2017-12-09 / Sports

Mackinac Island Lakers Boys Basketball Squad Shoots for Success

By Jacob A. Ball


Mackinac Island’s 2017-18 boys basketball team (front row, from left) Jack Kaminen, Xavier Mosley, Trevor Pereny, Guyil Mosley, Aidan Ogle; (back) athletic director Bob Lohff, Gabe Hepker, Aaron Riggs, Albert Mosley, senior Nick Davis, Alex Henlin, Leon Sehoyan, and Dominic Morse. Mackinac Island’s 2017-18 boys basketball team (front row, from left) Jack Kaminen, Xavier Mosley, Trevor Pereny, Guyil Mosley, Aidan Ogle; (back) athletic director Bob Lohff, Gabe Hepker, Aaron Riggs, Albert Mosley, senior Nick Davis, Alex Henlin, Leon Sehoyan, and Dominic Morse. With the departure of two seniors and the arrival of three seventh grade players, the Mackinac Island Lakers boys basketball team is younger and less experienced squad than any previous season under fourth-year head Coach Justin Gallagher. Led by senior captain Nick Davis and juniors Gabe Hepker and Aaron Riggs, the team has retained enough continuity to get back to the level they were playing at last season.

During the preseason, Coach Gallagher has focused on shooting. Consistent shooting and passing have been a challenge. Improving decision making on the court, along with building composure that will last four quarters, should go a long way toward correcting these issues. Players must stop passing off the dribble without setting their feet, he said, and need to make smart plays.


At left: Senior captain Nick Davis races by a defender on a fast break toward the basket. With 14 points, he would the lead the Lakers in scoring Friday, December 1, against Maplewood Baptist. At left: Senior captain Nick Davis races by a defender on a fast break toward the basket. With 14 points, he would the lead the Lakers in scoring Friday, December 1, against Maplewood Baptist. Defensively, the squad aims to play a combination of zone defenses, depending on the size and skill level of their opponent. Coach Gallagher’s main defense is a demanding formation that takes a lot out of his starters, and sometimes he will switch things up when bench players enter the game.

Developing young talent while teaching experienced team members about the details that lead to winning basketball can be challenging, says the coach. Often during practice, he will have his starters at one end of the court working on specific scenarios and plays, and at the other end his young players will be practicing their fundamentals. This season he is starting two freshmen for the first time. Freshmen Albert Mosley and Dominic Morse, the two starters, played significant minutes in last year’s district title game, and are very familiar with the system and style. Coach Gallagher said that they both have an innate aptitude for basketball.


Junior Aaron Riggs splits two defenders as they attempt to converge. He finished the game with seven points. Junior Aaron Riggs splits two defenders as they attempt to converge. He finished the game with seven points. “I just want these guys to go out there and play to the best of their ability,” said the coach.

The team chemistry appears to be clicking with the younger players learning a lot from their more experienced teammates. Coach Gallagher said the young players are fortunate to have such a good older group to emulate.

“It’s all about building character,” he said.

The Lakers lost against Maplewood Baptist Academy during the opening weekend of the season Friday, December 1, and Saturday, December 2. Their coach said a lack of composure did them in, but he commended Hepker and Davis for their effort in the doubleheader. Davis would lead the Lakers in scoring in both contests, with 14 points Friday night and 17 points Saturday morning, before fouling out in the second half. Hepker is not the team’s biggest player, but his coach praises his willingness to do whatever it takes to win. His only two points came early Friday evening, and he also made several plays that showcased his intangible qualities, including timely defensive stops.

“He just doesn’t stop. His motor never stops, ever,” Coach Gallagher said.

The Lakers were defeated Friday night 63-25, and Saturday morning 56-21. Riggs added seven points for the Lakers on Friday night.

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