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BOYS' BASKETBALL: Private School preview

Baptist Park team has its sights set high, GR hopes to keep forward momentum

The Gabriel Richard basketball team will feature a young yet experienced team with Coach Kris Daiek looking forward to seeing what his Pioneers can do and improve on out on the basketball court this season.

“We will look to continue to improve the basketball program,” Daiek said. “The program is young with experience. We have a roster of 14 players with two seniors, six juniors, four sophomores and two freshmen.”

In his third year at Richard and 22nd year of coaching, Daiek said the keys to success will be defense and chemistry.

“Traditionally, we have been solid defensively,” he said. "We hope to continue to improve defensively. We also have depth, with seven returning players from the program.

“We have to improve our offensive chemistry and scoring.

“We will work hard on every play and continue to compete at the highest level.”

Top returning players include junior Tyler Blaszczak, senior Colton Jarratt and sophomore Jake Lipetzky.

Top new players include junior Nick Gee, junior John Lemieux, freshman Anthony Brown and sophomore Josh Blaszczak.

The Pioneers are certainly on the right road. Just three years ago they won only three games.

“Over the past three years our program has become increasingly competitive,” Daiek said. “In 2012 we where 6-13 (and finished) fourth in the CHSL. In 2013 we finished 10-11 and second in the CHSL Intersectional.

“It's tough to say we can improve our season without winning a league title after finishing second last year. However, we have set some simple and attainable goals. Even though we are young, I think we can be competitive."

The Pioneers open the season at home at 7 p.m. on Dec. 10 against Dearborn Universal Academy.



Cabrini

Gerry Klos takes over the Monarchs after a 13-7 finish last year, including a loss in the district final to Trenton.

Top returning players include senior guards Dave Szczesny and Rob Deblander and junior guard/forwards Scott Smith and Alex Formella.

Top newcomers include sophomore Steve Sowa and junior Eddie O’Neil.

“We are hoping to build on last year’s district run,” said Klos. “We only have three seniors on the team, so we will be young and inexperienced, but if they work at it, good things will happen.”

The Monarchs will play a high-paced motion offense and multiple defenses.

“We are going to be aggressive defensively,” Klos said. “With putting in a new offensive system, it’s going take time for the kids to learn and work together within the system.”

Klos expects his team to play hard and be competitive.

“Our goals are going to take it one day at a time and hope to get better each day,” he said. “Hard work and understanding the right way to play will be the keys to our success.”

Cabrini opens the season at home on Monday against Baptist Park and play at home on Dec. 13 against Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central.



Baptist Park

The Baptist Park Wildcats went 15-7 last year, falling to Inter-City in a district final.

Coach Bill Miller begins his sixth year on the bench for Baptist Park and said his team is ready for a big season.

“Our goal is to win our conference,” he said. “I believe that is possible. Another goal would be to win a district title.

“The key to success at Baptist Park will be to work hard and the wins will come. I believe the players produce wins very well considering the size of our school.”

The last five years the Wildcats have averaged 15 wins a season.

One of the reasons for such optimism is the return of junior Anthony Kaminski, an All-News-Herald guard last season.

“I believe Anthony Kaminski is going to have a very good season and I think he is one of the best players Downriver,” Miller said.

Teaming up with Kaminski will be Daniel Eubank, a very strong senior guard and Devante Schofield, a senior center who is ready to control the middle for the Wildcats.

The rest of the roster features plenty of talent and depth including Seth Thompson, a junior forward; Caleb Culp, a junior center/forward; Aaron Smith, a junior forward; Zach Campeau, a junior forward; Gabe Bewley, a senior guard; and Logan Howard, a senior guard.

Baptist Park opens the season Dec.13 at Livingston Christian.



Inter-City

Mark Kraatz begins his 24th year of coaching the Chargers, including last year’s 20-5 team that reached the regional championship game and was ranked third in the state all of last season.

Top returning players include Evan Kraatz, the 5-foot, 11-inch senior who was all-state his sophomore and junior years and Luke Barber, a 6-4 junior who was all-league last year and who Coach Kraatz calls the best shooter Downriver.

Also back are Troy Kazlaskas, sophomore Garrett Kraatz, senior Zach Riddle, sophomore Brady Fressel, and Blake Kirkland.

Top newcomers include junior Nick Carrico and senior Nathan Estell.

Look for the Chargers to play an up-tempo offense fueled by an aggressive defense.

“We have experience, good shooting and athleticism,” Kraatz said. “We have to work on our rebounding and toughness. We also have to stay healthy.”

The goal is to compete for the league and a state title.

Inter-City won the regional two years ago and has lost in the regional championship the last two out of three years. Kraatz hopes his team gets past that point this season.





Summit

First-year Summit Coach Craig Lewis is aiming for a much-improved season for the Dragons, as he takes over a team that finished with a losing record last year.

Helping him to accomplish that goal will be a roster filled with eight seniors and some very talented juniors.

“We have all of the pieces of the puzzle to be successful within our league and non-conference schedule,” said Lewis, who has served as an assistant at Romulus, Robichaud and Inkster. “We’re looking to go 15-5 on the season and win our district championship.”

Junior Cory Hicks, who was one of the area’s best scorers last year, is back after averaging 18.7 points per game at the guard position.

At center will be senior Blake Horvath and taking on the point guard role will be Inkster transfer Leavohn Lewis, a senior who the coach said plays strong defense, brings excellent leadership, and plays with energy and tenacity.

Junior forwards Christian Flannigan and Randle Micheaux are expected to have a big season, as well.

Other seniors on the 14-man roster are forwards Craig Sharp, Donavon Presbery, London Carrington and guards Jesse Brown, Amiri Townsend and Arie Christion.

One other junior on the squad is point guard Abu Hamilton and he’s joined by sophomore guard Kyle Hamilton and freshman center Tre’Von Whitelaw.

The Dragons quest for a successful season begins Tuesday, as the squad will open things up with a nonleague game at Monroe Jefferson.

Last Updated: 12/6/2013 11:41:54 PM EST

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