Brother Rice Ends Season with a Loss to Bloomfield Hills in Districts

FARMINGTON HILLS – Blasting the door to the state tournament off its hinges, Bloomfield Hills was like a demolition crew, creating all kinds of havoc on the hardwood while pasting Catholic League-foe Birmingham Brother Rice 83-44, to tip-off Class A district action at North Farmington High School Monday evening.

Scorching the nets from the get-go, Bloomfield Hills opened the game on a 10-0 run. The Black Hawks, ranked No. 7 in the state to end the regular season, went ahead 28-8 after a quarter of play and 44-21 at the break, trampling their opponents at every turn.

The second half was more of the same, as Bloomfield Hills (18-3) kept bringing the pain and pouring it on.

All-state Black Hawks’ senior center Yante Maten delivered three straight thunderous slam dunks in the third quarter, the second one coming on an off-the-glass feed from star senior point guard Armand Cartwright and the finale and topper on a coast-to-coast drive where the 6-foot-8 goliath jammed it home, got the whistle and then swished the ensuing free throw.

Consecutive 3s from Cartwright made it a 30-point affair, 60-30, at the 2:36 mark of the frame.

Maten registered another in a long line of sparkling performances, scoring 25 points, pulling down 16 rebounds and blocking seven shots.

“I take it upon myself to get us started with my play,” he said. “We pride ourselves on team basketball. You can’t win by yourself. Everyone touches the ball and you try to spread it around as much as possible. This is it. Right now, it’s win or go home time. We don’t want to go home and that’s how we’re going to compete.”

Cartwright notched 18 points, eight assists and four steals on the night and concurred with Maten’s comments.

“As a team, we play hard, strong basketball on every possession,” he said. “We went out there tonight to prove a point, send a message, that we’re ready to make a run at this thing.”

Bloomfield Hills shot 65 percent from the field on Monday.

Even Black Hawks head coach Duane Graves was a little surprised at how well his club played.

“They always seem to find a higher gear when you need them to,” he said. “These guys are hungry.”

The victory Monday by Graves and his squad sends them into Wednesday’s district semifinals against district-host North Farmington (14-6), a team the Black Hawks have beaten twice already this winter.

Brother Rice concludes the season with a 12-9 overall record. Junior forward Kevin Hayes paced the Warriors in the stat sheet Monday with 15 points and eight rebounds.

Ed Shaffer, Brother Rice’s head coach, made no excuses after the loss.

“That’s a very good team (Bloomfield Hills) over there, we just couldn’t stack up” he said.

Warriors Win by 12 on Senior Night, 85-73

On Friday night the Brother Rice Warriors (12-8) went out with a bang as they tallied a season-high 85 points on their way to an 85-73 victory over Detroit Central Collegiate.  The Warriors started all 4 Seniors on Senior-night as Patrick Sparks, Denny Flynn, Steven Westbrooks, and Mitchell Shaffer were honored for their hard work and commitment to the basketball program. The Seniors responded in a big way as Flynn, Westbrooks, and Sparks combined to nail their first 4 3-pointers as Rice jumped out to an early 12-2 lead.


From there, the scoring continued in bunches as (Junior Guard) Jaqualin Hannah buried a 3-pointer and a runner in the lane to help give Rice a 23-19 lead after the 1st Quarter of play.  In the 2nd, Rice was able to score in transition as well as around the basket as (Junior Forward) Kevin Hayes scored 8 of his team-high 19 points during the Quarter.  As the tempo got faster and faster, the Warriors were able to capitalize on easy baskets time and time again. When all was said and done, Rice took a 48-33 lead into halftime.


The Seniors went out again at the start of the 3rd Quarter and continued their stellar play. They were able to extend the lead to 20 before Central cut it down to 66-50 at the end of 3 Quarters. The Warriors continued to bomb away as the team combined to hit 10 3-pointers on the night. Great shooting combined with unselfish passing allowed Rice to hang on for a 12-point win.


