Brother Rice prevails late over Royal Oak Shrine

BIRMINGHAM – An early season Catholic school matchup came with an early Christmas present for the Brother Rice Warriors and a bit of stocking coal for the visiting Royal Oak Shrine Knights.

The Warriors eked out a 45-42 win in a seesaw matchup that saw the lead change hands six times throughout the game.

Brother Rice led most of the contest, building a 10-point lead in the third quarter (40-30) and creating turnovers to chip away and take the lead, 42-41, with 20 seconds remaining.

Warriors sophomore Jack Moran then nailed a 3-point shot just five seconds later to give Brother Rice the edge at 44-42. Nick Massey tacked on a free throw for the final point and 45-42 win.

The victory breaks a three-game skid for the 2-3 Warriors as Shrine drops to 1-3.

Early on, the Warriors used their strength and height inside to break down the Shrine defense. Brother Rice head coach Ed Shaffer was relieved afterward.

“That was the gameplan. We felt like we had a physical advantage inside and we’ve

been working on that the last couple of days,” he said. “I’ve been surprised at how good our inside play has been this year and this was the game to take advantage of that.”

Warriors sophomore Michael Laurencelle led all scorers with 17 points. Senior Varcelus Seaton followed with nine and sophomore Cal Ruprich had eight. The Warriors were 4-for-8 from the free throw line.

For Shrine, Ethan Groth had 16 points and the team was 5-for-6 from the charity


Knights head coach Jim Skaggs had his team ready but key, late missed opportunities doomed them.

“I thought we did a great job – it went back and forth the whole game and the second half we played outstanding,” Coach Skaggs said. “We held them to five points in the fourth until that three at the end. We missed quite a few layups and we just couldn’t finish. It’s a little frustrating but I’m very proud of them. Brother Rice was physical but we played with them.”

Brother Rice scored first in the first but Shrine quickly tied it. The Warriors broke out to a five-point lead at 9-4 at the five-minute mark but Shrine went on a six-point run to end the first with a 10-9 lead.

In the second, Brother Rice’s Gianni Wile banked in a 3-pointer, followed by Seaton hitting one as well, to give the Warriors a five-point lead at 15-10 just 30 seconds into the second. The Warriors stretched their lead to seven at 19-12 when Cal Ruprich was fouled when he hit a shot in the lane for a three-point play.

The Knights hung tough and went on a 9-2 run to tie the score at 21 apiece when Gross hit a 3-pointer at the 3:30 mark. Brother Rice then pushed its lead to 25-21 and held Shrine scoreless the rest of the half.

The team’s traded buckets to start the third but Brother Rice’s inside game with Laurencelle and Ruprich helped push the lead to 10 points. Shrine whittled it back to six by the end of the third, 40-34.

The fourth quarter was miserly with points as each team could only muster eight points apiece. The Knights had to start fouling with under a minute to try and keep the game close and preserve clock but couldn’t convert on an open shot after a steal that would have given them the lead.

“That coaching staff is doing a good job and they’ve got solid players over there,” Shaffer said. “But we got a win and they’ve been working their tails off. We were calm down the stretch and we had a sophomore hit that big three in the corner and a junior with no playing time who hit the free throw to give us some cushion.”

Skaggs knew his team had a chance.

“We played too much zone and they got six points right off that,” he said. “I thought at the end we had a chance. We keep building and we’re looking at the Catholic League Championship.”

Last Updated: 12/22/2015 11:51:42 PM EST

Rice struggles to make last minute plays in loss to Warren Woods Tower

"Clarkston v BH Boys bball 2/6/15" The Warriors came up short in a 47-45 loss to Warren Woods Tower on Friday night.

“We really needed help from our bench and just didn’t get anything tonight,” said Head Coach, Ed Shaffer.

Two nights prior against Ferndale High School, the Warriors received several contributions from many unlikely pieces. Tonight was just a different story.

“You’re going to get that with a young team,” added Shaffer.

With the lack of production from the bench, the Warriors still had a chance to tie or win the game in the final seconds after a Warren Woods Tower miss on the front-end of a 1 and 1.

Senior-Guard, Varcellus Seaton, went to the basket with 7 seconds remaining and got off a highly contested shot. By the time the Warriors came down with the offensive rebound, the buzzer had sounded.

