GPS boys basketball falls in districts

By: Zachary Manning | Grosse Pointe Times | Published March 17, 2020

 Grosse Pointe South’s Will Johnson goes up for a layup against Hamtramck High March 11. The Blue Devils fell 78-67.

Grosse Pointe South’s Will Johnson goes up for a layup against Hamtramck High March 11. The Blue Devils fell 78-67.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


GROSSE POINTES — It wasn’t the way the Grosse Pointe South boys basketball team wanted the season to end, but it was far from a disappointment.

The Blue Devils were eliminated from the playoffs in a Division 1 district semifinal, losing 78-67 to Hamtramck High March 11.

Though the season is over, the Blue Devils accomplished a lot along the way. They finished as the Macomb Area Conference White Division champions, along with posting a 16-5 overall record.

South also defeated rival Grosse Pointe North twice, which is a goal each year. The Blue Devils completed two of their three goals this season, with a district championship being the one they couldn’t fulfill.

“A 16-win season, it’s a good season,” South coach Stephen Benard said. “We wanted a little more, but it just didn’t work out. Overall, it was a good season. No doubt about it. We accomplished some things.”

Throughout the season, South proved to be one of the top offensive teams in the MAC, regardless of division. The Blue Devils averaged 72 points per game. That scoring average played a big role in stringing together 14 consecutive wins.

Their success this season has Benard thinking bigger. He has petitioned to move his squad up to the MAC Red next season. He said he expects a decision in April.

“I feel that if I have to go south for my district and play against tough PSL competition, we’re going to need to play against the largest schools possible,” Benard said. “The MAC Red offers some of that. I don’t know if we’ll get moved up or not. If we do, we’ll welcome the challenge.”

Along with the potential of a new league schedule, Benard is looking to challenge his team with some tough nonconference opponents as well.

The Blue Devils will lose a few players to graduation but do bring back some key scorers, like Will Johnson and Anthony Benard, to provide a spark.

Despite being in his first year coaching the Blue Devils, Benard was appreciative of his seniors and what they contributed to the program.

“There’s a lot of positive,” Benard said. “We like a couple of our players in our eighth grade class coming in. We’ve got a couple high-level kids. We’ve got a few on freshman, a few on the JV.”