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 Berkley High boys basketball coach Joe Sermo talks with members of his team Jan. 8. Sermo said winning a division title is “doable” for the Bears this season.

Berkley High boys basketball coach Joe Sermo talks with members of his team Jan. 8. Sermo said winning a division title is “doable” for the Bears this season.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Berkley High boys basketball aiming for an OAA Blue title

By: Mark Vest | Woodward Talk | Published January 14, 2020

 Berkley High senior Ari Belchinsky drives with the ball against Troy Athens Jan. 8. At press time, Berkley was 4-1 overall and 1-0 in the Oakland Activities Association Blue Division.

Berkley High senior Ari Belchinsky drives with the ball against Troy Athens Jan. 8. At press time, Berkley was 4-1 overall and 1-0 in the Oakland Activities Association Blue Division.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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BERKLEY — Joe Sermo is in his fourth season as Berkley High’s boys basketball coach.

Although he was aware that the Bears’ chances of winning a division championship weren’t very high in the past, this year is a different story.

Sermo wants his team to take aim at an Oakland Activities Association Blue Division championship.

“When I came in, I’m a realistic person, I understood who your opponents are and how tough it would be to win a league the previous three years,” Sermo said. “But I told my kids the first day, we didn’t hide behind the fact that we were gunning to win the OAA Blue this year, which is doable for us, based on our roster and based on our opponents, as well.”

Sermo isn’t the only one who would like to see the Bears bring a division title to Berkley.

“It’s been 14 years since we’ve won a league championship in basketball here, so it’d mean a lot,” Sermo said. “Going to school here and being part of this community, I know it means a lot to the people of this community. Basketball’s a big part of their lives. We have a good following for home games.”

At press time, Berkley was 4-1 overall and 1-0 in the division.

Senior Ari Belchinsky, who — along with fellow seniors Charles Serwa and Holden McKelvey — is a team captain. He would like his last season playing for Berkley to include a division championship.

“Our goal is the league championship,” Belchinsky said. “I think (we’ve) got a good group to do it.”

Sermo said his squad includes 10 juniors. It’s a class that has given Sermo some high expectations.

“We’ve been very excited about this class since they came in as freshmen,” Sermo said. “We’ve been eager for them to join us at the varsity level.”

The Bears have more than talent going for them this season. Sermo has taken notice of the “togetherness” of his team.

“They’re good friends off the court, and they do a lot of activities off the court together,” he said. “They jell really well together.”

Sermo said he is “very pleased” with the state of the program.

“All the way from the freshmen level to our JV,” he said. “Our coaching staff has done a great job of developing these kids, getting (them) ready to play for us. … (The) senior class right now was my first group as freshmen when they came in. So we feel like these are our guys. We’re really pleased with how we’re moving forward.”

Up next, Berkley plays at 1:30 p.m. Jan. 19 at home against South Lyon East.

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