South Lyon boys basketball went 11-11 last year, but the record was a little deceiving. Of the 11 losses, six were to teams which won a district title and three to teams in the Class A final eight.
The Lions will have a new look this year as point guard Joe Newman and post player Anton Skupin are the only ones back with starting experience. Wing player Luke Wolf suffered through injuries last season as a junior, but will look to add experience to an otherwise new-to-varsity squad.
“A significant weakness for us is that we just don’t have a whole lot of experience returning if you look at it in terms of varsity game minutes,” said coach Doug Host, entering his seventh year with the Lions. “That’s always a concern, but if we can be patient and dedicated to learning from our mistakes early, by the time we get to league play in January, we should be fine in that regard.”
The strength of the team is a usual one for the Lions – defense.
“In our early season practices and our first scrimmages, the team has shown the ability to get after it at the defensive end of the court, so that’s encouraging,” Host said. “That’s where everything starts for us in our program.
“Our teams that have led the division in defense have always played for a division title in the final regular season game of the season. The teams that didn’t, didn’t. It’s a pretty simple formula for us, so it’s encouraging to see us headed in the right direction at this point in the season.”
Host sets team goals at winning the KLAA Central Division and getting a district title. Anything else from there is gravy.
“This year, I think the Central Division will be pretty wide open,” he said. “Stevenson, Novi and Salem might be the teams to beat, but there were coaching changes at both Novi and Stevenson, so you never know how that shakes things up.
“We hope to be right there in that final mix, playing for the division title in the last week of the season.”
The season gets underway Dec. 10 with a home game against Bedford. The Lions will play in the Chelsea tournament over the holiday break and begin KLAA play to start 2015.
“I’ve been very impressed with the cohesiveness of this group so far, their willingness to work and their attention to detail,” Host said. “I think we all know, both players and coaches, that we’ve got a lot of work to do to reach our goals and that challenge is an exciting proposition.”
South Lyon Boys Basketball
(All games 7 pm unless noted)
12/10 vs. Bedford, 6:30 pm
12/16 @ Churchill
12/18 vs. Plymouth
12/19 @ Bloomfield Hill
12/29 @ Chelsea vs. Pickney, 3 pm
12/30 @ Chelsea vs. TBA, TBA
1/9 @ Stevenson
1/13 vs. Novi
1/16 vs. South Lyon East
1/20 vs. Northville
1/23 @ Salem
1/30 vs. Stevenson
2/3 @ Novi
2/6 @ South Lyon East, 5:30 pm
2/10 @ Northville
2/13 vs. Salem
2/23 @ KLAA Crossover
2/20 @ KLAA crossover (South)
2/25 vs. KLAA crossover
2/27 or 2/28 @ KLAA crossover
3/5 @ KLAA crossover (Lakes Conf.)