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.