friday, May 22 8:20 p.m. vs. HoopGrind Michigan @West Intermediate School  (blue jerseys)

Saturday, May 23 8:30 a.m. vs. West Michigan Lakers- Purple @Sacred Heart Academy (white jerseys)

Saturday, May 23 1:30 p.m. vs. JJKN @West Intermediate School (blue jerseys)

If we finish:

1st in pool, we play on Sunday, May 24 8:00 a.m. @Sacred Heart Academy

2nd in pool, we play on Sunday, May 24 10:20 a.m. @West Intermediate School

3rd in pool, we play on Sunday, May 24 9:10 a.m. @Sacred Heart Academy

4th in pool, we play on Sunday, May 24 9:10 a.m. @Mount Pleasant High School (court 2)

MML Blue (Pool I):

Saturday, May 23 12:00 p.m. vs. Parallel 45 @Sacred Heart Academy  (blue jerseys)

Saturday, May 23 3:50 p.m. vs. Camp Darryl Basketball Academy @West Intermediate School (blue jerseys)

Saturday, May 23 6:10 p.m. vs. Team CGR @West Intermediate School (white jerseys)

If we finish:

1st in pool, we play on Sunday, May 24 9:10 a.m. @Mount Pleasant High School (court 2)

2nd in pool, we play on Sunday, May 24 9:10 a.m. @Sacred Heart Academy

3rd in pool, we play on Sunday, May 24 10:20 a.m. @West Intermediate School

4th in pool, we play on Sunday, May 24 8:00 a.m. @Sacred Heart Academy

Mt Pleasant High School

2110 N. Edwards Ave.
Mount Pleasant, Mi 48858

Court 1
Court 2
Court 3

Sacred Heart Academy

316 E. Michigan St.
Mount Pleasant, Mi 48858

Court 4

Sanford Meridian Schools

3303 North M-30
Sanford, MI 48657

Court 6
Court 7

West Intermediate School

440 S. Bradley St.
Mount Pleasant, Mi 48858

Court 5

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Camp Darryl/Bankhoops.com Classic Schedule/Info May 15-17

This weekend we are in the Kalamazoo area for our tournament.  That said, here is some info for the traffic flow there…

*** The Sprinkle Road exit off of I-94 is closed. You’ll have to use the Portage Road exit to get to The Courthouse & Vicksburg HS.
Portage Road exit #78, go South apprx 2 miles, turn Left at the traffic signal at Romence Road, take Romence Road apprx. 1 mile to traffic signal at Sprinkle Road, turn Right. The Courthouse Athletic Center is 1/4 mile on the left. Your GPS will adjust to get you to Vicksburg HS from here also.

Our schedules are as follows at this point:

MML Blue (pool F):

Saturday, May 16 08:00 a.m. vs. Battle Creek Elite  at Vicksburg HS court 1 (blue jerseys)

Saturday, May 16 11:45 a.m. vs. Camp Darryl Basketball Academy at Courthouse court 3 (white jerseys)

Saturday, May 16 02:15 p.m. vs. West Michigan Lakers-Black at Courthouse court 2 (white jerseys)

If we finish in 1st in pool, we play Saturday night at 8:30 p.m. at Loy Norrix HS

If we finish 2nd in pool, we play Saturday night at 4:45 p.m. at Courthouse court 2

If we finish 3rd in pool, we play Saturday night at 4:45 p.m. at Loy Norrix HS

MML White (pool G):

Saturday, May 16 08:00 a.m. vs. West Michigan Lakers-Black  at Vicksburg HS court 2 (white jerseys)

Saturday, May 16 11:45 a.m. vs. Macomb County Cougars at Courthouse court 4 (blue jerseys)

Saturday, May 16 02:15 p.m. vs. Shoreline Hoops-Blue at Courthouse court 4 (blue jerseys)

If we finish in 1st in pool, we play Saturday night at 4:45 p.m. at Courthouse court 4

If we finish 2nd in pool, we play Saturday night at 6:400p.m. at Mattawan Middle School court 1

If we finish 3rd in pool, we play Saturday night at 4:45 p.m. at TBD

**Be prepared for a long Saturday.  This is the price for not having a Friday night game and increasing travel cost.  Hydration between games will be paramount.

