BY SAMANTHA ELLIOTT
A year after a district finals appearance, the Grosse Ile boys’ basketball team is back and ready for another season on the court. Last March, the season ended with a 14-9 record before the Red Devils bowed out of the MHSAA state playoffs in the district finals. This November, the team came back to the court, ready to attack the new season.
The Red Devils will be small this year, but they’ll turn to their strengths to help guide them through the season.
“Our team this year is pretty small,” Coach Mohamed Elhaj said. “We will have to use our speed and quickness to our advantage.”
This year the Red Devils are working under Kevin Durant’s quote, “Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.”
Elhaj expects his team to use a good mix of veterans and newcomers to pave the way for success on the court this winter.
Key returnees include Matthew Frost, Nick Koklanaris and Kenny Marx. Frost and Koklanaris will serve as captains. Newcomers that have Elhaj excited about this season are John Blanzy and Michael Moco.
Junior Zak Thompson is excited for another basketball season with the Red Devils.
“It’s going to be a fun year without a doubt,” he said. “We’re going to be a strong team defensively with a lot of talent to score the ball. Our leaders have plenty of experience returning.”
The Red Devils opened their season Nov. 24 at Franklin High School. They will play in their home-opener Dec. 5 when Melvindale comes to visit and wrap up pre-Christmas break games with visits to Dearborn, Gabriel Richard and Gibraltar Carlson. Huron League play opens Jan. 9 when the team hosts New Boston Huron.
“I expect us to go out there every night to compete very hard,” Elhaj said. “The results will show in how hard we play.”