L’Anse Creuse girls hoops team finding its way

By: Jason Carmel Davis | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published December 18, 2013

 Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse’s Erin Fogel, a senior guard, looks for an open teammate during a Dec. 3 battle with Macomb Dakota.

Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse’s Erin Fogel, a senior guard, looks for an open teammate during a Dec. 3 battle with Macomb Dakota.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

HARRISON TOWNSHIP — During practice Dec. 10, L’Anse Creuse girls basketball coach Lisa Downey had her players work on various aspects of their offensive games — from shot fakes to setting screens, to moving without the basketball — with the hopes of generating more offense the next time they hit the court.

“These reps we get in practice are really important,” senior forward Breanna Warner said.

Through two games at press time, L’Anse Creuse (0-2) is averaging just 28.5 points per game.

Some of the Lancers’ early offensive struggles could be attributed to the loss of Carly D’Almeida and Leeza Donald to graduation. Those two were the leading scorers on a team that, last season, put up 44.4 points per game en route to a 14-8 record. D’Almeida earned Macomb Area Conference MAC White Division MVP honors last season.

“We know we have to step up after losing Carly and Leeza,” said senior guard Olivia Martin, one of four new starters for the Lancers. “We’re still learning how to play together — learn each other’s tendencies on the court and develop a rapport.”

L’Anse Creuse senior forward Emily Hranchook said she understands the team has some work to do on the offensive end. She said it’s not so much running offensive sets as it is just playing the game.

“It’s about playing basketball,” Hranchook said. “It’s about finding space on the offensive end, beating people to spots and just getting better.”

Hranchook and Martin are two of six seniors Downey expects to lead the team. That also includes guard Michaela Jones — the lone returning starter from last year’s team that went 8-4 in the MAC White.

L’Anse Creuse last won a league title in 1988. Jones said the team is young, in terms of varsity experience, but she believes the team will jell and develop into a solid group as the season goes along.

“We just have to push ourselves as hard as we can when we’re out on the court,” senior guard/forward Alizé Graham said. “If we work hard, I think we’re going to get stronger as we play together more as the season goes along.”

Hranchook said while the team works to improve its offense, defense would have to be its calling card. She said L’Anse Creuse has set a goal of having the top defense in the county. Last season, the Lancers ranked 12th in points allowed per game in the 36-team MAC at 39.5.

L’Anse Creuse employs a zone attack on defense, with a goal of confusing opposing teams and not letting them get comfortable.

“It’s all mental,” Hranchook said. “(Playing defense) is all about hard work and dedication.”

Martin said she believes the team has made strides since the start of practice Nov. 9.

“And we have the will to win,” Martin said. “We just need to keep working hard.”

L’Anse Creuse next hits the court for a matchup against Utica High, set for 7 p.m. Dec. 20 at Utica High.