Brother Rice was led by Senior-Guard, Varcellus Seaton with 20 points and Sophomore-Center, Michael Laurencelle, with 8 points and 11 rebounds.

“We really needed that third guy to step up tonight and we just didn’t get it,” said Assistant Coach, Leon McDonald.

The Warriors will hit the road for the first time on the young season against Divine Child on December 15th at 7:30 pm.

Veteran coach Shaffer preaches patience at Brother Rice

B9320041085Z.1_20151211150011_000_G11CQEB80.1-0, mbudner@hometownlife.com3:02 p.m. EST December 12, 2015

The Birmingham Brother Rice basketball team lost in last year’s Class A district championship game to North Farmington after placing second in the tough Catholic League Central Division.

Even though Rice was denied any type of championship hardware despite a 15-6 record, veteran head coach Ed Shaffer said last winter’s squad — which included 11 seniors — was one of his favorites.

“I’ve had some teams that have won championships and last year’s didn’t. But it was one of the best groups that I have ever coached,” Shaffer said prior to Tuesday’s season-opening home victory over Ferndale. “They were just a blast to be around. It was a group I just had to keep together and we all walked off the court knowing we had a great year.

“But that was a mostly senior team and the downside of that is that we have only two returning players this year,” he added. “We are puppies.”

Youth and inexperience aside, Shaffer believes this year’s edition of Warriors basketball will battle as hard as ever. He likes the competitiveness they’ve displayed so far — a workman-like 52-41 win over Ferndale was a nice confidence-builder — and their willingness to work.

Brother Rice basketball, insists Shaffer, will not be in rebuilding mode this year.

“In the big picture, people would probably call it a rebuilding year, but I don’t really think of it that way,” Shaffer said. “We’ve got a sophomore class which is really good, comparable to last year’s senior class, which was one of the best I’ve ever had.

“I think this is an opportunity to give these kids varsity experience right now and get their feet wet, because down the line, I think they are going to be really, really good. But I also owe it to the seniors and the juniors to be as competitive as we can be this year.

“The sophomores are talented enough to push the juniors and seniors,” he added. “I think we will struggle at times, because we don’t match up well with teams like (state-ranked) U-D, but I also think we will be more competitive than people think.”

Two returning players

Brother Rice’s lone two returning players are seniors Gianni Wile and Varcelus Seaton.

Wile, a 6-foot-2 forward, has been named team captain and is the perfect player to take that role, according to Shaffer.

“Gianni is a great leader who is completely devoted to the program,” Shaffer said. “He loves the school, loves the game, loves the program. He’s the right guy to lead a young group and show them how to approach the game day to day.”

Seaton is a skilled guard who figures to be among the team’s leading scorers.

“He’s really worked on his shot a ton this year, just like Gianni,” Shaffer said about Seaton. “I think they’ll both be able to shoot it very well.”

Juniors Nick Massey (5-11 guard) and Matthew Bain (6-1 forward) and sophomore Michael Laurencelle (6-3 forward/center) were Rice’s other starters against Ferndale. Massey and Bain played JV ball last year, while Laurencelle was part of the freshman team.

Sophomores Jack Moran (5-10 guard), Cal Ruprich (6-5 forward/center), Billy Nelson (6-0 forward/guard) and Quinten Anderson (6-3 forward/center) were among Rice’s top players off the bench. Junior Ryan Wofford (6-5) and sophomore guard Matthew Torey, a transfer from Cardinal Mooney who will not be eligible until mid-January, are others who figure to get playing time.

“I think we’ll be feisty and we’ll be pretty good at getting after the ball,” Shaffer said. “I like to put pressure on the ball and I think we’ll be pretty good at that.

“Our bigs are going to be better than I thought we’d be. I didn’t think we’d have much of an inside game. They’re young, but sophomores Michael Laurencelle, Cal Ruprich and Quinten Anderson are all pretty good around the basket. Wofford is really long and moves pretty well and he’s got great gifts, but he’s just figuring out how to play.

“Our guards will have to figure out things quickly, because they are jumping right into the fire,” he added. “We may take our lumps, but we have such a good group and they will figure out how to play.”

In the meantime, Shaffer will preach patience with a young team he feels is on the cusp of greatness.