Kevin Hayes: 19 points, 8 rebounds, 1 almost 360-degree dunk.

Patrick Sparks: 12 points, 9 rebounds.

7 players scored 6 or more points for Rice.


Brother Rice Wins at the Buzzer on Downs’ 3-Pointer, 77-75

On Tuesday night the Brother Rice Warriors (11-8) traveled to Detroit and knocked off Detroit Martin Luther King on a buzzer beater by the score of 77-75. The high-scoring affair was highlighted by a game-ending 3-pointer at the buzzer by (Junior Guard) Dominic Downs. Brother Rice led from the tip of the game until there was 30 seconds left. Following turn overs by both teams in a 10-second span, Brother Rice took the ball with 20 seconds left, down by 1. Following a few passes and some dribble penetration, Dominic Downs found himself wide open from the wing where he nailed his 2nd 3-pointer of the game to give Rice a thrilling 2-point win.


The Warriors came out of the gates firing on all cylinders as they made their 1st 5 Field Goals to take a 12-4 lead. In the process (Senior Forward) Patrick Sparks had an assist, 2 rebounds, and 6 points. Rice continued their momentum and stretched their lead to 10 when (Junior Guard) Ryan Jordan swished a 3-pointer as the Quarter expired to give Rice a 24-14 lead.


As expected, King made a 2nd Quarter run to get back in the game and cut Rice’s lead to 4.  Fortunately for Rice, their reserves kept the team in the game. (Junior Guard) Davis Feldman scored 5 points in the 1st Quarter and then 8 more in the 2nd to keep Rice in the lead. With the half winding down Downs made a 3-pointer to make the score 41-34 at the half. In the 3rd Quarter Rice sent an emphatic message on the opening possession of the 2nd half, as (Junior Forward) Kevin Hayes threw down a thunderous 2-hand alley-oop dunk to give Rice immediate momentum and a 9-point lead.


The Warriors continued to outplay King for the remainder of the Quarter eventually earning a 61-48 advantage. However, Martin Luther King responded back in the 4th Quarter. They scored in transition and from beyond the arc to cut into Rice’s lead. Rice held a 5-point lead with a little over a minute left in the game. King scored on a lay-up to cut the lead to 3, and then stole a ball at half-court and scored on a 1-hand dunk to make it a 1-point game. On the dunk though, King received a technical foul for taunting. Dominic Downs made the 2nd of 2 free throws to make the score 74-72.


The Warriors turned the ball over on the ensuing possession, and King was able to capitalize on it. They came down and hit a 3-pointer with 35 seconds to go, which gave them their 1st lead of the game, 75-74. Rice turned it over immediately, but after calling a timeout to set the defense, Rice forced a turnover to get the ball back. With 20 seconds to go Rice handled King’s ½-court pressure. They passed and dribbled around for about 15 seconds before Dominic Downs found himself open from the wing with the clock winding down. He calmly stepped up and buried a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give Rice their 4th win in 5 games, 77-75.


Patrick Sparks: 21 points, 10 rebounds

Kevin Hayes: 19 points, 14 rebounds

Davis Feldman: 15 points.

Dominic Downs: 11 points, Game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer


Rice Beats St. Clair by 4, 53-49

On Friday night the Brother Rice Warriors (10-8) took a long bus ride to St. Clair, MI and beat the Saints in a Non-League match-up by the score of 53-49. Brother Rice’s strong perimeter defense held the Saints to 0-for-16 shooting from the 3-point arc. Meanwhile Rice utilized its quickness and athleticism to score in transition and from the outside throughout the night. (Senior Forward) Patrick Sparks led the Warriors with 14 points, and (Junior Guard) Dominic Downs chipped in with 12.


In the first Quarter the Warriors fell behind early, but were able to make a few 3-pointers to get themselves back in the game. (Junior Guard) Ryan Jordan buried a pair of 3’s to give Rice a boost off the bench. (Senior Forward) Steven Westbrooks and Patrick Sparks each hit triples as well to help give Rice a 4-point lead after the 1st Quarter.


