Western starts quick against Plymouth, wins first KLAA title with a 61-46 victory
Walked Lake – Chip Lutz hasn’t been getting around very well lately, but last night he couldn’t have felt better.
Lutz, in his first year as head coach at Walled Lake Western, guided the Warriors to the Kensington Lakes Activities Association championship with a 61-46 victory over Plymouth on Thursday at Western.
Lutz was beaming with pride as players, family and friends celebrated on the court. But he had a real hard time moving. He’s on crutches after suffering a torn Achilles tendon two weeks ago while coaching a game.
"It’s been uncomfortable just trying to walk and get to places lately, but I wouldn’t trade this season for anything," Lutz said. "I can’t even drive. Assistant coach Mike Stevenson picks me up every day and then brings me home."
And the Warriors (19-1) brought home a championship – their first overall league basketball title since 2000 and their first in thre KLAA (The KLAA formed in 2008).
Lutz inherited a very experienced team and he taught them what it takes to be champions. All five starters are seniors.
"Everything starts for us on defense and we’re an extremely unselfish team," Lutz said. "I knew they were talented. And if I could get them to buy into playing tough defense I knew we could be pretty good.”
Senior guards John Flowers (21 points) and Jerald Booker combined for 38 points. Senior forward Marcus Bailey and senior guard Demond Young each had nine.
Behind Flowers and Booker, Western jumped to a 26-18 halftime lead and never trailed. Plymouth (14-6) was led by junior guard Brent Davis’ 23 points.
The Western seniors had this dream of winning something big when they were freshmen.
"We wanted to make this a special year and we did," Booker said. "But we still have some more goals (state tournament)."
This closeness among the Western players is shown on the court. Their help defense and team work are evident every time they take the court.
"We’ve been together for four years now and this championship has been our goal for a long time," Flowers said. "We knew this season was our last chance to do it and we were determined.
"We pride ourselves on defense and everyone on this team is unselfish. We want to make the extra pass."
Plymouth went to a full-court press to start the fourth quarter but Western never let the Wildcats get closer than 10 points.
"We struggled to score," Plymouth coach Mike Soukup said. "Western’s defense is really good. They check better than any team we’ve played this season,"
Western opens the Class A district tournament at Walled Lake Central on Monday where it will play Orchard Lake St. Mary’s at 6 p.m.
St. Mary’s eliminated Western last season in the district final.
"We want to play them and get our revenge," Booker said. "We know they’re a good team, but so are we."