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Lathrup starts fast, cruises past previously unbeaten Stoney Creek, 63-36

By: Jeff Dullack, January 7, 2016, 11:23 pm

Lathrup Village – Entering this season with high expectations and plenty of noise surrounding the program’s final year, Southfield-Lathrup got off to a bit of a disappointing start, losing two of its first three games.

Call it an opportunity to refocus.

After its second loss of the season to Grand Rapids Catholic Central, the Chargers bounced back with key wins over Ann Arbor Huron and Waterford Kettering, heading into Thursday night’s game against unbeaten Stoney Creek.

Lathrup looked like a team on a mission from the start on Thursday, jumping out to a 16-0 lead and cruising to an impressive 63-36 win to start OAA Red Division play.

Lathrup coach Michele Marshall said she felt the two early season losses were a good opportunity for her team to regroup, but added that with the expectations, talk of the school closing and a difficult schedule, she knew her team would be tested early, but knew it’d be able bounce back.

“It did,” she said. “I realize that when I set up the schedule, I was setting up a very tough schedule, I told all of the showcases to give us the best that they had. So I knew it would be very difficult with it being the last year, with there being the high expectations, but this is what makes you tougher, you grow from situations like that and I think our kids have done exactly that. They’re mature enough to be able to handle it and if it gets overwhelming, our coaching staff helps guide them through the process.”

Lathrup (4-2) sprinted out to a fast start in the first quarter, taking a 16 point lead before the Cougars (8-1) would get on the scoreboard and led 21-10 at the end of the first quarter, behind nine first quarter points from Antoinette Miller. 

Marshall said that so far this season, her team has made fast starts has been a point of emphasis and added that Miller’s performance is a key to how well the Chargers play early in games.

“We talk about trying to jump on top of teams from the very beginning and not be a team that starts slowly,” she said. “We came to play and Antoinette (Miller) really set the stage for us and I tell her all of the time as she goes, this team goes. When she’s aggressive, we get out to really good starts.”

Throughout the first half Lathrup’s backcourt team of Miller and Deja Church found plenty of success against Stoney Creek’s pressure defense as the two combined for 25 of 33 first half points for the Chargers to take a 15-point lead into halftime.

Miller finished with a game-high 24 points, while Church finished with 20 points to lead the Chargers.

Stoney Creek coach Kellen James said that he was surprised how successful Lathrup was against his team’s defense, which had allowed less than 30 points per game entering Thursday.

“We’ve had some success so far, but we said going in that this was our first big test,” he said. “(Lake) Orion was a good team and I thought we did a pretty good job there and I thought we were going to have a little bit more success. We tried coming back into a matchup (zone) to try and contain them, but when they’re shooting five feet outside the 3-point line, it’s hard for us to defend that.”

Stoney Creek was led by 13 points from Emily Eckhout.