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New Westwood Patriots coach: Past star Luke Gray spent last 4 years as a coach in Westwood boys basketball program

Westwood’s Luke Gray attemps a layup with Gwinn’s Reed Wiedenhoefer defending during a high school basketball game played Jan. 5, 2015, at the Modeltowners’ gym. (Journal file photo)

“He’s worked with Chad Hewitt and Scott Syrjala, who are some pretty good mentors.” — Jon Beckman,

Westwood athletic director, on Patriots’ new head boys basketball head coach Luke Gray

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ISHPEMING — Luke Gray has been named the high school varsity boys basketball coach at Westwood High School, athletic director Jon Beckman announced on Wednesday.

Gray replaces Scott Syrjala, who held the position for one season, adding to his responsibilities as the Patriots’ head varsity football coach and head boys track and field coach.

Westwood's Luke Gray dribbles the ball down court guarded closely by Gwinn's Austin Forbes on Feb. 16, 2016, at Westwood High School. (Journal file photo)

Gray is a 2016 graduate of Westwood, having been among the senior leaders when the 2015-16 Pats boys basketball team made a Cinderella run in the MHSAA Class C tournament.

Despite a fifth-place finish in the Mid-Peninsula Conference and 8-12 regular-season record, WHS won four games in the tourney and advanced all the way to the “C” quarterfinals before bowing out to McBain, 49-40. That team was led by Syrjala’s predecessor, Chad Hewitt.

“Luke may be younger than most coaches, but he’s actually been on the Westwood (basketball) coaching staff for four years since he graduated,” Beckman said. “He’s worked with Chad Hewitt and Scott Syrjala, who are some pretty good mentors.

“Luke has such a good relationship with the players and he understands what we want to try to accomplish, though I’m sure he wants to put his own stamp on the program.”

Gray also was a member of the Second Team in the Mid-Peninsula Conference and earned All-Upper Peninsula Special Team mention as a senior. That summer, he also played in the U.P. All-Star Basketball Classic.

Westwood's Luke Gray, left, with the ball, takes the ball to the basket while guarded by Gladstone on Feb. 23, 2015. (Journal file photo)

The MHSAA announced on Wednesday that winter sports, including boys basketball, will be delayed in starting due to a Michigan Department of Health and Human Services order effective through Dec. 9.

Teams will be allowed to start practicing that day and, with MDHHS approval, can start their seasons on Jan. 4.

Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.

Westwood's Luke Gray, right, dribbles down while Gladstone defenders Jake Peterson, middle, and Tyler Wells, left, come up behind on Feb. 23, 2015, in Ishpeming. (Journal file photo)

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