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 Sterling Heights Stevenson boys basketball coach Mark LaCombe talks with his team during a Feb. 27 playoff game. LaCombe has three Coach of the Year awards after earning the award this year and in 2015 and 2016, when the team played in the MAC White.

Sterling Heights Stevenson boys basketball coach Mark LaCombe talks with his team during a Feb. 27 playoff game. LaCombe has three Coach of the Year awards after earning the award this year and in 2015 and 2016, when the team played in the MAC White.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Stevenson boys hoops sweeps MAC Red awards

By: Jason Carmel Davis | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published March 22, 2019

 Stevenson senior forward Brandon Michrina handles the ball during a playoff game. Michrina earned MVP honors in the Macomb Area Conference Red Division.

Stevenson senior forward Brandon Michrina handles the ball during a playoff game. Michrina earned MVP honors in the Macomb Area Conference Red Division.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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STERLING HEIGHTS — The Sterling Heights Stevenson boys basketball team clinched a share of the Macomb Area Conference Red Division title with a win over co-champ Roseville High on the last day of divisional play, and the team’s play over the course of the 10-game MAC Red slate has earned the program more hardware.

Titans coach Mark LaCombe and senior forward Brandon Michrina earned MAC Red Coach of the Year and MVP honors, respectively. Senior guards Ayhem Hanna and Jerry Wilson both earned All-Conference honors.

LaCombe’s honor is his third in six years with Stevenson. The Titans coach won MAC White Coach of the Year in 2015 and 2016.

“This, as always, is a team award that honors our entire program: coaches John Sheehan, Mark Sulek, Dave Lamoreaux and Ryan Reason — and the rest of our staff are as big of a part of the success we have here as I am,” said LaCombe, who guided Stevenson to a 15-6 mark, including an 8-2 record in the MAC Red. “Coach of the Year is something fun to win, but we all know that players make the coach, and the dedication from our players is really what we are proud of.”

LaCombe has had other division-title-winning teams, and his 2016 squad got all the way to the state quarterfinals. The Stevenson coach said each of his teams has been special in its own way.

LaCombe said what set this group apart was the development of the team’s seniors, including Michrina, Hanna, Wilson and guard Ray Sumpter.

“They all grew up a ton as players and, more importantly, as young men,” LaCombe said. “This year’s team also loved coming to practice. They made practice fun and full of energy.”

Michrina, LaCombe said, has worked very hard on his game. LaCombe, who guided the Titans to an appearance in a Division 1 district final this postseason, touted Michrina as the best all-around player in the MAC Red.

“He did a little bit of everything for us depending on what role we needed him to play,” LaCombe said of Michrina. “It’s a great accomplishment and honor for Brandon. We’re all very proud of him.”

Michrina was humbled by the honor.

“So to finally get a little bit of recognition means a lot,” Michrina said. “It kind of gives me more motivation to stay in the gym to get ready for the next level.”

LaCombe is proud of the team as a whole. When thinking about the season, the Titans coach said his fondest memories are of the five-game win streak that secured the MAC Red championship, along with how the group played as one unit in every phase of the game.

The season was a successful one, LaCombe said, but the program will never be satisfied.

“We are always looking to improve, learn how to better develop our players and improve the program,” LaCombe said. “Hopefully, in years to come we can continue seeing Stevenson basketball be something the community can be proud of.”

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