“The camaraderie on the team is really good so far and they work really hard every day,” Shaffer said. “I was spoiled last year, because I had a veteran team that I took a lot of things for granted and these young guys have never been there.

“I’m going to have to be really patient and they’re going to have to be really patient with where we want to go,” he added. “But we are on the right path three weeks into the season. I like what we have and I’m excited to see what we can do this year.”

Warriors Open 15-16 Campaign with win over Ferndale

Rice vs Jesuit BBall (26)-M“Welcome to varsity basketball,” said Warriors Head Coach, Ed Shaffer. The message was sent to his young squad after a 52-41 victory over Ferndale High School.

After graduating 10 Seniors from last year’s squad, Shaffer and his staff made the decision to go young by featuring almost a completely different roster from last year.

“Really, we have one guy returning that saw any significant minutes from last year’s team; everybody else was added from our JV and freshman teams,” added Shaffer.

With a young squad, it was expected for the Warriors to get off to a slow and sloppy start. The team found themselves down by 4 at the half, with 9 turnovers and 20% shooting from the field.

“We got it done on the defensive end,” said Shaffer. “We focused on winning three key areas: rebounding, free throws, and turnovers.”

The Warriors ended up winning all three categories by putting together an excellent second half where they outscored the Eagles 33-17.

The Warriors were led by Senior, Varcellus Seaton, who had 19 points and 7 rebounds and Sophomore, Michael Laurencelle, who had 11 points and 11 rebounds.

The Warriors welcome Warren Woods Tower on Friday, December 11th at 7:30.

Warriors Receive Postseason Honors

The following basketball players have been honored for 2014-15:


"Clarkston v BH Boys bball 2/6/15"Detroit Free Press/BCAM (Basketball Coaches Association of DSC_0027-MMichigan) First Team All-State, Class A: Kevin Hayes

AP All-State Honorable Mention, Class A: Kevin Hayes

Oakland Press First Team All-Oakland County: Kevin Hayes

All-Catholic (First Team) Central Division: Kevin Hayes and Dominic DownsDOE_0932-M

16JA15 CC v Rice679-MAll-League (Second Team) Central Division: Drew Gallagher and Davis Feldman

All-Academic (Catholic League’s All-Academic team) Central Division: Nick Bielkie


DSC_0027-MBCAM Top Shooters, 3-Point FGs: Drew Gallagher (44.0%) and "Clarkston v BH Boys bball 2/6/15"Dominic Downs (41.3%)

BCAM Top Shooters, FTs: Dominic Downs (90.7%)

Warriors say Farewell to Senior Class at Banquet

0370 BK VThe Warriors concluded the 2014-15 season Sunday night by holding their banquet at the Birmingham Athletic Club (BAC).

The ceremony marked the end of the road for the Senior class which had an overall record of 63-18 over their four year career at Brother Rice; the best record by one class in over 20 years.

“This was a special group that will be missed dearly. More importantly, the individuals that made up this group will be what I remember the most from this group,” said Head Coach, Ed Shaffer. “They were team guys that had great camaraderie with one another, which made for a memorable season.”

The Warriors season concluded two weeks ago with a loss in the district final to North Farmington High School.

The Warriors hope to return all five underclassmen next season with the addition of three Juniors that, due to the large number of Seniors playing this season, were asked to play on the Junior Varsity team this season.

Here is a list of the award winners from the 2014-15 Varsity season:

Coaches Award – Brad Royer

Commitment Award – Davis Feldman

Dedication Award – Drew Gallagher

Free Throw Ladder Champion – Dominic Downs

Legacy Award – Kevin Hayes

Most Improved – Ryan Jordan

Mr. Hustle – Nick Bielkie

Mr. Program – Sean Mattingly

Service Award – Michael Woods

Loyalty Award – Brendan Smith

North Farmington captures district title with 3-point shooting barrage against Brother Rice

DSC_0027-MThe Raiders will advance to Monday’s regional semifinal against Oak Park.

FARMINGTON HILLS — With a Class A district title at stake Friday, North Farmington picked a most opportune time to shake off its lingering 3-point shooting slump.

Facing Birmingham Brother Rice, the Raiders were locked in from long range from the get-go, unleashing a total of eleven 3-pointers on the Warriors to capture a 67-52 victory and advance to the regional round.

