In Play with Tom Markowski


  • All

Southfield-Lathrup crushes Renaissance, 60-40, to reach district final

By: Tom Markowski, March 2, 2016, 10:00 pm


Lathrup Village – The first step was taken by Southfield-Lathrup on Wednesday in the program’s bid for a state title in its final season.

The Chargers handled Detroit Renaissance without much trouble as they defeated the Phoenix 60-40 in a Class A district semifinal at Southfield-Lathrup.

Fittingly, Southfield-Lathrup (18-3), ranked No. 2, will play Southfield High (20-1) for the district title on Friday at 7 p.m.

Southfield’s only loss was to Southfield-Lathrup, 42-21.

The two schools will merge after the school to form one, Southfield Academy for the Arts and Technology.

Deja Church’s basket with 4:30 left in the first quarter gave Southfield-Lathrup a 7-5 lead and the Chargers never looked back.

They led 14-9 after the first quarter, 34-20 at halftime and 50-32 after the third.

Church held Renaissance’s top player, Siyeh Frazier, to 18 points. Frazier had 37 in her team’s 68-66 loss to Detroit King in the Detroit Public School League championship game on Feb. 19.

Church had 23 points and eight rebounds, and her teammates provided plenty of support. Antoinette Miller scored all 15 of her points in the first three quarters and she had 13 rebounds. Taiye Bello added 12 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks, and her twin sister, Kehinde, had eight rebounds, three blocks and three points.

The Bellos are 6-3 and they controlled the key. Southfield-Lathrup held a 54-37 edge in rebounds, a fact not lost on Renaissance coach Kiwan Ward.

“We got killed on the boards,” Ward said. “It’s hard to play defense when you give them that many opportunities. We talked about their size before the game. We knew what we had to do.”

Often the Chargers would have three, four sometimes five attempts from the field on a single possession.

Renaissance (16-5) did cut the deficit to 36-25 after a basket by Frazier before Southfield-Lathrup coach Michele Marshall quickly called a timeout with 5:48 left in the third. The Chargers then went on an 11-3 run to take a comfortable 19-point lead. It was during this run that Miller, a 5-9 senior who signed with Cincinnati, displayed tremendous energy and determination. She blocked a shot then dribbled the length of the court to score and increase her team’s lead to 45-28.

“We talk about controlling the rebounds all the time,” Marshall said. “When we win that battle we usually win the game.

“We challenge Antoinette and Church. They’re at their best on the big stage. (Church) is our best defender. That’s why we put her on Frazier. When she got (tired) we put Antoinette on her. Deja and Siyeh are good friends. That’s another reason I put (Church) on her.”       

Church relished the challenge and she enjoyed every minute of it.

“We are really good friends,” she said. “We go one-on-one all the time. It was fun. I got the last word.”

Frazier was just 5-of-20 from the field.

Church said a major factor was the Bellos. Neither got into foul trouble and when they stay out of foul difficulty the Chargers are at their best.

“They’re a huge part of our team,” Church said. “Both did a great job out there.”