Warren Lincoln girls basketball coach honored by MAC

By: Jason Carmel Davis | Warren Weekly | Published April 1, 2019

 First-year Warren Lincoln girls basketball coach Jalen Ford looks on during a regular-season win over Clinton Township Clintondale. Ford has earned Coach of the Year honors in the Macomb Area Conference Bronze Division.

First-year Warren Lincoln girls basketball coach Jalen Ford looks on during a regular-season win over Clinton Township Clintondale. Ford has earned Coach of the Year honors in the Macomb Area Conference Bronze Division.

File photo by Patricia O’Blenes

WARREN — Under first-year coach Jalen Ford, the Warren Lincoln girls basketball team won its most games since 2012 and played in a Division 2 district final.

The Abes finished second in the Macomb Area Conference Bronze Division for the second year in a row with a 6-2 divisional mark. Ford’s work has earned him the division’s Coach of the Year award.

“This award means a lot to me. My words couldn’t even explain the feeling,” said Ford, a 2012 Lincoln graduate who took over the team just before the start of the season. “I was literally surprised and caught off guard. I was excited and honored to even be nominated, let alone win this award in my first year. It didn’t kick in until I was in my car driving and yelled, ‘Yes! I really won Coach of the Year.’”

Ford admitted that nerves kicked in at the outset of the season, but he still had confidence that the group could have a solid campaign. Lincoln went 10-8 overall, giving the team its best finish since winning 13 games in 2012.

Ford said he expected the success, and that he just had to get the players to buy into his philosophies.

To go along with Ford’s honor, Lincoln juniors Amari Davis-Dobbs and Daviana Leonard both earned All-Conference honors.

The Abes saw an improvement at both ends of the floor this year. Lincoln averaged 45.1 points per game and allowed 43.8 points per contest. The team in the previous season put up 42.7 points per game and surrendered 44.7 points per contest.

“It was really easy, because they were ready to learn and buy in at the first practice,” Ford said. “It was all about encouragement and keeping their confidence high.”

The team played well despite not having any seniors on the roster. That sets the Abes up for success down the road. The goals going forward, Ford said, are to win the MAC Bronze and make a strong push for a district championship.

The coach has some other objectives, too. He wants to establish a positive, winning culture that not only includes championships, but also provides his players with the chance to play their way into college scholarships.

“That’s my No. 1 priority,” said Ford, who earned his broadcasting degree from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts. “It’s rare for a girl from Lincoln to get a basketball scholarship or a scholarship at all.

“I’m excited to see what we can do next season,” he continued. “We have a long summer to get better, and this is (the players’) first time ever doing summer conditioning and weightlifting. So they are extremely happy.”