“We haven’t shot it really well the last three weeks, so for us to come out of our slump tonight, it’s perfect timing for us,” North Farmington coach Todd Negoshian said. “Our kids have been working at it and it’s been a testament to them how hard they’ve worked trying to get out of it.

“For as many (3-pointers) as we shot and as many as we made, I don’t think there were any bad ones that we took. I thought they were all in rhythm and in the framework of what we were trying to do.”

Senior Anthony Qasawa was responsible for four of the Raiders’ triples as part of his game-high 23 points.

The initial spark offensively came from junior Josh Hogans, who knocked down three 3-pointers in the opening 10 minutes of play, allowing the Raiders to seize a commanding 16-point lead by that point.

North Farmington carried a 39-24 lead into halftime.

“Tonight was pretty simple. They made their shots and we didn’t,” Brother Rice coach Ed Shaffer said. “It wasn’t like we weren’t guarding or giving them wide-open looks with the exception of (Hogans) early in the game, who we didn’t really gameplan to take away.”

In the second half, Brother Rice found some shooting success of its own, but never managed to cut its deficit to fewer than 13 points at any juncture.

Brother Rice’s leading scorer, Kevin Hayes, was held without a field goal after halftime, as he finished with a team-high 15 points.

Hayes’ frontcourt counterpart, North Farmington’s Jeron Rogers, scored 16 points. Alex Darden added 10 points for the Raiders (19-3).

“Our goal at halftime was to make sure we really stopped penetration and made them beat us with either swinging it and letting us contest the shots or making them do something different,” Negoshian said. “I thought we did a great job in the second half of really getting to people.”

In the fourth quarter, play was briefly halted when the school’s emergency alarm and lights came on, but play ultimately continued through the distraction until they ceased.

After falling to the eventual state runner-up, Bloomfield Hills, early in the playoffs a year ago, North Farmington picked up its first district crown since 2013.

“We start every year where our goal is to hang a banner. A league banner, a district banner, we just want to hang one,” Negoshian said.

Up next, the Raiders will face Oak Park on Monday in a regional semifinal played at Southfield High School.

Brother Rice’s season concluded with a 15-7 record.

“We just had to find a way to fight through (tonight), but we didn’t and it’s so disappointing to me because this senior group is so great,” Shaffer said. “Ten seniors. It’s not the way we wanted to go out, but we got beat by a better team tonight.”

Last Updated: 3/13/2015 10:11:06 PM EST

Brother Rice knocks off Bloomfield Hills in district semifinals

FARMINGTON HILLS — Birmingham Brother Rice was presented with a stiff challenge in the first half of Wednesday’s Class A district semifinal against Bloomfield Hills, but the Warriors pulled away in the second half to advance, 64-46.

Despite beginning the game with a 10-0 lead, Brother Rice led by just five points at halftime with the Black Hawks battling back in the second quarter.

But the Warriors began the second half much like they did the first, capitalizing with a 10-2 scoring run to open up a double digit lead they would not relinquish.

Senior forward Kevin Hayes was responsible for a game-high 21 points for Brother Rice (15-6), which moves on to face North Farmington on Friday in the district final.

Also figuring into the scoring for the Warriors were senior Davis Feldman (eight points) and sophomore Carter Dunaway (six points).

The Black Hawks were led offensively by senior Cameron Dalton’s 11 points, while Otis Ferguson and Jake Hecker chipped in with six points apiece.

OLSM clips Brother Rice, heads to CHSL finals in back-to-back seasons

BIRMINGHAM – When titles are on the line, the Eaglets fly high.

No matter what their record, the Orchard Lake St. Mary’s Eaglets always seems to get hot late in the basketball season when there’s hardware at stake.

This year appears to be more of the same.

Recently pushing over the .500 mark in the win-loss column, St. Mary’s upset Birmingham Brother Rice 46-43 Wednesday in a Catholic League A-B Division semifinal. The Eagles’ victory locks down a reservation for their second straight trip to Calihan Hall and the CHSL championship game.

St. Mary’s (10-8) used an 8-2 run to end the second quarter and go ahead 26-22 at the half. Junior Jalon Bailey (15 points) hit a pair of 3-pointers to tip-off the third and then his two free throws with 2:11 left in the frame gave the Eaglets their largest lead of the evening at 40-30.

