Young Warriors have focus on improving before the playoffs

By: Mike Moore | Southfield Sun | Published January 24, 2018

 Southfield A&T’s Andre Floyd (13) tries to get past a pair of West Bloomfield High defenders. The Warriors were 1-9 overall at press time.

Southfield A&T’s Andre Floyd (13) tries to get past a pair of West Bloomfield High defenders. The Warriors were 1-9 overall at press time.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

SOUTHFIELD — Nine games and nine losses.

Progress was being made, and Southfield A&T boys basketball coach Mike Avery knew it. But the end results on game night wouldn’t cooperate.

And then came Jan. 19 and a 61-58 victory. Then came the smiles.

“Man, it was good to see them smile and see them happy,” Avery said about the three-point victory over Bloomfield Hills High. “We needed that.”

The Warriors were 0-9 before finding that first win, and now Avery hopes it’s the start of something bigger and better.

“We’re a very young team, and despite this record, I see us doing some things much better as a team,” he said. “The key is to get everything going before tournament time.”

Avery didn’t anticipate the 0-9 start, but he couldn’t help but understand the growing pains.

“This is such a young team,” he said. “We didn’t have much varsity experience at all when the year started, so we knew it would take some time. These guys are still getting their basketball IQ. They are still learning about the pace of the varsity game. I mean, we’re starting a sophomore point guard who’s taking on seniors who will be playing at the collegiate level next year.”

The schedule hasn’t helped either, as Southfield A&T is 1-3 in the Oakland Activities Association Red Division.

“We’re in the toughest division in the toughest league,” Avery said. “I mean, we have to face Clarkston (High) and Hazel Park (High), two of the top teams in the entire state.”

But, as mentioned, he’s seen the progress taking shape over the first half of the season.

The goal is to keep that going into the tournament, which is fast approaching.

“We’re going to keep studying, keep watching film,” Avery said. “We’re going to get better. For us, the record come playoff time doesn’t matter. We want to be in a spot to be good one night and then keep it going. We’re starting to put complete games together, and when we do that, we can be dangerous. I want to get this to a point where we’re the type of team you don’t want to play in a playoff situation.”