|For immediate release: December 5, 2023
Program contact: Mike Philip, 517-512-0187
Media contact: Jennifer Holton, 517-284-5724
MDARD celebrates World Soil Day
LANSING – December 5 is World Soil Day; a day to recognize soil as a foundational piece of our ecosystems and a vital contributor to human health through food and fuel production and water quality protection. Today, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is encouraging the public to learn more about the importance of soil health and what steps can be taken to improve and sustain soil quality in Michigan.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 95 percent of the food the world consumes is grown directly in the soil. However, soil health is under pressure from many threats, including erosion, loss of soil organic carbon and biodiversity, and pollution. Proper soil management is needed to continue to produce enough food to feed a growing global population.
“Thanks to Governor Whitmer’s bipartisan budget investments, MDARD is realigning, expanding and revitalizing our environmental programs and developing new initiatives to invest in regenerative agriculture,” said Tim Boring, MDARD. “Through existing programs such as the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program and the Michigan Agricultural Environmental Assurance Program, we work directly with farmers make long-term, tangible improvements to Michigan’s soil health.”
Sustainable agricultural practices, such as conservation tillage, diverse crop rotations, and cover cropping play a huge role in improving soil health, reducing erosion and pollution, and enhancing water infiltration and storage.
“Protecting soil health is not just the responsibility of our agricultural industry,” added Boring. “Everyone can and must do their part.”
How to improve soil quality in your community and backyard:
To learn more about MDARD’s agricultural and environmental programs, visit www.Michigan.gov/MDARD.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Dec. 4, 2023
CONTACT: Chelsea Wuth, 517-241-2112, [email protected]
MDHHS recognizes National Influenza Vaccination Week Dec. 4-8
Michigan residents urged to get flu vaccine
LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is recognizing National Influenza Vaccination Week this week and reminding Michigan residents that it’s not too late to get flu, COVID-19 and RSV vaccines. All three of these vaccines can help protect against respiratory illnesses and can be given at the same time.
“Vaccines against respiratory illnesses are the best way to protect yourself and your families against the anticipated surge of these illnesses over winter months,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, chief medical executive. “It is not too late to get vaccinated this season — please get your flu, COVID-19 and RSV vaccines (if eligible) today to prevent yourself from the potentially severe consequences of influenza and other respiratory illnesses this holiday season and to help prevent further burden on our health care system.”
While it is ideal to get a flu vaccine before flu starts spreading in your community (usually in October each year), getting vaccinated is beneficial anytime flu viruses are circulating. Respiratory virus activity is beginning to increase nationally, which is why getting vaccinated now can still provide protection. Flu activity usually peaks in February, but significant flu activity can continue into May.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends annual influenza vaccination for all persons ages 6 months and older with rare exceptions. According to data from the Michigan Care Improvement Registry, as of Nov. 18, approximately 2.2 million people in Michigan have received their flu vaccine for the 2023-2024 flu season, which is 55% towards the state’s goal of reaching 4 million doses of flu vaccine administered this season.
For people younger than 65 years, CDC recommends any flu vaccine available during the 2023-2024 flu season. Options for this age group include inactivated flu vaccine, recombinant flu vaccine or live-attenuated flu vaccine for those ages 2-49.
Vaccination is particularly important for individuals at higher risk of developing serious flu complications, including young children, adults ages 65 years and older, people with certain chronic medical conditions and pregnant persons. Some children ages 6 months through 8 years will need two doses of flu vaccine this season to be fully protected. Individuals should speak with their health care provider to determine which vaccine is best for them.
It takes about two weeks after the vaccine is administered before the body builds up enough immunity to protect from severe illness from the flu. Michiganders should get their vaccine now to protect themselves before flu activity peaks in Michigan.
The Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) also reminds Michiganders that flu shots are an essential health benefit under the Affordable Care Act and are covered with no out-of-pocket costs by most health plans in Michigan.
