Chips’ Bialik earns AP Class B All-State honorable mention

A change in schools led to a change in roles.

Alex Bialik went from being a distributor to a scorer.

The Manistee senior’s successful transformation wasn’t overlooked as Bialik on Friday was named an honorable mention to the Associated Press Class B All-State team. It matches the accomplishments of a pair of his former Manistee Catholic Central teammates as his older brother, 2013 graduate Zack Bialik, was a two-time Class D honorable mention and MCC senior Ben Feliczak received an honorable mention this week.

“Of course I want my team to succeed at first, but after the season it comes down to what you put in before the season and how hard you worked,” Bialik said. “With my brother having that accomplishment and with Ben Feliczak, it was definitely a goal that I wanted. … It’s quite the honor.”

Manistee senior Alex Bialik was named an Associated Press Class B All-State honorable mention on Friday. (Matt Wenzel/News Advocate file photo)

Manistee senior Alex Bialik was named an Associated Press Class B All-State honorable mention on Friday. (Matt Wenzel/News Advocate file photo)

Bialik is the first Manistee player to be recognized by the AP since 2007 graduate Jake Kiss was a special mention after leading the Chippewas to a regional title.

“There are good players and there can be great players,” said Manistee coach Scott Solberg, “and I think he was more toward great because he made other players around him better.”

Bialik, at 6-foot-1, was a point guard at MCC before transferring last winter to Manistee where he knew his role with the Chippewas would be different as he turned into a wing.

“I just had to put in the time right away,” Bialik said. “I wasn’t that guy who could score one-on-one or take two kids to the basket and score. But, that’s what the role had to be and that’s what I tried to improve on.

“Instead of looking to pass first, I had to look to score. I thought I did a pretty good job of scoring and I thought I did a great job of finding my teammates when they were open too. I didn’t lose all my point guard ability, I just tried to be more of a presence on the scoring end.”

Bialik posted a team-high in points in all 20 games while also leading the Chippewas (6-14) in scoring (19.6), rebounds (7.0) and assists (3.0) this season.

“He was what I hoped for,” Solberg said. “Watching him in the preseason, watching him in the summer, you could tell right off the bat this guy could be really something and he sure didn’t disappoint.”

Solberg said that in addition to preseason talks about needing to take over the main scoring role, he had to prod Bialik to shoot more.

“I think he averaged between 12 and 13 shots a game, which isn’t a whole lot,” Solberg said. “I told him he needs to get that to 17 or 18, in that area. He had a hard time wanting to do that and I think some of that is coming over from a different school, you don’t want to look like a ball hog and that kind of thing. As the season went on, I think he got a little more comfortable with that and knew for us to be as good as we can be, he had to sometimes appear to be a bit selfish and get the ball up.”

Switching schools and moving from Class D to B provided Bialik with a new coach, new teammates and new opponents for his senior season.

“I think what motivated me was I had to go out and prove myself being at a new school, being around new teammates — I didn’t want to let them down,” he said. “I felt like I had something to prove and I had to show them what I was made of. I wanted to carry the team this year. I wanted to have that leadership role, make coaches proud and make the community proud in general.”

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