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2009-10 hoops preview

2009-10

COACH: DARRIN JENNINGS FIFTH SEASON

Hoops Schedule

2008-09 RECORD: 7-15, 3-7

Dec. 8 at Novi, 7 p.m. Dec. 11 at Redford Union, 7 p.m.

ASSISTANT COACH: AL INGMAN

Dec. 15 at Northville, 7 p.m. Dec. 18 at Hartland, 7 p.m. Jan. 5 vs. Livonia Churchill, 7 p.m. Jan. 8 at Waterford Kettering, 7 p.m. Jan. 12 at Waterford Mott, 7 p.m. Jan. 15 vs. Walled Lake Central, 7 p.m. Jan. 19 vs. Lakeland, 7 p.m. Jan. 22 at Walled Lake Northern, 7 p.m. Jan. 26 vs. Pinckney, 7 p.m. Jan. 29 vs. Waterford Kettering, 7 p.m. Feb. 2 vs. Waterford Mott, 7 p.m. Feb. 5 at Walled Lake Central, 7 p.m. Feb. 9 at Lakeland, 7 p.m. Feb. 12 vs. Walled Lake Northern, 7 p.m. Feb. 19 at KLAA Tournament - 1st Round, 7 p.m. Feb. 23 at KLAA Tournament - 2nd Round, 7 p.m. Feb. 26 at KLAA Tournament - 3rd Round, 7 p.m. Mar. 2 at KLAA Crossover, 7 p.m. Mar. 4 at KLAA Championship, 7 p.m.

Walled Lake Western's Warriors look to make up for their lack of height with a mix of full-court pressure and man-to-man defense, which they hope will lead to easy baskets. Head Coach Darrin Jennings said his team believes it can "play with anybody." (Spinal Column Newsweekly photo/Amy K. Lockard)

Warriors work hard to improve Western wants to reverse trend of losing tight games fter winning the Walled Lake city championship for the second season in a row, Walled Lake Western is entering the 2009 season with a swagger. "We think we can play with anybody," said Western Head Coach Darrin Jennings. "I'm happy with the team's coachability. They want to learn, get better and are committed to get to know each other." The Warriors finished at 7-15 last season and eliminated rival Walled Lake Central from the state tournament in the first round of the district playoffs, before being knocked out by Brighton in the district semi-finals. A trend Western is looking to

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reverse this season is falling short in close games, as the Warriors lost five games that were decided by 5 points or less in 2008-09. "The kids are aware of that and we're hoping this year, with experience, that we can turn them into wins," Jennings said. Returning to start for the Warriors is 5-11 senior point guard Nick Lewin, whom Jennings recognizes as a sharpshooter, especially from behind the arc. Joining him will be 6-foot junior shooting guard Blake Hunter, whom Jennings regards as the team's best defender and a good shooter with range. Another returning starter is senior power forward Calvin Carey, whom Jennings said is great off the dribble and has improved his shooting. Also expected to contribute is 6-2 senior center Marcus Sanders, who

started at the beginning of the 2008-09 season before leaving the team and is back with the Warriors. "He's a very athletic post player and has good range on his shot," Jennings said. Junior small forward Connor Vercellino stands just under 6 feet, but is expected to step up big for Western. A potential breakout player this season is 5-11 sophomore Will Griffin, whom Jennings said is a great slasher to the basket and could be a good player for Western. Also expected to see some playing time is freshman Korey Wade, splitting time between the point guard and shooting guard positions. Andrew Wood, a 6-1 senior small forward, is expected to come off the bench. Jennings said Wood can change a game with his shooting. Jennings added that the Warriors have a work in progress with 6-5

sophomore center Chris Douglas, whom he said should be good by midseason. The Warriors will look to make up for their lack of height with a full-court pressure defense mixed in with manto-man defense, which they hope will help lead to easy baskets. Jennings said his team is also starting to understand the motion offense system that was implemented last season. The Warriors open the 2009 season with four straight games on the road, beginning on Tuesday, Dec. 8 at Novi and ending Friday, Dec. 18 at Hartland. Western's home opener will be on Jan. 5 against Livonia Churchill, which will be followed by a visit from Walled Lake Central on Jan. 15. "We're going to make practices hard so the games are easy," Jennings said. â?? — Michael Shelton

2009-10 | HOOPS 5


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2009-10 hoops preview

'Defense first' for the Vikings Central coach wants transition scoring after stops lthough last year's win total can be expressed with a single "highfive," the Walled Lake Central Vikings look to use at least two and hopefully three hands to count this season's wins. The senior-laden team looks to take the experience gained from last year's disappointing season and use it to fuel a winning run. "We've got four guys returning from last year's team that played a significant amount of minutes," said Head Coach Dennis Butcher. "Last year was a down year and our average loss was by only 2.6 points. Our guys will benefit from that and know now how hard you have to play at the varsity level to win." Seniors Joe Diamond (6-0 and 170 pounds), Joe Zubrickus (6-5 and 105 pounds), Justin Kucera (6-2 and 200 pounds) and Karl Boedecker (6-3 and 200 pounds) each will be relied upon heavily this year. "Diamond is a guard who is very quick and a guy who has the ability to get to the basket," Butcher said. Zubrickus and Kucera also are guards who will tandem with Diamond. "Zubrickus is an excellent athlete," Butcher said. "He jumps very well and he can do a lot of things offensively. He's somebody who changes the complexity of the game with his athleticism." Kucera will be counted on to hit some "bombs" for the team. "He can shoot the (three-pointers)," Butcher said. "But he's probably our best all-around defender." Shoring up the paint will be Boedecker. "We'll definitely be counting on him to be a strong influence on the inside with rebounding," Butcher said. Three other seniors — Amilio Aboo, a 6-2 small forward; Jake Paulson, 6-6 and 190 pounds; and Zach Skonieczny, 62 and 230 pounds — will play multiple positions. Senior Jeremy Kucera (6-1, 185 pounds) will also work off the bench with juniors Steve Raad (a 5-10 guard) and Adam Coric (a 5-10 guard). Butcher describes the Kensington Lakes Activities Association (KLAA) race as "completely wide open" and said he hopes to "give our guys a chance to compete for a league title." ❏ — Mark Stowers

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2009-10

Hoops Schedule Dec. 8 at Plymouth, 7 p.m. Dec. 11 at South Lyon East, 7 p.m. Dec. 15 vs. Novi, 7 p.m. Dec. 17 at Milford, 7 p.m. Jan. 5 vs. Clarenceville, 7 p.m. Jan. 8 vs. Lakeland, 7 p.m. Jan. 12 at Walled Lake Northern, 7 p.m. Jan. 15 at Walled Lake Western, 7 p.m. Jan. 19 vs. Waterford Mott, 7 p.m. Jan. 22 vs. Waterford Kettering, 7 p.m.

COACH: DENNIS BUTCHER SIXTH SEASON 2008-09 RECORD: 5-16, 2-8 ASSISTANT COACHES: JEFF MOHR, HARRY GLANZ

Jan. 26 vs. Hartland, 7 p.m. Jan. 29 at Lakeland, 7 p.m. Feb. 2 vs. Walled Lake Northern, 7 p.m. Feb. 5 vs. Walled Lake Western, 7 p.m. Feb. 9 at Waterford Mott, 7 p.m. Feb. 12 at Waterford Kettering, 7 p.m. Feb. 19 at KLAA Tournament - 1st Round, 7 p.m. Feb. 23 at KLAA Tournament - 2nd Round, 7 p.m. Feb. 26 at KLAA Tournament - 3rd Round, 7 p.m. Mar. 2 at KLAA Crossover, 7 p.m. Mar. 4 at KLAA Championship, 7 p.m.

Four of Walled Lake Central Head Coach Dennis Butcher's returning Vikings played significant minutes last season. That experience should help Central compete for a Kensington Lakes Activities Association (KLAA) title. (Spinal Column Newsweekly photo/Amy K. Lockard) 2009-10 | HOOPS 7


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8 HOOPS | SPINAL COLUMN NEWSWEEKLY

