Looking down his bench and seeing his full team dressed and ready to go has been a rarity for Berkley High boys basketball coach David McGlown this season.
The Bears were 3-10 overall and 1-5 in the Oakland Activities Association Blue Division at press time.
The record is a bit deceiving, considering the Bears have been at full strength for only three of those games, according to Mc-Glown.
“When we did field a whole team, we played well. Not to make any excuses, but we’re starting to play better now,” he said as practice began Feb. 6. “Our team is starting to gel more. Our young guys are starting to get acclimated to the level of speed and the different ways they have to play this game.”
The Bears start two sophomores and have an additional sophomore who sees significant time.
Sophomore Jonathan Radner leads the squad in scoring with 16 points per game.
“I think we’re improving every day,” Radner said. “We’re adjusting to the speed of the game more.”
The inconsistencies in the lineup, due to various injuries, have led to inconsistency on the court, McGlown said. He also added that the team is shooting 45 percent from the free-throw line, which he attributes to a lack of concentration.
“It’s just sustaining that mental toughness for 32 minutes. If they do that every game, we wouldn’t win every game, but we’d win our fair share,” McGlown said. “I really think they’re growing up. It took a minute, but they’re coming around now.”
Just past the halfway mark of the season, the Bears have turned their focus to the state tournament. McGlown stated that the goal is to make a run in the postseason, using the remaining regular-season games to improve.
“I think it would give our guys a great deal of confidence,” McGlown said. “It’d give them something to build on.”
District play begins March 4, but the Bears don’t yet know which team they’ll face. They do know that Birmingham Groves is hosting the tourney, which includes Southfield-Lathrup, Oak Park High, Royal Oak High and Southfield High.
Berkley has beat Royal Oak twice and lost to Groves by five points. It hasn’t played the rest of the teams in the district.
“It would definitely be a confidence booster for our younger guys,” Radner said of success in the postseason. “In general, it’d be great for the team, and the seniors.”