With three losses, you won’t find Saginaw High in the boys basketball top 10 … not yet, anyway.
But the Trojans came through with a thoroughly impressive victory Friday when they drilled crosstown rival Saginaw Arthur Hill, 78-46.
Arthur Hill entered the game unbeaten and ranked No. 3 in Class A, but the Lumberjacks were definitely rocked when 6-foot-4 junior center Will Rodgers, who is a top-flight football recruit, abruptly transferred to a high school in Colorado.
That played right into Saginaw’s game plan.
“The kids attacked their weaknesses and took advantage of them,” said Saginaw coach Julian Taylor. “Our bigs were attacking their bigs. We were more athletic than them with them losing Rodgers, and we rebounded well.”
The attacking bigs included 6-5 Eddie Thigpen, who came off the bench and led the Trojans with 17 points.
“He did a great job when he got in the game to attack the middle,” Taylor said. “He got lay-up after lay-up.”
Saginaw’s 6-7 Tarrence Crumpton scored eight points and blocked six shots. He also added two thundering dunks that sent the fans into a frenzy.
Another important factor was the play of guard Ronquavious Southward, who scored 15 points and grabbed impressive rebounds after being moved off the point.
“We were struggling a little bit,” Taylor said. “We made some adjustments trying to find the right rotation. I took Ronquavious off the ball so he could focus on shooting the ball a little but more. He’s still distributing.”
The Trojans are 6-3, which is not that impressive, but they may not lose the rest of the season because of what is going to happen over the next two weeks.
This week, 6-4 Harry Speight, a transfer from Carrollton, becomes eligible, and he will make Saginaw a better rebounding team.
“He can shoot the ball, and he’s power down low,” said Taylor. “He’s going to be a matchup problem for some kids.”
The big surprise is, the following week, the prodigal son returns.
Al Eichelberger, 6-7, has returned to Saginaw. He left following his sophomore year to play alongside Detroiter Josh Jackson for Prolific Prep in Napa, Calif. After last season, he transferred to La Lumiere, a prep school in La Porte, Ind.
But with his grandfather in hospice care, Eichelberger, who signed with DePaul, has been at Saginaw for a couple of weeks now.
“It is good to have him back, and he was ready to come back,” said Taylor. “I had a long talk with him, and he’s happy to be back, but not under these circumstances.”
Saginaw’s three losses were to Ypsilanti, Belleville and Flint Carman-Ainsworth, all quality teams. They can be viewed as learning opportunities, and now the fun begins for the Trojans.
“We lost to some pretty good teams,” Taylor said. “We should be pretty good because of the experience Al and Henry bring and the toughness they bring inside. Plus with the guard play we already have, we should be pretty good.”
They will be top-10 good.
Clarkston shows strength
There were some interesting games Saturday, none more than Clarkston’s victory over previously unbeaten Detroit Renaissance, 55-35. Clarkston winning wasn’t a surprise, but the 20-point margin of victory was downright stunning.
Clarkston plays at unbeaten and unranked Rochester Adams on Tuesday. Adams features high-scoring guard Spencer Littleson, who has signed with Duquesne. It will be Clarkston’s third tough game in six days.
Renaissance was ranked No. 5 in Class A last week and appeared as though it had become the best team in the Public School League, especially after it began league play by rocking defending champ Western, but that may have to be rethought.
Rejoining the PSL conversation is East English Village, which began the season as the top-ranked team in the PSL but lost early nonconference games to Flint Beecher and Huber Heights Wayne (Ohio).
East English Village notched a victory Saturday at the Floyd Mayweather Classic with a 79-72 win over Muskegon.
Cass Tech, which has been an up-and-down team, was definitely up Saturday when it beat a good Benton Harbor team. Cass Tech will have an opportunity to show it can contend for the PSL title Tuesday when it plays at East English Village.
Detroit Allen Academy had one of the best weekends in school history. After winning at River Rouge on Friday, 58-47, it spanked Arthur Hill, 76-56, Saturday in the Horatio Williams Freedom Classic. Even if Arthur Hill was still reeling from Rodgers’ defection, it was an impressive win for a Class C school.
Contact Mick McCabe: 313-223-4744 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @mickmccabe1.
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