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A Night Of Basketball In Fraser

The+boys+basketball+team+stand+side+by+side+in+silence+during+the+national+anthem+before+playing+the+Reds+of+Port+Huron+on+January+16th%2C+2018
The boys basketball team stand side by side in silence during the national anthem before playing the Reds of Port Huron on January 16th, 2018

The boys basketball team stand side by side in silence during the national anthem before playing the Reds of Port Huron on January 16th, 2018

The boys basketball team stand side by side in silence during the national anthem before playing the Reds of Port Huron on January 16th, 2018

Aron Geml, Flash Sports

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The sounds of squeaking shoes on the hardwood, the pounding of ball on the court, and fans in the stands cheering for their team from four in the afternoon to about nine at night. That is the sounds of a basketball night in Fraser. With both girls and guys teams home people feel the excitement in the air when the girls varsity team gets set to tip off.

The girls team so far this season have lived up to their expectations with an outstanding record with six wins and only two losses overall. On January 16th, the girls team welcomed the struggling visitors of L’anse Creuse North High School whose record was a disappointing three wins and six losses. Fraser would be heavily favored in this contest  with a win that  would improve to seven wins and two losses before hitting the road on Friday to take on the undefeated and division leader, the Huskies of Lakeview High School. They would of course need to take care of business on their home court first. With a big win over Chippewa Valley High School the week before, head coach David Kuppe was very confident going into the game.

“ I think we are playing better and better all time so that win against Chippewa was pretty big we handled it pretty easily I thought. I expected a tougher game but they were missing a couple of people which had something to do with it. But our kids are ready to play, every game is tough in our league so we are hoping for good results,” coach David Kuppe said.

With that win the prior week at home against Chippewa, the girls team was feeling really good about their performances. This may have made the players a little lackadaisical and even starting point guard Elise Vitale admitted her mindset was a little dazed at practice following the win against Chippewa.

“ We were pretty stoked, I am not going to lie but we knew we had to work hard because we have Lakeview coming up this week. We couldn’t stay where we were and we knew we had to keep improving,” Elise Vitale said.

Even going into a game against a team that is really struggling  the mindset for this game was a little stoked as well because the girls knew they needed a win to get ready for Lakeview.

Coach Dave Kuppe addresses his team during a timeout at home against Lanse Cruise North on January 16th, 2018

“ Hopefully getting a win and starting the week off strong for Lakeview because that’s our goal is to beat Lakeview. You just want to make baskets, score points, play defense and hopefully come out with a win,” Vitale said.

When that team hit the court that night it was a dominant performance from the tip off. The girls team came roaring out of the gate by scoring on their first possession and then Fraser started to hit the three ball. The three ball was Fraser’s favorite weapon that game hitting seven of them in the game. Fraser ended up winning that game by the final score of 47-33 with Elise Vitale and senior Erica Lesher leading the way. Vitale recorded thirteen points and Lesher with sixteen and both of them hitting threes along the way. With a dominant win the team had a bigger opponent coming up.

“ We can shoot the three against man or zone we thought they were going to play more zone than they did. We hit the three very well. Both my guards can shoot the three very well so tonight they did a great job,”  Kuppe said.

Following the conclusion of the girls game it was time for the guys to host The Big Reds of Port Huron. The guys season hasn’t fully lived up to their expectations and things have to change going forward as Coach Matt Lockhart Sr addressed.

“ Offensively it’s not that we are doing anything wrong we just aren’t making shots. We have been getting good looks and the right guys are taking shots they just haven’t been going in for us,” Coach Matt Lockhart Sr said.  

With only three wins going into this game the pressure was on for the team and some additional pressure for guard Matt Lockhart Jr being the coaches son.

“ I mean yeah. I get more stuff for it but I mean it has its ups and downs sometimes we go home and talk about the game and he might yell at me more than others but its fine,”Matt Lockhart Jr said.

The team lost  the prior week to Warren Woods Tower by a contested three point shot at the buzzer in overtime and the team was in a shooting slump in that game and in games prior.  According to senior guard Ian Cassey, they had to do some extra work in order to correct it.

“ In practice we just took a lot of shots and focused on what we had to do, getting the ball in the hoop and keep making the right shot,” Ian Cassey said.

Aron Geml
Coach Matt Lockhart Sr, dresses his team during a timeout while losing to Port Huron on January 16th, 2018

The team that night did indeed take the right shots because everything was falling for the Ramblers. From three pointers to underneath the basket, to free throws. In the first half, Fraser gave up over thirty points, the shots were not falling , and turnovers were a big part of that first half. In the second half the floor opened up as Fraser pulled away from Port Huron by the final score of 60-49 and Coach Lockhart was very pleased on how his rebounded in the second half.

“ At halftime we went in and we talked about our defense and the fact we gave up thirty was too much for us and in the second half we gave up nineteen total. We rebounded better and we defend better we didn’t give up that many open looks and that made a big difference for us,” Lockhart Sn said.

The guys improved to a subpar 4-5 on the season and their postseason hopes are still in question but the guys should be able to turn it around come playoff time. Now back to the girls after they beat LCN they had to prepare for their toughest opponent of the season: Lakeview.

Lakeview had just won their tenth game in a row and with zero losses in their loss column this game against the huskies won’t be easy for the Ramblers. In their first meeting at Fraser, Lakeview dominated Fraser by the final score of 41-30 and Fraser couldn’t get the ball rolling on offense in that game so they hoped to turn it around for their second and final meeting of the season.With the three ball being a big part of their last contest it wasn’t the vocal point in practice.

“ Not really. Just playing good basketball, good solid defense. I don’t think we played good defense against them. They got two big people and we have to keep them in check , if not we are going to be in trouble. Our focus has been keeping them in check, be patient on offense, we will score our points, and we cant let them score,” Kuppe said.

When the two teams hit the court it was a completely dominant performance for the home team. Lakeview was dominant throughout the entire contest, constantly getting out on the fast break, hitting their threes, and constantly out rebounding Fraser. The two power forwards for Lakeview were no match for the forwards for Fraser. It wasn’t the fact that Fraser’s forwards were playing bad, they were just outmatched in height and it led to  final score of 54-25 and coach Kuppe was not a happy camper with how his team performed and wasn’t sure on what to address in practice the next week.

“ Good question. We need to work on everything. We obviously got our butts handed to us. I thought we were better prepared for this than we were. Too many mistakes on offensive, not enough shots. They beat us down the floor in the first half. Most of their shots were under the basket, hell you can’t stop that so if we don’t protect our basket you are going to lose every game.” Kuppe said.

The girls dropped to 7-3 on the season and with the playoffs around the corner, coach Kuppe will indeed have his girls ready for the fight ahead in the postseason and that is a basketball night in Fraser.

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