Lutheran North girls basketball ends season in district final

By: Jason Carmel Davis | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published March 18, 2019

 Macomb Lutheran North senior wing Alaina Capoccia, right, looks to keep the ball from a Bloomfield Hills Marian defender during a game earlier this season. The Mustangs fell one win short of the program’s first district title since 2015.

Macomb Lutheran North senior wing Alaina Capoccia, right, looks to keep the ball from a Bloomfield Hills Marian defender during a game earlier this season. The Mustangs fell one win short of the program’s first district title since 2015.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

 Macomb Lutheran North junior forward Leyna Gatti takes a jumper during a game earlier this season against Bloomfield Hills Marian. The Mustangs lose five players to graduation and have nine eligible to return next season.

Macomb Lutheran North junior forward Leyna Gatti takes a jumper during a game earlier this season against Bloomfield Hills Marian. The Mustangs lose five players to graduation and have nine eligible to return next season.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Advertisement

MACOMB TOWNSHIP — After a near three-year hiatus away from the sidelines, coach Matt Knutson returned to lead the Macomb Lutheran North girls basketball team and took the team to within one win of a Division 2 district title.

The Mustangs fell 46-38 March 8 to St. Clair High. Lutheran North ended the season at 7-14.

Knutson, who’s first game back was Jan. 29, focused on how proud he was of the team.

“To be able to go through the tough changes this season and to put in all the extra work to get to where we got to,” Knutson said. “This experience brought (the players) closer and taught them to rely on one another to overcome difficulties.”

It was an up-and-down campaign for Lutheran North. The Mustangs lost nine of 10 following a 3-1 start, before ending the year 3-3.

Lutheran North loses five players to graduation, including 2019 Catholic High School League honorees Karli Monahan and Lauren Mow. Knutson told the group it helped re-establish the foundation of what a winning culture is built on, and called the seniors the heart of the team.

The Mustangs have nine players eligible to return next season, including sophomore wing and CHSL honoree Julia Zauel, along with junior standout Tessa Briney.

Knutson acknowledged that the team is young, but that the experience the players gained this season will be valuable going forward. He said playing in the tough CHSL Central Division, with the likes of Bloomfield Hills Marian, Farmington Hills Mercy and Warren Regina, should help the team immensely.

“We played mostly underclassmen for most of the season,” Knutson said. “We also have a core of very talented underclassmen on our JV and freshman teams. (Co-coach Kevin Murawski) and I feel the program has a great deal of depth and our future is bright.

“We have a lot of ground to make up, but I have faith in the girls who are coming back, and they are eager to put the time in.”

Advertisement