“As the weather gets colder and Michiganders spend more time inside, getting a flu shot can help keep you and your family healthy without missing time from work or school,” said DIFS Director Anita Fox. “Most health plans cover flu shots at no cost, so I urge you to get your vaccine and to make sure that your kids and other family members are also protected.”
Michiganders with questions about their health insurance can contact DIFS at 877-999-6442 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday or online at Michigan.gov/HealthInsurance.
Flu vaccines are widely available now at local health departments, physician offices and pharmacies around the state. Find a location near you using the Vaccine Finder. Visit Michigan.gov/flu for more information or visit IVaccinate.org to find answers to vaccine questions.
Written Sunday December 3rd at 10:35 AM
Here are my thoughts after week one of the season.
North Farmington: The Raiders had a really slow start against Detroit Martin Luther King but found a way to win that game. Dylan Smith was huge in the game against the Crusaders. It wasn’t the perfect game for Coach Todd Negoshian but North Farmington got a win out of it which is a great sign going forward.
Ferndale: The Eagles split their two games this week. They fell to Birmingham Brother Rice on the road but beat Davison at North Farmington. Ferndale is young but they are also very talented led by Trenton Ruth who is off to a strong start. Coach Juan Rickman’s team will be fine.
West Bloomfield: It was a rough week for the Lakers which saw two losses to two really good teams. West Bloomfield put 70 points which is a good start but was held to 50 points against East Lansing who was in the back end of a back to back. Defensively is where the concern lies for Coach Arnette Jordan where they are allowing 78.5 points per game. The Lakers need to step up defensively if they want to turn things around.
Adams: The Highlanders will be as good as Peter Kardasisis and Will Gee takes them. Kardasisis had 29 points against Lanse Creuse North and Adams needed to survive Milford by four points. Coach Isiah Novak will rely a ton on his guards but they need to find that interior presence especially with the schedule that is ahead of them.
Clarkston: The Wolves have started to become more of a balanced team and it showed in their nine point win over Sterling Heights Stevenson. Clarkston isn’t just John Kaul but Quinn Rosenberg and Peyton Fitzsimmons had big games against the Titans. Cole Charter and Hayden Flavin are more capable of having big games. Coach Tim Waslik has a really tough schedule ahead of them but if they can get balance they’ll be in every game.
Oak Park: The Knights had a rough outing against Detroit Edison falling 72-58. Oak Park has a tough schedule coming up. Coach Durrand Sheppard needs to clean some things up especially defensively if not, it could be a really long season for the Knights.
Groves: The Falcons are off to a really strong start. They put 65 and 82 respectably against two good teams in Livonia Clarenceville and Redford Thurston. Groves has two really tough games coming up but Coach Marc West’s team has a ton of confidence right now.
Troy: The Colts were shocked by Berkley in overtime despite Mason Parker and Chase Kupier scoring 21 points each in that game but that’s not a good way to start the season. It could also be a wake up call for Coach Gary Fralick’s team as well that you don’t take any team for granted. Troy will be fine going forward.
Harper Woods: The Pioneers have had two really tough games against Detroit Renaissance and Novi Detroit Catholic Central. The 34 points scored against the Shamrocks is most concerning for Coach Tajuan Porter but to their defense the football players who won the Division Four State crown aren’t in game mode yet. Harper Woods could struggle if things don’t turn around quick.
Troy Athens: The Red Hawks had a really strong week. They earned a 53-45 win over Rochester despite allowing 30 points from Max Mohl. Troy Athens put up 83 points in a win over Waterford Oakdale Prep. The Red Hawks have a tall order ahead of them this week which should tell more about Coach Dave Scott’s team.
Seaholm: It was a split week for the Maples which saw them fall by seven to Walled Lake Western but survived Avondale 43-41 in a defensive slug fest. Max Laskey has really emerged in their first two games for Coach Mike DeGeeter. Seaholm has been really scrappy and that could help them going forward.
