ROCHESTER, Mich. (WXYZ) - In just the first season after the merger of Lahser and Andover, the Black Hawks are focused on trying to leap over University of Detroit Jesuit in the MHSAA semifinal for the right to advance to the Class A championship game on Saturday, March 22.
“This would be a great thing for the community [and] a great thing for the school, showing the combination of these kids together,” said Bloomfield Hills head coach Duane Graves.
“I don’t think anyone thought that we could do it because it was our first year together,” said Khalil Gracey, a senior guard.
“I grew up with these kids, and they all live in the same neighborhood so we’re like a family on the basketball court, and off the basketball court,” said senior Yante Maten, who has averaged 19.2 points per game for the Black Hawks.
“We’re having a lot of success in our first year; the most success any Bloomfield program has ever had, even between Andover and Lahser,” said Eric Weiss, who played at Andover before the merger.
Bloomfield Hills decided to practice at the O’rena on the campus of Oakland University to simulate a playoff atmosphere, and remember a significant moment between Andover and Lahser.
“Last time the two teams played was in this gym,” said Graves. “It was a very close game. Andover led most of the way, and Lahser came back in the final seconds of the game to win.”
“It was a pretty heated game,” said Dylan Deitch, a former Andover product, with a smile. “There was obviously a lot of animosity there, but right in June when the schools were about to merge we started our practices and everything kind of kicked off from there.”
“Over the summer we actually connected really well,” said senior Armand Cartwright. "We played over the summer against some good teams like Romulus, Pershing and Consortium [College Prep]."
Graves said his game day towel, which is always draped over his shoulder, is one of the reasons why things have gone really well for Bloomfield Hills.
“It’s a good luck charm,” said Graves. “It’s my friend. It’s, you know, whatever we need it to be at the time.”
“Now that we’re here with two games left; it’s March and anything can happen,” said Deitch.