Gym Sites:

Courthouse Athletic Center

7365 S Sprinkle Rd
Portage, MI 49002

CH 1
CH 2
CH 3
CH 4

Loy Norrix High School

606 E. Kilgore Rd
Kalamazoo, MI 49001

LN 1

Mattawan Middle School

56720 Murray St
Mattawan, MI 49071

MMS 1
MMS 2

Vicksburg High School

501 E Highway St
Vicksburg, MI 49097

VHS 1
VHS 2

**Please be advised that the Courthouse Athletic Center prohibits outside food and drink. Only personal water bottles are allowed (that you will take home with you).

**Follow signs as to where to park at Loy Norrix High School and enter via doors marked “Camp Darryl/Bankhoops.com Classic”

Admission:
Friday- $5, Saturday- $10, Sunday- $10
Weekend Pass- $15
K-12 $5
5 & under- Free

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Ricky Holmes III dunk!

Here is the video of that dunk by Ricky!

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Moneyball Shootout Recap

Another weekend down and another tournament completed.  The MML teams travelled to Lansing to take on the competition this past weekend (which also happened to be my birthday weekend).  Despite some challenges, both teams learned some valuable lessons through the experience:

MML BLUE:

The blue squad welcomed back their brother and prodigal son, Paris Partee, and were not disappointed with his return.  Right from the start, he was all over the boards vacuuming in every rebound close to him.  In an effort to possibly do too much though, some easy shot eluded him versus Hoop Grind in game one.  Hoop Grind also knocked down 7 three pointers in the first half, jumping out to a 11 point lead in the first half.  A recommitment to defense got the lead down to 4 at half.  From there, Partee, Ricky Holmes III, and Tyler Rose led the second half charge to the 51-45 victory.  Rose had 11, BJ Sims 10, Holmes 8, and Partee 6.  Game 2 got off to a much better offensive start, but we were still in a jam until the defense turned up near the end of the first half.  Rose scored 17, Trevor Bland 14 Partee 10, Austin Harless 7, and Thomas Cook 6 in the 68-50 blowout.  It was a physical game where we showed great composure and resolve.  Another step in growth to finish 1st in our pool for the first time this spring.  Gold division play began Sunday morning with a game against Team Overlooked.  Again, for the first time this spring, we came out with a focus to play well from the start.  We jumped out to a 44-29 lead at the half.  The second half saw us allow them to get back into the game a bit before re-establishing our dominance in a 65-44 win to advance to the semifinals.  Partee dominated with 16, Cook 15, Bland and Harless 10, and Matt Buschman 6 in the victory.  There is an old expression that says “all good things must come to an end” and we found that out the hard way in the final four game versus Triple Threat.  Led by a couple future division 1 players, they jumped out to a 26-4 lead on 8 three point baskets.  After that point, we played them relatively evenly, but that hole was too deep to dig out of with a running clock.  Buschman led with 9 in his best game of the spring in the loss, while Partee and Holmes III added 7 in the 67-35 loss.

Notes:

-Partee made a strong return to the family by grabbing every rebound in sight.  That toughness was sorely missed.

-In the game versus Team Overlooked, Holmes III capped off the game with a right-handed tomahawk dunk near the end.  It was our first dunk of the spring and can be found on youtube and our MML facebook page.

-Rose again had a strong tournament offensively and defensively.

-We have increased our win percentage in each tournament so far: 33%, 40%, 50%, then 75% in this one.

MML WHITE:

Unfortunately, for the White squad, they were pitted against two of the most athletic teams on the entire circuit in this one tournament.  The first game against Team Overlooked was a back-and-forth battle of wills.  Turnovers and execution flaws on the offensive end plagued the white squad in a tough 49-38 defeat.  The second game versus Stackhouse Elite was a true example of playing against the trees.  Few of the guys came out with the fire necessary to beat a team of that magnitude.  From the sidelines, I watched the collective effort of the group and the attitude as well and noticed a lot of hanging heads early on in the loss.  This leads me to believe that there is a lack of confidence among the group and I questioned if they were really a group at all?  You have to go into each game believing that a) you can lose every game and b) that you can win every game.  That attitude allows you to play with the healthy fear that you must play well not to lose, but also with the healthy confidence that if you play well you can beat anyone.  This attitude HAS to be adapted by this team.  There was a similar prevailing thought as I watched the third game versus Elite Nation.  Clearly, they were better athletes than us, but they have no bigger hearts and we should not fear playing with our own.  Honestly, while I was there I saw two of our guys, Devon Williams and Bobby Harrison, play with fire necessary in that game.  That needs to spread throughout and it is all of our jobs to ensure that happens.