Lake Orion: The Dragons might have something after two really good wins. Zach Parks has fit in really well and has contributed everywhere. Nick Galben, Gabe Scott, Ethan Sharkey and Ryan Rocheleau are off to strong starts and Quay Fly has been solid on the glass. Lake Orion is still very young, if they find that balance then Coach Jose Andrades might have something here. The Dragons will be tested next week and beyond but it’s a promising early start.
Farmington: The Falcons had a solid outing despite falling 68-62 to Livonia Stevenson. Greg Grays was solid for Farmington. It should be a very interesting matchup for the Falcons when they play arch rival North Farmington but it will take some time for Coach Bryan Johnson to put his program in place.
Bloomfield Hills: The Blackhawks have some big concerns after scoring 23 points against Walled Lake Central. Bloomfield Hills did lose a ton of talent from last season but I didn’t expect them to score 23 points in their first game. Coach Brian Canfield will get this thing figured out, they’ll be fine.
Southfield Arts and Tech: The Warriors have not played a game yet so I can’t judge them yet.
Stoney Creek: The Cougars had a really tough 12 point loss to Romeo. Stoney Creek had some moments especially from the three point line where they executed offensively but defensibly is a big concern still. Griffin Beers looked solid. They rely a ton on Tre Walker to carry them and if he gets in foul trouble that’s where they could struggle. The Cougars have to overcome when Walker is not on the floor and that’s a concern for Coach Jeff Olind going forward. Stoney Creek will be fine but they need to overcome when Walker is not on the floor.
Avondale: The Yellow Jackets had a really rough loss to Seaholm falling 43-41. Avondale was solid defensively all night but the offense struggled at times. It was going to be a transition period for Coach Jaret Thomas which it has. The Yellow Jackets will be fine, no need to panic.
Oxford: The Wildcats are the typical Batman and Robin type team. Jake Champagne is the Batman but he needs a Robin. Luke Stoffan had 14 points in their three point win over Lapeer but was held to six against Lake Orion. Champagne had 20 points in both their games against Lake Orion and Lapeer. It’s clear as day for Coach Joe Fedorinchik he needs a Robin if Oxford is going to win games.
Rochester: The Falcons have had two rough games against Troy Athens and Lake Orion. Max Mohl had 30 points against the Red Hawks while Luke Lionas had 12 points against the Dragons. Rochester needs to find that balance where both their stars along with Jake Tandy and Evan Crowe have monster games, if they do then Coach Nick Evola might have something brewing.
Berkley: The Bears could be an enigma this season. Berkley did not play well by any means against Novi falling by 21 points only to go and stun Troy in overtime at home. The Bears have size and scoring which is huge for Coach Joe Sermo. The next two games look very manageable, Berkley despite the loss to Novi is in a good spot right now but they can’t haven an letdown.
Pontiac: The Phoenix are off to a strong start with wins over Hazel Park and Southfield Christian. Coach Andrew Myers has this program believing at the moment which is a great sign going forward. JJ Claudio is off to a really strong start. Pontiac could be a sleeper in the Blue this season.
Royal Oak: The Ravens have been a really odd team to figure out. They won by eight over Southfield Christian and trailed at the half against Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood. Camden Clark has been solid for Coach Aaron Smith. They have two big tests looming this week so we’ll know a ton about the Ravens.
Ferndale University: The Eagles have had two very competitive games despite two tough losses to Detroit Douglass and Detroit Osborn. It’s a game of inches that separates Coach Josh Nicks team. Ferndale University isn’t there yet. They have shown that they can be in close games, they’ll be fine.
Written Wednesday November 29th at 9:05 PM
Updated Saturday December 2nd at 12:40 PM
AROUND THE OAA TOP TEN
- West Bloomfield
- Royal Oak
- Stoney Creek
- Lake Orion
- Bloomfield Hills
Girls Basketball Preview Show.
Girls Basketball Districts.
WEST BLOOMFIELD LAKERS
LAST SEASON: 26-3, 14-0 Red. Lost 40-36 to Rockford in Division One State Finals.
