L’Anse Creuse boys hoops hopes to pick up play in division

By: Jon Malavolti | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published January 18, 2011

Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse boys basketball coach John Haas is hoping for a fresh start from his team as the Lancers fully enter Macomb Area Conference Red Division play.

The squad started the season 0-3; all three losses came against good opponents by close margins.

The frustrating part for Haas isn’t that the Lancers are hanging with some solid teams and just coming up short, it’s the fact that he feels the team should be winning those games.

“It’s the intangibles we’re losing these games by, not for a lack of talent,” he said. “The talent is there. The experience is there. It’s a matter of boxing out, rebounding, diving for loose balls … doing all the little things for four quarters. If we could do that, we’d be 3-0. We’re costing ourselves 20 points per game, and we’re losing by five.”

“The silver lining is, if we can figure out how to play tougher, we’re going to take off,” Haas continued.

The coach highlighted the Lancers’ play on the offensive end of the floor.

“Our free-throw shooting is fantastic,” he said. “We’re scoring at least 50 points a game, and that should be enough to be 2-1 or at least 1-2.”

Haas is hoping a spark from some of his seniors, such as forward Giovanni Gordon, the team’s leading returning scorer, will ignite the team as the season wears on.

“He’s a good all-around player,” Haas said.

Haas also mentioned Terrell Wright, who the coaching staff hopes will become an extension of them on the floor.

“He has gotten immensely better,” Haas said.

Guard JuWan Doggett, meanwhile, has emerged as another offensive threat and leader for the squad after averaging about 14 points through the first three games.

“He’s really gotten better,” Haas said. “He communicates on the floor.

Now the coach wants to “mesh in some other guys” and hope they all improve on the little things so the W’s start racking up.

“It’ll be contagious,” he said. “It sounds simple, it really is. But it’s not something you can go to a camp and learn. It’s inside. It’s all heart. It’s a challenge to them.”

Haas knows things aren’t going to get any easier as the Lancers dive back into MAC Red play this month. The team quickly has to learn how to swim, or it’s going to sink with the weight of facing the tough division’s opponents night after night.

The coach noted his team might be one of the smallest in the division, so it is going to have to get scrappy to survive.

“We’re going to play teams that are way bigger than us,” Haas said. “We have to play hard, initiate contact, have to be on the ground first for the ball and be looking to take a charge in the lane.”

The Lancers were scheduled to play Romeo High after press time.

L’Anse Creuse will then host Clinton Township Chippewa Valley and Macomb Dakota in upcoming 7 p.m. games Jan. 14 and 17, respectively.