West Bloomfield High’s Jalen Kelso (2) guards a Southfield A&T forward during a game earlier this season. The Lakers were 7-6 at press time and riding a three-game win streak.

West Bloomfield High’s Jalen Kelso (2) guards a Southfield A&T forward during a game earlier this season. The Lakers were 7-6 at press time and riding a three-game win streak.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


With full roster, West Bloomfield High boys hoops coming into its own

By: Mike Moore | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published February 14, 2018

WEST BLOOMFIELD — The next time the West Bloomfield High boys basketball team takes the court, it will do so for the 15th time.

“For us, it feels like we’ve only been out there four or five times,” coach Jeremy Denha said promptly. “I believe that. We’ve got the whole group together now, and it’s on the guys to make the most of it moving forward.”

The Lakers were 7-6 overall, with one game played after this edition went to press.

But all but a few of those games came with a team that was not complete.

Only recently did transfers Donovan Moore and Robert Johnson gain eligibility. Before that, this was a roster of players with only two guys that had significant varsity experience.

The Lakers were riding a three-game win streak at press time.

“I really feel like we’re starting to hit our stride,” Denha said. “The boys are starting to understand one another, starting to feed off each other.”

Keep in mind, while not much experience from the 2017 playoff run returned, this is a program that reached the Class A semifinals a year ago. It’s also a current squad with a record that can be a bit deceiving. 

“Four of our six losses came on the last possession,” Denha said. 

In their three most recent games, the Lakers defeated Belleville High, Southfield Christian and Pontiac Notre Dame Prep.

“We’ve tweaked the defense a little, and that’s helped,” Denha added. “So, too, has adding the guys we did.”

Moore has started since joining the team and his impact has been immediate. He scored 31 points against Southfield Christian and 40 in a loss to Troy High.

“He adds the dynamic threat of scoring on the attack that we really didn’t have,” Denha said. “He’s a guy that can slash and dash to the lane. Having (Moore and Johnson) has really helped.”

So, the Lakers march on to what they hope is another long run into March. The rest of the regular season is the time to prep, jell and solidify.

“The goal in this final stretch is peaking at the right time,” Denha said. “It has to continue on defense with our intensity. Offensively, we have to play faster than we are. The ball movement and things like that will come as these guys get more games together.”

Denha laughed when asked about the team’s record and if people should look into it any more than for what it is, a number.

“We’re probably the best 7-6 team in the state of Michigan,” he quipped. “Really, we’ve been a good team all year. Now we have to put it all together with the guys we have. We can be very scary in a few weeks if we get through the process and get better by doing things the right way.”