Girls Basketball Shortcomings-2023.
Written Saturday March 18th at 3:00 PM
With the Girls Basketball season done, here is a recap of the season and what the future lies for each team in the OAA.
Pontiac: It was a very rough season for the Phoenix. Pontiac fell 64-22 to Waterford Kettering in the first round. They had seven freshmen in the program this season. The future looks bright even though there will still be some growing pains. Program strength will be a major concern for Coach Corray Lett. It will take some time for the Phoenix to develop their program.
Oak Park: It was a tale of two seasons for the Knights this year. They struggled early but really picked things up late. Oak Park fell 48-19 to Berkley in the first round. Coach Chantelle Corson should be better next season. It will be very interesting to see what happens this offseason with the Knights.
Ferndale: The Eagles made some strides winning eight games this season which did include an upset win over Avondale. They beat arch rival Ferndale University 58-17 in the first round but fell 68-35 to Warren Fitzgerald in the district semifinals. Coach Keith Paris needs to be at Ferndale long term for this to work. They need coaching stability to build this program. Program strength is a big time concern for the Eagles. Everything starts and ends with coaching stability when it comes to the Eagles.
Ferndale University: It was a very rough season for Coach Brianna Rowe and the Eagles. Ferndale University won two games (both were over Pontiac) and fell to Ferndale 58-17 in the first round. The Eagles should be much improved next season with the talent pool. Program strength is a concern for Rowe next season. It will be very interesting to see how Rowe does this offseason with her team.
Avondale: The Yellow Jackets had a very rough season which saw some very high expectations for them despite losing their two top players from last season. Avondale started 0-5 on the season but won three straight before going 4-11 the rest of the way. They won seven games this season. The Yellow Jackets beat Sterling Heights Stevenson 53-47 in a very competitive first round. They fell 59-17 to a very good Utica Ford II program in the district semifinals. Avondale loses Kaliyah Carroll and Kendall Cabot to graduation. They have Madison Manyweathers, Arielle Dudley, and Trenitee Carroll coming back for Coach Roy Christmon. Program strength is a concern this offseason. The Yellow Jackets should be a very interesting team to watch.
Farmington: The Falcons have done very well against the Blue but they have not fared well in the non-conference. This is something that Coach Laura Guzman needs to improve on heading into next season. Farmington beat Detroit Henry Ford 90-7 in the first round however they fell 68-33 to Farmington Hills Mercy in the district semifinals. The Falcons lose six seniors including Kennedi Jones, Clarissa Hankins, Deserre Green, Zipporah Johnson, and Yasmine Thorpe. They have EdiMari King, Anna Tornachuk, and Jayla Silver coming back. Farmington should be a team to watch this offseason.
Bloomfield Hills: The Blackhawks had an incredible season winning their first ever division crown in the Blue. Bloomfield Hills fell to Groves 54-45 in overtime in the first round. The Blackhawks lose five seniors including Makayla Paulateer to graduation but Ashley Forner, Ruby Smith, Brianna Young, and Michelle Barnett come back for Coach Kristen Massey. Program strength looks very good for the Blackhawks. Bloomfield Hills will be a team to watch next season.
Adams: The Highlanders took a lot of ups and downs this season. They were a very young team. Adams trailed 20-18 at halftime but had a rough second half and fell 57-29 to Stoney Creek in the first round. They lose four seniors to graduation including Aujuyna Howard and Taylor Green. The Highlanders have Samantha Blaine, Morgan McPherson, and Faith Zolhus coming back for Coach Joe Malburg. Program strength looks to be up and coming for Adams. They should be a team to watch this offseason.
Troy Athens: The Red Hawks had a very interesting season. Troy Athens started hot at 4-0 but they really struggled going 3-14. They fell 46-44 to Utica in the district semifinals. Injuries is what really hurt the Red Hawks this season. They lose six seniors in Skyler Emerson, Ellie Musko, Rebekah Delia, Fiona Wingblad, and Gabby Leonard. The Red Hawks have Abby Malone, Kayci Mersier, Alex Link, Ava Laurer, and Katy Keller coming back for Coach Stacie Klumpp. Program strength will be very interesting to watch next season. Troy Athens should be a team to watch this offseason.
Harper Woods: The Pioneers had a very interesting season in the White. They won 12 games but had a very tough district ahead of them. Harper Woods fell to St. Clair Shores Lakeview 50-41 in the district semifinals. They don’t really lose anyone to graduation this offseason. Harper Woods has Clearia Peterson, Kendall Kelsey, Tamina Montgomery, Mikyra Kelly, Autumn Trotter, and Laniyah West coming back for Coach Anthony Brown. Program strength is a concern for the Pioneers and it will be something to watch this offseason.
