In Play with Tom Markowski

Walled Lake Western, Marcus Bailey shut down Grand Blanc

Basketball   | Tom Markowski

State Champs! Sports Network

Walled Lake – Marcus Bailey gets it.

The senior from Walled Lake Western isn’t concerned about how many points he scored. Bailey doesn’t care if his teammates look elsewhere when they look to pass. Bailey is all about playing hard all the time.

And yes, he loves to win.

Western underachieved last season losing in a Class A district final Orchard Lake St. Mary’s. That was unacceptable to Bailey and he’s determined to do something about it.

On Tuesday he did just that. Bailey had 18 rebounds, five blocks and nine points as Western (2-0) clamped down on Tre’von Avery in the second half and defeated Grand Blanc 52-37 in a Kensington Lakes Activities Association crossover at Western.

Avery kept Grand Blanc (1-1) close in the first half as he made five 3-pointers and scored 18 points but his team still trailed, 27-25.

Avery attempted just six shots and had just two points in the second half.

Bailey also filled up the stat sheet in the first half (12 rebounds, three blocks, seven points) but he was able to keep up that pace until he fouled out with 1:06 left.

Bailey is an athletic post player but he listed, generously, at just 6-foot-4. He plays much taller but hiss real worth often goes unnoticed.

Bailey’s a talker but he doesn’t waste words with the opposition or the officials. Bailey is a vocal leader, the type of player who isn’t afraid to back up what he says nor timid about getting into his teammates’ kitchen if he doesn’t see the effort that he and coach Chip Lutz expect.

“I just play my role,” he said. “I know where the team needs me at. I’m like the force in the middle. I’m the enforcer in the middle.

“We all came (into the season) with a chip on our shoulder. We play every play hard. Some picked another team (Walled Lake Central) in our (North) division ahead of us. It just adds fuel to the fire.”

This is a good Western team, one that doesn’t need Bailey to score in order to win. Players like Jerald Booker, John Flowers and Daryl Porter, all seniors, are capable of scoring in double digits in any game. Against Grand Blanc Booker had 17 points, Porter added 11 and Flowers had six.

“(Bailey) brings such an energy to the team,” Lutz said. “He’s our go guy. He’s our leader. The rebounds, the defense, that’s a given. It’s his leadership that makes him a standout. He enjoys doing the dirty work. Because he does all of that, we try to get him some touches. He can finish.”

Every dog needs a treat now and then.