WINTER JAM: Detroit Edison serves postseason notice of intent to banged-up reigning Class B champ Country Day with blowout win
SOUTHFIELD — Detroit Edison hand-delivered warning to Birmingham Detroit Country Day that its three-peat plans in Division 2 girls basketball this winter could be in jeopardy.
The Pioneers pummeled an injury-stricken Yellowjackets squad 76-59 Saturday afternoon at Ridler Field House on the campus of Lawrence Tech University in the first annual Winter Jam showcase presented by State Champs! and the Horatio Williams Foundation.
Miss Basketball favorite and Mississippi State-signee Rikea Jackson ripped the nets for 35 points in the win for an Edison team that has won two straight Class C state titles and this year has moved up to Division 2 (formerly Class B). Jackson reeled off 15 straight points in the second quarter, taking a contest that had been close through a quarter and a half and turning it into a blowout in the making.
“We knew we could see Country Day down the line in March and we wanted to make an early statement,” Jackson said. “This was a big win in a lot of different ways. We played our style, we played poised, we played with confidence. It was a pretty good afternoon.”
Jackson’s one-woman show between the 6:10 and 2:08 mark of the second frame took Edison’s lead from six points (22-16) to 14 points (38-24).
Fierce freshman floor general Ruby Whitehorn’s two buckets in a row (a triple and a pull-up jumper) in the final minute of the first half provided the Pioneers a comfortable 45-24 advantage at the break. Jackson had 27 points in the first half and went right back to work to polish Country Day off after halftime. Edison leapt ahead 64-42 after three quarters. Jackson’s traditional three-point play started the fourth quarter and was followed by an alley-oop layup on a feed from sophomore guard Damiya Hagemann to make it 71-47.
Hagmann logged 13 points and five assists in the game. Edison (4-1) is ranked the No. 5 team in the entire country by ESPN. The Pioneers could possibly run into Country Day again in the quarterfinals of the state tournament in March.
Country Day is the two-time defending Class B state champion (now Division 2). Senior sniper Maddie Novak, Country Day’s star wing, tallied a team-high 31 points. Yellowjackets senior combo guard and Minnesota-signee Jasmine Powell was limited minutes-wise Saturday due to an ankle injury suffered last week. She still managed 14 points. Novak is signed with Stetson for her college ball.
“I liked our aggressive defense today, we set a tone on the defensive end of the court. … We’re just trying to get where they’re (Country Day) already at (in our new classification),” Edison head coach Monique Brown said. “That second-quarter run hurt them and got us moving fast. We parlayed that stretch into positive things later on. But you’ve got to remember, they didn’t have Jasmine at full strength. We know we’ll be seeing a different team with her healthy if we get them again come tournament time.”
Country Day enters Christmas Break with an unusually lackluster 1-3 mark. The perennial state power is in the process of figuring out how to play without their four-year starter at the point, Kaela Webb, who was a 2018 Miss Basketball candidate and is currently playing at Providence.
“We’ve got to learn how to play more as a unit, there are five people on the floor at once, not two or three, and we have to be more cohesive if we want to have the success we expect from ourselves,” said the incomparable Country Day head coach Frank Orlando after the loss. “We have until March to get everyone on the same page and get to a point where we’re playing great team basketball.”
Orlando, the state’s winningest coach of all-time on the girls hardwood and a mentor to dozens of all-state performers through the years, was blown away by Jackson.
“Rikea is simply phenomenal,” he said. “She’s got to be in the discussion with the best to ever come through this state. She kills you outside and inside and is pretty darn smooth doing it.”