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2009-10 hoops preview

Knights focused on defense First-year Northern coach champions transition game tacked with experienced players in his first year of heading up a varsity program, Walled Lake Northern Head Coach Ron Thompson COACH: RON THOMPSON wants to put quite a few notches in his FIRST YEAR "win" belt. "We have 11 seniors on the team," he 2008-09 RECORD: said. "Most first-year coaches look to 4-16 build a program through their own eyes, but instead I'm looking to build off of what ASSISTANT COACHES: we have. I'm looking to win right now." STEVE SMITH, Four of those seniors are returning ERIC THROGMORTON, starters Adam Chuchla, a 5-9 guard; Brandon Alexander, a 6-1 guard; JOSH CHESNUT, Marshall Harris, a 6-5 forward; and DAVE ROUTLEDGE Brian Johnston, a 6-5 center. "Adam is a hard-nosed player," Thompson said. "He'll provide a lot of defensive toughness. Brandon is our leading scorer coming back and we look for him to have a good year." Harris' return will be slowed by offseason surgery, but pre-injury he provided an inside/outside threat. "Brian Johnston is a guy I can see providing 10 rebounds (a game)," he said. "He's our captain and he's very athletic. Dec. 8 vs. Northville, 7 p.m. He gets up and down the court really well." Dec. 11 vs. Novi, 7 p.m. Kevin Piper will fill in the final Dec. 15 vs. South Lyon, 7 p.m. starting position. The 6-2 forward is a "minority" on the team — a junior. Dec. 17 at Pinckney, 7 p.m. The rest of the team includes 6-3 Jan. 5 vs. University, 7 p.m. Nick Sivyer, keeping Harris' starting Jan. 8 vs. Waterford Mott, 7 p.m. spot warm. Jan. 12 vs. Walled Lake Central, 7 p.m. Weston Davis, a 6-5 center who has Jan. 15 vs. Lakeland, 7 p.m. played varsity basketball since his Jan. 19 at Waterford Kettering, 7 p.m. sophomore year, will be counted on to be Jan. 22 vs. Walled Lake Western, 7 p.m. the "tough guy down low" for Northern. Thompson said the team is "still Jan. 26 vs. Grand Blanc, 7 p.m. working through some things but we'll Jan. 29 at Waterford Mott, 7 p.m. be nine to 10 players deep." The team Feb. 2 at Walled Lake Central, 7 p.m. will dress out 15 players. Feb. 5 at Lakeland, 7 p.m. "We're looking to get up and down Feb. 9 vs. Waterford Kettering, 7 p.m. the court," he said. "We want to create Feb. 12 at Walled Lake Western, 7 p.m. lot of points in transition and we're Feb. 19 at KLAA Tournament - 1st Round, 7 p.m. going to play a hard-nosed defense and Feb. 23 at KLAA Tournament - 2nd Round, 7 p.m. hopefully press 32 minutes a game." Looking at the Kensington Lakes Feb. 26 at KLAA Tournament - 3rd Round, 7 p.m. Activities Association (KLAA) North Mar. 2 at KLAA Crossover, 7 p.m. Division, Thompson said he sees Mar. 4 at KLAA Championship, 7 p.m. Waterford Mott as the team to beat, with the competition being wide open after that. The Knights of Walled Lake Northern will be moving up and down the court this season, looking to create points Northern opens up with seven of its first eight games at home and has 13 in transition under new Head Coach Ron Thompson. He says the team's best offense is its defense. (Spinal home games overall this season. â?? Column Newsweekly photo/Amy K. Lockard)

S

2009-10

Hoops Schedule

2009-10 | HOOPS 9


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10 HOOPS | SPINAL COLUMN NEWSWEEKLY

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2009-10 hoops preview

2009-10

Hoops Schedule Dec. 8 at South Lyon East, 7 p.m. Dec. 11 vs. Redford Thurston, 7 p.m. Dec. 15 vs. Rochester, 7 p.m. Dec. 17 at Grand Blanc, 7 p.m. Jan. 8 at Walled Lake Northern, 7 p.m. Jan. 12 vs. Walled Lake Western, 7 p.m. Jan. 15 vs. Waterford Kettering at Oakland University, 8 p.m. Jan. 19 at Walled Lake Central, 7 p.m. Jan. 22 vs. Lakeland, 7 p.m. Jan. 26 vs. Howell, 7 p.m.

COACH: DEREK WILEY FIFTH SEASON 2008-09 RECORD: 14-6, 10-0 ASSISTANT COACHES: JEFF JAYSON, CHARLIE SHIRES

Jan. 29 vs. Walled Lake Northern, 7 p.m. Jan. 30 vs. Ferndale, 1 p.m. Feb. 2 at Walled Lake Western, 7 p.m. Feb. 5 vs. Waterford Kettering, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 9 vs. Walled Lake Central, 7 p.m. Feb. 12 at Lakeland, 7 p.m. Feb. 19 at KLAA Tournament - 1st Round, 7 p.m. Feb. 23 at KLAA Tournament - 2nd Round, 7 p.m. Feb. 26 at KLAA Tournament - 3rd Round, 7 p.m. Mar. 2 at KLAA Crossover, 7 p.m. Mar. 4 at KLAA Championship, 7 p.m.

Waterford Mott Head Coach Derek Wiley has a bevy of returning players and transfer students to assist the Corsairs in defending their 2008-09 Kensington Lakes Activities Association (KLAA) North Division crown. Wiley said his Corsairs aren't big, but they are athletic. (Spinal Column Newsweekly photo/Amy K. Lockard)

High expectations for Mott Most starters from 2008-09 Corsairs team returning fter stunning the lakes area by winning a division title last season, the Waterford Mott Corsairs are now adjusting themselves to the position of having targets on their backs. "I think towards the second half of last season, they took it upon themselves to come and play," said Mott Head Coach Derek Wiley. "We have most of our starters back and they understand what's going to happen." The Corsairs finished 14-6 last

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season, including winning the Kensington Lakes Activities Association (KLAA) North Division title over the favorite, Huron Valley Lakeland, with a 10-0 division record before being upset in the first round of the district playoff tournament by rival Waterford Kettering. Returning for Mott is senior guard and 2008-09 Spinal Column Newsweekly All-Area First Team selection John Schaeffer, who averaged 15 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.5 steals a game last season. He also hit 55 three-pointers and shot 87 percent from the freethrow line. Also returning are senior forward Jake Wardach, along with senior forward Emmanual Simpson, who

was a sixth-man last season off the bench and is expected to start this year. Senior forward Eugene Walchesky is also expected to step up for Mott. Among the fresh faces for the Corsairs are senior forward Raheem McCowen, a transfer from the Pontiac Central-Pontiac Northern merger, and sophomore guard Chris Dewberry, a 61 transfer from Oak Park. "We're definitely not real big, but we're going to try to get up and down the floor and we have some real athletic kids," Wiley said of this year’s roster. "Those core seniors are playing their third year and are in the gym nearly every day and are trying to get better. They worked harder during the summer than any others

and have grown up a little bit." The Corsairs opened the season on Tuesday, Dec. 8 at South Lyon East, followed by their home opener on Friday, Dec. 11 against Redford Thurston. Mott's KLAA North title defense will begin Jan. 8 at Walled Lake Northern. The Backyard Battle against Kettering will take place on Jan. 15 at the O'Rena at Oakland University, where the Corsairs were victorious last season against the Captains. "I would like to think we can make a run at the division title and I think we can compete," Wiley said. "We'll be disappointed if we don't. They're ready to go." ❏ — Michael Shelton

2009-10 | HOOPS 11


2009-10 hoops preview

2009-10

Hoops Schedule Dec. 8 vs. Birmingham Brother Rice, 7 p.m. Dec. 11 at Rochester, 7 p.m. Dec. 17 at Howell, 7 p.m. Dec. 22 vs. Clarenceville at Rocket Roundball Classic at Westland John Glenn, 1 p.m. Jan. 5 at Livonia Franklin, 7 p.m. Jan. 8 vs. Walled Lake Western, 7 p.m. Jan. 12 at Lakeland, 7 p.m. Jan. 15 vs. Waterford Mott at Oak. University, 8 p.m. Jan. 19 vs. Walled Lake Northern, 7 p.m. Jan. 22 at Walled Lake Central, 7 p.m. Jan. 26 vs. Brighton, 7 p.m. Jan. 29 at Walled Lake Western, 7 p.m. Feb. 2 vs. Lakeland, 7 p.m. Feb. 5 at Waterford Mott, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 9 at Walled Lake Northern, 7 p.m.

COACH: BRIAN TASS FIFTH SEASON

Feb. 12 vs. Walled Lake Central, 7 p.m. Feb. 19 at KLAA Tournament - 1st Round, 7 p.m. Feb. 23 at KLAA Tournament - 2nd Round, 7 p.m.

2008-09 RECORD: 10-12, 5-5

Feb. 26 at KLAA Tournament - 3rd Round, 7 p.m. Mar. 2 at KLAA Crossover, 7 p.m. Mar. 4 at KLAA Championship, 7 p.m.

ASSISTANT COACH: JAYSON COMBS, ANDY KNUUTI

The Waterford Kettering Captains aim to improve on the 5-5 record last year in the Kensington Lakes Activities Association (KLAA) North Division. Head Coach Brian Tass said he will deploy a motion offense and various pressure defenses during the 2009-10 season. (Spinal Column Newsweekly photo/Amy K. Lockard)

Captains intend to contend Kettering's Tass sees team vying for KLAA North title he Waterford Kettering Captains head into the 2009-10 season looking to improve on their .500 mark during the 2008-09 season, hoping to notch more wins than last season's total of 10. Seniors Brandon Carlson, Kendall Smith and Ryan Dingman look to lead the Captains this season and compete in the upper echelon of the Kensington Lakes Activities Association (KLAA) North Division.

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12 HOOPS | SPINAL COLUMN NEWSWEEKLY

"Carlson is 6-5, 230 pounds at forward and he averaged 15 points per game last year," said Head Coach Brian Tass. "He's a solid rebounder and very good offensive threat and a tough defender." Smith will be counted on for scoring this season, as well. "He's a 6-1, 175-pound wing player," Tass said. "We expect a higher shooting percentage and to be a good threat on defense. He's going to be one of our scorers." Dingman will be relied upon to work both ends of the court. "Ryan is a 6-1, 170-pound guard with good ball handling skills and a very tough defender," Tass said.

