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Grass Lake Boys Basketball Team

By Mike Moore                                  (Photo by Ryan Kerwin, JTV Sports)

Staff Writer


Grass Lake — Senior Night is a common occurrence in just about every athletic season as teams take a brief moment before the season is out to honor those with less than a year of eligibility remaining.


Joel Cook was asked recently if his Grass Lake boys basketball team was going to hold such an event this winter.


“I don’t know,” he said with a laugh. “It’d be a pretty lonely night.”


Funny, but oh-so true.


“This is my ninth year, and I’ve never had a roster without a senior,” Cook said.


But he does now, and at times, you’d never know it.


Entering Friday, the Warriors were 7-5 on the season and playing much more mature and talented basketball than their roster would suggest.


“I’ve been excited for a long time about this group,” Cook said. “When I started the youth program when I started coaching, the sophomore class was the first in the program I saw and worked with. I’ve known for along time we’d have some talented guys.”


The veterans, so to speak, are all in the junior class, but there’s no shortage of talent and minutes coming from and going to those even younger.


Freshman Evan Keeder has been a fixture in the starting lineup, while sophomore Trae Ruggles has been one of the most deadly players with the ball, averaging roughly 13 points and three assists per game.


In a recent win over Napoleon he poured in 24 points.


Sophomore Xavier Bargesser averaging 13 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists has used his height, length and skill to score 20 at one point this year, while his freshman Brennen Bargesser (younger brother) has also seen consistent minutes.


“When you lose seven seniors like we did last year, people may panic, but I really expected us to compete right away,” Cook said. “These guys have played a lot of basketball and aren’t intimidated.”


But they’re still young, and as Cook pointed out, you can’t teach experience.


“Michigan Center and East Jackson, two losses where you could see we had the ability to hang, but not the maturation to play with older teams,” he said.  “We’re still tall and skinny. When these guys hit the weight room, and continue to work on basketball skills, they could be scary.”


With a little less than half a season still to be played, the maturation process will continue.


Of course, with this youth, it’s impossible not to wonder just how good the teams could be a year or two from now.


“We have a lot of work left for this season, but we understand what’s coming, and I’m tremendously excited for this group and what it could be,” Cook said. “These are guys that are still growing, still figuring things out. When they get that muscle, and understand film, learn tendencies and so on. … It’s going to be fun, let’s just put it that way.”


Mike Moore is a play-by-play commentator and Sports Writer for JTV Sports.


He’s also a Realtor with Real Estate One, specializing with buyers and sellers throughout Michigan, from the Jackson area to metro Detroit. You can reach him at mmoore@realestateone.com or by calling (313) 770-6365 with any inquiries.

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