Utica Ford II boys basketball coach Jeff Olson talks with  his players during a  Nov. 20 practice. The Falcons return 12 players from last year’s team.

Utica Ford II boys basketball coach Jeff Olson talks with his players during a Nov. 20 practice. The Falcons return 12 players from last year’s team.

Photo by Donna Agusti

Utica Ford II boys basketball looks to put pressure on opposition

By: Jason Carmel Davis | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published November 30, 2018

STERLING HEIGHTS — Utica Ford II boys basketball coach Jeff Olson made it clear what his focus will be this season based on player personnel.

“We want to be an attacking team,” said Olson, whose team was 0-1 at press time. “We feel the more pressure we can put on opposing defenses, the more success we can have. Our early-season focus has been on taking care of the basketball and limiting turnovers.”

Senior wing Colin Cornwell said putting an emphasis on scoring will help the team win games.

“Everyone loves to score, and if they tell you otherwise, they’re crazy,” Cornwell said. “We need to improve on that side of the ball, and with the personnel we have, the coaching and mindset of our team, it’ll be great to watch us grow.”

Olson, who is in his sixth season leading the Falcons, said early-season practices have gone very well. He said his players are focused and that it has shown every day in practice.

That’s key due to how the team fared last season. Ford went winless in 2018. Youth could be seen as the main reason for the struggles, as seven sophomores and one freshman were part of the team’s roster.

Last year’s team had just one senior — forward JayQuan Clark. Cornwell is one of 12 players who return this season. Olson said each player will play a vital part in the team’s success.

“We’ve discussed the things that need to be worked on and corrected in order for us to have a successful season,” said Olson.

The Falcons are once again in the Macomb Area Conference White Division, the same division that Olson led the program to a championship in just two seasons ago.

Prior to last season, the team had finished .500 or better in division play in each of Olson’s first four seasons.

On the defensive side, Olson’s team will show a variety of different looks. The coach said his roster features some versatile players who should create problems for opposing players.

“As a team, our goal is to be competitive in every game,” Olson said. “We feel that if we can come out and compete with fantastic effort and execution every night, that we can play with anybody on our schedule.

“I am very excited for this season. I really like my team. …  This group of players really knows what it means to have the name ‘Ford II’ across their chest, and they want to be a memorable part of this program’s history.”

Cornwell shares his coach’s sentiments.

“Ford has always had the winning tradition, especially in basketball,” Cornwell said. “Everyone knows the time and dedication each one of (the players) puts into this sport. It’ll be great to rebound from last season and achieve some of our goals.

“Coach Olson is holding us to high standards, and none of us are going to be happy with anything less than being successful and improving each day.”

Ford’s next game is against New Baltimore Anchor Bay at 7 p.m. Dec. 7 at home.