Young Lutheran North girls basketball team finding its way

By: Jason Carmel Davis | C&G Newspapers | Published February 2, 2018

 Macomb Lutheran North girls basketball coach Greg Mangold walks the sidelines during a Jan. 30 win over Clawson High. The Mustangs are playing strong defense this season, allowing a shade more than 35 points per game.

Macomb Lutheran North girls basketball coach Greg Mangold walks the sidelines during a Jan. 30 win over Clawson High. The Mustangs are playing strong defense this season, allowing a shade more than 35 points per game.

Photo by Sarah Purlee

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MACOMB TOWNSHIP — At press time, the Macomb Lutheran North girls basketball team was 5-8 overall and 2-8 in the Catholic High School League Central Division.

But the record doesn’t tell the entire story.

The Mustangs have gone toe-to-toe with two of the top teams in their division and the state — Bloomfield Hills Marian and Farmington Hills Mercy. Only two of the team’s losses have come by more than 10 points.

Mustangs coach Greg Mangold has his team playing competitive basketball despite being young and somewhat inexperienced. The roster comprises three seniors, six juniors, four sophomores and one freshman. Senior forward Hannah Milligan and junior guard Lauren Mow serve as the captains.

“We had a lot of growing pains being a young team, and our record does not reflect our efforts on the season,” Mangold said. “We have refocused ourselves to finish strong.”

The youth has shown at various points in the season, with turnovers and offensive miscues costing the team in late-game situations. Even though those setbacks hurt at the time, Mangold has taken a long-term view.

“It proves that if we cut down on the turnovers and keep our heads on straight when adversity strikes, we can compete with anyone,” the coach said. “The younger players have to adapt quicker for those successes to come to fruition.”

One area the team has performed well in this season is on the defensive end. The Mustangs have allowed about 35 points per game. Of the seven teams in the CHSL Central Division, Lutheran North has allowed the fewest points of the group in divisional games.

“We’re very quick and full of youthful energy, and I’ve tried to unleash that to take advantage of our offensive woes,” Mangold said. “A mixture of defensive looks, which the girls like, has also kept things interesting.”

Lutheran North averages a little more than 32 points per game. Mangold said his players must stick with the team’s offensive sets, run them correctly and shoot the ball confidently when the opportunity comes up. The coach added that some of his players have a tendency to force the action in an effort to give the team a spark.

Mangold said the priority is improving the team’s offense and rebounding. He said a lack of offensive rebounding has hurt the team over the course of the season.

“If we can do that, we’ll be a force come districts,” said Mangold, whose team will play in a Class B district beginning Feb. 26 and hosted by Pontiac Notre Dame Prep.

“Getting out of the CHSL Central Division should show people we’re better than our record. The night-in, night-out grind and having to play your ‘A’ game to compete impacts the girls negatively when the result isn’t what you want. We’re a good team. I just need to convince the kids that (we are). We’ll be just fine.”

Lutheran North’s next game is against Royal Oak Shrine at 7 p.m. Feb. 8 on the road.

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