Girls Basketball Shortcomings 2024.

Written Saturday March 23rd at 8:40 PM

This column will be updated periodically with the recent updates around Girls Basketball.

West Bloomfield: The Lakers have had an incredible four years winning their second State crown in three years and making it to the Breslin Center three straight years. West Bloomfield won 26 games this season. They lose Taylor Graves, Destiny Washington, Summer Davis, Indya Davis, and Kendell Hendrix to graduation. West Bloomfield has Ava Lord, Sheridan Beal, Breanna Gamble-Jones, Breasia Gamble-Jones, Jordyn Ratliff, Jaylee Head, and London Hall coming back for Coach Darin McAllister. Program strength is very concerning for McAllister. The Lakers should be in the mix next season but the offseason without Washington and the Davis sisters will be very interesting to watch.

Rochester: The Falcons had a very interesting season which saw a ton of ups and downs. They played a Division Three final four team in Rochester Lutheran Northwest. Rochester won nine games this season but did make the district finals for a fifth straight year where they fell 37-32 to Stoney Creek. They lose five seniors in Yasmine Larkins, Natasha Forbes, Kaitlyn Guolla, Makenna Torri, and Ava Kucera to graduation. Rochester has Alice Max, Kylie Robinson, Lucy Cook, Angela Cichowski, Taylor Parsons, and Erica Procter coming back for a new coach after Coach Bill Thurston was let go. Program strength is very good with a 20 win year in junior varsity. The Falcons will be a team to watch this offseason, they should be in the mix next season.

Stoney Creek: The Cougars had a strong postseason which resulted in winning 20 games. They fell 49-27 to Grand Blanc in the Division One State Quarterfinals. Stoney Creek loses Sarah LaPrarie who had 1,000 career points along with Faith Conliff to graduation. They have Merrick Schlawbach, Izzy Ivezaj, Calista Ivezaj, Abigail Ivezaj, Mikayla Gendich, Addy Allen, Samantha Fulkerson, Taylor Fulkerson, Sophie Budzick, and Jenna Cook coming back for Coach Columbus Williams. Program strength is very troubling for Stoney Creek. The postseason run could convince more kids to come out and play. The Cougars should be very good again next season but program strength is their biggest concern this offseason.

Lake Orion: The Dragons played a tough schedule which featured a team that was in the Division Four State title game (Kingston) and a Division Three Final Four team (Rochester Lutheran Northwest.) They suffered a heartbreaking 41-40 loss to Clarkston in the district finals where they led most of the game but the Wolves made one final play in that game. Lake Orion won 15 games with a very young team after losing nine seniors from last season’s team that went to the regional finals. They lose Lexi Stroschein, Ellie Britt, Xana Cuesta, Ally Jones, and Ryann Pawlacyzk to graduation. The Dragons have Izzy Wotlinski, Charlotte Peplowski, Neveah Wood, Grace Hoensheid, Riley House, Lauren LaForge, and Dani Heck coming back for Coach Bob Brydges. The summer will be the key for Lake Orion especially when it comes to building depth. Program strength is solid for Brydges. They will be back.

Clarkston: The Wolves had a very strong year winning 19 games while playing a very tough schedule this season. Clarkston fell in a heartbreaker 44-42 to Grand Blanc in the regional finals. They lose Claire Walker, Emily Valencia, and Kate Thomas to graduation. The Wolves have Brooklyn Covert, Elliana Robak, Marley Mazur, Ella Morgner, Ellery Hernandez, Kayla Butki, Lauren Fishtaller, Keira Zorski, Lexi Fry, and Jenna Thomas coming back for Coach Aaron Goodnough. Program strength will be something to watch this offseason, Clarkston will be back with a ton of proven experience next season.

Oxford: The Wildcats was up and down winning 11 games this season. Oxford fell 60-38 to Grand Blanc in the district finals. It’s the fourth time they lost to Grand Blanc in the postseason. They lose Braydee Elling, Peyton Richter, Abigail Snable, and Lexie Yankee to graduation. The Wildcats have Allison Hufstedler, Sophia Rabb, Emma Beggs, Mia Champagne, Tegan O’Connor, Brynley Cardona, Camryn Quidort, Jaylen Jacobsen, Katelyn Brockway, and Claire Bruski coming back for Coach Rachel Bryer. Program strength looks solid for Bryer next season. It will be a very interesting summer for Oxford this offseason.

Royal Oak: The Ravens had a season of firsts despite not winning the White this season. They won 19 games which included their first district title after going on the road and beating Warren Cousino 43-41 on an Emmy Walden layup. Royal Oak shocked Grosse Pointe North 53-48 behind 24 points from Lucy Freytag in the regional semifinals. They were no match for West Bloomfield falling 58-25 in the regional finals. They lose seven seniors in Cecilia Irwin, Walden, Emilie Austin, Megan Haun, Riley Danaher, Katrina Malinich, and Anna Waterstreet to graduation. The Ravens have Freytag, Lydia Dickens, Hannah Saunders, Jordan Hills, Vivian Lawrence, and Maddie Lawrence coming back for Coach Brian Sopota. Program strength looks to be solid for Royal Oak. A ton of firsts for a program that seems to be on the rise.