KEY PLAYER: Summer Davis-G
PLAYER ON THE SPOT: Destiny Washington-G
BREAKOUT WATCH: Ava Lord-F
STRENGTH: Proven Experience, Deeper than last season.
WEAKNESS: Mental sickie.
STORYLINE: Can the Lakers make it back to Breslin???
The Lakers have been a proven program and it has shown as of late. They made it to the Division One State Finals after winning it two years ago but fell to Rockford 40-36 last season. Coach Daryelle McAllister has four starters in Summer and Indya Davis along with Kendall Hendrix and Destiny Washington coming back. West Bloomfield will have a really deep bench and has a ton of proven candidates that could be their fifth starter. McAllister has Ava Lord, Sheridan Beal, and Gabrielle Hale also coming back. They added two Japanese transfers and a set of twins from Muskegon this offseason. The Lakers have a really tough non-conference which includes Butler Prep, Illinois, Chicago Prep, Illinois, Anthony Wayne, Ohio, Belleville, Plymouth Salem, Kalamazoo Central, Detroit Country Day, Northville, Detroit Edison, Saginaw Heritage, and Grand Blanc West Bloomfield should be in the mix to get back to Breslin but a rough road lies ahead.
LAST SEASON: 18-7, 9-5 Red. Lost 61-41 to West Bloomfield in Division One Regional Semifinals.
KEY PLAYER: Alice Max-F
PLAYER ON THE SPOT: Lucy Cook-G
BREAKOUT WATCH: Angela Cichowski-G
STRENGTH: Interior, Program Strength.
WEAKNESS: Guard Play.
STORYLINE: Do the Falcons have enough guard play to help interior???
The Falcons have made a ton of strides since Bill Thurston became the varsity coach. Thurston has led Rochester with division crowns and a district crown last season. He is 54-29 in his four years but 36-11 in the last two years. “It’s a building point to where we were in, we’ve been building up to get to the districts and we’ve been to the district final every year I’ve been here and we finally got over that hump (winning the district final over Utica Eisenhower) to win the district, now we look forward to moving onto the regionals, winning a game in the regional, just seeing if we can keep building off that” said Thurston. The Falcons might have one of the best post players in Oakland County in Alice Max. Max was a double-double machine last season and will look to make some more noise this season. The guards will be the question mark but Thurston mentioned that Lucy Cook, Kaitlyn Guiola, Kayla Parsons, and Angela Cichowski could help fill the void and make defenses honest. Cook is a cross country state champion and a proven track athlete while Guiola also played soccer with Max last season. “We’ll surprise a lot of people with their play” Thurston added. The non-conference doesn’t look that daunting for Thurston. They have Utica Ford II, Wixom St. Catherine Sienna, Rochester Lutheran Northwest, and Grand Blanc look to be their toughest non-conference games. Rochester could be in a great spot if the guards play to their expectation and not focus on Max all too much. “People say that this is a rebuilding year for us but I think being in the Red and still being competitive and getting to the point where we’re ready for districts, that’s where we ultimately want to be and we’ll surprise a lot of people this year” Thurston concluded. Rochester might not surprise a ton of people who know them but they should be in the mix this season.
STONEY CREEK COUGARS
LAST SEASON: 17-7, 9-5 Red. Lost 43-39 to Rochester in Division One District Semifinals.
KEY PLAYER: Sarah LaPrarie-G
PLAYER ON THE SPOT: Merrick Schwalbach-G
BREAKOUT WATCH: Izzy Ivezaj-G
STRENGTH: Proven Experience.
WEAKNESS: Transition Period, Program Strength.
STORYLINE: Can new coach gel with proven experienced Cougars???
