Groves boys basketball under new leadership

By: Christian Davis | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published January 18, 2011

 Birmingham Groves senior Adam Pauley goes up for a shot in a game earlier this season.

Birmingham Groves senior Adam Pauley goes up for a shot in a game earlier this season.

Photos by Patricia O’Blenes

BEVERLY HILLS — First-year Birmingham Groves boys basketball coach Scott Scheckell sees it as a clean slate.

With no returning starters from a squad that finished 3-18 last season, and only four players back with varsity experience, Scheckell is starting his program from scratch.

“You have to change the culture. Groves had a great basketball team for a number of years, and then over the last four years, I think their record has been 14-71,” he said before practice Jan. 6. “So the kids here at Groves don’t know that Groves was a powerhouse. It’ll take a little while to get it back to that, however, we’re trying to change the culture immediately.”

To help, Scheckell is trying to get more than just the athletes on his roster involved. The coach has had his squad visit the elementary schools in the area and even has middle school teams scrimmage at halftime of the varsity games — all in an effort to build pride for the program.

“You can’t put a price tag on that. That’s where the foundation of the program comes from. It comes from the kids who come to watch the varsity and dream about becoming a basketball player,” he said. “We’re trying to build a program from the bottom to the top, but our immediate goal is to be as competitive as quickly as possible.”

The Falcons started slow, losing their first four contests, but got in the win column after beating Royal Oak High 57-50 Jan. 4.

The win against Royal Oak was significant because Groves had lost all three meetings with the Ravens last season.

“I know last year we didn’t win our first league game until maybe halfway through the season … to win our first league game was huge,” senior Joe Wallace said. “We weren’t really getting down, but we needed that first win, and now we have the confidence to go and win a few more.”

Scheckell, who coached the girls varsity team for the past three seasons at Groves, said the key to winning more games is limiting turnovers and maintaining a strong effort.

“I told them at the beginning, we have to get better every day. We don’t have any time to waste, and every play at practice matters,” he said. “I think that mentality has helped.”

Catch the Falcons against Hazel Park High at 7 p.m. Jan. 13 at Hazel Park.