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January 23, 2013

Lamphere basketball hopes to be MAC Silver contender

By Mark Vest
C & G Sports Writer

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Lamphere basketball hopes to be MAC Silver contender
Lamphere’s Lamear Downes attempts to defend Hazel Park’s Cody Walsh during a game earlier this season. In order for Lamphere’s program to become stronger, coach Ron Levin believes it will need to go through a learning process.

In an effort to get the basketball program headed in the right direction, Lamphere has handed the coaching duties over to Ron Levin.

This is Levin’s first stint as a head coach, and he is hoping to make the most of his opportunity.

He is inheriting a program that has won just five league games during the past two seasons and has just one returning player from last season in Jalen Thomas.

Given that this is his first year at the helm, and with the inexperience of his squad, Levin is hopeful that this season represents a fresh start for the program.

“We’re changing the culture — the attitude of how they work and the attitude of the way we play,” he said. “Just a matter of them picking up on the things I’m trying to get across. They’ve been very dedicated so far.”

Lamphere may be inexperienced, but that doesn’t mean it can’t pose problems for opponents. Levin believes Lamphere’s primary strengths come from its quickness on the perimeter and from scoring threats in the post.

And while he hopes those strengths are enough to earn Lamphere its first league or district championship in “years and years,” Levin also realizes that there is a process that will need to take place first.

“Our goal is to win the Silver,” he said prior to the start of league play. “It’s a learning process. A lot of them have never played basketball at a high level. They’re kind of getting used to each other and how they play. I think they’re going to improve.”

If they do, Levin believes titles are much more likely to fall into place.

“For me, it’s just about getting them to do things the right way,” he said. “I feel like the wins and the titles will all be a bi-product. Those will come after. But first, we just (have to) get everybody on the same page, and learn how to do things the right way.”

Even if Lamphere does play basketball the “right way,” Levin realizes a Macomb Area Conference Silver Division title won’t be easy to come by.

“It looks like (St. Clair Shores) Lakeview is probably going to be the team to beat,” he said. “They have a pretty well-rounded team. I think we should probably fare pretty well.

“I think Lakeview’s the favorite, but after that, two through eight, the rest of the way should all be pretty even games, night in and night out.”

Despite an 0-3 start in league play, including a Jan. 15 63-49 loss to Lakeview, Levin was confident about his team’s ability to contend, as the division standings are tightly packed, aside from Lakeview (4-0) and Clintondale (3-0).

Marysville began the league season 2-1, while Marine City, Center Line, Lake Shore and South Lake were all 1-2.

Lamphere is next scheduled to be in action at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 24 against Marine City at home.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Mark Vest at mvest@candgnews.com or at (586)279-1112. Twitter Follow Mark on Twitter.