It was a rocky offseason for the Cougars which saw then Coach Kellen James step down in September. Stoney Creek Athletic Director Brian Jacobson went into Macomb County with his new hire and hired Columbus Williams to take over the program. Williams was an assistant at Utica Ford II under Matt Joseph and he leads the Michigan Goonies AAU program. Williams will be tasked to keep the success and momentum that James had built at Stoney Creek. James was 46-11 in three years at Stoney Creek. The non-conference doesn’t look that strong. They have a tough non conference with Brighton, Romeo, Utica Eisenhower, Riverview, Walled Lake Northern, and Fraser. The Cougars have a ton of proven experience in Sarah LaPrarie, Merrick Schwalbach, Taylor Fulkerson, and Izzy Ivezaj coming back. The transition period will be the challenge for Stoney Creek but having veteran experience helps but there are dangers. The Cougars will be a very interesting team to watch this season.
LAST SEASON: 13-11, 8-6 Red. Lost 54-52 to Lake Orion in Division One District Finals.
KEY PLAYER: Elliana Robak-G
PLAYER ON THE SPOT: Emily Valencia-F
BREAKOUT WATCH: Brooklyn Covert-G
STRENGTH: Quickness, Speed.
STORYLINE: Can the Wolves make some noise despite brutal non-conference???
The Wolves were very young last season but several players emerged and are ready to make a ton of noise. Clarkston has several key players in Elianna Robak, Ellery Hernandez, Emily Valencia, Ella Morgner, Claire Walker, Kierra Zorski, Kate Meyer, Marley Mazur, Jenna Thomas, Makayla Butki, and Lauren Fishtalher coming back along with Brooklyn Covert and Lexi Fry who could make a ton of noise especially Covert. “We’ve attended a team camp in Gaylord with Gaylord, Saline, and Croswell-Lex, did well with them. We’ve lost to a good Frankenmuth team. We lost some key pieces but we got some key pieces coming back and we’re going to be really young” said Coach Aaron Goodnough. The schedule is brutal early in the non-conference for Goodnough with Saginaw Heritage, Novi, Howell, Chelsea, Lake Fenton, Birmingham Detroit Country Day, and Grosse Pointe South. “I think it will be a very competitive start to the beginning of the year, it will be challenging but I expect us to do well” Goodnough added. He mentioned that the girls have gelled and developed chemistry during the summer. “We’ve gelled really well, we don’t have a lot of size, we got some ankle biters but we’ll compete, play tough defense” Goodnough concluded. Clarkston should be in line for a much better year this season.
LAKE ORION DRAGONS
LAST SEASON: 20-6, 10-4 Red. Lost 48-30 to West Bloomfield in Division One Regional Final.
KEY PLAYER: Izzy Wotlinski-F
PLAYER ON THE SPOT: Charlotte Peplowski-F
BREAKOUT WATCH: Grace Hoenshein-G
STRENGTH: Interior, Solid Six.
WEAKNESS: Unproven Bench.
STORYLINE: Dragons are the great unknown this season.
The Dragons have won two district crowns in the last two years and 20 games last season behind a veteran heavy guard lineup but now the guards have graduated. “We’re going to be young, it’s going to be different” Coach Bob Brydges said. Lake Orion will be a lot younger this season after losing nine seniors including Kylie Heck, Taylor Dinda, Chloe Wiegers, and Maddie Ebbert. They have several proven players in Ryan Pawalacyzk, Charlotte Peplowski along with Lexi Stroshein coming back. Stroshein was away from the program while Izzy Wotlinski also comes back after missing three quarters of the season with an ACL injury last season. The Dragons added a transfer in Nevaeh Wood. Wood transferred back to Lake Orion after playing two years at Oxford. She is also coming back from an ACL injury. Brydges will be very young this season as mentioned. He has young players in sophomores Grace Hoenshein, Lauren LaForge, and Dani Heck along with a very talented freshman class. The Dragons non-conference is very interesting with Walled Lake Northern, Plymouth, Bay City Western, Rochester Lutheran Northwest, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep, and Kingston. Lake Orion could struggle early. It’s basically a new team that hasn’t had a summer or build chemistry together. For Brydges it’s putting a puzzle together seeing where everyone on his roster fits.
LAST SEASON: 19-5, 12-2 White. Lost 66-30 to Grand Blanc in Division One District Final.
