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BOYS BASKETBALL: Consortium plays flawless in coach's memory, collects bittersweet win over Robichaud

   | Scott Burnstein

BOYS BASKETBALL: Consortium plays flawless in coach's memory, collects bittersweet win over Robichaud

DETROIT – Coach Al Anderson was honored in victory and thought at Detroit Consortium’s boys basketball game Tuesday evening.

The Cougars, playing with heavy hearts in front of a jam-packed home crowd, pummeled a visiting and very formidable Dearborn Heights Robichaud squad, 82-48, garnering an emotional, bittersweet win, in the first time the team had taken the floor without Anderson, their 40-year old head coach, who died of a heart attack over the weekend.

Having battled heart problems the past few years of his life, Anderson collapsed at the school last Saturday in the hours following Consortium’s lopsided triumph over Dayton (OH) Dunbar.   

Prior to his passing, he was viewed as one of the fastest up-and-comers in the local high school coaching profession.

Anderson has been replaced at the helm of the Cougars program by assistant coaches Cap Mitchell and Anthony Atwater, named interim co-head coaches on Sunday.

Tuesday’s night festivities started with a minute and a half moment of silence in Anderson’s memory.

Then, as if on cue, the Cougars hit the floor and went wild, reeling off the first ten straight points of the game. To finish Robichaud off, they opened the fourth quarter on a 16-2 run, which put the emotionally-charged affair to bed.

Senior forward Vincent Hunter played inspired basketball, donning his fallen coach’s old high school number (32) and going for a double-double of 25 points and 12 rebounds. The UTEP-signee’s outing was highlighted by five emphatic slam dunks.

Josh Jackson, Consortium’s fantastic freshman swingman, continued to show why some experts consider him the No. 1-ranked ninth-grader in the nation, breaking loose for a near triple-double of 18 points, 10 rebounds and nine blocks.

The home grandstand was filled with droves of Anderson's friends, family, former players, teammates and coaching associates that descended on the small gym in Southwest Detroit to pay their respects. A funeral and memorial service will be held for Anderson on Friday morning.

The victory boosts the Cougars record to 14-3. Consortium is ranked No. 2 in the state in Class C.

Robichaud, ranked No. 8 in Class B, dropped to 12-4 in the wake of Tuesday's loss. Lorenzo Bonam, Robichaud’s top player, was forced to leave the game in the second quarter with an ankle injury, severely undermining the visitors’ cause.

During his own playing days as a prepster, Anderson was a star point guard in the early 1990s at then state-power Detroit St. Martin DePorres. In college, he ran track at Central Michigan University.

Since he assumed the reins at Consortium six years ago, Anderson had led the program to great heights. In 2011, he guided the Cougars into the Class C final four.