Sunday, March 1, 2009

The O-C Shows Strong In Black & White

The Catholic League's annual boys' basketball championships are being played at University of Detroit-Mercy's Calihan Hall today.

Oakland County resident Mike Birkett, who grew up in Royal Oak and attended Madison Heights Bishop Foley, was the Referee for Sunday's first championship game. That game, for the C-D bracket title, features Ann Arbor's Gabriel Richard High and Detroit Loyola High, a school that's been open for a little more than 10 years.

The second tilt pits Novi's Catholic Central versus Warren's DeLaSalle High in a throwback game to the days of the Catholic League's heady Detroit days.

All of the three officials have at least one strong tie to Oakland County. Mike Lombard is a graduate of now-closed Royal Oak Dondero High, Wallace Whitfield is a current Oakland County resident and Don Vogt is the principal of Hazel Park High School.

There was a day when Catholic Central and De LaSalle would have represented an eastside-westside matchup as well as any of the Detroit public schools. The Shamrocks were formerly parked out on Outer Drive on the site of Renaissance High. De LaSalle's Pilots earned their name for the school's close proximity to Detroit's City Airport. De LaSalle vacated their old campus off of Conner in the early 1980s.

~T.C. Cameron is the author of Metro Detroit's High School Basketball Rivalries, due August of 2009 from Arcadia Publishing.

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