Brother Rice got itself back into things in the fourth and senior forward Kevin Hayes’ hoop in the lane placed the Warriors at the doorstep of the lead, trailing just 44-43 with 50 ticks of the clock remaining.

But St. Mary’s senior Lamon Mathison sank two free throws and Brother Rice couldn’t connect from deep in the closing moments for the tie.

St. Mary’s senior point guard Jason Boswell scored a team-high 18 points, 10 coming in the second quarter. His jumper with 1:02 to go in the first half propelled the Eaglets into an advantage on the scoreboard they wouldn’t look back from the rest of the night.

Longtime St. Mary’s head coach George Porritt appreciates his club’s tenacity.

“We battled for this one, we scrapped it out,” he said. “We were playing tough defense and had a couple of nice stretches there on offense with how we attacked and kicked out for the open shot. This is how we have to play to win ball games.”

Brother Rice received 24 points and 14 rebounds from Hayes, the Warriors all-league wing.

“We’re disappointed,” said Brother Rice head coach Ed Shaffer. “We wanted to go to Calihan. They (OLSM) just played better than we did. We didn’t do what we had to do tonight and St. Mary’s was a big reason for that.”

Shaffer and his Warriors (12-6) were in pursuit of their first trip to Calihan Hall and the CHSL finals in 16 years.

St. Mary’s has a rematch on its hands in Sunday afternoon’s CHSL championship game as they get ready to square off with Detroit U-D Jesuit. Last year, U-D Jesuit won 62-42.

U-D Jesuit has defeated St. Mary’s both times they played previously this winter. Before Wednesday, the Eaglets had lost both prior contests this season to Brother Rice.

Brother Rice rallies for upset of No. 5 U-D Jesuit

BLOOMFIELD HILLS– When discussing “program wins,” victories that boost the profile of a particular sports program, they don’t get much bigger than what Birmingham Brother Rice’s boys basketball team pulled off Tuesday night.

Playing in front of a capacity home crowd, Brother Rice upset Detroit U-D Jesuit 58-53, rebounding from a sluggish first-quarter start to defeat the No. 5 squad in the state in a see-saw affair down the stretch that featured a half-dozen lead changes in the closing four and a half minutes.

Prior to Tuesday, the Warriors had not beaten Catholic League Central-rival U-D Jesuit on the hardwood in five years.

Brother Rice raised its record to 11-4. U-D Jesuit slipped to 13-2. Two weeks ago, U-D Jesuit defeated Brother Rice 62-46 in it’s home gym.

The host-Warriors found themselves behind 19-4 to open the game Tuesday, but quickly fought their way to back into contention.

Trailing 25-23 at halftime and 39-38 after three quarters, Brother Rice took the lead for good on a breakaway lay-up by senior captain Ryan Jordan. The score resulted off an out-of-bounds play underneath the U-D Jesuit basket with 15 seconds left and put the Warriors in front 54-53.

U-D Jesuit turned the ball over on the ensuing possession and Brother Rice seniors Drew Gallagher and Dominic Downs drilled game-securing free throws in the closing moments.

Cassius Winston, U-D Jesuit’s all-state junior point guard who led the Cubs to an appearance in the Class A final four last year, finished with a game-high 24 points. He provided U-D Jesuit its last lead of the evening on a put-back hoop with 20 seconds on the clock.

Senior wing Kevin Hayes paced the Brother Rice stat sheet with a double-double of 16 points and 12 boards. Gallagher had 14 points and Downs 10, including a critical game-tying 3 late in the fourth quarter.

“My seniors were the difference tonight, they just hung in there and made plays when we needed them,” Warriors head coach Ed Shaffer said.

Shaffer’s troops are proving battle-tested. In 2014, Brother Rice was 1-7 in league action. This winter they finished 5-3. On Friday, the Warriors went on the road and squeaked by Warren De La Salle in overtime.

U-D Jesuit was coming off an inspiring victory over the weekend against state-ranked Saginaw Arthur Hill.

“I’m disappointed,” Cubs head coach Pat Donnelly said. “We didn’t compete with the kind of intensity you have to bring to come out of a place like this with a win. They (Brother Rice) played with passion and poise and we were lacking it when it counted the most.”