ROCKING THE BOAT: Unbeaten Chandler Park hoopsters disrupting the field in Division 2
Harper Woods Chandler Park Academy is undefeated, yet still somehow sneaking up on people in the Division 2 boys basketball ranks. Despite their perfect record, not many pundits put the Eagles in the same discussion with the likes of Division 2 frontrunners Benton Harbor and New Haven when the state tournament began two weeks ago.
Well, defending champion Benton Harbor and superstar junior forward , Carlos “Scooby” Johnson are out of commission. And New Haven is on the clock.
On Thursday, Chandler Park (21-0) drilled Ferndale 89-40 for the program’s first regional title. Mr. Basketball favorite Romeo Weems (DePaul) and New Haven, final four participants the past two years and state champs in ’17, are next up on the agenda in the quarterfinals Tuesday at Ortonville Brandon.
“We’re playing for respect, we’ve been playing every game this season to prove ourselves,” third-year Eagles coach James Scott said. “This team has a chip on its shoulder, they play for each other out there. I know what people say, ‘They’re a charter school, they don’t play anybody, they don’t have any big-time recruits’ and everything else. But we have a bunch of competitors on this team, we have game-changers, we have leader. All you can do is beat whoever is on your schedule and this club has slayed every dragon put in front of them.”
Chandler Park unleashes a perimeter-centered attack with length, intelligence and instinct. The senior-laden squad has three genuine primetime playmakers in Tyland Tate (6-foot-6 senior forward), Andre Bradford (6-foot-4 senior shooting guard) and Derrick Bryant (5-foot-9 senior point guard).
A quiet assassin on the wing, Tate tickled the twine for 30 points in the regional finals, pumping in 6-of-8 from long distance. Bradford is a bulldog, a gutty gunner and an elite finisher in the open court. Spunky and funky floor general Bryant quarterbacks an offense as well as anyone in the state at his position. Bryant booked a double-double against Ferndale, dotting the stat sheet for 16 points and 10 assists.