KEY PLAYER: Alison Hufsteddler-G
PLAYER ON THE SPOT: Sophie Raab-G
BREAKOUT WATCH: Emma Beggs-F
STRENGTH: Guards, strong proven big.
WEAKNESS: Bench, Mental sickie.
STORYLINE: How will the Wildcats fare in the Red???
The Wildcats moved up to the Red this offseason and have shown a ton of progress this summer. They had a very successful year in the White despite not winning the division. Oxford has had issues with Grand Blanc in the last two years in the postseason. Maybe the move to the Red will help especially when it comes to the postseason??? The Wildcats have proven experience in Alison Hufsteddler, Sophie Rabb, Braydee Elling, Lexi Yankee, and Peyton Ritcher coming back for Coach Rachel Bryer. Emma Beggs could be in line for a breakout season for Oxford. They have a very tough non-conference with Davison, Belleville, Flushing, Warren Regina, Detroit Country Day, Birmingham Marian, and Saginaw Hertiage. It could be a challenge for Bryer and that’s not the Red. If this is what it takes to matchup with Grand Blanc then it might be very well worth it.
ROYAL OAK RAVENS
LAST SEASON: 13-10, 6-8 White. Lost 45-42 to Detroit Mumford in the Division One District Semifinals.
KEY PLAYER: Emille Austin-G
PLAYER ON THE SPOT: Lydia Dickens-G
BREAKOUT WATCH: Lucy Freytag-G
STRENGTH: Proven Experience.
WEAKNESS: Mental sickie.
STORYLINE: Can the Ravens make the next step???
The Ravens had a very young team but lost a heart breaker to Detroit Mumford in the district semifinals last season. Royal Oak has everyone coming back from that team and they will look to make the next step. Coach Brian Sopota has a ton to be excited about with everyone coming back. “It’s a nice thing especially when you have players that have been through a lot of varsity games, they played varsity when we were in the Red, we took some lumps but we played some really good competition, last year the White was a really tough league as well and so with games experience, varsity played, played a really tough schedule this summer and I think it’s going to benefit us, we’re going to step onto the court, we shouldn’t be nervous for any games, there is nothing new that these girls haven’t seen and who we are going to compete against” Sopota said. Royal Oak has a very interesting district and a non-conference with Walled Lake Northern, Royal Oak Shrine, Livonia Stevenson, and Pontiac Notre Dame Prep with the rest of the schedule going against OAA schools. They have been everywhere and feel they can win their district. “We’re east again with Groves there and several MAC schools, we’ve been south with Detroit Renaissance, north with Birmingham Marian, and the last time we went east Warren Cousino went onto win a State title, we’ll see different teams and compete in that district” Sopota added. Everything is on the table this season for the Ravens. “We would like to compete for a league and win a district, when you return your starters and your bench those are reasonable goals” Sopota concluded.
BLOOMFIELD HILLS BLACKHAWKS
LAST SEASON: 18-4, 12-0 Blue. Lost 56-45 in Overtime to Groves in First Round.
KEY PLAYER: Ruby Smith-C
PLAYER ON THE SPOT: Ashley Forner-G
BREAKOUT WATCH: Brianna Young-F
WEAKNESS: Shooting, Mental sickie.
STORYLINE: Can the Blackhawks make the next step???
The Blackhawks had a really strong year winning 18 games which was the most in school history. They also won their first division crown by winning the Blue and took Groves who was a Red opponent to overtime but fell in a tough one last season. Coach Kristen Massey is loaded with proven experience especially in the interior. Bloomfield Hills has Ashley Forner, Brianna Young, Michelle Barnett, and Ruby Smith coming back. The Blackhawks have a really interesting non-conference which includes Canton, the Belleville Classic, Birmingham Detroit Country Day, and Orchard Lake St. Mary’s. The key for Massey will be the better competition and if Bloomfield Hills is up for it. It should be a very interesting year to watch with the Blackhawks.
