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February 19, 2013

Ford II boys basketball team bounces back after worst season in school history

By Jason Carmel Davis
C & G Sports Writer

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Ford II boys basketball team bounces back after worst season in school history
The Utica Ford II boys basketball team can finish second in the MAC White with a solid finish, which would be a nice turnaroud from last season’s 1-20 finish. Pictured is Ford II junior guard Bogart Lipe (13) during an early season matchup with Utica Eisenhower.

The Utica Ford II boys basketball team was out of the running for the Macomb Area Conference White Division title with a week left in the regular season, but the Falcons still had a shot at finishing second in the league.

That’d be quite the accomplishment, considering the program is coming off a year where it went 1-20 — the worst finish in program history.

“We had a stretch where we went 1-5, then we followed that up with a 5-1 run,” Falcons coach Mark Bray said. “We know we might be out of the race for the MAC White title because Mott’s 8-0, but we can still finish second. Given what we went through last year, that would be a positive for us.”

Ford II, which was 6-9 overall and 5-4 MAC White at press time, has a few things it can hang its hat on this season, according to Bray, including being undefeated versus the other Utica Community Schools.

“We want to finish second in the MAC White,” said senior guard Tim Leach, in his second year with the Falcons. “We worked really hard to turn things around, and we have a chance to have a solid finish.”

The Falcons’ record might be stronger if they could close out games. Ford II has been in a number of tight contests and were 2-4 in games decided by five points or fewer, including three losses by three points.

On Feb. 5, the Falcons had a seven-point lead on Mott at halftime but eventually lost by eight.

“We’ve been working on a lot of things to get us over the hump in those games,” Bray said, including recently spending practice time working on taking care of the ball and making strong post-entry passes.

“We’ve played a lot better at home. I think homecourt advantage gives you four or five points, and the guys play with more confidence.”

That confidence will come into play when the Falcons kick off the state tournament. District play begins March 4.

Senior guard Joey Guido is hopeful for a solid run to cap off his prep career.

“We’re just going to go out and play basketball and have fun,” said Guido, in his second year with Ford II. “We turned things around after last year. With the playoffs, myself and the other seniors just want to finish knowing we left everything on the floor.”

Ford II’s next matchup against Troy High is set for 7 p.m. Feb. 22 at Troy.

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