Posted On: 03/15/18 4:01 PM
This game was filled with studs in the junior and senior class. Ann Arbor Skyline’s Brandon Wade who is committed to A10 school, Duquesne and Novi’s Traveon Maddox JR. who is committed to Oakland. Both squads also have some uncommitted senior stars with Skyline’s sharpshooter, Jack Ammerman and Novi’s floor general, Trendon Hankerson and their big boy on the block, Tariq Woody. Both teams also have two of the top junior guards with Novi’s Jiovanni Miles and Skyline’s Ryan Wade. Both hold Division 1 offers. The two teams faced off earlier in the season and Ann Arbor Skyline was victorious, winning 72-56. However, Novi was without Hankerson and Woody in that matchup. Since that game, Ann Arbor Skyline won another 22 games. Coming into this rematch, Novi has won nine of their last ten games. Winner lands a spot in the state quarter finals at Calihan Hall. In other words, this was going to be a classic.
The first bucket of the contest came from Woody. This was later answered by a Wade drive. Later, a triple from Ammerman answered by Miles. Ammerman is one of the top shooters in the state and can get hot quick. It was evident early on that this game was going to be a blood bath. Skyline’s starting sophomore, Kabir Bergin did a great job early on with denying Woody the rock. Also making a strong defensive contribution for Skyline was DeSean Munson. Munson had a handful of blocks throughout the first. Hankerson played well in the opening quarter directing the offense and being patient. At the conclusion of the first, Skyline held a 12-9 advantage.
Two quick buckets from Woody and Maddox gave Novi the lead in the opening minute. Maddox wasn’t done, he went on to score two more buckets in the next minute. Novi’s inside outside game was terrific and very efficient. The next possession down it was Woody’s turn. But Skyline wouldn’t be stopped, the former Michigan Gators trio of the Wade boys and Ammerman carried the scoring load early on. A deep triple from Miles gave Novi a five point lead, but Ammerman answered with a triple of his own. The two high power offenses were going at it. A Hankerson triple then Woody finish at the block gave Novi as seven point lead, but Ammerman answered yet again. But Novi was still hot, senior swingman, Blake King added a trey near the end of the half. At the break, Novi held a 32-25 lead. Novi out scored Skyline 23-13 in the second quarter.
Early on, Skyline brought the deficit down to four but King brought the back up to seven with another triple for Novi. Later that quarter, a pair of Hankerson free throws increased the lead to nine points, a game high. But the Ann Arbor Skyline Eagles continued to claw their way back. Later, the Eagles perimeter shots were not falling as Novi continued to be dominate down low. A Woody and-1 brought the lead back up to eight. The next possession down for Novi, a Miles double clutch finish brought the Novi lead to double digits for the first time of the contest. Eagles fans looked scared for the first time this season as shots continued to rim out for their sharp shooters. In the final two minutes, the Eagles began to fly. A 9-2 run consisting of triples from each Wade brother and Bergin brought the deficit back to one possession for the first time since early in the second quarter. With one more quarter remaining, Novi held a 47-44 lead.
The teams were trading brackets in the opening minutes. With Novi’s Hankerson and Maddox getting buckets as well as Bergin and Munson for the undefeated Eagles. As Skyline’s team started to get fatigue, Novi took advantage. A 6-0 run headed by Miles and Woody brought the lead back up to eight with five minutes remaining. Finishes from of course both Wades brought the game back to two points. But a Woody Tip in put the Novi lead back up to two possessions. On the next possession, Ryan Wade split from the line with 150 seconds remaining. A deep contested Brandon Wade three tied tine game up with a minute remaining. As Novi played stall offense for the final minute, Skyline had a foul to give which they used, forcing Novi to in bound the ball with 10 seconds remaining. They inbounded the ball to Maddox and he finished at the rack with 2.8 seconds remaining. Skyline’s half court heave did not fall and the 23-0 Ann Arbor Skyline team was defeated. Novi defeated Ann Arbor Skyline 61-59. Novi was led by their Fab Four of Woody adding 18 points and 15 rebounds, Hankerson and Maddox Jr. each adding 13, and Miles contributing. For the Ann Arbor Skyline, Brandon Wade led with 17 points and 8 assists, Ryan Wade added 14 points, Munson added 13 points and 10 rebounds, and Ammerman chipped in with 11 points. Novi will face Belleville at Calihan Hall on Tuesday in the state quarter finals.
Novi’s senior guard, Nik Williams is a strong perimeter defender and brings fire off of the bench.
Ann Arbor Skyline will continue to have a strong front court next year headed by Munson and Bergin. They’ll still have one of the Wade boys which means a lot of skill on this squad. With some development and some more pieces, this team has the chance to make to be a strong force again. But it will be difficult to get past inter city rival, Ann Arbor Pioneer.
Ann Arbor Skyline’s Ammerman and Brandon Wade both have the ability to make an immediate impact at wherever Ammerman chooses and Wade’s Duquesne. Both over 1000 point scorers in their four year varsity careers. They also both possess a strong shot and strong court vision.