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Warren

February 12, 2014

Fitzgerald boys hoops team in midst of busy February

By Jason Carmel Davis
C & G Sports Writer

» click to enlarge «
The Warren Fitzgerald boys basketball team next hits the court for a battle with Anchor Bay, set for 7 p.m. Feb. 13 at Fitzgerald. Pictured is Spartans coach Joe Kopicki tossing the ball up to start a scrimmage at a Feb. 6 practice.

WARREN — The winter weather has affected just about every prep program in the area, including Warren Fitzgerald boys team.

The Spartans — 8-1, 5-0 Macomb Area Conference Blue Division, at press time — had had five games canceled due to inclement weather. That means Fitzgerald will play 11 games from now until the end of the regular season. A road game against St. Clair Shores Lakeview Feb. 27 is scheduled to be the Spartans’ last regular-season game. District playoffs begin March 3.

“It’s been tough, but everybody is in the same boat,” said Fitzgerald coach Joe Kopicki, who led the team to a division title last season.

Kopicki sees the hectic schedule as a fun part of the season, as the team has a number of divisional games remaining. A game against Grosse Pointe South, which is also undefeated in league play, was canceled and a makeup date has not been scheduled. He said he sees Madison Heights Madison as a tough out, as well, but believes the team has put itself in good position to repeat.

Kopicki said the rest of the season’s practice schedule would consist of shootarounds and walkthroughs — no heavy practices. He said the team should have all the concepts down at this point.

“We’ve been practicing since Nov. 18,” Kopicki said. “If they don’t have things down by now, what are you going to do? Now, we’ll do walkthroughs and try to keep them sharp.”

The team’s only setback is to Detroit Renaissance, which sat at 12-1 at press time and is seen as one of the stronger teams in the state.

“I don’t want to jinx it,” Kopicki said, “but we’re doing well.”

One of the players leading the charge is senior forward Tony Jackson. Jackson is averaging 27 points and 12 rebounds per game. Those totals increase in divisional matchups, Kopicki said.

“He’s been on the varsity team for three years and has had a great year so far,” Kopicki said. “He’s really stepped up.”

Jackson said he worked on every aspect of the game this past offseason in preparation for a more expanded role. He said he tries to be as aggressive as possible on the court.

“I paid my dues, and now I’m doing all I can with the playing time I’ve earned,” Jackson said.

Kopicki said seniors Aron Black, DeAngelo Hutson, Jeff McDougal and Jeremiah Becker have also played well this season.

“Normally at Fitzgerald, we’re senior-heavy,” Kopicki said. “We kind of groom the juniors to work hard in practice and get time during their junior year, but to aim for their senior year as the breakout year.”

For Jackson, that breakout year includes a very backloaded, full schedule that he’s looking forward to.

“We, honestly, haven’t had many games together up to this point because of the weather,” Jackson said. “It’s going to be fun seeing what we can do.”

Fitzgerald’s next tip is with Anchor Bay in a matchup at 7 p.m. Feb. 13 at Fitzgerald.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Jason Carmel Davis at jdavis@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1107. Twitter Follow Jason on Twitter.