Detroit Voyageur boys basketball has no starters over six feet tall, but coach Tobias Tuomi has found a way to make his five-guard starting lineup work, beginning the season with four wins and downing host Detroit Southeastern, 67-38, on Friday.
“We’re an undersized team, so we have to cover a lot of our deficiencies with effort, but this is the hardest working team I’ve ever been around,” Tuomi said.
Leading Voyageur was senior guard Lemuel Holt, who had 25 points, 11 rebounds and five assists.
“Lemuel (Holt) was attacking the rim. He hit a couple 3s early, and that set up driving lanes. He did a good job pulling down rebounds, too,” Tuomi said.
Junior guard Elijah Belle chipped in with 17 points, including four 3-pointers, and five assists.
“Elijah (Belle) played the passing lanes really well. He got some some steals that led to transition buckets,” Tuomi said.
Junior guard Damian Clark also had a strong game for Voyageur with 12 points.
Voyageur’s lead hovered around 15 for most of the night. With 13 seconds left in the third quarter after Southeastern (6-2) had gotten the lead down to 13, Voyageur made several decisive passes to get Holt room to drive into the lane. Holt drove and kicked to an open Belle, who drained a 3-pointer to put Voyageur back up 16, a lead that would balloon in the fourth quarter.
“That was huge because it gave us more breathing room going into the fourth quarter. With the ball moving around so well, it was just a beautiful basketball play,” Tuomi said.
Voyageur’s defensive strategy is to deny post players the ball inside, and it worked to great effect against the bigger Southeastern.
“We focused on keeping the ball out of the post and denying the ball from coming in. We knew if it got inside we were going to lose that size matchup,” Tuomi said.
Southeastern went to a 1-3-1 zone defense in the third quarter to attempt to slow Voyageur’s offensive attack, but Tuomi countered by putting Holt on the baseline, the weak spot in the 1-3-1 zone, where he could back-cut towards the basket and accept dump-offs from teammates driving the lane. Once Voyageur had mastered Southeastern’s zone, the game was over.
“Moving forward, we have to make sure we develop one of our guys outside of our top three. We have the same kids in the box score every week, and if other teams take them away we’re going to need someone else to step up with confidence,” Tuomi said.
Cody Currie led Southeastern with 12 points.
More boys basketball
Detroit Henry Ford 61, Dearborn Henry Ford 11: Trevion Williams had 22 points and Josh Wilson 14 for Detroit Henry Ford (3-1).
Ecorse 70, Pontiac Academy for Excellence 19: Kyron Carroll had 11 points and 10 rebounds, Kaleb Maddox scored 10 with 15 rebounds, and Gregory Williams had 10 points and five steals for Ecorse (4-0, 1-0 Michigan Metro). Dennis Peavy scored nine for Excellence (0-8).
Hazel Park 82, Detroit Loyola 61: Devin Pettus scored 21 with five assists and three rebounds, and Kyle Washington had 17 points with 10 rebounds for Hazel Park (3-0). Myron Gardener scored 29 for Loyola (2-2).
Okemos 44, Holt 39: Jordan Henry had 14 points and eight rebounds, Evan Thomas scored 11 with 10 rebounds, and Noah Pruitt had 10 points and four assists for Okemos (4-2, 2-1 Capital Area Activities Conference Blue). Malachi McClain scored 12 for Holt (4-2, 2-1).
Riverview Gabriel Richard 48, Melvindale ABT 30: Garret Balazsi had 15 points and Eric Wigginton 10 for Gabriel Richard (4-1, 2-1 Catholic Intersectional No. 2). John Hang scored 10 for ABT (1-4).
Detroit Country Day 66, Midland Dow 58: Kaela Webb had 21 points, Adrian Folks 13, Jasmine Powell 12 and Maddie Novak 10 for Country Day (3-1).
Royal Oak 45, Rochester 22: Samantha Potter scored 16 with seven steals, and June Donnellon had 10 points for Royal Oak (6-1, 2-0 OAA White). Jenna Norgrove scored seven for Rochester (1-6, 1-1).
Troy 44, Troy Athens 25: Emily Olson and Athena Samson each had eight points for Troy (4-3, 1-1 OAA White). Isabelle Crum scored seven for Athens (2-4, 0-2).
Boys basketball scores
Detroit Henry Ford 61, Dearborn Henry Ford 11
Detroit Voyageur 67, Detroit Southeastern 38
Ecorse 70, Pontiac Academy for Excellence 19
Hazel Park 82, Detroit Loyola 61
Madison Heights Bishop Foley 57, Marlette 44
Royal Oak 63, Clawson 46
Riverview Gabriel Richard 48, Melvindale ABT 30
Girls basketball scores
Detroit Country Day 66, Midland Dow 58
Royal Oak 45, Rochester 22
Troy 44, Troy Athens 25