Brother Rice cagers snap two-year losing skid to neighboring Seaholm


The way Brother Rice’s seasonally-dressed student section stormed the court and mobbed its beloved basketball team, you would have thought the Warriors just captured the state championship.

While the stakes weren’t quite that high, the impassioned Warrior fans were celebrating a welcome outcome Friday night over neighborhood rival Birmingham Sehaolm.

For the the first time in three years, Brother Rice defeated Seaholm, 53-46, to regain area bragging rights.

“They’ve gotten us the last two years, last year it was in our gym,” said Rice head coach Ed Shaffer, whose team is now 1-1 overall. “In both games we had leads and we let them get away. Tuesday against Ferndale (in the season opener) we had them down 12 after three and we let it get away.

“We have a semi-veteran team, some guys who have some varsity experience. What we’ve really been drilling them on is composure in those situations. And I thought that was huge tonight. We handled the ball, made our free throws and did what we needed to do defensively.

“In games like this, in this atmosphere, you gotta have your big guys make some big plays,” he said. “And we did that. ‘J. Mac’ (James MacKenzie) had a great game and Jon Jon Brantley made some free throws down the stretch and Cal (Ruprich) was big inside and Brendan Ammori got us some huge hustle rebounds. And then the guys coming off the bench and mixing, it was a total team effort and it was a lot of fun.”

Host Seaholm netted the game’s first basket on a short jumper by senior forward Carson Stachelski. However, Rice countered the next time down the court with a triple by Jon Brantley for a 3-2 lead. The Warriors scored the next five points — a trey by James MacKenzie and a lay-up by Brantley — for an 8-2 lead and never trailed.

Rice led 30-21 at halftime, but the Maples outscored the Warriors by four points in the third quarter and trailed 38-33 heading into the final eight minutes. Rice scored the first four points of the fourth quarter to go up by nine and Seaholm never got closer than seven points the rest of the way.

“It was the same in our (season-opening loss) to (Catholic Central). We were down by five, six, seven at the half and then lost it in the second half,” said Seaholm head coach Mike DeGeeter, whose team is 0-2. “We are just undermanned right now. We have Brady Flynn and Ben Barton out until January, so until we get that size and athleticism back in there we’re going to have a tough time against the bigger, stronger teams.

“I thought our effort was great. We have a very young team. We have three guys out there that played in their second varsity game. We are just undermanned on the bench. We executed the heck out of our offense, but we didn’t execute so well on defense.

“It’s always a lot of fun going against Rice. Even when (the Rice student section) came into the gym I think it motivated every one and with our black out (student section) it’s always a lot of fun,” he said. “Last year was the last year that we will play at Rice’s gym, so if they don’t come back here or to the playoff site we will not play them again next year.”

The game’s three stars:

1. JAMES MACKENZIE: Rice’s junior forward led his team with 23 points — including five treys and a perfect 6-for-6 from the charity stripe — and was one of just four Warriors who scored.

Mackenzie, who guarded Seaholm’s Cooper Mixon all night, also finished with three rebounds, three steals and three assists. The third-year varsity player was Rice’s leading scorer in the season-opening loss to Ferndale.

“This was a big game for James. He knows these guys (Seaholm players), he’s from around here… all of these students know each other,” said Shaffer. “We talked about just coming in blue collar. Punch the clock. It’s 32 minutes and it’s going to be a grind, we told him he had to go to work tonight and not get caught up in all the hype.

“At the end of the day, let the scoreboard do the talking,” he said. “And that’s what happened. He’s had two games in a row now where he’s played really well.”

2. COOPER MIXON: Seaholm’s senior guard was the game’s high scorer with 24 points which included seven two-point baskets, one trey and was 7-of-9 from the charity stripe.

Mixon, the sixth man last year, mustered eight points in the third-quarter, including back-to-back baskets after stealing the ball while playing aggressive defense at the top of the key. He ended the first steal with a routine lay-up, but slammed home a thunderous dunk on the second one which got the Maple Forest cheering section really fired up.

“Cooper is a top player. He’s going to be a Division 1 player,” said DeGeeter. “They finally tripled teamed him at the end of the second half and the guys who were getting the ball off the triple team couldn’t make any shots. He’s a great player.”

Seaholm’s two next highest scorers were seniors Aidan Kowalski and Zach Ziegler with eight points each. Kowalski added five rebounds.

3. JON BRANTLEY: Only a sophomore, Brantley finished with 20 points — 10 in each half. Most importantly, Brantley made eight of 10 free throws, including three in one-and-one situations down the stretch when the Maples were fouling to get the ball back.

“I think Jon’s a little undersung as a sophomore. I don’t think a lot of people at the high school level know who he is, but the AAU guys know who he is,” said Shaffer. “He kind of came into his own. He had a rough night (against Ferndale), but today he trusted his teammates.

“The one thing I keep telling him is you’ve got to believe that your teammates believe in you, and you can give the ball up and you’re going to get it back and we all know you can do what you just did,” he said. “And then down the stretch, a sophomore in that environment making those free throws the way he did, he was huge for us.”


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Former Rice Standout Signs With Kentucky State

Frankfort, Ky.—Kentucky State University basketball announced the signing of 6 foot 7 junior forward, Kevin Hayes to its 2017 class on Tuesday morning.

“We’ve been recruiting Kevin for two years and are thrilled about his growth as a student-athlete,” said head coach Jamaal Jackson. “Kevin has already done some excellent things on the basketball court, but he’s only scratched the surface of the player that he will become. Kevin is very lengthy and athletic and will help us at both ends of the floor.  Kevin comes from a great family, and we are ecstatic that he is now a Thorobred.”

Hayes comes to the Capitol City as a transfer from Schoolcraft College where he averaged 11 points and five rebounds per game during the 2016-17 season helping lead them to a Michigan Community College Athletic Conference championship.