Bloomfield Hills: The Blackhawks had a ton of success winning 32 games in the last two years including 14 games this season. They won their first league crown (Blue) last season, along with sharing the White (Seaholm,) and winning their first district crown (Seaholm 49-46 in overtime) this season. They fell to Stoney Creek 47-40 in the regional semifinals. Bloomfield Hills loses Ashley Forner, Michelle Barnett, Allie Tepper, ArTeina Hicks, and Ruby Smith to graduation. They have Brianna Young, Brianna Brooks, and Giselle Haddad coming back for a new coach after Coach Kristen Massey stepped down. Program strength looks to be solid for the Blackhawks. They will be back next season.

Harper Woods: The Pioneers had an up and down year winning 10 games this season. They had no issues with their district over Eastpointe and Harper Woods Chandler Park. The Pioneers had a really tough loss to Warren Fitzgerald 52-51 in the regional semifinals. Harper Woods loses a ton of proven experience including Kendall Kelsey to graduation. They have Amari Hutchinson and Laniyah West coming back for Coach LaTonya Tate. Program strength is a big concern for the Pioneers heading into next season. There are a ton of questions this offseason for Harper Woods.

Seaholm: The Maples won 15 games this season but had a very painful overtime loss falling 49-46 to Bloomfield Hills in the district finals. They lose three seniors in Mary Wiltgen, Caroline Newitt, and Clara Guffey to graduation. Seaholm has Addy Flynn, Mary Gumbus, Taylor Hartwig, Emma Weber, Sophie Sullivan, Ella Koosis, Addy Kitzman, Jada Josifovski, and Elia Gifford coming back for Coach Chris Manchester. Program strength looks to be solid for Manchester. The Maples have a ton of proven experience coming back next season. They will be back.

Groves: The Falcons were up and down winning eight games this season. Groves had some big wins and some tough losses along the way. The Falcons fell 47-35 to Royal Oak in the district semifinals. Groves loses Cira Racco, Talese Alexander, Cameron Little, Taryn Brown, and Neveah Cockran-McCay to graduation. They have Harlem Simpson, Jacey Roy, Aniyah White, Rose Strada, Sophie Schwanik, and Micah Smith coming back for Coach Alison Hidey. Program strength will be very interesting to watch. The Falcons will be a team to watch this offseason.

North Farmington: The Raiders had a very interesting season which had a 7-0 start but went 5-12 down the stretch winning 12 games. North Farmington fell 66-7 to West Bloomfield in the district semifinals. They lose nine seniors including Hannah Hart, Asiyah Jihad, Addison Armstrong, Madison Clark, and Anaiyah Billups to graduation. The Raiders have Jade Spears, Quyaamah Jihad, Shylah Tarin, and Shalaya Rogers coming back for Coach Michael Allin. Program strength is a huge concern for North Farmington. They will be a team to watch this offseason.

Southfield Arts and Tech: The Warriors won 13 games this season. They have some questions on the defensive side of the basketball. Southfield Arts and Tech had a really rough night on both sides of the floor getting blown out by Detroit Renaissance 91-30 in the district semifinals. The Warriors lose two seniors including Jamyra Fritz to graduation. Southfield Arts and Tech has Christian Banks and Jordyn Ushery coming back for Coach Shaquita Coltrane. Program strength is a big concern for the Warriors going forward. Southfield Arts and Tech will be a very interesting team to watch this offseason.

Troy: The Colts had a bounce back year after having it rough in the Red. They won 14 games and the Blue along with earning the top seed in their district but the postseason woes continued as they 64-46 to Bloomfield Hills in the district semifinals. Troy loses two seniors in Justine Perakis and Teodora Blad to graduation. They have a very young team with Diamond Prince, Reagan Zeiter, Carly Higginbottom, Olivia Sprangler, Sophia Kaltsounis, Kelsey Block, Aly Matuza, Savannah Oddy, Victoria Siegan, Shavani Angadi, Brianna Bert, and Lizzie Dobbs coming back for Coach Laura Guzman and that’s not mentioning Macey Zeiter who is coming into the program next season. Program strength looks solid especially with Zeiter coming in. The Colts could be a force to watch next season.