Junior Mike Mosakoski will also be working hard on the offensive end of the hardwood. "We'll look for the 6-2, 155-pounder to be a scorer and offensive rebounder," Tass said of Mosakoski. While breaking even in the KLAA North last year, the Captains look to improve on their 5-5 record in the division. "League play will be pretty competitive between a couple of teams," Tass said. "I think we'll battle that league out with Waterford Mott, which went undefeated last year and has some nice returning players. And I think Walled Lake Central will be much improved. I see us in that mix

fighting for that top spot." Tass said he intends to use a motion offense to compete in that mix. "Offensively, we try to move the ball and get people moving as much as possible with our motion-type offense," he said. Defensively, the Captains plan to be aggressive yet mysterious. "Defensively, we try to give teams different looks and play different types of pressure throughout the game," Tass said. "We'll be very aggressive and do some pressing." Waterford Kettering opened the season on Tuesday, Dec. 8 at home against Brother Rice. â?? — Mark Stowers


2009-10 hoops preview

Lakers bring in new coach Wightman says team strength will be hard work

COACH: KEN WIGHTMAN FIRST SEASON

ith five years of NCAA Division 1 2008-09 RECORD: basketball experience and a junior varsity coaching stint 0-6 (LEAGUE) under his belt, Ken Wightman has taken on the head coaching job at Waterford ASSISTANT COACH: Our Lady of the Lakes. Hired last spring, ROB ALLEN, Wightman wasted no time in getting to JEFF STEVENS, know his players and instilling his brand GREG WUTRINOWSKI of basketball at Our Lady. "I actually sat down with all players interested in playing at the end of the school year last year, and we started our preparations for this season in the summer," he said. With five returning seniors, including John Kroll at point guard, Derrick Sant at shooting guard and point guard, Andrew Goins at power forward, Nathan Zacher at shooting guard and Adam Beans at shooting guard, the Lakers look to be ready to demonstrate Wightman's philosophies. "Kroll is our primary ball handler," Wightman said. "He'll be our team Dec. 8 vs. Loyola, 7:30 p.m. leader on the floor in how we play our defense. Sant will have the primary Dec. 11 vs. Michigan Colligiate, 7:30 p.m. responsibility of protecting our basket Dec. 14 at Mt. Carmel, TBA. in transition." Dec. 18 vs. Detroit Urban Lutheran, 7:30 p.m. Coming off the bench will be Beans, supplying a strong defensive effort, while Jan. 7 at West Bloomfield Jewish Academy, 7:30 p.m. Zacher will be looked upon to provide Jan. 12 vs. Allen Park Cabrini, 7:30 p.m. outside scoring, and Goins will play in the Jan. 16 at Riverview Gabriel Richard, 7:30 p.m. post and be "responsible for rebounds both offensively and defensively, contest Jan. 19 vs. Marine City Cardinal Mooney, 7:30 p.m. shots and score inside." Jan. 26 vs. Mt. Carmel, TBA. Seven juniors round out the roster, Jan. 29 at Detroit Urban Lutheran, 7:30 p.m. including Austin Karbowski, Mike Feb. 2 vs. W.B. Jewish Academy, 7:30 p.m. Sullivan, Jim Hingst, Jared Ritch, Cameron Selden, R.J. Buelter and Paul Feb. 5 at Allen Park Cabrini, 7:30 p.m. Goeddeke. Jake Weir is the lone Feb. 9 vs. Riverview Gabriel Richard, 7:30 p.m. sophomore on the team. Feb. 12 at Marine City Cardinal Mooney, 7:30 p.m. According to Wightman, the Catholic League is always competitive, with no Feb. 15 at Oakland Christian, 7 p.m. one team always winning the Feb. 19 - Feb. 20 at CHSL Quarterfinals, TBA championship each year. Feb. 23 - Feb. 24 at CHSL Semifinals, TBA. "We'll run a motion offense," he said. "On defense, we'll play a man-to-man Feb. 28 at CHSL Championship, TBA. with a lot of help and recover concepts. Mar. 2 at Franklin Road Christian, 6:30 p.m. And we'll play zone at times and press Mar. 4 vs. University, 7 p.m. teams depending on our match-ups. The strength of our team is we are hard-working, and that's what I like. We have to be patient on offense and we do The Lakers of Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes will be running a motion offense this year under first-year Head well handling the ball under pressure, Coach Ken Wightman. He said his team will operate under a variety of defenses depending this season. (Spinal but we have to improve on passing." â?? — Mark Stowers Column Newsweekly photo/Amy K. Lockard)

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2009-10

Hoops Schedule

2009-10 | HOOPS 13


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2009-10 hoops preview

2009-10

Hoops Schedule Dec. 8 vs. Fowlerville, 7 p.m. Dec. 11 at Birmingham Groves, 7 p.m. Dec. 15 at Redford Thurston, 7 p.m. Dec. 17 at Brighton, 6:50 p.m. Jan. 8 at Walled Lake Central, 7 p.m. Jan. 12 vs. Waterford Kettering, 7 p.m. Jan. 15 at Walled Lake Northern, 7 p.m. Jan. 19 at Walled Lake Western, 7 p.m. Jan. 22 at Waterford Mott, 7 p.m. Jan. 26 vs. Milford, 7 p.m. Jan. 29 vs. Walled Lake Central, 7 p.m.

COACH: CURTIS ETHERTON FIRST SEASON

Feb. 2 at Waterford Kettering, 7 p.m. Feb. 5 vs. Walled Lake Northern, 7 p.m. Feb. 9 vs. Walled Lake Western, 7 p.m.

2008-09 RECORD: 18-4, 8-2

Feb. 12 vs. Waterford Mott, 7 p.m. Feb. 17 at Rochester, 7 p.m. Feb. 19 at KLAA Tournament - 1st Round, 7 p.m.

ASSISTANT COACHES: STEVE LAIDLAW

Feb. 23 at KLAA Tournament - 2nd Round, 7 p.m. Feb. 26 at KLAA Tournament - 3rd Round, 7 p.m. Mar. 2 at KLAA Crossover, 7 p.m. Mar. 4 at KLAA Championship, 7 p.m.

Curtis Etherton, a Lakeland assistant and freshman coach for the last three seasons, has taken over the varsity team this year. Etherton said he's considering different offensive sets and motions, and full-court pressure, zone and trap schemes on defense. (Spinal Column Newsweekly photo/Amy K. Lockard)

Eagles rebuke naysayers Lakeland rejects predictions of a slide this season ith the departure of its former head coach and one of its bestever senior classes, it's easy to assume that the bar would be lowered for Huron Valley Lakeland in 2009-10, but that's not the way their new coach sees it. "I keep hearing the talk that Lakeland's going to have a down year at 4-17 or 5-16, but I really don't view it as that," said first-year Lakeland Head Coach Curtis Etherton. "We're going to have a solid group of smart basketball players. My group is ready, they've heard the same stuff all summer long and they're ticked off." Etherton has been with the Eagles' basketball program the last three seasons as an assistant coach and as

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the coach of the freshman boys team. He now steps in for Bob Brugger, who left the Lakeland program after 10 years as head coach to become the new coach at Brighton. "Coach Brugger and I are a lot alike. We kind of have the same mentality, the same philosophy, and I'm going to keep everything pretty much the same," Etherton said. The Eagles finished 18-4 last season and were the runners-up in the Kensington Lakes Activities Association (KLAA) North Division behind Waterford Mott before suffering a two-point loss to Hartland in the district semi-final. Last year also marked the final season for the school's all-time leading scorer, Michael Fugate, along with seniors Blake Heiman and Brett Burmeister. The Eagles' lone returning starter from last season is senior Eric Palanca, who stands 6-4. Etherton

said Palanca is ready to assume a leadership role. "He's ready. I saw it this summer at team camp," Etherton said. "He has stepped up and directed everybody as to what his expectations are. That was very good to see." Joining him will be fellow seniors Tony Brotherton (forward/center) and Aaron Cardenas (guard/forward). "Brotherton is a good, lengthy kid and a solid basketball player and I expect solid minutes out of him," Etherton said. "Cardenas is a transfer, stands 6-3, 220 (pounds), has a good, solid build and is a smart player who can shoot the ball." Behind them will be an up-andcoming junior class led by guards Ty Bouwens and Joey Rossi. "I was their freshman coach and I told them I never expected those two to step up and be the kind of players that they are today," Etherton said. He added that he expects junior

power forwards Nick Furry and Cam Kalinski to play some minutes, with one of them possibly starting. "With our junior class, it's nice to have those kids that are the gym rats and are texting me asking if they can use the gym," Etherton said. He added that he is looking at different offensive sets and motions, while the Eagles will use a fair bit of full-court pressure defense, along with zone and trap schemes. Lakeland's schedule includes its KLAA North Division opponents as well as a matchup with rival Huron Valley Milford (Jan. 26). The Eagles will also face their former coach when they travel to Brighton on Dec. 17. "I guarantee the Lakeland community that when they see our team play, they're going to be proud," Etherson said. "It's going to be fun basketball, and we're going to compete and do the right things." â?? — Michael Shelton

2009-10 | HOOPS 15


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2009-10 hoops preview

2009-10

Hoops Schedule Dec. 8 vs. Livonia Franklin, 7 p.m. Dec. 15 vs. South Lyon, 7 p.m. Dec. 17. vs. Walled Lake Central, 7 p.m. Dec. 29 at Dexter Tournament, TBA. Dec. 30 at Dexter Tournament, TBA. Jan. 8 vs. Howell, 7 p.m. Jan. 12 at Brighton, 7 p.m. Jan. 15 at Hartland, 7 p.m. Jan. 19 vs. Pinckney, 7 p.m. Jan. 22 vs. Grand Blanc, 7 p.m. Jan. 26 at Lakeland, 7 p.m.

COACH: CHIP LUTZ THIRD SEASON

Jan. 29 at Howell, 7 p.m. Feb. 2 vs. Brighton, 7 p.m. Feb. 5 vs. Hartland, 7:30 p.m.