Before enrolling at Schoolcraft College, Hayes spent the 2015-16 season at Oakland Community College where he averaged 23 points, eight rebounds, and three assists per game, scoring a career-high 38 points against Wayne County Community College.

During Hayes’ high school career, the Farmington Hills, Michigan native was a two-time first team All-Catholic League member at Brother Rice High School and was voted on to the 2015 Detroit Free Press All-North Team and second team All-Metro.

Hayes will have two years of eligibility at KSU.


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Warriors Serve the Community on MLK Holiday

IMG_2980The MLK holiday is a day to remember a great individual and for the Warriors, it’s a day to give back to the community.

Every year the Warriors basketball program arranges to give back to those in need by donating their time to the community. This year’s service day project took place at Fountain of Truth Church in Detroit.

The Warriors spent a majority of their day in the youth center where they cleaned the classrooms, reorganized offices, cleaned out storage space, prepared the facility for classes and activities that they run throughout the week. This youth center is used as an education and recreational center for the community.

Head Coach, Ed Shaffer, believes it’s important for his players to give back to community, especially on a day like today: “It was a great experience. Our guys really took the day seriously. We talked about how privileged we are and how important it is to give back. And we gave back today. I’m very proud of our players, our coaches and our program today.”

Warriors Advance to Championship Game at GPS Tournament

The Warriors have advanced to the championship game of the Grosse Point South High School Holiday Tournament after a convincing 50-32 victory over Plymouth High School on Tuesday night.

After a slow start for both teams, which had the Warriors leading 17-9 at the half, the 3rd quarter proved to be the difference maker for the Warriors as they outscored the Wildcats 20-12 and stretched their lead to 16 points going into the 4th quarter.

The Warriors were able to frustrate the Wildcats all night by holding them to under 20% shooting, while the Warriors were able to shoot a blistering 76% from the field in the 2nd half.

Additionally, the Warriors totaled a season high 17 assists, six from Junior, Matt Torey.

The Warriors were led by Junior, Michael Laurencelle with 15 points and Sophomore, James MacKenzie with 13 points on four three-point makes.

The Warriors will play for the Grosse Pointe South High School Holiday Tournament championship on December 29th against Grosse Pointe South High School. Tip-off is 7 p.m.

Warriors Score Upset Against Divine Child

czrkk-bxuae7zfw-2The Warriors have arrived! After suffering an embarrassing defeat against Divine Child last year, the Warriors were able to score an upset victory Friday night, 55-51.

“We came out fast,” said Head Coach, Ed Shaffer, as the Warriors raced out to an early 6-0 lead in the opening minute by knocking down a pair of three-point makes.

After exchanging leads in the first half, the Warriors led the Falcons, 29-25 at the half.

After a few minor defensive adjustments coming out of the locker room, the Warriors opened up a 15-point lead midway through the 3rd quarter.

However, the Falcons, with some pressure defense, would battle back to tie it at 50 with just over a minute to go in the game.

Junior, Matt Torey would score the go-ahead bucket on a strong take to the basket to give the Warriors a 52-50 lead.

After a timeout call by the Falcons, they looked to set up a backdoor play for Junior, Quinn Blair, but were denied by a gutsy, Michael Laurencelle who slid over to take the charge to preserve the lead and eventually a victory for the Warriors.

“Divine Child is a very good team, with very good personnel, and this win lets us know we can play with—and beat—those kind of teams,” said Shaffer.

Junior, Laurencelle not only made the defensive play of the game but also led the team with 15 points. Sophomore, James MacKenzie also chipped in with 12 points and Junior, Jack Moran dropped in 11 points.

The Warriors (2-0) will take on crosstown rival, Seaholm High School (1-1), Tuesday, December 13th at Brother Rice High School. Tip-off is set for 7:30pm.

Shutdown Defense Leads the way for Warriors on Opening Night

It looks like the sacrifices made by Coach Shaffer going young last season have paid off after a convincing 62-39 victory over Ferndale High School.

After working through some opening-minute jitters, the Warriors raced out to an 18-11 lead in the first quarter with some tough inside scoring from junior, Michael Laurencelle.

Throughout the second quarter, Ferndale was able to keep the game close by disguising defenses and applying pressure to force 10 Brother Rice turnovers.

Despite the turnovers and 34% shooting in the first half, the Warriors led 30-22 at halftime.

The third quarter proved to be the difference-maker in the game as the Warriors outscored Ferndale 15-5, and held them scoreless for most of the period. “The difference was our defensive effort in the second half. We came out of the locker room at halftime with focus and energy, and everything got easier after that,” said Head Coach, Ed Shaffer.

Additionally, juniors, Billy Nelson and Cal Ruprich, provided a big spark on the glass by getting several second chance opportunities for the Warriors. The Warriors outrebounded Ferndale 45-30 for the game.

The Warriors were led by senior, Nik Massey with 13 points and 7 rebounds, and junior, Cal Ruprich, with 13 points and 6 rebounds.

The Warriors take on Divine Child at home this Friday, December 6th, at Brother Rice High School. Tip-off is at 7:30pm.

Warriors Spend Holiday Giving Back to Community

photo 4Across the country, many students spend MLK day remembering the great Martin Luther King. The Warriors spent the day giving back to the community by donating 3 hours of their time to the Baldwin Center.

A total of 44 student-athletes and 5 coaches all spent the day at the Baldwin Center doing a variety of services needed to help in whatever way was needed. From organizing to cleaning, the Warriors proved once again what the program is all about.

Varsity Head Coach, Ed, Shaffer, said, “[ It’s] one of the best things we do. It’s become a great tradition where our guys spend some time serving others and appreciating all they have.”

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