In the 2nd Quarter the two teams went back-and-forth with St. Clair working their interior game against the Warriors reserves. Rice got in foul trouble and the Saints capitalized on it to tie the score midway through the 2nd. Rice finished on a nice 8-2 run to take a 6-point lead into halftime, 28-22.


In the 2nd half both teams changed their defensive fronts to keep their opponents off-balanced. Rice was able to force a number of turn overs, which led to easy baskets. The Warriors took a 9-point lead near the end of the 3rd before St. Clair was forced to call a timeout. The Saints responded back with a run of their own to cut the lead to 2 midway through the 4th. A steal and lay-up by (Junior Guard) DeLano Madison gave Rice a 4-point lead with 3:00 to play.


The Warriors battled to hold on to their lead down the stretch. St. Clair scored with 10 seconds left to make the game 51-49. On the ensuing inbounds play Patrick Sparks got fouled. He calmly sank both free throws to give Rice a 4-point lead, and that was how the game ended.


Patrick Sparks: 14 points, 10 rebounds.

Dominic Downs: 12 points.

Ryan Jordan: 6 points.


Warriors Knock off Detroit Westside Christian Academy 77-76

On Friday night the Brother Rice Warriors (9-8) beat Detroit Westside Christian Academy 77-76 in what could best be described as a track meet. Both teams raced up and down the court practically scoring at will. Brother Rice was sloppy with the ball in the 1st half as they committed 15 turnovers. Westside Christian Academy took a 43-32 lead into halftime. From there, Rice used their interior presence to score consistently throughout the 2nd half.


Brother Rice earned their 1st lead of the game with 7 seconds to go before the buzzer sounded as (Senior Guard) Denny Flynn received a baseball pass from (Junior Guard) Jaqualin Hannah and scored a wide-open lay-up to make it a 77-76 game. Rice got a defensive stop as the buzzer sounded and escaped with a 1-point win.


(Junior Forward) Kevin Hayes had a career-high 37 points and 11 rebounds. Denny Flynn scored 14 points off the bench. Patrick Sparks had 12 points as Brother Rice tallied 45 points in the 2nd half to improve their record to (9-8) on the season.


Rice Loses to Cubs 72-54

On Tuesday night the Brother Rice Warriors (8-8, 1-7) closed out their Catholic League season with a 72-54 loss to the U of D Jesuit Cubs at home. The Cubs raced out to a 45-24 lead at halftime and never looked back. Hot shooting and solid ball handling helped the Cubs score easy baskets throughout the night. Brother Rice rallied in the 2nd half and cut the lead to 11 points, but that was as close as they got as U of D Jesuit cruised to an 18-point win, 72-54.


Kevin Hayes: 22 points, 6 rebound


Warriors Beat Detroit Loyola 59-54

On Friday night the Brother Rice Warriors (8-7) traveled to Detroit and beat the AA-Division leaders on their home court by the score of 59-54. The Warriors shot the lights out in the 1st half by making 7 of 9 3-pointers. The hot shooting allowed Rice to take a 35-25 lead into halftime. From there, Detroit Loyola fought back to take a 52-51 lead with less than 2 minutes to go in the game. But the Warriors responded with scores on 3 consecutive possessions to take the lead back and hold on for a 5-point win.


(Junior Guard) Delano Madison, (Junior Guard) Nick Bielkie, and (Senior Forward) Steven Westbrooks each buried a pair of 3-pointers early in the game to get Brother Rice off to a fast start. Meanwhile, Kevin Hayes scored 10 of his game-high 18 points in the 1st half to give Rice a 35-25 lead at halftime.


