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BREAKING NEWS: Inkster & Buena Vista shuttered, brings curtain down on stellar athletic departments

By: Scott Burnstein, July 24, 2013, 11:00 pm

Wave goodbye to Inkster and Saginaw Buena Vista.

Their sports programs, too.

Because of the economic crisis taking place in their respective cities, the two high schools closed their doors this week, bringing an end to a pair of athletic programs that boasted impressive histories.

Inkster’s influence can be felt heavily in Ann Arbor right now, as former Vikings’ all-state field general Devin Garnder is the starting quarterback at the University of Michigan and Cameron Gordon, his high school teammate at Inkster, is a standout for the Wolverines at linebacker and on special teams.

Under head coach Greg Carter, Inkster appeared in three state championship games in four years in the late 2000s (2006, 2008, 2009). Gardner was the signal-caller for Carter on the 2008 and 2009 squads.

Carter, a true great of the state’s gridiron coaching ranks who cut his teeth in the Catholic League at Detroit DePorres (four state titles) and is now at Oak Park (2012 OAA White champion), turned Inkster from an afterthought into a burgeoning powerhouse on the football field.

The Vikings girls basketball program has always been a force to be reckoned with, collecting two state crowns and producing numerous college signees. The most recent state title came in 2011, a team coached by former Miss Basketball-winner Peggy Evans (Birmingham Detroit Country Day).

The track and field program at Inkster has been a consistent contender dating back decades. The girls have won three total team state championships and the boys have one as well.

Buena Vista stakes claim as one of the state’s all-time storied boys basketball programs. The Knights won six state titles on the hardwood, appearing in the state finals another three times without walking away with a crown. The last time Buena Vista snared a title was in 2006 when the Knights won Class C and were captained by future All-Big East point guard Tory Jackson. Following his playing career concluding, Jackson became the program’s final head coach.

In 1992 and 1993, Buena Vista raised back-to-back Class B state-championship banners without losing a single game the whole way. The program, under the direction of legendary head coach Norwaine Reed, reeled off 55 straight victories, not dropping a contest from 1991 until 1994.

The core of those teams was made up of all-state picks Terrance Roberson, Chester Surles and Shedrick Murrell. Roberson played in college at Fresno State and Surles at Nebraska.

All-stater Toriano Smith was the captain of the 1989 state championship club and then pumped in 32 points (canning 7 3-pointers, 4 in the 4th quarter) in Buena Vista’s loss in the state finals the following season to future NBA star Chris Webber and Birmingham Detroit Country Day in front of a record crowd at The Palace.

Reed’s mid-1980s squads made three appearances in the state finals in a row (1984, 1985, 1986), grabbing the hardware in 1986 on what is without a doubt the most famous shot in MHSAA history – a buzzer-beater from three-quarters court by Chris Coles to edge Flint Beecher in the Class B title tilt, 33-32, at Michigan’s Crisler Arena.

The star of the 1984 team was future University of Detroit all-league gunner Archie Tullos, a late transfer for his senior year.

All three of those Knights teams were anchored in the backcourt by Mark Macon and Shoun Randolph, both all-state selections that played collegiately together at Temple.

Macon is Buena Vista’s all-time best player, a All-American in college and an NBA lottery pick (in 1991 where he went No. 8 to the Denver Nuggets), that eventually played for the Detroit Pistons.