Monday's high schools: Brother Rice uses size to dominate Eastpointe in season opener, 76-43

David Goricki
The Detroit News

Birmingham Brother Rice showcased a lineup of players ranging 6-foot-4 to 6-6 in height in the long, anticipated season opener Monday night, using the size to dominate Eastpointe, 76-43.

Things looked different with players wearing masks, although not properly, and with officials kicking the ball to players who were at the free-throw line.

Brother Rice forward Curtis Williams, right, tries to drive past Eastpointe guard Mikoy Mercer.

Sure, area fans know about 6-6 sophomore Curtis Williams, who has offers from Alabama and Maryland, but it was 6-6 senior center Will Shannon who set the tempo with his inside baskets, rebounding and blocking shots.

Shannon, a three-year varsity player known more for his baseball skills, had a double-double (14 points, 13 rebounds, six offensive boards), including six points in the opening quarter to help Brother Rice take a 16-10 lead. Brother Rice led 33-17 at halftime.

Shannon scored off a putback, blocked a shot and later got in the passing lane to make a steal and layup for the 33-17 cushion with a minute left in the half.

How impressive was Brother Rice on the offensive glass? Well, Brother Rice had five offensive rebounds on one possession with Shannon cashing in for that 31-17 advantage.

“We just tried to crash the glass and get as many points as we can,” said Shannon, who is a catcher in baseball, owning an offer from Akron. "I'm just trying to be a senior leader and help the younger guys.”

Younger guys? Well, it’s Shannon and four sophomore starters.

“Will’s a three-year varsity guy and he’s our stability,” Brother Rice coach Rick Palmer said. “We start four sophomores and Will, and he’s so reliable. As good as he was tonight, he’s been that good in practice and he was named our unanimous captain yesterday, every single guy voted for him.”

Brother Rice continued with  a 32-point uprising in the third quarter for a 65-29 lead. Williams’ alley-oop pass to Johnathan Blackwell started the second half  as Palmer emptied his bench near the end of the third quarter.

No doubt, 6-5, 240-pound sophomore forward Xavier Thomas was a big factor for Brother Rice during that pivotal third quarter, scoring off putbacks, free throws after getting offensive rebounds and scoring in transition to score 10 of his 18 points.

After scoring one transition basket, Thomas was again well on his way for another breakaway layup when grabbed from behind, showing Eastpointe’s frustration with the intentional foul. Thomas made a free throw for a 57-26 lead.

Blackwell, a 6-4 sophomore guard who transferred from Novi Christian Academy, scored seven of his 11 points in the third.

Williams scored eight of his 14 points during the third, including his third 3-pointer of the game.

Kumauri Bennett scored 14 for Eastpointe.

More boy's basketball

University Prep 54, Harper Woods 40: Sterling Blakely had 24 points and Demario Brown had nine points with eight rebounds for University Prep (1-0). Harper Woods is 0-1.

Boy's scores

Almont 80, Dryden 71

Bay City Western 57, Bay City John Glenn 46

Berkley 43, Royal Oak Shrine 37

Chelsea 46, Stockbridge 27

Flint Powers Catholic 94, Imlay City 53

Gaylord St. Mary's 57, Roscommon 38

Harbor Beach 47, North Branch 36

Macomb L’anse Creuse North 53, Marine City Cardinal Mooney 50

North Farmington 76, St Clair Shores Lake Shore 42

Pinckney 54, Plymouth Christian Academy 42

Riverview Gabriel Richard 44, Warren Michigan Collegiate 35

Rochester Hills Stoney Creek 59, West Bloomfield 58

Wyandotte 72, Allen Park 66

Girl's basketball

Wyandotte 48, Allen Park 27: Cortney Olson had 11 points for Wyandotte (1-0). Mia Nightingale had 16 points for Allen Park (0-1).

Girl's scores

Adrian Lenawee Christian 59, Blissfield 54

Auburn Hills Oakland Christian 52, Genesee Christian 32

Chelsea 60, Stockbridge 45

Dryden 40, Carsonville-Port Sanilac 16

Petersburg Summerfield 49, Carleton Airport 38

Plymouth Christian Academy 61, Waterford Lakes 53

Ypsilanti Arbor Prep 73, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep 19; Detroit News staff contributed.