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GIRLS BASKETBALL PREVIEW: State tips off ladies hoops season with lots of great teams

By: Scott Burnstein, December 3, 2013, 10:00 am

The State’s Top 15 Girls Basketball Teams (Alphabetical)

Benton Harbor (Class B) – The stat-mongering Gondrezick sisters (Kysre & Kalabrya) and Nashaye Sutton are a fierce and very formidable “Big 3” and they will get a significant boost in the paint with the addition of transfer Gabby Dorth, an all-league center from Berrien Springs.

Birmingham Detroit Country Day (Class B) – All-state senior combo guard and Ohio State-commit Asia Doss is as dynamic as any backcourt gem in the Midwest and her spot in the line-up alone gives the Yellowjackets a good chance at extending their lengthy streak of regional titles. Shooting guard Brittany Washington is an incredibly lethal No. 2 option for the always prolific DCD offense as well.

Birmingham Marian (Class A) – Might be the best team in the whole state with a balanced lineup of young and old, stars and role players and powerful perimeter and post presences. Senior forward Laura Bruton is the captain and almost a shoe-in for a double-double every game. Junior Kara Holinski and the Thomas sisters (sensational sophomore Bailey and fab frosh Samantha) are standouts in the backcourt for longtime Mustangs head coach Mary Cicerone.

Clarkston (Class A) – The defending district and OAA Red champion Wolves are paced by junior Erika Davenport, a superstar on the block with a fast-improving outside game and a hoard of college recruiters in hot pursuit of her services for the next level.

Detroit Cass Tech (Class A) – A tenacious and talented three-headed monster of a three-guard attack in Taylor Parker, K’Lynn Willis and Lauren Elliott are set to fuel the Technicians on the hardwood this winter.

Detroit King (Class A) – Deep, big and athletic is the most accurate description of the Crusaders this year, as the defending city, district and regional title-holders will be led by the devastating frontcourt tandem of Marte Grays (PF) and LaShai Geeter (SF). Grays is aggressive with a silky touch around the hoop and signed with DePaul. Geeter could be the best on-ball defender in Southeast Michigan.

Farmington Hills Harrison (Class A) – Sizzling sophomores Amber Stephens (SG) and Kristen Nelson (PG) on the perimeter and rugged and productive junior Kyra Roland in the post gives the Hawks, defending league and district champions, a serious shot at punching a ticket to the Breslin Center come March when tourney time comes around.

Farmington Hills Mercy (Class A) – Candace Leatherwood (PG) and Taylor Jones (SG) form one of the most electrifying backcourts in Metro Detroit and will anchor a veteran Marlins’ roster that captured a district crown last season, prior to losing an overtime heartbreaker to King in a controversial regional championship game.

Flint Powers (Class B) – Returning starters Michela Coury (F), Sara Ruhstorfer (G) and Aly Haran  (G) are back to highlight a Powers club that made an appearance in the state finals last March and will be tough-as-nails again in 2014.

Goodrich (Class B) – All-state point guard Tania Davis and gritty forward Isabella O’Brien are returning starters for a Martians program that raised a state-title banner in 2013.

Grand Ledge (Class A) – Oakland university-signees and twin sisters Lindsay and Hannah Orwat, Cori Crocker, Sophia Guzman and Codi Drake might make up the top starting five in the whole state for a Grand Ledge team that fell in the Elite 8 last season.

Grosse Pointe South (Class A) – Fearless floor general, Cierra Rice is a playmaker in every sense of the word and gets ample support from fellow star wings like Bre’Nae Andrew and Aliezza Brown. Rice has been a catalyst for South’s back-to-back runs to the state championship the last two years.

Midland Bullock Creek (Class B) – Junior-heavy ball club with speed and skill that is looking to build on a 2013 campaign which saw the Creek cage crew advance to the final four. Ellie Juengel, Hannah Heldt and Hailee Norman all averaged double digits in the scoring column last year and will lead the charge to return to the Breslin Center.

Saginaw Heritage (Class A) – The “Triple A” plan at Heritage will be the best ladies hardwood show in the SagNasty this winter with Aubree Snow and Allie Miller blazing around doing damage in the backcourt and Jayde Abenth patrolling the paint and protecting the tin. Last year, they helped take Heritage on a trip to the quarterfinals.

Southfield-Lathrup (Class A) – A nice blend of talent resides for the ladies hoopsters at Lathrup once again, with the Metro Detroit-power Chargers relying on senior Erica Longmire, a premiere marksmen from beyond the arc and the up-and-coming sophomore trifecta of the Bello twins (Taiye & Kehinde) Antoinette Miller. The Bello girls will be down low, while Longmire and Miller are slated to be making waves on the outside from the backcourt. Miller and Taiye Bello are two of the most thought-of players in the Class of 2016.