2018-05-12 / Sports

Youth Basketball Team Shows Improvement on Court this Spring

By Jacob A. Ball


Making her way into the paint, fourth grader Lakelyn Bunker dribbles toward the basket for a shot attempt. Making her way into the paint, fourth grader Lakelyn Bunker dribbles toward the basket for a shot attempt. Springtime youth basketball is in full swing on Mackinac Island, and the 17 fourth, fifth, and sixth grade students have been attending practices and games over the last month. The children have been showing signs of improvements in their techniques and teamwork, according to Coach Piotr Buniewicz. He said he emphasizes tenacious defense, which he considers the best way to be competitive. The team has played Maplewood Baptist Academy three times, and has improved considerably in each successive game. In the last matchup, the young Lakers lost by four points, after two games where Maplewood won by double-digits.

During practice, the team is split into two groups, so that more time can be spent on the basics of the sport with the less experienced players. This includes explaining how to properly defend, along with practicing dribbling to avoid double dribbles and traveling violations. The coach has been impressed with fourth grader Ottilia Styburski’s development during the season, and said she is becoming a very good defender.


Fifth grader Madison Gamble sprints past half court on her way to the basket against the Beaver Island Islanders. Fifth grader Madison Gamble sprints past half court on her way to the basket against the Beaver Island Islanders. “She smothers the other team. It is fantastic to watch,” Coach Buniewicz said.

He also commended the budding leadership of fourth grader Lakelyn Bunker, who he said has been an important contributor on defense. Makayla Rickley, the only sixth grade girl on the team, has been dedicated to helping her younger teammates learn how to play. Coach Buniewicz said she commonly offers assistance with drills and techniques without being asked. In addition, he said her tenacity in the low-post has been impressive, as she plays with continuous toughness and grit.


Sixth grader Derby Kromer races past a Beaver Island defender during a basketball game on Mackinac Island Saturday, April 28. Sixth grader Derby Kromer races past a Beaver Island defender during a basketball game on Mackinac Island Saturday, April 28. For the older, more experienced players, practices have focused on defensive positioning, including help defense and correct rotations, which are important skills if they move on to the varsity team as seventh graders. This season, the youth basketball team has played games against Maplewood, Beaver Island, and Munising Baptist. Their last game of the season is at home Friday, May 11, against Paradise-Whitefish Township at 3:15 p.m. in the school gymnasium.



At right: Fifth grader Vincent Davis rises above a Beaver Island defender Saturday morning, April 28. At right: Fifth grader Vincent Davis rises above a Beaver Island defender Saturday morning, April 28.

Return to top

Click here for digital edition
2018-05-12 digital edition