2008-09 RECORD: 11-10, 4-4

Feb. 9 at Pinckney, 7 p.m. Feb. 12 at Grand Blanc, 7 p.m. Feb. 19 at KLAA Tournament - 1st Round, 7 p.m.

ASSISTANT COACH: MIKE STEVENSON

Feb. 23 at KLAA Tournament - 2nd Round, 7 p.m. Feb. 26 at KLAA Tournament - 3rd Round, 7 p.m. Mar. 2 at KLAA Crossover, 7 p.m. Mar. 4 at KLAA Championship, 7 p.m.

With just three seniors on this year's roster, Milford Head Coach Chip Lutz could have as many as four sophomores on the 2009-10 varsity team. The Mavs want to push the ball on offense and score early, while running a man-to-man defense this year. (Spinal Column Newsweekly photo/Amy K. Lockard)

Mavs are young this year Inexperienced players will have to step up for Milford ith more than half of last year's team gone due to graduating seniors, Milford Mavericks Head Coach Chip Lutz will be looking at a less-experienced team hitting the hardwood in 2009-10. "We will be very young," Lutz said. "We have the potential of having three or four sophomores on the varsity this year." With the loss of 30 points and 14 rebounds per game through the graduation of two of last year's seniors, Lutz will lean heavily on the experience

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he does have coming back. "We only have three seniors this year and we graduated most of our point scoring," he said. "Our two returners include senior Chris Cunningham, a 5-7 shooting guard, and junior Joey Miller, a 5-11 guard." Cunningham hit 53 three-pointers last year while averaging 11 points per game. Miller, according to Lutz, "will be our best defender and is our best dribble-drive kid. He gets to the hole pretty well because he's a strong, physical type." Tyler Mecsey and Eddie Tober round out the senior class. Mecsey, as a 6-3 post player for the Mavericks, will be important inside the paint. "He's a physical kid, and a good rebounder and defender," Lutz said.

"On defense he will have to play bigger than he is. "Tober is our most improved kid and he does all the intangibles — gets on the floor for loose balls, sets good screens and gets rebounds," Lutz added. Sophomore Brandon Wallace will be vying for playing time at the point. "He is extremely athletic and has good basketball skills," Lutz said. "He's just young. He's learning the game. He has a big learning curve." Lutz said he sees a tough schedule for the Mavs, laden with experienced and talented teams in the Kensington Lakes Activities Association (KLAA) West Division. "The division is brutal," he said. "We're probably going to be picked at

the bottom of the division." Brighton and Grand Blanc are the top two contenders, according to Lutz. However, he said he plans to bring his offense to the court and challenge everyone. "We have a lot of ball handlers," he said. "We will push the ball early on offense and score early. If not we'll look to spread the floor." Defensively, the Mavericks will look to bring a physical man-to-man defense to the court, but the team's strength will be its chemistry. "The kids get along really well and that benefits us," Lutz said. "That should bode well for us. I think you'll see a lot of improvement with our team from the first to the 20th (game)." ❏ — Mark Stowers

2009-10 | HOOPS 17


2009-10 hoops preview

2009-10

Hoops Schedule

COACH: GEORGE PORRITT SEVENTEENTH SEASON 2008-09 RECORD: 14-9, 6-4 ASSISTANT COACHES: KRIS DAIEK LEN KARSCHNIA TODD COVERT

Dec. 8 at Berkley, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 11 vs. Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 15 vs. Flint Powers Catholic, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 19 vs. W. Bloomfield at Detroit Country Day, TBA. Jan. 5 vs. Davison, 7:30 p.m. Jan. 9 vs. Detroit Douglass, 7 p.m. Jan. 12 at Birmingham Brother Rice, 7:30 p.m. Jan. 15 vs. Warren De La Salle, 7:30 p.m. Jan. 19 vs. Detroit Jesuit, 7:30 p.m. Jan. 22 vs. Detroit Renaissance, 7:30 p.m. Jan. 26 at Novi Detroit Catholic Central, 7:30 p.m. Jan. 29 at Detroit Country Day, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 2 vs. Birmingham Brother Rice, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 5 at Warren De La Salle, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 9 at Detroit Jesuit, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 16 vs. Novi Detroit Catholic Central, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 19 - Feb. 20 at CHSL Quarterfinals, TBA Feb. 23 - Feb. 24 at CHSL Semifinals, TBA. Feb. 28 at CHSL Championship, TBA. Mar. 6 at Operation Friendship, TBA.

St. Mary's Head Coach George Porritt will have his Eaglets operating in a flex offensive system this year, yet be up-tempo to compete with bigger Catholic League opponents. Look for the Eaglets to use a man-to-man pressure defense this season. (Spinal Column Newsweekly photo/Amy K. Lockard)

Eaglets to be tested early St. Mary's aims for return to top of Catholic League ith four straight district playoff titles under their belts, the Orchard Lake St. Mary's Eaglets are looking to return to the top of the Catholic League in 2010. "We still have to get healthy and we're a little bit behind with some of our players on the football team, but we can battle for the league title," said Head Coach George Porritt. Last season, the Eaglets were 14-9, finished tied for third in the Detroit Catholic League Central Division with a 6-4 record, and were eliminated in the semi-finals of the league playoffs by Warren De La Salle, ending their run of three straight division and league championships.

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18 HOOPS | SPINAL COLUMN NEWSWEEKLY

But, the Eaglets rebounded with victories over West Bloomfield and North Farmington to win the district playoff championship before suffering a two-point loss to Hartland in a regional semi-final. St. Mary's also lost star forward Dion Sims to graduation and Michigan State University, while Juwan Moody and CJ Mwila have left the school. Returning for the Eaglets will be senior point guard Gary Hunter, who was an all-league selection last season by the Catholic League. Hunter is recovering from a broken right hand suffered while playing on the football team in November during its run to the state Division 3 final. Also returning are seniors Mike Furlong (forward) and Evan Webster (guard). "They've really progressed and have worked hard during the summer

and I expect a lot out of them," Porritt said. Stepping in at center will be 6-6 sophomore Quarain Jones, whom Porritt regards as a good shot blocker and rebounder. Another sophomore expected to contribute is 6-3 power forward Joe Eroyan, characterized by Porritt as a good rebounder and defender. Christopher Vucinaj, a senior power forward, stands 6-4 and is also expected to pay dividends for the Eaglets. Allen Robinson, a 6-2 junior, will spilt time at the guard and small forward positions and is regarded by Porritt as a slasher, scorer and a big defender. The Eaglets will also be switching to a flex offensive system this season while sticking with their pressure man-to-man defense. "We'll still have to push the ball

and be up-tempo because our league is always pretty big," Porritt said. St. Mary's will be tested early by its schedule, which included the Dec. 8 season opener at Berkley and two home matchups against Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard (Dec. 11) and Class B state champion Flint Powers Catholic (Dec. 15), followed by a rematch with 2009 district tournament foe West Bloomfield at Detroit Country Day (Dec. 19). The Eaglets' Catholic League opener will be at Birmingham Brother Rice on Jan. 12, followed by a home contest against defending league champion Warren De La Salle on Jan. 15. "It's a tough schedule," Porritt said. "I worry about December because of football season, but I hope we'll be healthy by January. We'll be ready to roll." â?? — Michael Shelton


2009-10 hoops preview

2009-10

Hoops Schedule Dec. 11 at Canton, 7 p.m. Dec. 12 vs. Detroit Frederick Douglass at Detroit Country Day, 4:30 p.m. Dec. 17 vs. Birmingham Seaholm, 7 p.m. Dec. 19 vs. Orchard Lake St. Mary's at Detroit Country Day, 2 p.m. Dec. 27 vs. Ypsilanti at Motor City Roundball Classic at Detroit Country Day, 9 p.m. Jan. 5 at Oak Park, 7 p.m. Jan. 8 vs. North Farmington, 7 p.m. Jan. 15 at Clarkston, 7 p.m. Jan. 17 at Martin Luther King Classic at Pontiac, TBA. Jan. 19 vs. Auburn Hills Avondale, 7 p.m.

COACH: ANDRE WHITE THIRD SEASON

Jan. 22 at Pontiac, 7 p.m. Jan. 28 at Southfield-Lathrup, 7 p.m. Feb. 2 vs. Southfield, 7 p.m.

2008-09 RECORD: 16-6, 11-3

Feb. 5 vs. Oak Park, 7 p.m. Feb. 11 at North Farmington, 7 p.m. Feb. 16 vs. Clarkston, 7 p.m. Feb. 19 at Auburn Hills Avondale, 7 p.m. Feb. 26 vs. Pontiac, 7 p.m. Mar. 2 vs. Southfield-Lathrup, 7 p.m. Mar. 4 at Southfield, 7 p.m.

