Utica Ford II boys basketball thinking long term

By: Jason Carmel Davis | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published February 6, 2018

 Utica Ford II sophomore forward Evan Andragna takes a deep jumper in a game against Novi Detroit Catholic Central earlier this season. The Falcons are working with a young roster, including seven sophomores and one freshman.

Utica Ford II sophomore forward Evan Andragna takes a deep jumper in a game against Novi Detroit Catholic Central earlier this season. The Falcons are working with a young roster, including seven sophomores and one freshman.

Photo by Sean Work

 Ford junior wing Colin Cornwell releases a shot against Catholic Central. The Falcons’ next game is against Warren Cousino at 7 p.m. Feb. 8 on the road.

Ford junior wing Colin Cornwell releases a shot against Catholic Central. The Falcons’ next game is against Warren Cousino at 7 p.m. Feb. 8 on the road.

Photo by Sean Work

Advertisement

STERLING HEIGHTS — With seven sophomores and one freshman on the 10-man roster, the Utica Ford II boys varsity basketball team has quite possibly the youngest roster in the 35-team Macomb Area Conference. 

The youth and inexperience have shown this season, as the Falcons have yet to win a game a season after a senior-laden squad brought the program its first division championship since 2009. 

At press time, the Falcons were 0-13 overall and 0-8 in the MAC White Division. The team’s effort, though, hasn’t shown up in the win-loss column.

“All the guys are playing really hard,” said Ford coach Jeff Olson, who is in his fifth year leading the program. “They all have a love for the game, and it shows every day. All of our guys are doing everything they can to get better.”

Olson said in-game reps are vital for his players, noting that going against live competition is the only way to improve. 

JayQuan Clark is the team’s lone senior. The only other upperclassman on the roster is junior Colin Cornwell.

Clark said that, even with the team being winless, the group will not fold.

“I will not let my team give up regardless of the situation,” Clark said. “Quitting doesn’t solve anything, and it doesn’t make you a man. What makes you a man is pushing through and fighting to the end.”

The Falcons play to the final whistle. The team’s best chance to pick up a win to this point came in a 46-45 Jan. 23 loss to Warren Mott, which is battling for the MAC White Division title. Ford led after each of the first three quarters. The Marauders took a late lead, and the Falcons had a chance at a buzzer-beater for the win, but the shot rolled off the rim.

“Give Ford credit. They battled,” Mott coach Jeff Olind said. 

The Falcons showed some growth in the game. Mott beat Ford by 16 points in the first meeting of the season.

“A lot of teams would have folded at this point,” Olson said. “This isn’t one of those teams. There’s no quit in these guys.”

Olson said the team must improve at closing out games. Along with the one-point loss to Mott, the Falcons lost by three points in overtime to Macomb Lutheran North Dec. 5 and fell to Utica High by five points Jan. 9.

Olson said he’s pleased with how his team has battled and believes that how his young squad handles itself could lead to long-term success.

“We’ll have most of these guys for a while,” Olson said. “We’re taking our lumps right now, but I think we’ll come out of it OK.”

The Falcons’ next game is against Warren Cousino at 7 p.m. Feb. 8 on the road.

Advertisement