The 2nd half was hard-fought as both teams went back and forth. The Warriors held on for a 4-point lead as the 4th Quarter began. As time went, Detroit Loyola slowly cut into Rice’s lead until they finally took the lead for the 1st time at the 2:00 mark, 52-51. Following a timeout, Kevin Hayes had a steal, and as he scored he was fouled. His free throw gave Rice a 2-point lead. On the next possession (Junior Guard) Jaqualin Hannah found Nick Bielkie for a wide-open lay-up to give Rice a 56-54 lead.


With time running down, Loyola missed on both of their possessions while Rice made their free throws to take a 5-point lead and that was how the game ended. Brother Rice was able to earn an impressive 59-54 victory.


Kevin Hayes: 18 points, 8 rebounds, 5 blocks

Patrick Sparks: 12 points, 7 rebounds

Steven Westbrooks: 8 points

Nick Bielkie: 8 points

DeLano Madison: 8 points


Cubs Sink 15 Three-Pointers as Brother Rice Loses 84-53

On Friday night the Brother Rice Warriors (7-6, 1-5) took it on the chin as the 1st place U of D Jesuit Cubs dismantled the Warriors by the score of 84-53. The Warriors got off to a decent start as they made 5 of their 1st 7 shots of the game. The score was tied briefly at 13-13. From that point on the Cubs rattled off a 20-6 run before finishing the quarter with a 33-19 lead.

The 2nd Quarter saw more of the same as U of D Jesuit shot 79% from the field as a team in the 1st half. The Warriors were unable to stop the 3-point shooting barrage led by (Sophomore PG) Cassius Winston. The heavily recruited D-1 prospect made 7 3-pointers in the 1st half on his way to 29 1st half points. The Cubs led at halftime 57-28.

Brother Rice was unable to dig themselves out of the hole in the 2nd half. U of D extended their lead to 36 before Brother Rice fought back to make it a final score of 84-53. Winston finished with 39 points. Brother Rice was led by (Junior Forward) Kevin Hayes’ 18 points. Patrick Sparks had 12 for the Warriors as well.


Warriors Fall Short in Upset Bid over Pilots, 67-65

BLOOMFIELD HILLS – It was only fitting that the matchup between Catholic League Central Division rivals Birmingham Brother Rice and Warren De La Salle would need to be decided in a thrilling overtime fashion Tuesday night.

The visiting Pilots outlasted the Warriors 67-65 in extra minutes, earning their second win over Brother Rice this season.

“Let me tell you something, every team in the Central Division, there’s a little tension because you only play eight games and you want to be the best Catholic team obviously in the tri-county area so I mean it’s gutty,” De La Salle coach Greg Esler said. “Like I told these kids, you only play eight games but they’re like wars. I don’t care if a team is 0-4 or 1-5, you got a battle every night so this is a great win for us on the road.”

Brother Rice led by as many as 10 points in the fourth quarter, but the Pilots rallied, ending regulation on an 8-2 run capped off by Nelson Cagle’s 3-pointer with 5.9 seconds left to force overtime.

“Nelson hit that big shot, we didn’t give up though,” Esler said. “I think we got down by as many as eight or nine and you know we kept on battling back. We didn’t give up. They played hard, Brother Rice played extremely hard.”

De La Salle held a 65-60 lead with two minutes left in overtime before the home team made a run of its own. A 3-pointer from senior Patrick Sparks and a layup on Brother Rice’s next possession from junior Andrew Gallagher tied the game with less than 20 seconds left.

But sophomore Chris Rollins saved the game for De La Salle, scoring a layup with eight seconds left to seal a critical road victory for the Pilots.

“Our guys played really hard tonight, executed our game plan for pretty much 28 of the 32 minutes and then they started putting pressure on us at the end and we just kind of had some late game execution falls that gave them an opportunity to get back into it,” Brother Rice coach Ed Shaffer said. “In overtime, which was close, they got up by five and we battled back and tied it at five and they kind of made a play at the end of the game, on the last-second shot to win it. So our guys played hard, they played hard and they just made a few more plays than we did tonight.”