ASSISTANT COACHES: GARY BLAKE, NORMAN WHITE, STEPHON WAITES, LAVELLE RIVERS

West Bloomfield Head Coach Andre White said he has some good returning players and additions to fill in for the 2008-09 starters who graduated last spring. He said the Lakers will use a full-court press defense and different offensive sets this season. (Spinal Column Newsweekly photo/Amy K. Lockard)

New starting group for Lakers West Bloomfield expects to remain competitive team est Bloomfield is looking for another strong season after finishing with at least 15 wins in their first two years under Head Coach Andre White. The Lakers finished last season with 16 victories, including an undefeated 8-0 record on their home court and an appearance in a district semi-final game, in which they were defeated by Orchard Lake St. Mary's. This year, West Bloomfield will be without the services of 2009 graduates Chris Hurst, Antonio and Antwaan Credit, and Tyler Sauter. "We lost all our starters, but we have some really good players back in the program and some new additions,"

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White said. "I think we'll be pretty competitive again." Taking charge this season will be senior guards Steve McCarty and Blake Johnson, who each stand 5-10. Also stepping in will be 6-3 senior David Poole, who will see time at guard and forward. "The backcourt is going to be the key," White said. Another player to watch will be senior power forward Larry Johnson Jr., the son of former NBA star Larry Johnson who made a strong impression over the summer at the Five Stars Sixers camp in Stroudsburg, Penn. "He played really well and turned a lot of coaches' heads," White said. "He's grown. He was 6-1 last year, and now he's 6-3-and-a-half. He's very strong, rebounds well and can score. I'm expecting a lot from him." Also expected to contribute is

junior Spencer Parker, a 6-7 forward/center. White said Parker can shoot and handle the ball, play inside and outside the paint, and is very versatile. After tearing his ACL playing football in 2008, 6-5 junior Nick Leventis is expected to step up and make his presence known this year. "He's come along very well and shoots the ball well," White said. The Lakers will work with a fullcourt press defense and different offensive sets this season, according to White. "We've got a lot of work to do with defense because last year's team was good defensively," he said. "We're going to get after you defensively and try to get some run outs and steals and get down the floor and get some easy baskets. "Offensively, we're going to be better than last year because we have

a lot of guys that can make baskets," White said. The Lakers will open up the season at Canton on Friday, Dec. 11 and will play three games at Detroit Country Day, including a matchup with Detroit Frederick Douglass (Dec. 12), a rematch with St. Mary's (Dec. 19), and the Motor City Roundball Classic against Ypsilanti (Dec. 27). West Bloomfield's home opener is Thursday, Dec. 17 against Birmingham Seaholm. The Lakers' Oakland Activities Association (OAA) Red Division schedule includes games against Pontiac (Jan. 22, Feb. 26) and state-semi-finalist Clarkston (Jan. 15, Feb. 16). "It comes down to executing on the offensive and defensive ends and not turning the ball over. It's that simple," White said. â?? — Michael Shelton

2009-10 | HOOPS 19


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2009-10 hoops preview

2009-10

Hoops Schedule Dec. 1 at Plymouth, 7 p.m. Dec. 4 vs. Southfield, 7 p.m. Dec. 8 vs. Birmingham Groves, 7 p.m. Dec. 15 at Clarkston, 7 p.m. Dec. 18 vs. North Farmington, 7 p.m. Dec. 27 vs. Belleville at Motor City Round Ball Classic at Detroit Country Day, 4 p.m. Jan. 7 at Pontiac, 7 p.m. Jan. 12 vs. Rochester, 7 p.m. Jan. 15 at Troy, 7 p.m. Jan. 17 at Martin Luther King Classic at Pontiac, TBA. Jan. 19 at Redford Thurston, 7 p.m. Jan. 21 vs. Lake Orion, 7 p.m.

COACH: STEVE LARKIN SECOND SEASON

Jan. 26 vs. Southfield-Lathrup, 7 p.m.

2008-09 RECORD: 11-12

Jan. 29 vs. Clarkston, 7 p.m. Feb. 4 at North Farmington, 7 p.m. Feb. 9 vs. Pontiac, 7 p.m.

ASSISTANT COACH: ZACH HILLBERS

Feb. 12 at Rochester, 7 p.m. Feb. 18 vs. Troy, 7 p.m. Feb. 23 at Lake Orion, 7 p.m. Feb. 26 at Southfield-Lathrup, 7 p.m.

Depth at the guard position will be the West Bloomfield Lakers' greatest strength this season, according to Head Coach Steve Larkin. He said he expects to have about six guards that will help keep the Lakers in close games during the 2009-10 season. (Spinal Column Newsweekly photo/Amy K. Lockard)

Future looks bright for Lakers Larkin starting pair of freshman after losing eight seniors est Bloomfield graduated eight seniors in the spring, including a star player in Chenise Miller, who is now playing ball at Eastern Michigan University. However, Lakers Head Coach Steve Larkin said he is excited about the 2009-10 season and looks at it as being an opportunity to reload. "Of course with having a young team, there's going to be a lot of growing pains, especially with starting two freshmen," he said. "Having such young talent bodes well for the future, but right now we just have to live and grow during the season."

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The two freshmen that Larkin is looking to have a big impact this year are starting point guard Sydni Davis and guard Kheri Motley. Although the Lakers are young, some experience will return with threeyear varsity player Diamond Murray. A senior wing guard, Murray will provide invaluable senior leadership. Also returning with varsity experience are junior Taylor Gunn and Kylia Perryman. Each got playing time as sophomores, and together started about nine games each. Despite returning only three varsity players this year, Larkin said this year's team has more depth, especially at the guard position. "Our depth will be one of our greatest strengths," he said. "We have about six guards who can contribute

every game. This should keep us in a few more close games." It will also help West Bloomfield defensively, as the Lakers will primarily run a man-to-man scheme with a constant rotation of guards. The Lakers will also be a quicker team this year, which will allow them to use a spread offense and open up the floor. "It's going to be a bit different this year for us offensively," Larkin said. "Last year with Chenise, our game plan was to get her the ball. This year we are going to primarily use four guards all the time … and rely on our speed." That speed will come in handy against a very good North Farmington team, which has two seniors who are expected to play college basketball next year.

"They are our main rivalry game," Larkin said. "We have been neck-andneck with them throughout the years. Even though they have a lot more experience than we do, we are still hoping to compete with them." Another team Larkin expects to be strong in the Oakland Activities Association (OAA) Red Division is Southfield Lathrup. "Even though they struggled at the beginning of last season — being very young — they picked it up at the end of the season," he said. "They should be a tough team to beat. "I think with a younger team, the season will definitely be exciting, and a bit of a roller coaster," Larkin said of the Lakers' prospects. "It should be fun and interesting." ❏ — Angela Niemi

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2009-10 hoops preview

New era for Milford program First-year coach sees Mavs vying for KLAA West crown fter 32 seasons of coaching at Milford, Don Palmer has retired. Taking his place will be first-year Head Coach Jennifer Van Goethem; and although she is new to the program, she already knows that her team will be competitive in the Kensington Lakes Activities Association (KLAA) West Division while facing Brighton, Howell, Hartland, Grand Blanc, and Pinckney. "It's my first year so I'm still trying to scope out the competition, but I do know that everyone in the league will be very competitive this year," she said. "The team that wins (the division race) will most likely have one or two losses, as all the teams will beat up on each other." The Mavericks have an advantage as they will be very experienced and deep on the bench, with seven returning varsity players. One of those providing leadership will be senior guard Lindsay Bandyk, who will be a very key part of Milford's lineup with her speed and experience. Another guard with experience is senior Alyssa Adams. Van Goethem said Adams will provide leadership on the court, especially with her ball-handling ability. Providing strength on the inside will be junior power forward Patience Santini and junior Lauren Smith. "Patience has great strength, and we look for her to control the paint," Van Goethem said. "Lauren will also help us secure the inside." Another important returning player is senior Rachel Crawford. "Rachel is a very versatile player," Van Goethem said. "She can play either as an outside wing guard or a small forward." Sophomore guard Claire Slaughter will be seeing some time at the guard position. Alyssa Lowe, a junior, also will play at the guard position. Helping out in the paint will be sisters Rachel and Michelle Tierney. The Mavericks hope to use their speed and athleticism to score easy baskets, and dictate the pace and rhythm of the game. Milford also looks to play an up-tempo defensive game with mostly man-to-man pressure that will hopefully create steals and fastbreaks. â?? — Angela Niemi

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2009-10

Hoops Schedule Dec. 1 at Farmington Hills Harrison, 7 p.m. Dec. 4 vs. Walled Lake Western, 7 p.m. Dec. 9 vs. Waterford Kettering, 7 p.m. Dec. 15 at South Lyon East, 7 p.m. Dec. 17 at Walled Lake Central, 7 p.m. Jan. 8 at Howell, 7 p.m. Jan. 12 vs. Brighton, 7 p.m. Jan. 15 at Hartland, 5:30 p.m. Jan. 19 at Pinckney, 7 p.m. Jan. 22 at Grand Blanc, 7 p.m. Jan. 27 vs. Lakeland, 7 p.m. Jan. 29 vs. Howell, 7 p.m.

COACH: JENNIFER VAN GOETHEM FIRST SEASON

Feb. 2 at Brighton, 7 p.m. Feb. 5 vs. Hartland, 5:30 p.m. Feb. 9 vs. Pinckney, 7 p.m. Feb. 12 vs. Grand Blanc, 7 p.m. Feb. 16 at KLAA Tournament - 1st Round, 7 p.m. Feb. 18 at KLAA Tournament - 2nd Round, 7 p.m. Feb. 22 at KLAA Tournament - 3rd Round, 7 p.m.

2008-09 RECORD: 12-10, 4-4 ASSISTANT COACH: ANDY HINCKA

Feb. 24 at KLAA Crossover, 7 p.m. Feb. 25 at KLAA Championship, 7 p.m.

