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GIRLS BASKETBALL: Consortium Cougars are on the prowl, will be hard to handle in 2013

By: Scott Burnstein, November 28, 2012, 10:00 am

Detroit Consortium is a team to keep an eye out for on the high school hardwood this girls basketball season.

The Cougars will be one of the best small-school teams in the state, almost certain to dot the Class C rankings under first-year head coach Ollie Mitchell, who comes over to Consortium from Inkster where he led the program into the Class A final four last March.

A gruesome twosome of college recruits in seniors Michayla Clerk and Tatiana James trigger Consortium’s on-court assault. Clerk is a smooth and steady presence at the point guard position and James plays on the wing and possesses a quick-first step and superior finishing ability in the open floor.

Kierra Bell, a hard-nosed shooting guard joins Clerk in the backcourt and the aggressive and athletic tandem of Kenyana Leonard and Hope McGowan anchor the Cougars’ post attack.

Last season, Consortium won a district title and advanced all the way into the Sweet 16, losing to state-finalist Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett in the regional championship game.

Mitchell is hoping to hit the ground running with his new squad.

“I’ve got a bunch of really good players and a group of girls who like to be in the gym and play well with each other,” he said. “We’re going to be in top physical condition and we’re going to use it to play up-tempo and get stops on defense. I like our balance, we’ve got shooters, slashers and the kind of players that can do the little things you need to get done to get wins. There’s no doubt we’ll be ready to go when the season tips off.”

While most of the rest of the state gets its schedule underway this week, the Cougars don’t open the season until December 8 against Detroit Osborn down at St. Cecilia.

There won’t be many nights off for Mitchell’s club this winter; he’s packed the schedule with tough match-ups, including showdowns with the likes of Lansing Christian, Farmington Hills Harrison, Toledo Scott and Southfield-Lathrup, among others.

In addition to loading up on top-notch competition, Mitchell has brought on board a pair of highly-respected and seasoned assistant coaches in Gerald Johnson and Joe Tyler. Both have been on the local sidelines for decades, with Johnson being a mainstay in the Metro Detroit boys and girls prep hoops scene (including stints on the bench on state-powers Detroit Pershing and Detroit Renaissance) and Tyler, a veteran of the Flint area cage landscape, having worked with several of the famed ‘Flintstones’ as youths in the 1990s and early 2000s.