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Lake Shore boys hoops bests Cousino in key MAC Blue tilt

By: Jason Carmel Davis | Online Only | Published January 27, 2020

 St. Clair Shores Lake Shore's Nick Olmeda goes up for a layup in the Shorians' 56-49 Jan. 27 win over Warren Cousino in a game played at Little Caesar's Arena. Olmeda scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half.

St. Clair Shores Lake Shore's Nick Olmeda goes up for a layup in the Shorians' 56-49 Jan. 27 win over Warren Cousino in a game played at Little Caesar's Arena. Olmeda scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half.

Photo by Deb Jacques

DETROIT — The boys basketball teams from St. Clair Shores Lake Shore and Warren Cousino made the most of their opportunity to play on the big stage.

In the Jan. 27 matchup, played at Little Caesar’s Arena in Detroit, the Shorians bested the Patriots 56-49 in a matchup of the top two teams in the Macomb Area Conference Blue Division.

The game was tight throughout. The largest lead was seven — when the Shorians led 14-7 in the first quarter. The contest featured eight ties and six lead changes. Lake Shore (8-4, 5-1 MAC Blue) went ahead for good at 48-47 on two free throws from sophomore guard Jalen Jackson with 4:09 left in regulation. Jackson finished with 6 points.

Cousino (6-3, 4-2 MAC Blue) took a 47-46 lead on a 3-pointer from senior co-captain Tyler Mack, who led the Patriots with 11 points, with 4:34 left in the fourth quarter. From that point, Lake Shore closed on a 10-2 run to seal the win.

“Our guard play down the stretch was key,” Shorians coach Mike Jackson said. “Our guards do a good job of getting us into our offense, not turning the ball over, getting the ball to where it needs to be and that was the difference for us today.”

Lake Shore junior center Elijah Moore led all scorers with 19 points. Jackson said Moore’s play kept his team in the game, particularly early when Moore dropped 9 points in the first quarter.

Cousino coach Joe Kohl, a Lake Shore graduate, said miscues in the late stages cost his team the game. 

“(Lake Shore) took both games from us, so now we’re going to need some help if we want to win the division,” Kohl said. “That’s not what we wanted to happen. But we’ve still got a chance. We just have to take care of business and hope somebody knocks Lake Shore off.”

Shorians junior guard Nick Olmeda finished with 15 points — 13 in the second half. He called the win a big one.

“This puts us in really good position to win the league now,” Olmeda said. “That’s always a goal.”

A goal for a lot of basketball players is to make it to the top level. The players from Lake Shore and Cousino got to experience that in playing the game at the home of the three-time NBA champion Detroit Pistons.

Kohl approached Shorians’ athletics officials about possibly playing the game at the big league site. Each school had to purchase a certain number of tickets in advance for the game to take place.

Lake Shore had 229 fans attend. Cousino Athletic Director Aaron Setlak said he purchased 90 tickets.

“It’s a really good experience for our players,” said Shorians Athletic Director John Hartley, who made a point to bring the school’s freshman, JV and girls team along. “But it wouldn’t really be a game without some fans in the stands. We wanted to make sure the guys had people to cheer them on — on both sides.”

Setlak said the school looked a few possible dates to play the game. The advanced tickets had to be purchased for the game to be played, he said.

Kohl said he’d like to continue to play games at the Detroit venue.

Coaching on the floor was a dream come true for Jackson.

“Being from Detroit, you just think about all the guys who have played with the team and on this floor,” Jackson said. “There’s a lot of history here. This is something we can tell our kids and grandkids about. Hopefully we can do it again.”

Lake Shore’s next game is against Utica High at 7 p.m. Jan. 31 on the road.

Cousino’s next tip is with Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse at 7 p.m. Jan. 31 at home.