Royal Oak: The Ravens had a bounce back season. They won 13 games and was a serious player in the White. Royal Oak fell 45-42 to Detroit Mumford in the district semifinals. The Ravens have everyone coming back including Emilee Austin, Lydia Dickens, Anna Waterstredt, Lucy Freytag, Megan Hahn, and Maddie Lawrence for Coach Brian Sopota. Program strength looks to be on the upward swing for Royal Oak. The Ravens will be a force next season.
Berkley: The Bears had a tale of two teams this season. They struggled early but improved late in the season. Berkley fell to Detroit Renaissance 56-29 in the district semifinals after winning 48-19 in the first round over Oak Park. They lose Jillian Gomes, Sammi Withrow, Mya Jones, and Ava Beard to graduation. The Bears have Maleve Nolan, Avery Wintergarden, Haley Kirkwood, and Nadia Watt coming back. According to a very accurate source is that Coach Cody Feltner has stepped down the program. It will be very interesting to see how Berkley does this offseason especially with a new coach.
Seaholm: The Maples had a very young team that had some great moments especially in the postseason. Seaholm beat Troy 62-34 in the district semifinals at Birmingham Marian. They had a home game against Birmingham Marian because Birmingham Marian had a power outage thanks to a heavy wet snowstorm. The Maples fell 47-31 to the Mustangs in the district finals. They lose four seniors including Shay Manchester, Lola Weber, and Anne Boogerian to graduation. Seaholm has Addy Flynn, Mary Gumbis, Clara Guffey, Addy Kitzman, Emma Weber, Taylor Hartwig, and Mary Wiltgen coming back for Coach Chris Manchester. Program strength is a concern for Manchester. The Maples will be a team to watch this offseason.
Oxford: The Wildcats had a very good season for a very young team that made a ton of strides. They won 18 games which included beating Birmingham Marian and Clarkston. Their four losses were to Lake Orion and North Farmington twice. Oxford beat Lapeer 61-41 in the district semifinals but fell 66-30 to Grand Blanc in the district finals which was the third straight year the Wildcats have fallen to the Bobcats. Oxford loses Myranda Wynemeko to graduation. They have four starters in Sophie Rabb, Alison Hufsteddler, Peyton Ritcher, and Nevaeh Wood along with Braydee Elling coming back for Coach Rachel Bryer. Wood suffered an ACL injury and was out for the second half of the season. Program strength looks solid for Oxford. This is a program that is ready for the Red. They will be a team to watch this offseason.
North Farmington: The Raiders had an incredible and historic season. They won the White and went undefeated for the first time in school history going 22-0 and gained some very impressive wins throughout the season. North Farmington earned a hard fought 66-56 win over Southfield Arts and Tech in the district semifinals at home but because of a power outage the district finals was moved to Farmington where they fell 59-23 to Farmington Hills Mercy. The Raiders lose a ton of proven experience with Sela Lefler, Penelope Creary, Eliza Muller, Ashiya Jahad, Hallie Rogers, and Kelly Simpson to graduation. North Farmington has Hannah Hart coming back for Coach Jeff Simpson. Program strength is a big concern heading into the offseason. The Raiders should be a team to watch this offseason.
Troy: It was a very rough season for the Colts. Troy really struggled losing 18 straight games to close the year. They fell 62-34 to Seaholm in the district semifinals. The Colts lose Avery Allen, Katelyn Morris, and Charlotte Guillon to graduation. They have Regan Zeiter, Olivia Sprangler, and Diamond Prince coming back at the guards along with Carly Higginbottom in the interior for Coach Julius Porter. Strangler and Higginbottom were five quarter players this season. They could likely be full time next season. Program strength will be very interesting this offseason. The Colts might need a year in the White especially with Macey Zeiter coming into the program in a few years.
Southfield Arts and Tech: The Warriors had a very interesting season which saw a ton of ups and downs. They fell 66-56 to North Farmington in the district semifinals. Southfield Arts and Tech lose Jaylin Austin to graduation. They have Kamaria Page, Christen Banks, Jordyn Ushery, and Jamyra Fritz coming back for Coach Shaquita Coltrane. Program strength is a major concern for the Warriors. They should be a team to watch this offseason.
Groves: The Falcons had a very interesting season which saw a ton of ups and downs Groves fell 30-29 to Birmingham Marian in the district semifinals after dominating the game throughout but they let the Mustangs hang around and that happened. The Falcons lose seven seniors including Lilly Gallagher and Kaitlyn Sanders to graduation. They have Jacey Roy, Nevaeh Cochran-McCay, Cameron Little, and Cira Racco coming back for Coach Allison Hidey. Program strength is a major concern next season for Hidey. The offseason will be very interesting to watch.
