Girls Basketball Quarterfinal Picks: Southfield A&T favored to get to the Breslin Center
Southfield – Two teams from Macomb County and two from Oakland County reached quarterfinal play in Class A in the girls basketball tournament and of those four the biggest surprise participant must be Southfield for the Arts and Technology.
This is the first season for Southfield A&T after the merger of Southfield High and Southfield-Lathrup. Coach Michele Marshall was uncertain before the season just how the merger would affect how well the players from the two schools would get along on the court and off. The Warriors (20-4) have won 12 straight since a loss to Detroit Country Day on Jan. 31. Their 55-51 victory over Detroit King, a state finalist last season, raised more than a few eyebrows last Thursday.
Southfield A&T (20-4) will host Ann Arbor Huron (19-5) on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.
The Warriors have star power in Miss Basketball candidate Deja Church and Alexis Johnson is one of the state’s top sophomores.
Defense is the part of the game Marshall stresses most and the Warriors have given up 60 points just once since that loss to Country Day. Pick: Southfield by 2.
All quarterfinal games are Tuesday.
Warren Cousino (23-2) vs. Farmington Hills Mercy (22-3) at Southfield, 7: The second game at Southfield promises to be just as competitive as the first. Cousino is the defending state champion and the Patriots have Miss Basketball candidate Kierra Fletcher to lead them. Mercy doesn’t have that type of player but Cousino had better defend Jackie Bauer on the perimeter. Bauer has the knack for making the 3-pointer at critical times. Pick: Cousino by 3.
Kalamazoo Central (20-3) vs. East Kentwood (24-1) at Lansing Eastern, 7: O-K Conference Red Division member Hudsonville reached the state semifinals last season and look for another Red Division, East Kentwood, to duplicate that. Pick: East Kentwood by 7.
Macomb Dakota (19-6) vs. Flushing (21-3) at Davison, 7: Never mind those six losses. Dakota is a different and better team the last half of the season. Pick: Dakota by 5.
Detroit Mumford (18-7) vs. Detroit Country Day (23-1) at Marysville, 7: This could be the biggest mismatch in this round. Pick: Country Day by 23.
Freeland (25-0) vs. Cadillac (19-5) at Big Rapids, 6: Freeland has played few close games this season. Its closest tournament game took place in a region final, 48-33 over Ithaca. Pick: Freeland by 9.
Marshall (22-2) vs. Grand Rapids Catholic Central (24-1) at Otsego, 7: Marshall won the state title last season and defeated Catholic Central in a quarterfinal last season, 40-31. That game was also played at Otsego. The tables turn. Pick: Catholic Central by 4.
Williamston (23-1) vs. Ypsilanti Arbor Prep (25-0) at Brighton, 7: Arbor Prep won the Class C title last season and is an experienced team. Williamston is a year away from reaching the state semifinals. Pick: Arbor Prep by 6.
Blissfield (23-2) vs. Detroit Edison (18-5) at Ypsilanti, 6:30: With three freshmen in the starting lineup Edison is as talented as any in this round in this class but there is a lack of big-game experience. Pick: Blissfield by 2.
Flint Hamady (18-5) vs. Hemlock (21-4) at Saginaw Heritage, 7: Big game experience? Hamady has plenty of that. Pick: Hamady by 6.
Maple City Glen Lake (22-3) vs. St. Ignace LaSalle (22-2) at Gaylord, 7: Glen Lake eliminated Traverse City St. Francis, a finalist a season ago. To ask this team to pull off another significant upset is too much to ask. Pick: St. Ignace by 5.
Schoolcraft (20-5) vs. Pewamo-Westphalia (22-2) at Portage Northern, 6:30: Pewamo-Westphalia plays in one of the most competitive conferences for any team in this class. Pick: Pewamo-Westphalia by 4.
Engadine (18-5) vs. Crystal Falls Forest Park (20-4) at Negaunee, 7: Forest Park had to go to two overtimes to get past Bark River-Harris in a region final and if the Trojans needed a boost in confidence they received it there. Pick: Forest Park by 5.
Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes (19-5) vs. Saginaw Michigan Lutheran Seminary (13-9) at Burton Bendle, 6: Both teams play a competitive regular season schedule so that’s the reason for all of the losses. It’s never too late to pick an upset in a state tournament. Pick: Lutheran Seminary by 1.
Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart (24-1) vs. Frankfort (16-9) at Buckley, 7: Again, those nine losses on Frankfort’s record translates into a difficult regular season schedule. An upset is not out of the question here. Pick: Sacred Heart by 4.
St. Joseph Michigan Lutheran (23-2) vs. Pittsford (25-0) at Battle Creek Harper Creek, 7: Pittsford is the class of this class until proven otherwise. Pick: Pittsford by 14.