Roster turnover leads to early season struggles for South Lake boys’ hoops team

By: Jason Carmel Davis | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published January 18, 2012

 St. Clair Shores South Lake senior forward Duane Brown goes up for a shot and is defended by senior Daont’e Kendrick, center, and junior Anthony Terry during a recent practice. Cavaliers head coach Matt Ferguson has worked his team extra hard in practice early this season due to high roster turnover and early struggles.

St. Clair Shores South Lake senior forward Duane Brown goes up for a shot and is defended by senior Daont’e Kendrick, center, and junior Anthony Terry during a recent practice. Cavaliers head coach Matt Ferguson has worked his team extra hard in practice early this season due to high roster turnover and early struggles.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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Travon DeSaussure, a third-year varsity basketball player at St. Clair Shores South Lake, said one key component is lacking early in the Cavaliers’ 2011-12 campaign.

“It’s chemistry. We need to become one,” the junior guard said.

DeSaussure, along with seniors Demarco Ritter and Duane Brown, are the only three returnees — and are all starters this season — from last year’s team that finished 4-17 overall, 1-11 in the Macomb Area Conference Gold Division.

The Cavs at press time sat at 2-3 overall this season, 0-2 in the MAC Gold.

The team has eight new players, including junior point guard Tyron Sims, a transfer from Madison Heights Madison who’ll see his first action with South Lake this week, according to coach Matt Ferguson.

“He’s got some leadership qualities, and he’s got a high basketball IQ,” Ferguson said of Sims. “He’ll have the opportunity right away to show what he can do.”

Ferguson agreed with DeSaussure’s assessment highlighting the team’s lack of cohesion. He said the team still needs to learn how to play together, but noted the learning curve is a steep one.

The South Lake coach added that his team is still getting used to its dribble-drive motion offensive scheme, designed for quick guards to penetrate the lane for layups or pass out for open jumpers.

“We’re already 0-2 in our league, so there’s not really a lot of time for us to get that chemistry,” Ferguson said. “If we keep losing, we won’t be playing for anything substantial. We’ll just be playing to play.”

Ferguson said he believes his squad has the talent to play with any team in the MAC Gold, but said his players need to learn to trust one another out on the court and improve their attention to detail.

DeSaussure put the onus on himself. The junior guard, as a veteran player, said he needs to take on more of a leadership role: both vocally and by example.

“I’m doing a little more of that, but I know I can do better,” DeSaussure said. “I have to do more to help us become one as a team. Maybe then we’ll win by 13 instead of losing by 13, 15 or whatever the deficit may be.”

Ferguson said he would like to push for a MAC Gold title this season, but early adversity has caused the Cavs’ coach to shift team goals.

“We just need to focus on the next game,” Ferguson said. “I don’t wanna worry about long-term goals right now. We just need to work on fixing things.”

South Lake next hits the court at 7 p.m. Jan. 19 in a home game against Warren Lincoln.

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