First-year Head Coach Jennifer Van Goethem wants her Mavericks to use their speed and athleticism to move the ball quickly, score easy baskets and dictate the pace of their games. Van Goethem plans to use a man-toman pressure defense to force steals and generate fastbreaks. (Spinal Column Newsweekly photo/Amy K. Lockard)


2009-10 hoops preview COACH: MIKE HEAD FIFTH SEASON 2008-09 RECORD: 15-6, 8-2 ASSISTANT COACHES: MIKE LETHEIM, CONNIE GILBERT

2009-10

Hoops Schedule Dec. 1 at North Farmington, 7 p.m. Dec. 4 at Troy Athens, 7 p.m. Dec. 7 at Southfield, 7 p.m. Dec. 17 vs. Brighton, 7 p.m. Jan. 5 vs. Birmingham Groves, 7 p.m. Jan. 8 vs. Walled Lake Central, 7 p.m. Jan. 12 at Waterford Kettering, 7 p.m. Jan. 15 vs. Walled Lake Northern, 7 p.m. Jan. 19 vs. Walled Lake Western, 7 p.m. Jan. 22 vs. Waterford Mott, 7 p.m. Jan. 27 at Milford, 7 p.m. Jan. 29 at Walled Lake Central, 7 p.m. Feb. 2 vs. Waterford Kettering, 7 p.m. Feb. 5 at Walled Lake Northern, 7 p.m. Feb. 9 at Walled Lake Western, 7 p.m. Feb. 12 at Waterford Mott, 7 p.m. Feb. 16 at KLAA Tournament - 1st Round, 7 p.m. Feb. 18 at KLAA Tournament - 2nd Round, 7 p.m. Feb. 22 at KLAA Tournament - 3rd Round, 7 p.m. Feb. 24 at KLAA Crossover, 7 p.m. Feb. 25 at KLAA Championship, 7 p.m.

Lakeland faces a challenge in defending its KLAA North and Lakes Conference championships this year, as Head Coach Mike Head said the North Division is very competitive and the Eagles have targets on their backs. The 2009-10 team's versatility should help its title defense cause. (Spinal Column Newsweekly photo/Amy K. Lockard)

Eagles ready to defend titles Lakeland will face stiff competition in quest to repeat uron Valley Lakeland made history last year by becoming the first team to win the Kensington Lakes Activities Association (KLAA) North Division championship, as well as the Lakes Conference title. The Eagles then lost the KLAA championship in overtime to Plymouth Salem. Head Coach Mike Head and the Eagles now intend to defend the championships earned last year. "You always want to defend the things you win," he said. "We would like to start by repeating as division champions and going forward from there." Head knows this will be a challenge, as Lakeland is part of the very competitive KLAA North.

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"Every night is going to be a battle for us," he said. "Every team is competitive, and there about four or five teams that will strive for that first-place finish. We know that everyone will be targeting us because we won last year." Returning for the defending Lakes Conference champs will be senior guard Amy Carlton and senior forward Stephanie Lock. A three-year varsity player and returning starter, Carlton will set the tone for the Eagles. "She's our top defender," Head said. "We always put her on the other team's best perimeter player." In addition to her defense, Carlton is very quick in transition and can score from beyond the three-point arc. Lock will be a threat offensively inside and outside of the paint. An AllKLAA and Spinal Column Newsweekly All-area First Team

selection last year, Lock averaged a double-double every game with 11.3 points and 9.3 rebounds. Also starting this year will be Lauren Maxwell, who like Carlton can score in transition and from beyond the arc. "She is one of the best volleyball players in the area," Head said. "She's a great athlete and competitor. We expect good defense out of her. She likes to win. That makes her a great competitor." Although he's lost six of his top eight players from last year's team, Head said he expects each member of his current roster to step up and find a way to contribute. "We are a very versatile team," he said. "We have a number of girls that play outside and inside offensively, as well as playing good physical defense. It will keep us in a lot of games." Sophomore Ceiara Schultz is one

of those versatile players, and can play either the guard or forward position. She got a glimpse of playing at the varsity level when she played in Lakeland's district playoff game last season. Another key contributor will be senior guard Korrine Rochefort, who will see playing time running the offense at point guard. "She's sneaky quick defensively and offensively," Head said. Lakeland's versatility will be important not only in competing in the KLAA North Division but also when taking on Brighton on Thursday, Dec. 17 in a rematch of last year's conference championship contest. It will also help the Eagles when they play rival Huron Valley Milford. "We always have fun playing Milford because of our enduring rivalry," Head said. â?? — Angela Niemi

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24 HOOPS | SPINAL COLUMN NEWSWEEKLY

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2009-10 hoops preview

Mott has seven seniors back Corsairs have more talented bench this season

COACH: JESSICA COX SECOND SEASON 2008-09 RECORD:

he Corsairs of Waterford Mott 13-10, 3-7 beat both Waterford Kettering and Oxford to make it to the district playoff finals last season; and ASSISTANT COACH: despite being up at halftime, Mott fell to DAN VASQUESZ eventual semi-finalist Lake Orion. Now the Corsairs want to take the next step. TRAINER "We just ran out of gas," said Head NIKOLE MADDES Coach Jessica Cox of last year's district final. "We were up at the half, but we just couldn't continue on like that." According to Cox, she would like her team to not only be able to make it to the district finals, but to go further in the playoffs this year. With seven seniors leaving next spring, Cox said she hopes they can "go out with a bang." One of those seniors is point guard Desyree Thomas. "Des is looked at as a leader on the floor," Cox said. "I expect her to take what I want and bring it into the game." Another senior is guard Holly Cooperrider, who is not only a great shooter but an outstanding defender and will receive the toughest Dec. 1 at Clarkston, 7 p.m. assignments defensively. Dec. 8 at Livonia Franklin, 7 p.m. Senior Scarlett Simancek is another key shooter for the Corsairs, is tough Dec. 11 at Pontiac, 7 p.m. defensively and a sneaky rebounder. Dec. 17 vs. Grand Blanc, 7 p.m. At 5-10, Tiffany Coleman will control Jan. 5 at Bloomfield Hills Andover, 7 p.m. the post at the forward position. An Jan. 8 vs. Walled Lake Northern, 7 p.m. extremely hard worker, Cox calls Jan. 12 at Walled Lake Western, 7 p.m. Coleman a "gamer" because "when that Jan. 15 vs. Waterford Kettering at whistle blows, Tiffany is ready to go." Oakland University, 6 p.m. Cox said the team has more talent Jan. 19 vs. Walled Lake Central, 7 p.m. coming off the bench this season, which Jan. 22 at Lakeland, 7 p.m. should allow the Corsairs to play big and use their speed to their advantage. Jan. 26 at Howell, 7 p.m. This will be important to the team's Jan. 29 at Walled Lake Northern, 7 p.m. success, especially playing in the Feb. 2 vs. Walled Lake Western, 7 p.m. Kensington Lakes Activities Association Feb. 5 vs. Waterford Kettering, 6 p.m. (KLAA) North Division. Last year, Mott Feb. 9 at Walled Lake Central, 7 p.m. split games with every team in the Feb. 12 vs. Lakeland, 7 p.m. North Division except eventual division Feb. 16 at KLAA Tournament - 1st Round, 7 p.m. champion Huron Valley Lakeland. Cox said she sees this season as Feb. 18 at KLAA Tournament - 2nd Round, 7 p.m. being very competitive, especially when Feb. 22 at KLAA Tournament - 3rd Round, 7 p.m. it comes time for Mott to face crossFeb. 24 at KLAA Crossover, 7 p.m. town rival Waterford Kettering. Feb. 25 at KLAA Championship, 7 p.m. "I think Kettering is going to be a great game for us," she said. "Not only because of the enduring rivalry, but Waterford Mott Head Coach Jessica Cox wants her seniors to go out with a bang this year by moving beyond because of the caliber of athletes they the district playoff final in 2009-10. The Corsairs are also striving to improve upon last year's 3-7 league record. have on their team." â?? — Angela Niemi (Spinal Column Newsweekly photo/Amy K. Lockard)

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2009-10

Hoops Schedule

2009-10 | HOOPS 25


2009-10 hoops preview

2009-10

Hoops Schedule Dec. 1 at Auburn Hills Avondale, 7 p.m. Dec. 4 at Clarkston, 7 p.m. Dec. 9 at Milford, 7 p.m. Dec. 11 vs. Oakland Christian, 7 p.m. Dec. 17 vs. Howell, 7 p.m. Jan. 8 at Walled Lake Western, 7 p.m. Jan. 12 vs. Lakeland, 7 p.m. Jan. 15 vs. Waterford Mott at Oakland University, 6 p.m. Jan. 19 at Walled Lake Northern, 7 p.m. Jan. 22 vs. Walled Lake Central, 7 p.m. Jan. 26 at Brighton, 7 p.m.

COACH: ALLISON SARTORIUS (L) CO COACH: SCOTT WOODHULL (R)R FIRST SEASON

Jan. 29 vs. Walled Lake Western, 7 p.m. Feb. 2 at Lakeland, 7 p.m. Feb. 5 at Waterford Mott, 6 p.m. Feb. 9 vs. Walled Lake Northern, 7 p.m. Feb. 12 at Walled Lake Central, 7 p.m. Feb. 16 at KLAA Tournament - 1st Round, 7 p.m. Feb. 18 at KLAA Tournament - 2nd Round, 7 p.m. Feb. 22 at KLAA Tournament - 3rd Round, 7 p.m.

2008-09 RECORD: 10-12

Feb. 24 at KLAA Crossover, 7 p.m. Feb. 25 at KLAA Championship, 7 p.m.

