Dave Mann is at it again, guiding Harper Woods Chandler Park to the Class B state quarterfinals.
Mann earned his 700th career win earlier this season, joining Frank Orlando of Detroit Country Day, Al DeMott of Sandusky and William Winfield of Detroit King in that exclusive club.
Mann guided Redford Bishop Borgess to three Class C state championships (1993, ’95, ’97) and Inkster to a Class C state title in 2002.
Still, Mann’s greatest achievement could well be leading Chandler Park to its first regional championship – in any sport in school history. Chandler Park could meet Country Day in the state championship game Saturday night at Calvin College in Grand Rapids.
Chandler Park earned the regional championship by defeating PSL champion Detroit Mumford 67-48 Thursday, led by a pair of freshman point guards in 5-foot-1 Emaia O’Brien (12 points) and 5-6 Nykesha Sanders (eight points), along with 5-3 senior guard Diamond Williams (10.5 points), who is an excellent on-ball defender, and 5-11 junior forward Kaylyn Pendleton (six points, 10 rebounds).
Chandler Park – which is 17-6 after a .500 season (11-11) a year ago – will play Michigan Center (22-2) Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Tecumseh.
“It’s been a lot of fun and we’ve just been emphasizing to the kids why we’re being focused and intense, and to make sure we’re having fun,” said Mann, who is in his eighth season as head coach at Chandler Park.
“I didn’t have any seniors last year and we had a couple of real nice guards who had been in our middle school who we knew would be freshmen this year, and they’ve started for us and have played well, and Diamond Williams, who never made a 3-point shot until this year, is now making them with regularity.”
Mann, 57, who has 722 wins, continues to coach because he loves it.
“The two games this past week were so fulfilling because I had so many alumni kids come out from all the way back,” Mann said. “I even had four kids from my 1980 Redford Thurston team come in to speak. There were kids I see regularly and some I hadn’t seen in 20 years.”
Mann was coaching three teams last season, Detroit Cornerstone, and Chandler Park’s main varsity team and its “B” team.
Chandler Park’s “B” team finished 18-0 this season, competing in the Charter School Conference, but wasn’t allowed to compete in postseason play.
Burton outstanding in relief
Gwen Burton played for Winfield at King in the late 1980s before moving on to play at Louisville, then coaching as an assistant at Chicago State and Eastern Illinois.
Burton stepped in for Winfield, who suffered a stroke earlier this month, guiding King to a district championship win, then regional victories over Southfield A&T and Detroit Renaissance, avenging a 73-48 loss to Renaissance in the PSL semifinals with a 40-36 regional title win.
Burton was calm and showed her confidence in King’s ability to get the job done and never lost her composure or let her players lose their composure.
Burton made sure King locked down defensively and senior guard Jordan Lewis led the team to wins in both regional games, scoring 21 in a 50-37 win over A&T, then scoring 12 of her 19 points to turn a 23-19 halftime deficit into a 36-32 lead over Renaissance.
Lewis and King (17-3) will make a return trip to Southfield A&T Tuesday at 5 p.m. for a quarterfinal showdown with Grosse Pointe North (19-5) and 6-1 junior Julia Ayrault.
Ayrault, a Michigan State commit, scored 26, including two free throws with 4.1 seconds left for the difference in a 53-51 regional semifinal win over MAC Red rival Macomb Dakota, then scored 22 Thursday to help North dethrone two-time defending regional champion Warren Cousino 57-45 in the title game.
“This has been a totally unexpected run,” said Gary Bennett, who guided Grosse Pointe North to the Class A state championship 10 years ago with Ariel Braker leading the way. “We’ve improved a lot since early January. The competitiveness and toughness of the Red Division of the MAC, coupled with the excellent coaches in this division, simply force you to keep getting better each game.
“Julia really stepped her overall game up – scoring, passing, rebounding, defense – and that has made everyone else step their game up. She has given her teammates an imagination of what can be done on the court and they in turn have filled the roles we’ve asked them to fill. The girls don’t care who gets the credit just as long as Grosse Pointe North gets the job done.”
Ayrault is averaging 19 points, 10.1 rebounds, 4.5 steals and 4.5 blocks.
KLAA champion Wayne and Miss Basketball finalist Camree Clegg will face Hartland in the other semifinal at A&T.
Miss Basketball wants more
East Lansing guard/forward Jaida Hampton won the Miss Basketball award on Friday.
Now, Hampton wants to lead East Lansing (24-0) to a win over Muskegon (23-2) Tuesday night at DeWitt for the right to play for the Class A state championship at Calvin College.
Hampton and her teammates will have to be at their best to beat Muskegon, which is 17-0 since four-star junior point guard Alyza Winston became eligible after transferring in from Muskegon Mona Shores.
“Muskegon is a well-coached team, very athletic and the Winston kid is super quick, super fast and they are 17-0 since she became eligible,” said East Lansing coach Rob Smith. “We’re going to have a great challenge ahead of us, but one that we welcome and one we’re excited about.”
All games Tuesday
Grosse Pointe North vs. Detroit King, at Southfield A&T, 5
Saginaw Heritage vs. Clarkston, at Grand Blanc, 7
East Lansing vs. Muskegon, at DeWitt, 7
Wayne Memorial vs. Hartland, at Southfield A&T, 7
Hamilton vs. Jackson Northwest, at Marshall, 7
Michigan Center vs. Harper Woods Chandler Park, at Tecumseh, 6
Detroit Country Day vs. Freeland, at West Bloomfield, 7
Muskegon Oakridge vs. Kingsley, at Cadillac, 7
Detroit Edison vs. Flint Beecher, at Howell, 7
Pewamo-Westphalia vs. Kent City, at Cedar Springs, 7
Schoolcraft vs. Ypsilanti Arbor Prep, at Bronson, 6
Maple City Glen Lake vs. St. Ignace, at Gaylord, 7
Gaylord St. Mary vs. Chassell, at Sault Ste. Marie, 6
Waterford Lakes vs. Kingston, at Burton Bendle, 6
Athens vs. Adrian Lenawee Christian, at Richland Gull Lake, 7
Mt. Pleasant Sacred Heart vs. Bellaire, at Mason County Central, 7