Clarkston: The Wolves had a very young team that saw a ton of ups and downs this season. They won 13 games which included wins over Stoney Creek and Rochester and were very competitive in most others. Clarkston blew out Waterford Mott 59-25 in the district semifinals but fell 54-52 to Lake Orion in the district finals. They lose five seniors in Ava Hernandez, Anna Thomas, Mia Zorski, Eleonoro Spano, and Kierra Tolmie to graduation. The Wolves have Emily Valencia, Kierra Zorski, Lauren Fishtaller, Ella Morgner, Ellery Hernandez, Marley Mazur, Claire Walker, and Elliana Robak coming back for Coach Aaron Goodnough. Program strength looks to be solid. Clarkston should be a force to be a recon with next season.
Stoney Creek: The Cougars had a very young team in the always tough and competitive Red this season. They won 17 games which included wins over Lake Orion, Clarkston, and Rochester. Stoney Creek beat Adams 57-29 in the first round but they fell 43-39 to Rochester in the district semifinals. The Cougars lose Lily Solek, Kaeli Butcher, and Mia Carson to graduation. They have Merrick Schlawbach, Sarah LaPrarie, Erin Flynn, and Izzy Ivezaj coming back for Coach Kellen James. Program strength looks solid for Stoney Creek. The offseason will be very interesting to watch for the Cougars. They should be very good next season.
Rochester: It was a very strong year for the Falcons which saw them back to the Red after a few years away from it. Rochester was an honorable mention in Division One and won 18 games this season which included wins over Macomb Dakota, Clarkston, Stoney Creek, and Lake Orion. The Falcons beat Stoney Creek 43-39 in the district semifinals and snapped their four year district final drought by beating Utica Eisenhower 44-33 for the second straight year on their home floor. It was their first district crown since 2008. They battled tough but fell 61-41 to West Bloomfield in the regional semifinals. Rochester loses Ava Williams, Stevie Norgrove, Abbey Pleasant, Alana Webb, and Sammi Glover to graduation. The Falcons have their two top interior players in Alice Max and Kylie Robinson coming back. Watch for Lucy Cook to make some noise next season for Coach Bill Thurston. Program strength looks solid as well. Rochester’s size will be a problem for everyone next season. They will be back that is for sure.
Lake Orion: The Dragons had an incredible season with a ton of ups. They made a ton of noise in their first season back in the Red for the first time since 2017 and was an honorable mention in Division One. Lake Orion won 20 games and made the regional finals for the first time since 2009. They beat Oxford twice, Clarkston three times including a 54-52 victory in the district finals, Rochester, Stoney Creek, and Howell. The Dragons also won back to back district crowns for the first time since 2010 and won their first regional game since 2009 when they beat Howell in that epic 47-44 win in the regional semifinals. They fell to West Bloomfield 48-30 in the regional finals. That game was closer than the score indicated. Lake Orion loses nine seniors in Maddie Ebbert, Chloe Wiegers, Grace Sullivan, Taylor Dinda, Jodie McCaffery, Kylie Heck, Alison May, Fontana Blackney, and Audrey Wischmeyer to graduation. They also lose Rocco Garcia and Carmen Huetras as they were foreign exchange students. The Dragons will be a different team next season but they have Izzy Wotlinski, Charlotte Peplowski, Alana McGinnis, and Ryan Pawlacyzk coming back for Coach Bob Brydges. Wotlinski missed most of the season with an ACL injury while Peplowski had an ankle injury which kept her out of the postseason. Program strength is strong for Brydges. The Dragons should be a very interesting program to watch this offseason.
West Bloomfield: It has been an incredible season for the Lakers. West Bloomfield had two very tough losses to South Bend Washington, Indiana and Ypsilanti Arbor. They managed to overcome a lot to make it back to the Division One State title game. They fell 40-36 to Rockford in a very low scoring defensive game to the Rams. The Lakers have been dominant this postseason winning by an average of 29.5 points which held until the Rockford game. West Bloomfield loses two proven seniors in Sydney Hendrix and Jada Vaughn to graduation. They have Kendall Hendrix, Destiny Washington, Indya Davis, and Summer Davis. Ava Lord, Gabrielle Hale, or Sheridan Beal coming back for Coach Darrin McAllister next season. Depth will be a concern for the Lakers next season. Program strength is also a concern in the future for McAllister. West Bloomfield should be very good next season but the next few years looks very concerning.