Several newcomers will provide a spark coming off the bench for new Kettering Head Coach Allison Sartorius, but it's the team's four returning seniors and three returning sophomores that will provide crucial depth and experience this season. Sartorius and Co-coach Scott Woodhull hope to use their players' quickness to compensate for a lack of size in the inside. (Spinal Column Newsweekly photo/Amy K. Lockard)

Kettering has speed, depth Seven players returning for first-year coach mong the most important games every season for Waterford Kettering is any contest against cross-town rival Waterford Mott. First-year Kettering Head Coach Allison Sartorius is well aware of this fact, as she was an assistant coach for the varsity team last year. "On both sides the kids are very intense, which adds to the hype," she said. "It should be the same this year, which is always fun." Added to the hype this year is the fact that Waterford Mott knocked off Kettering in the district playoffs last year. Remembering how that felt will be

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the four returning seniors and three returning sophomores from last year's squad. With so many returning players, Kettering will have an advantage with depth and experience. Sartorius said she expects all of her returning players to play an important role on the team, but in particular Sarah Simpson and Allison Bicknell. Simpson, a senior center, will be an anchor in the paint. "We look for her to be really strong this year," Sartorius said. "She has really improved her inside game during the off season." Bicknell will provide strength and stability on the perimeter. A shooting guard, Bicknell is very quick, which will help the Captains both offensively and defensively. In addition to the returning veterans, Kettering also has several newcomers on this year's team who

will fill different roles. "I'm really hoping that they will give us an added spark when they come off the bench, which should help us," Sartorius said. This added spark will be important when the Captains play Mott and Lakeland, teams that Sartorius expects to be a very tough this year. "Lakeland will be another very big game for us," she said. "They were good last year." As for the rest of the Kensington Lakes Activities Association (KLAA), Sartorius said she's not quite sure what to expect as she really has not seen the other teams, but she said she does believe that all the teams will be quite competitive. She said she also hopes that her team will be one of the top contenders in the league. "One of our goals is to continue to improve every game so as to be very

competitive in league play," she said. "We've had a good start as the girls have been working very hard, which should help us achieve our goals." Offensively and defensively, Kettering is hoping to use quickness as an advantage, especially as the Captains lack size on the inside. Throughout the season, Kettering will be trying out different options on both ends of the court. "(Co-coach) Scott (Woodhull) and I are going to have to see what works with the personnel we have," she said. "Hopefully, we will have many options to choose from, especially considering our speed." Woodhull, a former Kettering coach, has returned to be the Captains' co-coach this year as Sartorius is due to have a baby later in the season. â?? — Angela Niemi


2009-10 hoops preview

Lakers striving to go further Our Lady coach thinks team can reach semi-finals

COACH: STEVE ROBAK THIRD SEASON

ne of the most intense rivalries in girls prep basketball has been 2008-09 RECORD: between Waterford Our Lady of 23-2, 9-1 the Lakes and Marine City Cardinal Mooney. Our Lady finished 23-2 last year with their only losses to Cardinal ASSISTANT COACH: Mooney, a team which only lost to Our PAUL ROBAK Lady last year. The teams met four times in 2008-09. They split games during league play, and Our Lady claimed the Catholic League championship — but Cardinal Mooney ended the Lakers' playoff run in the state quarter-finals. Our Lady Coach Steve Robak said he's hoping his team will be able to advance further this year. A core part of that team will be senior center Alexis Doetsch and junior guard Lauren Robak. Doetsch is a fouryear varsity player and two-year allleague selection who is able to generate a lot of offense in the paint, and is regarded as being a great defender. Dec. 4 vs. Burton Bendle, 7 p.m. Lauren Robak earned all-state honors last year while averaging 23 Dec. 8 at Oakland Christian, 7 p.m. points, 7.5 rebounds, 4 steals, and 3 Dec. 17 at Morrice, 7 p.m. assists a game. Dec. 30 at Mt. Pleasant Sacred Heart, 7 p.m. Also bringing leadership and experience will be junior guard Megan Jan. 5 at Genesee, 7 p.m. Topolewski. Jan. 7 at Royal Oak Shrine, 7 p.m. All of this veteran talent will be Jan. 11 vs. Marine City Cardinal Mooney, 7 p.m. important as Our Lady lost five very good seniors to graduation last year. Jan. 15 vs. Allen Park Cabrini, 7 p.m. "Most of the girls are new to the Jan. 18 at Riverview Gabriel Richard, TBA. varsity level," Coach Robak said. "Everyone will need to fill in, especially Jan. 22 vs. Madison Heights Bishop Foley, 7 p.m. defensively and on the boards." Jan. 26 at Notre Dame Prep, 7:30 p.m. Sarah Nonordam, a junior guard who Jan. 28 vs. Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard, 7 p.m. played JV basketball last year, is one such player that Coach Robak hopes Feb. 1 vs. Royal Oak Shrine, 7 p.m. will contribute greatly to the team. He Feb. 4 at Marine City Cardinal Mooney, TBA. also said four freshmen will most likely Feb. 8 at Allen Park Cabrini, 7:30 p.m. see playing time this year. Coach Robak said his team this year Feb. 11 at CHSL Quarterfinals, TBA. is faster and more athletic. Feb. 13 at CHSL Semfinals, TBA. "We are going to want to utilize that Feb. 16 vs. Genesee, 7 p.m. and play an up-tempo game with a lot of pressure, where hopefully we can force Feb. 21 at CHSL Championship, TBA. and capitalize on turnovers," he said. Feb. 26 vs. Webberville, 7 p.m. Our Lady will run a variety of defenses in order to mix it up. This will be extremely important, especially The 2009-10 Our Lady team will have to fill holes left by five seniors from the 2008-09 team, but this year's roster when facing teams like Cardinal Mooney more than once. ❏ is faster and more athletic, according to Head Coach Steve Robak. The Lakers will run an up-tempo game to — Angela Niemi force turnovers and capitalize on easy baskets. (Spinal Column Newsweekly photo/Amy K. Lockard)

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Hoops Schedule

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2009-10 hoops preview COACH: JOHN SHARPE EIGHTH SEASON

2009-10

2008-09 RECORD: 8-12, 2-8

Hoops Schedule

ASSISTANT COACHES: JON BAK, CHRISTIAN HOJNICKI TRAINER TOM BURMAN

Dec. 4 vs. Hazel Park, 7 p.m. Dec. 8 at Northville, 7 p.m. Dec. 11 at Novi, 7 p.m. Dec. 15 at South Lyon, 7 p.m. Dec. 17 vs. Pinckney, 7 p.m. Jan. 8 at Waterford Mott, 7 p.m. Jan. 12 at Walled Lake Central, 7 p.m. Jan. 15 at Lakeland, 7 p.m. Jan. 19 vs. Waterford Kettering, 7 p.m. Jan. 22 at Walled Lake Western, 7 p.m. Jan. 26 at Grand Blanc, 7 p.m. Jan. 29 vs. Waterford Mott, 7 p.m. Feb. 2 vs. Walled Lake Central, 7 p.m. Feb. 5 vs. Lakeland, 7 p.m. Feb. 9 at Waterford Kettering, 7 p.m. Feb. 12 vs. Walled Lake Western, 7 p.m. Feb. 16 at KLAA Tournament - 1st Round, 7 p.m. Feb. 18 at KLAA Tournament - 2nd Round, 7 p.m. Feb. 22 at KLAA Tournament - 3rd Round, 7 p.m. Feb. 24 at KLAA Crossover, 7 p.m. Feb. 25 at KLAA Championship, 7 p.m.

In addition to height in the starting lineup, Walled Lake Northern Head Coach John Sharpe has several players at the guard position that should be able to come off the bench and play important roles this season. That will help the Knights in the strong KLAA North Division. (Spinal Column Newsweekly photo/Amy K. Lockard)

Northern loaded with vets Four of Knights' starters this year are seniors n important component of any varsity basketball team is experience, and Walled Lake Northern has a plethora of it for the 2009-10 season. With 10 players from last year's team returning, Head Coach John Sharpe said he's hoping that the added exposure at the varsity level will translate into more wins. "Our goal this year is to work hard on defense and pressure other teams into turnovers," he said. "We want to control the tempo of the game." Four of the starters for the Knights are seniors, and Sharpe said he's expecting each of them to be a leader on the floor and to provide quality minutes. Senior Brittany Gibson will be especially important in leading the

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28 HOOPS | SPINAL COLUMN NEWSWEEKLY

team at the point guard position and generating offense not only for her teammates but herself. Gibson was Northern's leading scorer last year, averaging 10.5 points a game. Another task for Gibson will be getting the ball to 5-10 forward Katie Hockstad, who Sharpe said is Northern's best shooter. Accompanying Hockstad in the paint will be senior forward Carissa McKenna. At 6-2, McKenna leads the team with 8.3 rebounds a game and is second on the team in scoring with 7 points a game. Also starting for the Knights will be Casey Kohls and Kari Knight. Kohls is a senior guard who will provide toughness and tenacity on the defensive end of the court. Knight, a 510 center, will be the lone junior starter. In addition to height in the starting lineup, Northern also has a couple of sophomore forwards, both over 5-10, in Courtney Scott and Maria Ropek. It

will be important for them to grow and learn a lot this season in order to fill in the holes left when McKenna and Hockstad graduate. Sharpe has several players at the guard position that could come off the bench and play important roles on the floor, including Amanda Goetze, Sara Murrin, Kayleigh Anstandig, Emily Sever, and Rebecca Harrison. With the added experience and depth, Northern should be a competitor for a Kensington Lakes Activities Association (KLAA) North Division title. However, that will be a challenge in a division that is as strong as the KLAA North. "We are all very similar in talent and toughness, with Kettering and Lakeland being two of the most talented in our division," Sharpe said. In addition to these tough division games, Northern also has a difficult non-league schedule that includes games against Novi, Northville,

