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Lake Shore boys basketball working out the kinks

By: Jason Carmel Davis | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published January 14, 2020

 St. Clair Shores Lake Shore sophomore Jalen Jackson drives to the basket in a Jan. 7 game against Utica Eisenhower. The Shorians are working in a lot of new players, with the hopes of defending their Macomb Area Conference Blue Division title.

St. Clair Shores Lake Shore sophomore Jalen Jackson drives to the basket in a Jan. 7 game against Utica Eisenhower. The Shorians are working in a lot of new players, with the hopes of defending their Macomb Area Conference Blue Division title.

Photo by Sarah Purlee

 Lake Shore’s Nick Olmeda, right, looks to make a play. The Shorians’ next game is against Warren Fitzgerald at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 17 at home.

Lake Shore’s Nick Olmeda, right, looks to make a play. The Shorians’ next game is against Warren Fitzgerald at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 17 at home.

Photo by Sarah Purlee

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — The St. Clair Shores Lake Shore boys basketball team looks a lot different from last year’s group, which went 17-4 and won the Macomb Area Conference Blue Division title, along with the MAC Blue/Gold tournament crown.

The Shorians, 3-3 at press time, return just one starter from last year’s team — junior Nick Olmeda. They have three returning players, total.

Olmeda was averaging 21 points per game, despite facing constant double teams, according to coach Mike Jackson.

The team has had its ups and downs, Jackson said, which is to be expected with the roster turnover. Caleb Bates, a 2019 Lake Shore graduate, led the team last season with averages of 27 points and 15 rebounds per game.

“But as a coach, you try to coach the players through the successful and not-so-successful times,” Jackson said. “Playing five straight road games early has taught us a lot, too.”

The team has played valiantly early. All of Lake Shore’s games have been decided by 11 points or fewer, including four by seven points or fewer.

The team’s defense is about at the same level as last season, as Lake Shore allows 57.3 points per game after giving up 56.2 points per game last year. There has been a drop offensively, which comes with working in new players. The Shorians’ scoring is down 12.7 points per game from last season.

Jackson said unselfishness has played a role in the early offensive struggles.

“Our best players have to shoot the ball,” Jackson said. “Our best players are unselfish. It takes time for some players to know that becoming the go-to guy means you need to be aggressive every game.”

Leading the way along with Olmeda is sophomore Jalen Jackson and senior Derek Winn. Jalen Jackson, the coach’s son, leads the team in assists and is second in scoring. Winn leads the team in steals.

“I’ve put a lot on their plates, and most times, they have responded well,” the coach said. “Not having the ball in their hands a lot last year, they’re still learning every game how to control the game.”

Mike Jackson is relying on the trio to keep the team in the race for the MAC Blue crown. He believes Warren Cousino and Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse are the teams to beat in the league, and said Warren Fitzgerald would be a factor, as well.

“I think we’ll have a shot because our guard play will keep us in games,” Mike Jackson said. “Our bigs will have to be consistent for us to win the league and the (MAC Blue/Gold) tournament. We’re looking for them to collectively get what Caleb gave us.

“My coaches and I have been working very hard to prepare the guys for each and every game, and it will pay off soon.”

Lake Shore’s next game is against Warren Fitzgerald at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 17 at home.

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