Lutheran North boys hoops off to a blistering hot start

By: Jason Carmel Davis | C&G Newspapers | Published January 17, 2020

 Macomb Lutheran North’s Colin Moldenhauer looks to make a play during a Jan. 7 win over Clinton Township Clintondale. The Mustangs, 6-0 at press time, have an average margin of victory of 14 points per game.

Macomb Lutheran North’s Colin Moldenhauer looks to make a play during a Jan. 7 win over Clinton Township Clintondale. The Mustangs, 6-0 at press time, have an average margin of victory of 14 points per game.

Photo by Brian Sevald

 Lutheran North boys basketball coach Jeff DeMasse looks on during the win over Clintondale. The Mustangs’ next game is against Novi Detroit Catholic Central at 7 p.m. Jan. 23 on the road.

Lutheran North boys basketball coach Jeff DeMasse looks on during the win over Clintondale. The Mustangs’ next game is against Novi Detroit Catholic Central at 7 p.m. Jan. 23 on the road.

Photo by Brian Sevald

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MACOMB TOWNSHIP — The Macomb Lutheran North boys basketball team hasn’t been completely whole yet this season, but you wouldn’t know it based on how the team has played.

At press time, the Mustangs were 6-0 overall. The team has an average margin of victory of 14 points per game and has allowed 44 points per contest.

Lutheran North coach Jeff DeMasse knows his team isn’t a finished product, though.

“We’ve had spurts of playing really well and at other times — not so much. We’ve played really well defensively through these first six games, and that has made up for the lack of offense at times,” DeMasse said. “We have been dealing with sickness and injuries, and haven’t really had a chance to have all 12 boys at one time. So we are playing well, but as we move toward everyone being healthy we can play even better.”

The Mustangs are putting up 58 points per game despite sporadic offensive droughts. DeMasse said the team has done a good job of creating and exploiting mismatches.

The focus, DeMasse said, has been on defense.

“We’ve been making the right adjustments and have picked up the defensive intensity in the third and fourth quarters of games,” DeMasse said.

“We have seven seniors and they are our leaders. Four of them have been playing with me since their sophomore year and the other three played a lot last year, so we are more experienced this year than in the previous years. We have talent one through 12, and practices are intense and everyone pushes each other to be better.”

Leading the way for the Mustangs has been seniors Caleb Hardies and Colin Moldenhauer.

Hardies leads the team in scoring and has a high basketball IQ, DeMasse said. Moldenhauer is a matchup nightmare for opposing teams, according to the coach. He have the size of a post player, but can handle the ball like a wing. DeMasse added that senior Brendan Herbst has given the team a spark off the bench.

“We haven’t been 100% healthy, so we have been forced to go a little deeper (down our bench),” DeMasse said. “We have depth and each player is ready when they’re called on.”

Among the goals set by the team is a run at the Catholic High School League AA Division crown. The Mustangs will have to beat out Detroit Loyola, Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard and Dearborn Divine Child.

DeMasse said the division includes good teams that are coached very well, and he expects Lutheran North to give itself a shot at hanging a banner.

“I’m looking forward to getting into league play, and I’m confident we can compete at a very high level this year,” DeMasse said. “In our league you can’t afford to take a night off, so our preparation and work in practice will be key to our success.”

Lutheran North’s next game is against Novi Detroit Catholic Central at 7 p.m. Jan. 23 on the road.

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