Friday Night Hoops x 2, & Hairston Gives Timetable

<p>In this edition of Friday Night Hoops we cover two of the top teams in the state of Michigan in The Detroit Renaissance Phoenix and the Lansing Everett Vikings. The Phoenix squared off with Flat Rock while the Vikings took on Benton Harbor. GBW was able to speak with <strong>Malik Hairston</strong> after his game and he gave us a timetable for his decision. At the other game we got word on a junior target that is exploding onto the scene. See inside for details!</p>

Renaissance vs Flat Rock Game Notes and Story courtesy of Roscoe Hill, Contributing Writer

Phoenix Soar Over Flat Rock 80 - 42

It wasn't hard to tell who had the stronger team in Friday's game between the Flat Rock Community Rams and the Phoenix of Renaissance. The disparity in talent was evident as superstars Joe Crawford and Malik Hairston put on a show for the packed that started with the pre-game warm-ups. Each wowed the crowd with high-flying maneuvers and had spectators captivated with their every move. The eyes of the crowd stayed glued to them until entire University of Michigan basketball team waltzed into the gym. Needless to say it was quite the show as everyone was surprised to see the Wolverines show up in mass. Obviously there to show their support for Malik Hairston as he prepares to make his college choice, the buzz caused by the maize and blue was palpable. Unfortunately for everyone in attendance, the excitement was down hill from that point.

Renaissance never trailed as they pummeled the Rams 80 - 42. Malik Hairston once again filled the stat sheet, finishing with a team high 19 point, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, and 5 bone jarring blocks. Joe Crawford dropped 18 points and had 5 rebounds while Tajaun Porter and Carson Butler had 11 and 13 respectively. This game was a run-away from start to finish, as Malik and Joe provided some of the years best highlights.

The play got a little chippy during the third quarter as words went back and forth between teams. All that ended when Hairston took off from his base line launch pad. The crowd roared as he tomahawk jammed over a 6' 4" Flat Rock defender. No more than two plays later, Malik gained possession of the ball and threw an outlet pass to a streaking Carson Butler. Butler immediately spotted a cutting Joe Crawford and tossed the ball up for an alley-oop dunk!

After the game I had the opportunity to speak with both Joe Crawford and Malik Hairston about the Mr. Basketball award and while each remains focused on winning a championship for the Phoenix, both certainly are watching to see who brings it home. Crawford, who expressed excitement about and satisfaction with his choice to become a Kentucky Wildcat, had an amicable solution for all involved. "We'll probably split votes," said Joe regarding he and his teammate.

I also got a chance to talk to Malik Hairston and his father Richard about the question on everyone's mind: Where will the McDonald's All American be going to school? While they weren't able to answer that query, they did address the timeframe for the big decision. "It should be in about a week," said Mr. Hairston. Malik didn't address any leanings at this point, but reaffirmed that his decision would come by the end of the month. Stay tuned recruiting fans!

Everett vs Benton Harbor Game Notes Courtesy of "Dotman"
Game Story by Sam Webb

Everett tops Benton Harbor 74-71

The Class A playoff game Friday night between the Lansing Everett Vikings and the Benton Harbor Tigers was one of the best games of the entire season. This contest had everything. A big name player in MSU signee Goran Suton, faces in the crowd ...namely one Tom Izzo, and a player that has exploded from relative anonymity in 6-7 220 lbs Benton Harbor center, Wilson Chandler. Recognized as one of the top 20 players in the state of Michigan in his class going into this season, his performances this year, especially those in the playoffs, have him rocketing up near the top of that list.

The young man almost single handedly disposed of Jackson in Benton Harbor's previous playoff contest. With 35 points and 23 rebounds on the game, he was nearly unstoppable. The match-up with the 6-9 230 lbs. Suton and top ranked Everett (23-2), however, was going to be a much stiffer test

Everett jumped out early to a 9 point lead, but Benton Harbor came back (thanks in part to cold shooting by the Vikings) to take a 5 point advantage at halftime, 31-26. Sutton came up big late in the third and into the fourth...even nailing a 3-pointer at one point. His efforts compensated for low output up to that stage of the game from teammate Derick Nelson (who spent an inexplicable amount of time on the bench during the night). The drama was thick as there were a number of lead changes in the final moments of the 4th quarter with each team trading money shot for money shot. When the dust settled, the score was tied at 62 and the two clubs were preparing to play an extra period.

Nelson came alive late and scored the Vikings first basket in overtime to make the score 64-62. As was the case in regulation, the two teams exchanged scoring blows like it was a heavyweight fight. With a minute remaining in OT, the scored was once again knotted up, 71-71. Benton Harbor then missed a shot and the Vikings grabbed the rebound. It appeared at that point that the Vikings went into a stall and were going to play for the win or another period of OT. Everett bled the clock all the way down to one to when guard Clyde Mckinney launched a 25-foot 3-pointer that found nothing but the bottom of the net and sent the Vikings into the next round of the playoffs with the 74-71 victory.

On the game Suton was outstanding with 26 points and 13 rebounds, while Nelson finished with 18 points, 15 rebounds, and 6 assists. Chandler had another strong effort for Benton Harbor (19-5), with 24 points and 16 rebounds. His performance had our resident basketball aficionado "DOTMAN" proclaiming that he was the top junior in the state, while Prep Spotlight's Vince Baldwin chimed in with a more subdued top 3 listing. We'll have much more on this prospect in the coming days and months.

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