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West Bloomfield

Published January 22, 2013

West Bloomfield High boys hoops ­is young and getting better

» click to enlarge «
West Bloomfield High’s Josh Birnberg works to get around a North Farmington defender in a game earlier this season.

With a youthful squad, the West Bloomfield High boys basketball team is learning on the fly.

The Lakers took on defending Oakland Activities Association Red Division defending champions Clarkston High Jan. 11 at home and lost 72-30, which proved to be a lesson learned.

Following the Clarkston loss, West Bloomfield High boys basketball coach Jeremy Denha said his team had a great practice and didn’t let the defeat keep it down.

“I talked to my other coaches and realized we are 5-5, and that was one setback. The kids will respond,” he said. “They were able to think about some of the things I told them, and it was good to see them all come back in. I wasn’t worried that they wouldn’t bounce back.”

According to Denha, when the team is struggling, it’s an issue of consistency.

“It’s when things go bad, whether it’s a turnover or a bad shot, it tends to snowball instead of us realizing it’s just one play and getting the next one right.”

With only five players on the team with previous varsity experience and three underclassmen seeing substantial minutes, Denha knows there will be bumps in the road as the young team gets its footing.

Denha also noted that, in the Red, there aren’t any nights off.

“For me, this is the deepest the league has been,” he said. “I think it’s great. Every week, we’re playing someone special.”

The Lakers were 5-5 overall and 0-2 in the Red at press time.

Denha said he’s even seen glimpses of brilliance.

“When we’re playing well, we’re playing harder than the other team, sharing the ball. The kids are swinging the ball and getting wide-open looks. It shows in our shooting percentage,” he said.

With such a young team, Denha believes the lessons this season will pay dividends in the future.

“That was the big thing I talked to them about. They’re buying in that this is a program that we’re helping to build,” he said. “They know and understand what has to be done.”

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