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West Bloomfield High boys basketball makes strides in first half of season

By: Christian Davis | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published February 9, 2011

 West Bloomfield High senior Spencer Parker is averaging 23 points and 12 rebounds per game this season.

West Bloomfield High senior Spencer Parker is averaging 23 points and 12 rebounds per game this season.

Photo by Adam Sparkes

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It’s the halfway point of the boys basketball regular season, and West Bloomfield High coach Jeremy Denha likes what he sees.

“I think we’re a little ahead of where I expected us to be,” he said Feb. 1. “The kids are picking it up faster than I thought, and we still have an opportunity to have a special regular season.”

The Lakers still have a chance for a special season because they put themselves right in the middle of the Oakland Activities Association Red Division Race.

At press time, West Bloomfield was 7-3 overall, 4-2 in the Red.

Southfield High leads the division at 5-1, while North Farmington, Pontiac High and Clarkston High are all tied with the Lakers.

Denha said he doesn’t talk to the team much about the division race, but they all realize what is at stake.

“The kids understand there is a group of us at the top, and you have to believe you can win the race,” he said. “We control our own destiny, but you have to take it one game at a time, and I think the kids understand that, too.”

West Bloomfield has had success against the top of the division. It beat Southfield High — a Class A semifinalist last season that returned most of its team — by two points and then beat Pontiac High by 10 in overtime the following game. The Lakers then lost a close one to Clarkston High.

“Looking at those three games, I never would have thought that we’d come out 2-1. A lot of our games come down to the wire, and it’s nice to see the kids fight,” he said. “Those are three premiere powerhouses in the county.”

Denha knows it’s going to take time before the Lakers become an elite program in the county, but he believes they are taking the right steps this season.

“We need to get better in every aspect,” he said. “We’re getting there, but we’re not there yet. I want us to be able to peak in late February.”

The coach added that his team is improving on its rebounding, which was a concern to start the season. He said he’s told the squad that if he sees in the stat column that six or seven players have four or five rebound each, they’ll be tough to beat.

“I think we’re getting tougher,” he said. “If they’re doing what they practice, then it’s going to translate into the game.”

When the Lakers do pull down a board and are running, it’s usually senior Spencer Parker who makes the opposition pay.

Denha said Parker is one of the top three players in the county, and at 6 feet 7 inches, often presents match up problems for the defense.

“He’s very talented dribbling and getting to the rim,” Denha said. “He’s a special player and has the ability to back it up.”

Catch the Lakers against Southfield-Lathrup at 7 p.m. Feb. 4 at home.

 

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