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Berkley High boys basketball coach reflects on season

By: Mark Vest | Woodward Talk | Published March 17, 2020

 Berkley High senior Aidan Hoskow drives with the ball against Troy High this past season. Berkley finished its season with 14 wins, which according to coach Joe Sermo, is the most the program has had since 2006.

Berkley High senior Aidan Hoskow drives with the ball against Troy High this past season. Berkley finished its season with 14 wins, which according to coach Joe Sermo, is the most the program has had since 2006.

Photo by Brian Sevald

BERKLEY — The Berkley High boys basketball season could be described as bittersweet.

On the sweet side, the Bears finished at 14-7 overall, which gave the program its most wins since 2006, according to coach Joe Sermo.

On the bitter end, the Bears lost in the first round of the Division 1 playoffs, and in the regular season, Berkley finished just one game back from first place in the Oakland Activities Association Blue Division.

Berkley finished 9-3 in the OAA Blue. Troy Athens was 10-2.

The last game of the regular season for both Berkley and Athens was March 5.

After a non-divisional game against Rochester Hills Stoney Creek, the Bears were checking on what was going on with Athens via their phones in the locker room.

That night, Athens was taking on another team from the OAA Blue, Birmingham Seaholm.

Seaholm led the Red Hawks big in the fourth quarter, but Athens was able to battle back and win in overtime to secure the division title.

“We were just heartbroken,” Sermo said. “We took it out of our own hands. We left it in other people’s hands, and that’s what happens when you don’t take care of your own business.”

Despite that “heartbroken” evening, Sermo was able to positively reflect on Berkley’s season as a whole.

“Looking back on it, I think it was a huge success for our program,” he said. “We wanted to win the league, obviously, but when you look at it as a whole, we’re very proud. … This group helped create a lot of buzz in the community itself, and folks coming out to games.”

Sermo completed his fourth season as Berkley’s coach.

After going 4-17 his first season leading the program, the Bears have improved every year since, winning 10-plus games in each of their following campaigns.

“Expectations have been set by, not only this group, but the groups that came prior to this group,” Sermo said. “The expectation of competing for league championships every year and being relevant within not only the division, but Oakland County itself.”

Berkley anticipates the return of nine players from this year’s roster.

“We’re a program on the rise,” Sermo said. “We got a lot of excitement; we got a lot to look forward to in the future.”