The Warriors trailed 26-24 at halftime, but went on a 13-4 run to end the third quarter, which gave them a comfortable six-point lead heading into the fourth. The Pilots outscored the Warriors 23-16 in the final quarter, though, en route to their overtime victory.

Despite the loss, Brother Rice can take a lot of positives from the home defeat, as the team’s second matchup with De La Salle was much closer than the first.

“The thing I can take from it tonight is you know they beat us by 24 points the first time that we played them and kind of wasn’t a close game but tonight we battled to a place where literally we had them down by 10 in the fourth quarter and really should’ve put them away and didn’t,” Shaffer said. “We can talk about growth and development that we saw with our guys and that is what you want to do every week, week by week by week, as we head towards the Catholic League and state tournament.”

De La Salle will host Divine Child while Brother Rice will Travel to University of Detroit Jesuit High School Friday night.


Brother Rice Loses to Eaglets in Overtime 56-53


BIRMINGHAM – Orchard Lake St. Mary’s played like a team starving for a win Friday night on the road in hostile territory against Catholic League rival Birmingham Brother Rice.

That hunger was rewarded with a 56-53 St. Mary’s victory in a game that looked like it was going to be a rout and ended up a dog fight.

Coming into the high-intensity affair, St. Mary’s had lost two straight and three of four to open play in the CHSL Central Division.

Those in attendance Friday would have been hard-pressed to tell, as the Eaglets were smoking out of the gate.

St. Mary’s (7-4, 2-3) was in front 28-18 at halftime and after a 3 off the bench from Luke Bauss midway through the third quarter, the visitors went ahead 42-23.

Brother Rice proceeded to go on a 3-point bombing spree and shoot its way back into contention. Following five consecutive triples by the Warriors’ snipers, the first and last one splashed home by reserve sophomore guard Davis Feldman, it was a nail-biter at 44-43, with a little more than five minutes to go.

A free throw by Brother Rice’s junior point guard Nick Bielki tied the game 46-46 with just over four minutes to play.

But St. Mary’s star junior swingman Teddy McCree wouldn’t let his squad fall. McCree’s pair from the charity stripe gave the Eaglets back an advantage on the scoreboard it wouldn’t relinquish again and his two drives baseline for hoops in the closing two and a half minutes kept Brother Rice at bay.

“We weren’t playing well, didn’t have our heads on straight before this game tonight and I wanted to do something about it,” said McCree of another clutch performance of his. “Getting this win means a lot for us.”

It wasn’t easy.

Clinging to a 55-53 lead, junior guard Lamon Mathison drilled a free throw with five seconds left to provide St. Mary’s with a one-possession lead and allowing the Warriors a chance to try and knot the game and send it into overtime with a 3.

St. Mary’s defense was up to the task, however, and forced a Brother Rice turnover to clinch the much-needed win.

The Eaglets’ assault for much of the night was ignited by senior forward Roger Hood. Making his first start of the year, the lanky 6-foot-4 forward scored a game-high 21 points, 15 of them in the first half.

“My shots were going in early-on, so I kept shooting it,” said Hood of his mentality on the floor Friday. “I knew we needed more scoring and I took it upon myself to give that type of effort.”

McCree has been carrying much of the offensive load for St. Mary’s this winter. He had 17 points and seven rebounds in Friday’s game.

Brother Rice (7-4, 1-3) had three different players reach double-figures in scoring, headlined by senior captain Patrick Sparks’ 16 points and eight rebounds. Feldman and junior forward Kevin Hayes each put in 11 points apiece.

Free-throw shooting in the fourth quarter hurt the Warriors. They went 1-of-7 from the line in the final six minutes.

“We need to be able to avoid these lulls we’re encountering, if we clear that up, we can play with anybody around,” Warriors head coach Ed Shaffer said.

Less than two weeks ago, Shaffer’s club upset St. Mary’s on the road in overtime. Back on Tuesday, Brother Rice blasted Pontiac Notre Dame Prep in a Catholic League crossover.