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BOYS BASKETBALL: Farmington impressing on the hardwood, making surprising run at league title

By: Scott Burnstein, February 3, 2014, 9:00 am

FARMINGTON – Not many prep boys basketball teams across the state have turned as many heads and raised as many eyebrows this season than the Farmington Falcons have.

Entering the year tagged by the press with limited expectations, Farmington has barreled out of the gate to an 11-1 start. After Friday’s 79-76 win on the road versus league-rival Berkley, the Falcons are all alone in first place in the Oakland Activities Association Blue Division standings at the midpoint of the campaign.

Falcons head coach, Terrence Porter, is only slightly surprised.

“I thought we were going to be pretty good this summer, I don’t know if I foresaw us being 11-1 right now, but I knew we had the pieces to do some damage,” he said.

Those aforementioned pieces are a formidable mix.

Piloting Farmington’s hardwood attack this winter is the inside-outside tandem of 5-foot-11 senior point guard Avon White and 6-foot-5 junior center Justin Banks, an under-the-radar twosome that has proven a destructive pair.

White is a transfer from Boston and has firmly established himself one of the premiere floor generals in Metro Detroit in his first season of hooping in the Motor City. He’s an absolute killer when he gets into the lane and when he’s leading a fast break.

Averaging 16 points and almost seven assists per game, the Massachusetts transplant has made a seamless transition to his new team.

“Avon sees the floor so well and makes everyone around him better and when you have that kind of innate ability you don’t need a lot of adjustment time,” Porter said.

Banks, a Division I college football recruit (lineman), is a workhorse on both ends of the court and a bruiser of a double-double machine in the paint. Going for 14 points and 10 rebounds a night, he had a career-high 27 points and 14 boards in the Falcons’ win back on Friday, blocking a Berkley shot at the buzzer to preserve the victory.

“What Justin’s been able to do this year shows how much you can reap rewards from just going out there and getting after it every single play,” Porter said. “Around the basket, he’s very crafty and tough as nails.”

Besides White in the Farmington backcourt, junior off-guard Chris Seaborn has been a pleasant surprise on the wing with his feathery-touch from the perimeter and his gazelle-like moves to the basket.

Corey Sheltrown (small forward) and Chandler Reese (combo guard) are another couple of major contributors for the Falcons this winter, each getting the job done with pesky defense and consistent outside shooting.

There’s no doubt that White’s winning pedigree has rubbed off on his new Farmington teammates since his arrival from the East Coast in the summer. Last season, he led his South Hadley squad to into the Massachusetts state finals.

“We’re executing on offense, playing solid defense and rebounding with a lot of effort, that’s a recipe for success,” White said.