– WYANDOTTE WARRIOR –
Wyandotte girls basketball coach Jerry Makuch got his job just three weeks before the start of the 2019-20 season.
Naturally, it took some time for him to get comfortable with his team and for his girls to get comfortable with him. That led to a slow start and a few ugly early season losses.
But the “get-to-know-you” stage is clearly over.
Since the start of the Downriver League season, the Bears have been one of the best teams in the area. They went 5-2 in the first seven games, including a three-game winning streak.
“I had to change my style of coaching a little bit,” said Makuch. “And the girls have come to understand what I am asking of them.We are blossoming quite well.”
After losing to Trenton and Woodhaven, Wyandotte reeled off wins against Lincoln Park, Dearborn Edsel Ford and Carlson.
In the Carlson game, a 48-31 decision on Jan. 21, Roosevelt was led by Samantha Smith with a dozen points. Olivia Hardar and Alayna Jacobs had eight each and Elle Gonzalez added seven points and eight rebounds.
Katlyn Patterson was the team’s leading scorer in wins over Lincoln Park and Edsel Ford. She had 13 against the T-Birds and 17 against the Railsplitters.
The difference between the winning Wyandotte team and the losing one is clear: Turnovers and free-throw shooting.
In a 37-26 loss to Trenton, Wyandotte was 2-of-12 from the free-throw line and committed 31 turnovers. In the 52-47 loss to Woodhaven – a game was was 48-47 with a minute to play – Wyandotte missed half its 18 free throws and committed 26 turnovers.
Makuch said success has come as he has discovered more of the payers’ talents.
Smith, who jumps center, is the team’s leading scorer, Patterson has become a deadly shooter – she had five triples against Woodhaven – and point guards Hardar and Addy Nothnagel have begun to run the show the way Makuch likes.
“Addy and Olivia have really sparked that 5-2 record,” the coach said. “They know how to control the team and how to control the tempo. They know just what I want out there.”
Makuch said Hailey Hamel and Jacobs have also been keys to the Bears’ success. Jacobs, Makuch said, “is sneaky around the basket and has a wealth of scrappiness.”
The Bears play Anderson Jan. 31 and Taylor Feb. 4 before getting a rematch with Trenton on Feb. 7.
“I’m really having fun,” said Makuch. “It’s been a rejuvenating experience. To coach these kids and see the lightbulb go off when they get it is really rewarding.”
Bear cagers are hot
If you stopped the season now, the Roosevelt boys basketball team would have to be crowned King of Downriver.
The Bears are 6-2 this season and undefeated against local teams, including a victory over four-time defending Downriver League champ Woodhaven.
The Bears beat the Warriors 55-46. In that game, Ethan Saenz scored 20 points to lead the way.
In their next effort, the Bears clubbed Lincoln Park 63-34.
Through their first five league games, the Bears were 5-0 with wins over Woodhaven, Lincoln Park, Trenton, Edsel Ford and Taylor.
Up next for the team is a big game at Anderson on Jan. 31. The Titans won their first three games of 2020 and are on a roll just like the Bears.
Bears getting back on their feet
After suffering a string of nine straight losses, the Roosevelt hockey team found itself on more solid footing at the calendar turned to 2020.
The Bears, who were beaten by Gabriel Ricard and Cabrini in the Gabriel Richard Christmas Tournament at the end of December, got January off on a losing note, falling 4-1 to Monroe St. Mary Cathoiic Central on Jan. 3.
But since that setback, the Bears have gone 1-1-1, including a 7-0 victory over New Boston Huron United. On Jan. 11 Wyandotte skated to a 3-3 tie with Grosse Ile.
In that game the Bears came back from a two-goal deficit with two third-period goals to tie the game. There was no scoring in the overtime period
Jason Cuppari had two goals for the Bears and Ray Isham had the other. Assists went to Cuppari and two each to Zakk Ciaravino and Elliott Bernaiche.
Dylan Pattenaude, Luke Auger and Luke Miller scored for Grosse Ile.
There were a lot of shots on goal in the game, with Wyandotte’s Sam Shifflet stopping 37 of 40 fired his way and Grosse Ile’s Owen Bonham stopping 40 of 43 Bears shots directed at him.
Up next for the Bears are Gabriel Richard on Jan. 29 and Grosse Ile again on Feb. 1.