Denfeld News

Jan. 24, 2007
Duluth News Tribune

Birman leads Hunters past Greyhounds
By Andrew Greder

Senior point guards Steve Birman of Duluth Denfeld and Sean Mayberry of Duluth East are the pulses of their boys basketball teams.

At critical times Tuesday night at Denfeld, Birman’s Hunters had an aerobic heart rate, while Mayberry’s Greyhounds had a resting rate.

Birman scored 25 points, Mayberry spent crucial parts of the game on the bench in foul trouble, and Denfeld beat East 65-59 in a nonconference game. Denfeld improved to 11-3 overall and East fell to 8-7.

Birman’s reverse layup with 10 minutes remaining started an 11-2 Denfeld run to increase a five-point lead to 57-43 with more than six minutes left.

“[Birman] stuck it to us,” said Duluth East assistant coach Dave LeGarde, who is also Birman’s uncle. “We tried to put him on the free-throw line while we found someone to guard him. It didn’t work, he plays hard.”

Mayberry was on the bench for the final five minutes of the first half with two fouls and during Denfeld’s key second-half run with four fouls.

“[Mayberry] makes us go,” LeGarde said. “When he isn’t in there, we have a drop-off. We need him.”

Mayberry finished with eight points, but hit two key 3-pointers to spark a 9-4 run as the Greyhounds took a 36-32 lead to start the second half.

Denfeld coach Jeff Nace relied on his 3-year starting backcourt of Birman and shooting guard Cory Schleret to weather East’s run and take advantage of Mayberry’s foul trouble.

“[Schleret] was very mature to realize that Mayberry was in foul trouble,” Nace said. “He took it right to him knowing [Mayberry] had four [fouls]. Birman played very well throughout.”

With 1:36 left and Denfeld owning a 62-53 lead, Birman took an errant hit to the nose and left the game for treatment. With Birman on the bench, Schleret turned over the ball, leading to a Dyami Starks 3-pointer. East immediately applied a full-court press, forcing Denfeld to call timeout. Birman returned when play resumed.

“It isn’t about me,” Birman said. “It’s about all of us, not one guy.”

Schleret had 17 points and center Trent Beise added 12 points for Denfeld.

Ninth-grader Starks had 21 points and senior Ryan Shea had 20 points for East.
“Shea scored, rebounded and defended well,” LeGarde said. “We lean on him for big shots.”

The rematch is Feb. 22 at East with a possible meeting in the Section 7AAA playoffs come March.

“We have to use this game as a wakeup call,” LeGarde said. “They are a team in our section and they used more energy than us. We need to have more from everyone, especially versus our rivals.”


Duluth East 27-32—59
Duluth Denfeld 28-37—65

Duluth East — John Edlebeck 2, Keaton Hason 2, Bryan Jasperson 6, Sean Mayberry 8, Ryan Shea 20, Dyami Starks 21. Totals 19 6-11 59.
3-point goals — Starks 2, Mayberry 2, Shea.

Duluth Denfeld — Anthony Bautista 5, Trent Beise 12, Steve Birman 25, Matt Brickley 4, Ben Hayes 2, Cory Schleret 17. Totals 20 15-23 65.
3-point goals — Birman, Schleret, Bautista.

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