Lamphere boys hoops rebuilds, refocuses

By: Jon Malavolti | Madison - Park News | Published January 19, 2011

 Madison Heights Lamphere senior Steve Lee (35) shoots a free throw while senior teammate Fadi Tobia (23) looks on in the background. The two seniors are the only Rams who returned from last year’s varsity team.

Madison Heights Lamphere senior Steve Lee (35) shoots a free throw while senior teammate Fadi Tobia (23) looks on in the background. The two seniors are the only Rams who returned from last year’s varsity team.

Photo by Deb Jacques

Back to basics.

That’s what the focus has been so far this season for the Madison Heights Lamphere boys basketball team.

What other approach could the program take after just two players from last year’s varsity squad returned.

Some of the Rams’ most talented, experienced and tallest players either decided not to play this season or transferred, leaving the program to quickly shift gears.

“This year, I am looking to improve and compete, that’s all,” Lamphere coach Joe Jolet said. “Our program was on the rise, and losing four starters put us back a few steps, but we will get to where we need to be.”

Despite being winless through their first five games, including two in Macomb Area Conference Silver Division play, the Rams aren’t looking for anyone to throw them a pity party. They’re too busy working to get better.

The departure of key players has left holes that other emerging players are stepping up into.

“Awss Daniel, my junior point guard, has taken the lead for us as far as guard play,” Jolet said. “And junior Jay Junkin took on a scoring role. Senior Steve Lee has been doing great for us down low.”

Jolet credits members of his coaching staff with playing crucial roles this season. Assistant coach Mike Sokol is in charge of running the defense, and Jolet said, “He has done a great job.”

And back when the season began, the coach turned to his father, Bob, a 35-year coaching veteran, to help turn the attention to fundamentals.

“He started the season helping me out and helped our team get to the level I was looking for,” Jolet said.

So from here, the Rams will continue to work. They’re not worried about the wins; they know they’ll come as long as they continue turning in a strong effort.

“As coaches, we are trying to (instill) a winning attitude. It will take more time now, but we will reach our goal,” Jolet said.

“I love this high school and the people here,” the coach continued. “I wouldn’t trade it for any job out there. The kids will run through a wall for you. We have great kids, and I believe in them.

“They can accomplish anything they put their minds to.”

Check out the Rams in action at 7 p.m. Jan. 21 when they hit the road to take on division rival Clawson High.