Notes:

-The white team learned a valuable lesson in respect and decorum in practice this week because of an incident of insubordination at this tournament.  One thing it is certain…it better not happen again, period.

-Despite playing with patellar tendinitis, Caleb Barkman showed some flashes of how he will significantly help this team.  I am anxious to see how he does when he gets comfortable.

-Time to regroup…off to Kalamazoo!

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Moneyball Shootout Info May 9,10

All,

I would first like to apologize to all of our mothers…we do play on Mothers’ Day this weekend.  We all owe you big!  If I don’t have a copy of your birth certificate, I need it ASAP!

The schedule for this tournament has been totally revamped once so I post this hoping this is the last revision:

MML BLUE (POOL B):

Saturday, May 9 @5:10 p.m. vs. Hoop Grind at Aim High court 3 (white jerseys)

Saturday, May 9 @7:30 p.m. vs. Michigan Blazers at Aim High court 3 (blue jerseys)

If we finish 1st in pool, we play Sunday, May 10 @11:20 a.m. at Aim High court 2 (gold division)

If we finish 2nd in pool, we play Sunday, May 10 @11:20 a.m. at Aim High court 4 (gold division)

If we finish 3rd in pool, we play Sunday, May 10 @1:40 p.m. at Aim High court 5 (silver division)

MML WHITE (POOL C):

Saturday, May 9 @5:10 p.m. vs. Team Overlooked at Aim High court 2 (blue jerseys)

Saturday, May 9 @7:30 p.m. vs. Stackhouce Elite at Aim High court 1 (white jerseys)

If we finish 1st in pool, we play Sunday, May 10 @11:20 a.m. at Aim High court 4 (gold division)

If we finish 2nd in pool, we play Sunday, May 10 @11:20 a.m. at Aim High court 2 (gold division)

If we finish 3rd in pool, we play Sunday, May 10 @1:40 p.m. at Aim High court 3 (silver division)

Important note:

We have been very patient with fees coming in.  We are at the halfway point of the season and need to solidify things.  Guys that have made partial payments need to finish them ASAP.  There is a time for growth and responsibility.  Now is that time.  Oh yeah, I will have a gift for you guys as well at the tournament!

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Warrior Jam Fest Recap

Both MML squads took to Livonia last weekend to compete in the Warrior Jam Fest.  First, let me say that in all my years of doing this, I have never experienced a check in so smooth, especially with a tournament that gave out t-shirts!  That said, it was about the basketball and the experience for the guys.  The weekend recap is as follows:

MML WHITE:

The short-handed white squad took to the court Friday night against the Oakland County Ballers.  After a bit of a slow start, Devon Williams sparked a run to put the team ahead in the first half.  Perhaps after running out of steam, the turnovers started to mount and we let OCB back into the contest and eventually allowed them to pull ahead.  Tyrone Bradley had a spring high of ten points for the team, but the points given up off of turnovers really offset the positive effort.  I believe the total was around 25 for just the second half!  It is difficult to win any game with those numbers and the team fell 47-38.  In the second game against the host Michigan Warriors squad, the turnover waterfall continued and led to a heavy defeat 65-28.  The tournament ended with a wild game against the ASAP Blazers. The game got out of control early with officiating being less than stellar in both directions.  Unfortunately, what that leads to is the more aggressive team gaining a competitive advantage.  In addition, it leads to the officials trying to regain control by over exaggerating the whistles in a game they allowed to get that way.  Frustratingly for all, White lost a tough, hard fought battle by 13.

Notes:

– Williams continues to be a source of energy for the squad, but that same energy can become detrimental if not controlled.  That is the next step for a player I believe  has some tools to be successful.

– Being down two potential starters, the White squad showed some real promise in this tournament.  With additions Isaiah Franklin and Caleb Barkman from the Blue team moving forward, things should trend in a positive direction.

– Emotions have to be reigned in guys.  I saw pouting, laziness on defense, some giving up near the end of games, etc.  We want to always channel our emotions for our use in a positive manner; however, we never want to be governed by them.  That is a lesson that MUST be learned.