Berkley: The Bears had a great season which featured a ton of monster wins along with postseason wins over Redford Thurston (42-9) and Detroit Mumford (44-36.) Berkley knew they would have a very tall order against Detroit Renaissance in the district finals in which they fell 60-29 to a very good Phoenix team. It was a resurgence year for the Bears which featured a very odd Twitter feed but that’s beside the point. Berkley won 19 games this season. They lose four seniors in Kate McAllister, Addison Hambright, Chloe Harmon, and Maeve Nolan to graduation. Berkley has Avery Wintergarden, Maddie Boswall, Katelyn Sills, Nadia Watt, Hailey Kirkwood, Blessing Nweke, Caleigh Tracy, Olivia Church, and Z Diop coming back for Coach Clay Shaver. Program strength looks very strong for Shaver. The Bears will be back in the mix next season.

Adams: The Highlanders had a really interesting year which they won seven games including a 53-50 first round win over Utica Eisenhower. Adams battled to the very end falling 48-39 to Stoney Creek in the district semifinals. The Highlanders lose four seniors including Samantha Blaine, Bella Gutherie, and Olivia Marcial to graduation. They have Faith Zoldus, Neveah Williams, and Lily Tomahauk coming back for Coach Joe Malburg. Program strength looks very solid. Adams will be back next season.

Troy Athens: The Red Hawks had an up and down year which they won nine games this season. Troy Athens hosted their district and had a very tough 59-46 loss to Bloomfield Hills on their home floor in the first round. They lose four seniors in Ava Lauder, Abby Malone, Kellyn Witherspoon, and Katy Keller to graduation. The Red Hawks have Yasmeen Dabbish, Alex Link, and Faraida Youseff coming back for Coach Stacie Klumpp. Program strength looks solid for Klumpp especially their freshmen class. Troy Athens should be a program to watch this offseason.

Farmington: The Falcons had a really challenging year. They were blown out by North Farmington 72-29 in the first round this season. Coach Natalie Nowak’s team lost their top player Jayla Silver to a torn ACL she suffered a few weeks ago. They also lose Tiara McCoy, Arianna Wilson, Farynn Ellington, and Linda O’marialiske to graduation. The Falcons have Edimari King, Alexis Gebs, Emma Mohr, Anna Toranchuk, Grace Lamott, Gaia Demeester, Mya Jones, Sydney Nogas, and Kate Martin coming back for Nowak. Program strength will be very interesting to see. Farmington will be a very interesting team to watch next season.

Avondale: The Yellow Jackets had an injury riddled season which they won eight games. They fell 59-34 to Seaholm in the district semifinals. Avondale had a very young team which the future looks very bright and could be in line for a bounce back season. They lose Trinitee Carroll to graduation. The Yellow Jackets have Madison Manyweathers, Morgan McPherson, Amaria Daniel, Khaila Bradley, Giavanni Hollie-Jackson, Sasha McClellan, and Janaye Richardson coming back for Coach Roy Christmon. Program strength is a big concern for Christmon despite all the proven experience coming back on the varsity. Avondale will be very interesting to watch next season.

Ferndale: The Eagles had a very good season where they won 16 games and made the district finals. Ferndale fell 69-43 to a really good Birmingham Detroit Country Day program. They lose Isabella Mendoza and Jayla Pouncy to graduation. The Eagles have Aaliyah Frost, Inaya Davis, Demi Bolton, Janiya Larry, Masiah Clark, Kathleen DeVillena, and Keyanna McGarrell coming back for Coach Keith Paris. Ferndale also has a strong eighth grade class coming in next season but program strength is a question mark. Paris wants his program to make the next step but program strength especially program building (building a JV and freshman team) is a concern this offseason.

Ferndale University: It was a really rough year for the Eagles and Coach Brianna Rowe. They went through a lot of growing pains. Ferndale University fell 59-14 to Detroit Lincoln King Academy in the first round. The Eagles were very young and inexperienced. They will have their entire team led by LeAnna Spencer, Gabrielle Thompson, Kayla Sanders, Taniyah Crawford, Tamary Powell, Kendall Spencer, and Jayda Wilson coming back. Ferndale University will be much better heading into next season with a ton of proven experience coming back.

Oak Park: The Knights really struggled scoring which is one of the reasons they won five games this season. Oak Park fell 78-31 to Southfield Arts and Tech in the first round. They lose six seniors including Temilola Waterton, Tania Livingston, Taylor Adamson, Sydney Brown and Jade Brown to graduation. The Knights have Mackenzie Blake, Madison Johnson-Williams, Sienna Walker, and Gabrielle Lee coming back for Coach Tyler Washington. Program strength is a big concern for Oak Park Washington needs to address scoring if the Knights want to take the next step next season.

Pontiac: The Phoenix dropped out of the postseason despite winning five games this season which was a huge improvement from two years ago where they didn’t win a game. Pontiac should be much improved next season for Coach Christopher Wright and the Phoenix. It was surprising that they didn’t have enough players to make the postseason. Program strength has been a major concern and it will be next season. Pontiac has several proven players coming back and will look to make some noise next season.