GIRLS BASKETBALL PREVIEW: Breaking down some girls hoop squads across the state to look out for in 2012-2013
An alphabetical listing of some the best girls basketball teams in the state for the 2012-2013 campaign which tips off this week;
Ann Arbor Huron (Class A) – Featuring one of the premiere perimeter trios in the state, the River Rats are fueled by the backcourt of Bianca Wiiliams and Micah Robinson and sweet-stroking small forward Payton Simms. Made a run into the final four last season and has a good chance of doing so again this year
Benton Harbor (Class B) – Has a downright devastating backcourt that consists of the Gondrezick sisters, Kysre and Kalabrya, which makes them the team to watch out for coming from the Westside of the state
Birmingham Detroit Country Day (Class B) – Won’t be as stacked with as much firepower as usual, but the Yellowjackets will still be a really good team with junior point guard Asia Doss, one of the heaviest-recruited players in the state’s Class of 2014, running the offense
Brighton (Class A) – Balanced Bulldog baller crew in place for 2013, highlighted by returning starting forwards Laura Taylor and Natalie Peterson
Clarkston (Class A) – With one Kenny sister (Delaney) left and both Davenport sister (Erin and Erika) remaining in the fold for the Wolves, things are still looking up for Clarkston’s lady cage contingent. Expect the Wolves to be one of the best teams in the OAA again this winter
Dearborn Divine Child (Class B) – Three very good starters return for a DC squad that traveled all the way to the Breslin Center and the final four last year, including Morgan Blair (Northern Kentucky), Mallory Myler and Nicole Urbanick, sure to make the Falcons favorites to claim a Catholic League title this season
Detroit King (Class A) – The Crusaders will be the top team in the PSL this year and is led by Antania Hayes (DePaul), who could be the most dangerous player in the entire state. Teaming with the multi-dimensional Hayes (15 points, 6 reb and 6 asst per game last season) will be Takira Height, another Division I recruit and a big and athletic supporting cast, anchored by the sensational sophomore tandem of Janae Williams and Leah Mathis
East Lansing (Class A) – Veteran-laden team that came within a hair of making an appearance in the final four last year will be extra hungry for the hardware this winter. Piper Tucker (Grand Valley State) and Grace Whelan (Saginaw Valley State) form an intimating frontcourt, while Meechie Thompson and Taylor Gordon make up a ferocious team in the backcourt
Farmington Hills Mercy (Class A) – Junior guard Candace Leatherwood is a force of nature with the ball in her hands and the straw that stirs the drink for the Mercy hoop squad. Mercy’s attack will get a boost with the addition of sophomore transfer Sierra Wangler (Royal Shrine), a grit-laced worker bee on the perimeter just like her big sister Halle, currently playing at Oakland University.
Freeland (Class B) – A slew of sizzling guards anchors Freeland’s on-court assault, headed by Tori Jankoska (Michigan State), who should be in the running for the 2013 Miss Basketball award
Goodrich (Class B) – Superstar senior floor general Taylor Gleason (Illinois) has led the Marians on back-to-back trips into the state semifinals, not to mention a state crown last year, and she’s hoping to end her high school back up in East Lansing at the Breslin Center in March. Even without her backcourt partner Aketa Sevillian (Penn State) – sidelined with an injury – Gleason and Goodrich will still be extremely tough to handle.
Grand Haven (Class A) – Seniors Abby Cole, a super steady post presence, and Hannah Wilkerson, a rock solid talent in the backcourt, return to lead the defending state champions quest for a repeat
Grosse Pointe South (Class A) – Might be the best overall team in the state, headlined by the outstanding inside-outside duo of senior center Claire DeBoer (Bucknell) and sophomore point guard Cierra Rice. South has two other college-level talents as well in shooting guard Aliezza Brown and forward Bre’Nae Andrews, a transfer who comes crosstown after helping lead Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett to two straight Class C state championship games in 2011 and 2012.
Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett (Class C) – Miss Basketball Madeline Ristovski (Michigan) is gone, however, her sister, senior captain and four-year starter Haleigh Ristovski (University of Detroit-Mercy) remains to spearhead the Knights charge for a third consecutive trip to the state finals
Lansing Waverly (Class A) – Victoria Milton (guard) and Breanna Mobley (center) make up one mean pick-and-roll tandem in the half-court set
Macomb Dakota (Class A) – Well-rounded group of players, highlighted by Miranda Bates and Olivia Savage at guard, Rio Dudgeon on the wing at forward and Kylie Churches in the middle, make Dakota the top team in Macomb County to open the current campaign
Southfield-Lathrup (Class A) – A trio of high-profile transfers in Syndi Davis (West Bloomfield), Sabia Cotton (Troy) and Asia Boyd (Pontiac) will join forces with Chargers’ mainstays, Catherine Green, signed with Wayne State, and Mikayla Avery to make Lathrup the best team in Oakland County and favorites to raise a third district title banner. Davis, a tenacious, stat hound of a point guard, is signed to play in college at Stetson down in Florida
Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes (Class D) – Metro Detroit’s most dominant small-school squad, the Lakers will be seeking their fourth straight state crown this winter, guided into battle by combat-tested vets and four-year starters Ava Doetsch (signed with University of Nebraska-Omaha for soccer) and Lexie Robak (one of the top 3-point assassins in the state)
Westland John Glenn (Class A) – After getting upset in the districts last season, John Glenn will roar back with a vengeance this winter, sporting an electrifying trifecta of playmakers in seniors, Shakeya Graves, one of the top recruits in the whole state signed with DePaul, and the Bankston twins (Raven & Raine), college-signees (Delaware State) and transfers from Detroit Mumford who will make up a dynamic backcourt that ignites what is sure to be an exciting offensive attack. Has a serious shot at making it to the Breslin Center