MML BLUE:

Speaking of being shorthanded, the blue team was without its two leading scorers for Friday night’s contest versus friend of the program, Parallel 45.  The 7 players that were there came out with the defensive effort of the spring.  They spent every bit of energy they had during the game and really jumped on P45 and likely surprised them with great rebounding as well.  Tyler Rose led the way with 17 points and impressive hustle.  BJ Sims had his best game as a Laker with 14 points and good rebounding.  Austin Harless directed the group and pitched in 11.  Thomas Cook hit 8 and Savionn Boone 6 in the 59-41 win.  The second game saw the return of the two missing starters, but the loss of our discipline on the court.  The result was a turnover-filled 62-53 loss in a game that should have been won.  Despite missing at least 15 layups, we held the game close throughout, which proved to be important in tie-breakers later.  Trevor Bland had 13, Ricky Holmes III 12, Harless 8, and Rose 6 in the loss.  The final pool game proved to be the most exciting and best win of the spring so far versus a much bigger Moneyball East team.  This game literally came down to the wire with us battling foul trouble and having to adjust on the fly to defense we had never played to that point.  They had no answer for Holmes’ driving to the basket and dishing to shooters on the wing.  As a team, we knocked down 8 three-pointers with Rose hitting 5 of those in his 19 point outburst.  Holmes III chipped in 14, Bland 9, Cook 6, and Harless 5 in a 63-62 nail-biter that moved us into a tie for 1st place in the pool.  In the gold bracket contest that evening, we faced the team that is becoming our nemesis, Common Bond.  A back and forth 1st half where tempo was up-and-down left us only behind on the scoreboard by 4 at the half.  However, much like the white team, fatigue equaled turnovers and missed easy shots in the second half.  A close game quickly became a blowout in our 61-38 loss.  Holmes II dropped in 14 and Harless 12 on four three pointers in the loss.

Notes:

– Rose stepped up big in perhaps playing his two biggest games as a Laker in this tournament.  Now more is expected and required.

– Our turnover situation must change…period.  There is no excuse for the amount we have currently.

– We finally beat a team that I feel was better than us in terms of talent in Moneyball East.  That is a huge step in the right direction for the team.

– When we have Holmes driving and dishing the way he did versus Moneyball, we will be difficult to stop.  When we worry about our own statistics, teams will take advantage of us.

Well, off to Lansing and the Moneyball Shootout!

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WARRIORS JAM FEST TOURNEY INFO!!

Hello all, we as fast approaching our next tournament this weekend in Livonia/Romulus/Dearborn/Canton!  This will be one of the most spread out tournaments we play in.  I trust that by now you all have started to get into the habit of tournament play and travel.  In addition, I hope that your communication with other players and coaches has gotten significantly better and you are relying on those relationships for our success.  That said, we have our work cut out for us as usual and the schedule is as follows:  PARENTS ANDFAMILY/FRIENDS:  We need volunteers at each game to do the scorekeeping.  As we move forward and our schedules coincide, we will be less able to do it for each other as coaches.  Please let one of the coaches know if you are willing to help.

MML-WHITE (POOL A):

Friday, May 1 @8:40 p.m.  vs. Oakland County Ballers at Livonia Franklin HS (court 8)- blue jerseys

Saturday, May 2 @9:00 a.m.  vs. Michigan Warriors at Livonia Franklin HS (court 9)- white jerseys

Saturday, May 2 @1:40 p.m.  vs. ASAP Blazers at HYPE Recreation Center (court 19)- blue jerseys

If we finish:

1st in pool- we would play Saturday, May 2 @6:20 p.m. at Livonia Franklin HS (court 8)- gold bracket

2nd in pool- we would play Saturday, May 2 @5:10 p.m. at Livonia Franklin HS (court 9)- gold bracket

3rd in pool- we would play Saturday, May 2 @5:10 p.m. at Canton HS (court 25)- silver bracket

4th in pool- we go home

MML-BLUE (POOL E):

Friday, May 1 @8:40 p.m.  vs. Parallel 45 at Livonia Franklin HS (court 7)- white jerseys

Saturday, May 2 @9:00 a.m.  vs. Oakland Nets at Romulus HS (court 22)- blue jerseys

Saturday, May 2 @12:30 p.m.  vs. Moneyball East at HYPE Recreation Center (court 18)- blue jerseys

If we finish:

1st in pool- we would play Saturday, May 2 @6:20 p.m. at HYPE Recreation Center (court 15)- gold bracket

2nd in pool- we would play Saturday, May 2 @5:10 p.m. at Livonia Franklin HS (court 8)- gold bracket

3rd in pool- we would play Saturday, May 2 @6:20 p.m. at HYPE Recreation Center (court 17)- silver bracket

4th in pool- we go home

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