Roosevelt girls encounter a little of everything

The Roosevelt basketball team put together a 3-2 record through the first five games of the season.

Hank Minckiewicz

Well, the long-delayed 2021 girls high school basketball season was just five games old and the Roosevelt team had seen enough for three times that many games.

The Bears had blown out a couple of teams, lost a game to an unbeaten league-leader and suffered a baffling offensive outage in a weirdly one-sided loss to Taylor.

So, let’s start with the weird one.

If you had been at the Feb. 17 game at Roosevelt between the Bears and the Taylor Griffins and you weren’t playing too close attention, it would have seemed like any other old game.

However, if you were paying just a little attention, you’d have noticed that despite the Bears getting to all the right spots on the floor, playing pretty good defense and getting shots the offense is designed to generate, next to none of shots were going through the hoop for the home team. 

Literally minutes passed without the Bears changing their side of the scoreboard. The first half ended with Wyandotte making just 2 of 27 shots. The Bears made just four baskets in the entire game and fell 37-10.

“It was unbelievable,” said Roosevelt coach Jerry Makuch. “We had so many open looks. We ran our offense to perfection. Our effort was 100 percent. We had open shots from the wing, from the elbow, we missed lay-ups. I have never seen anything like it.”

Makuch’s hustling, scrappy team generally makes an artform of harassing other teams and using defense to kickstart its offense. The Bears did that against Taylor, generating a good amount of steals, but the Bears simply could not convert those steals into points.

One the other end, Taylor played a pretty good offensive game and the result was pretty one-sided.

“Taylor has a fine team,” Makuch admitted. “They had a couple of girls who are very good shooters.”

The Taylor game was an oddball in a season that has seen the Bears spank Allen Park 48-21 on opening night and later take apart Anderson 48-22.

The opener at Allen Park was especially satisfying as Makuch substituted freely throughout the game and got contributions from up and down the line up.

Nae Atwater and Cortney Olson each scored 11 points, while Kate Bezzo and Liv Harder each had six and Paige Olson and Jordyn Guyzik chipped in with four points each.

Wyandotte shot out to a 5-0 lead in the game and was never challenged. It was 18-5 at halftime and 29-18 at the end of three quarters. Olson scored eight of her 11 points in the final quarter as the Bears iced the game.

In its other early-season outing, the Bears fell to unbeaten Trenton 40-26 in a game that was closer than the final score indicated.

“We played them tough,” said Makuch. “We practiced hard on a zone defense against them and maybe I should have switched to a man-to-man. It was a good effort on our part.”

Makuch added that he has been pleased with nearly every aspect of his club this season, from its on-court play to its overall attitude.

“I really like this team,” the Roosevelt coach said. “I like this team a lot. They have a great attitude and they give 110 percent, if that is possible. These girls are early on the court, they stay late to shoot and they do whatever you ask.”

And then he singled out several players.  

“Alaynia Jacobs has been real steady,” he said. “And Nae Atwater is everywhere. She is super quick, always the quickest girl on the floor. Elle Gonzalez has played well and Courtney Olsen is our leading rebounder. Katie Bezzo is a spark off the bench for us, she always makes things happen.

“These girls are fun to coach.”

After the regular-season finale against Lincoln Park, the Bears will embark on the Michigan High School Athletic association state tournament, starting with districts at Southgate. Joining the Bears there will be the host Titans, Riverview, Taylor and Trenton. 

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