Grand Blanc, and South Lyon. The KLAA in general is a very talented league, which includes three teams that Sharpe said could be among the top in the state, including last year's state runner up Livonia Franklin. The tough league play should help the Knights prepare for a competitive district tournament against Walled Lake Central, Howell, Huron Valley Lakeland and Milford, and Hartland. Although Northern lost to West Bloomfield in the first round last year, Sharpe said his team should be able to compete for the district title. An added bonus will be the district playoffs returning to Lakeland from Birmingham Groves, which will accommodate a lot more Northern fans coming out to support the team. "This group is a great bunch of girls," Sharpe said. "They work very hard at practice and are improving with every one. I'm looking forward to seeing what they can accomplish this season." â?? — Angela Niemi


2009-10 hoops preview

2009-10

Hoops Schedule Dec. 4 at Milford, 7 p.m. Dec. 8 vs. Novi, 7 p.m. Dec. 15 vs. Northville, 7 p.m. Dec. 18 vs. Hartland, 7 p.m. Jan. 5 at Livonia Churchill, 7 p.m. Jan. 8 vs. Waterford Kettering, 7 p.m. Jan. 12 vs. Waterford Mott, 7 p.m. Jan. 15 at Walled Lake Central, 7 p.m. Jan. 19 at Lakeland, 7 p.m.

COACH: DAVE WALTHER FIFTH SEASON

Jan. 22 vs. Walled Lake Northern, 7 p.m. Jan. 26 at Pinckney, 7 p.m. Jan. 29 at Waterford Kettering, 7 p.m.

2008-09 RECORD: 8-13, 7-3

Feb. 2 at Waterford Mott, 7 p.m. Feb. 5 vs. Walled Lake Central, 7 p.m. Feb. 9 vs. Lakeland, 7 p.m. Feb. 12 at Walled Lake Northern, 7 p.m. Feb. 16 at KLAA Tournament - 1st Round, 7 p.m. Feb. 18 at KLAA Tournament - 2nd Round, 7 p.m. Feb. 22 at KLAA Tournament - 3rd Round, 7 p.m. Feb. 24 at KLAA Crossover, 7 p.m. Feb. 25 at KLAA Championship, 7 p.m.

ASSISTANT COACHES: BOB YOUNG, TIM RUDI TRAINER ALYSSA REDPATH

Walled Lake Western Head Coach Dave Walther is emphasizing quickness in order to overcome his players' lack of experience and size and remain competitive with KLAA North Division foes. He said the Warriors will run, press and trap on defense and attack the basket on offense. (Spinal Column Newsweekly photo/Amy K. Lockard)

Western young and raw Walther concedes inexperience, not rebuilding status ast year Walled Lake Western had four returning seniors that helped the Warriors place second in the Kensington Lakes Activities Association (KLAA) North Division and fourth overall in the Lakes Conference. This year Western doesn't have the luxury of experienced veterans, but instead has fresh, raw talent. With five freshmen on the varsity team this year, Western is very young and inexperienced. Yet, Head Coach Dave Walther said he doesn't view the 2009-10 season as a rebuilding year. "We expect to win and compete, but we know that we will have to take some lumps along the way," he said. "If

L

we keep making progress every game, then we should have some success." Although Walther said he isn't quite sure who will break out this season as a key player, he said he does know that all his new players are working hard and trying to get used to competing at the varsity level. "We are still trying to see who will really make a big impact this year," he said. One player who's certain to have a big impact for Western is senior guard Taylor Deskins. A three-year varsity player and Walther's only returning player, Deskins will have to provide leadership for this young team. An excellent perimeter shooter who can also drive to the basket, Deskins averaged 9 points a game last year. Walther said he hopes she will be able to score even more this year.

With such an inexperienced team, Walther said his main goal is for the Warriors to progress as players. "Basically we are starting from scratch as we are young and inexperienced," he said. "We just want to keep getting better every day in each practice and in each game. We just want to be competitive every time we play." Although their inexperience may be a weakness in league play — especially against teams such as Waterford Kettering and Walled Lake Northern, which both will have many experienced returners — Walther said he expects his team to be able to compete with them by utilizing quickness and speed. "Although we are not very big, we are very quick," he said. "We want to use our speed to run, press, and trap on defense and attack the basket on offense. Once we gain more

experience, we hope to use our quickness more to our advantage, but for right now we are basically relying on the girls' natural instincts while they are trying to learn basketball at a higher level." The girls will learn quickly about how intense the varsity level can be, as Walther said he believes that every game in the KLAA North race will be a tough and intense battle. Although he said he believes Kettering will be the team to beat this year because of the Captains' talent, he said he also believes that Northern, Walled Lake Central, and Waterford Mott will all be decent teams. "Many of our girls are new to the varsity level of basketball, especially the freshmen," he said. "Right now they are basically students of the game, but the quicker they learn the more advantages we will have." ❏ — Angela Niemi

2009-10 | HOOPS 29


2009-10 hoops preview

2009-10

Hoops Schedule Dec. 4 at Dexter, 7 p.m. Dec. 8 vs. Plymouth, 7 p.m. Dec. 11 vs. South Lyon East, 7 p.m. Dec. 15 at Novi, 7 p.m. Dec. 17 vs. Milford, 7 p.m. Jan. 8 at Lakeland, 7 p.m. Jan. 12 vs. Walled Lake Northern, 7 p.m. Jan. 15 vs. Walled Lake Western, 7 p.m. Jan. 19 at Waterford Mott, 7 p.m. Jan. 22 at Waterford Kettering, 7 p.m.

COACH: ROB SCHOPF ELEVENTH SEASON

Jan. 26 at Hartland, 7 p.m. Jan. 29 vs. Lakeland, 7 p.m. Feb. 2 at Walled Lake Northern, 7 p.m.

2008-09 RECORD: 11-10, 5-5

Feb. 5 at Walled Lake Western, 7 p.m. Feb. 9 vs. Waterford Mott, 7 p.m. Feb. 12 vs. Waterford Kettering, 7 p.m.

ASSISTANT COACHES:

Feb. 16 at KLAA Tournament - 1st Round, 7 p.m.

NEAL HOWALD, JEN McKITTRICK, JACKIE BECKER

Feb. 18 at KLAA Tournament - 2nd Round, 7 p.m. Feb. 22 at KLAA Tournament - 3rd Round, 7 p.m. Feb. 24 at KLAA Crossover, 7 p.m. Feb. 25 at KLAA Championship, 7 p.m.

Walled Lake Central has some "longer and lankier" players this year who will help the Vikings compete in every game, according to Head Coach Rob Schopf. He characterizes the 2009-10 Vikings as a "decent shooting team." (Spinal Column Newsweekly photo/Amy K. Lockard)

Four starters back for Vikings Central's new faces bring height and athleticism ith eight new sophomores on his 2009-10 team, Walled Lake Central Head Coach Rob Schopf said he expects the Vikings to have some growing pains this season. "We are going to try and mature quickly," he said. "We need to get the new kids used to playing at the varsity level. Our main goal for this season is to go out and try to compete every night and get better as the season goes on." This will be the last season Schopf and his Vikings will be getting help from Assistant Coach Neal Howald, who has been Schopf's

W

30 HOOPS | SPINAL COLUMN NEWSWEEKLY

assistant over the course of 11 years of coaching. While the Vikings are more inexperienced overall this year, Schopf said their strengths will be athleticism and height. "We are bit longer and lankier this year with a couple of kids who are about 5-10, and we are a decent shooting team," he said. "This should help us be able to compete every night." Although Central has a lot of new faces, there are a few veterans on the team who know what it's like to battle at the intense varsity level night in and night out. One of those players is four-year varsity player and senior captain Krista Hakola. She was Central's leading scorer last year, averaging 10 points and seven rebounds a game. Also providing experience and leadership for the young team will be

senior Nina Warrior and junior Lisa Warrior. The Warrior sisters are both returning starters and will be cocaptains, along with Hakola. Another key returner will be sophomore Torrey Duffey, who started as a freshman last year and averaged nine points a game. These returning players will be instrumental in helping the younger players compete in the Kensington Lakes Activities Association (KLAA) North Division, especially when facing Waterford Kettering and Huron Valley Lakeland. "Those two teams are probably the two teams to beat in the division," Schopf said. "Lakeland has quite a few returning players from a strong team last year, and Kettering is very athletic and very experienced. It will be a tough division." Also in the North Division are cross-town rivals Walled Lake

Northern and Walled Lake Western. "Northern is as talented as anybody in the league, as they have many returning, experienced seniors," Schopf said. Not only are division standings at stake between these three teams, but so is the chance to be city champions. "These games are always intense and fun as everybody knows each other," Schopf said. While a city championship and a division title would be nice accomplishments, Schopf said he is mainly concerned with his team's ability and drive to compete. "We just want to be able to compete every night against every team we play," he said. "We are looking to improve from the beginning of the season to the end. If we work hard and compete, our season will be a successful season." â?? — Angela Niemi


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32 HOOPS | SPINAL COLUMN NEWSWEEKLY


Hoops 2009-10 Season