HARPER WOODS PIONEERS
LAST SEASON: 12-8, 8-6 White. Lost 50-41 to St. Clair Shores Lakeview in the Division One District Semifinals.
KEY PLAYER: Clearia Peterson-F
PLAYER ON THE SPOT: Kendall Kelsey-G
BREAKOUT WATCH: Autumn Trotter-F
STRENGTH: Proven Experience.
WEAKNESS: Depth, Program Strength.
STORYLINE: Program strength will be something to watch with the Pioneers.
The Pioneers were a team that had some ups and some downs. They saw a ton of great wins and some really tough losses last season including to St. Clair Shores Lakeview. Harper Woods has a new coach but he will have a proven experienced team with Clearia Peterson, Kendall Kelsey, Autumn Trotter, Tamina Montgomery, Mikyra Kelly, and Laniyah West coming back for new coach LaTonya Tate. Program strength and depth are going to be question marks. The Pioneers could also be in line for a deep postseason run going back to Division Two this season. Harper Woods non-conference does include playing the Huskies but they haven’t completed it yet with the rest of the schedule being against OAA schools. It should be very interesting to see how the Pioneers compete, they should be in line for a much better season.
LAST SEASON: 7-17, 3-11 Red. Lost 30-29 to Birmingham Marian in Division One District Semifinals.
KEY PLAYER: Cira Racco-G
PLAYER ON THE SPOT: Cameron Little-G
BREAKOUT WATCH: Jacey Roy-G
STORYLINE: How will the Falcons do without Kaitlyn Sanders???
The Falcons were inches away from a district final but a heartbreaking loss to Birmingham Marian derailed those dreams. Groves will look to rebound with a very young team after losing seven seniors including Kaitlyn Sanders to graduation. Coach Alison Hidey is looking forward to some unfinished business this season. The Falcons have Cira Racco, Cameron Little, and Jacey Roy coming back for Hidey. “I feel like we have some unfinished business, I’m returning five really strong seniors and we played a really competitive schedule in the Red last year, this year moving down to the White, I have high expectations, I like to take some of those lessons and apply it to the team we’re going to play this year and hopefully be successful in wins and maybe go for a district” said Hidey. “Even though we are moving down and crossover a few Red, I anticipate a lot of these White teams to be competitive and we’re going to also play West Bloomfield type basketball, they are going to make a great run and get us ready” Hidey added. Groves has a really interesting non-conference which includes Hartland, Detroit Country Day, Livonia Churchill, Novi, Ypsilanti Arbor Prep, and Dearborn Divine Child with the rest of the schedule against OAA schools. “I would like to have a great year, last year I always laugh you make a plan and sometimes life just doesn’t go as planned, last year we had a plan, we wanted to have a really good year, I really think emotionally we had a good year but we didn’t have a lot of chemistry with the wins and losses, this year we want to get it done on both sides, I want the girls to have a lot of fun and I want to pull on some doubts” Hidey concluded.
LAST SEASON: 7-16, 3-11 White. Lost 47-31 to Birmingham Marian in Division One District Finals.
KEY PLAYER: Addy Flynn-G
PLAYER ON THE SPOT: Taylor Harwig-G
BREAKOUT WATCH: Addy Kitzman-F
WEAKNESS: Mental sickie.
STORYLINE: Will the Maples make the next step???
The Maples were a very young team winning seven games but they made the district finals under Coach Chris Manchester. Seaholm lost Shay Manchester, Lola Weber, and Anne Boogerian to graduation last season. The Maples have a ton of proven experience which helps with Taylor Harwig, Addy Kitzman, Mary Gumbus, Mary Wiltgen, Clara Guffey, Emma Weber, and Addy Flynn coming back. Seaholm has a really interesting non-conference which includes Saline, Warren Cousino, Livonia Franklin, Clawson, St. Clair Shores Lakeview, and Lakeland with the rest being against OAA schools. There is a ton to like with the Maples when it comes to proven experience but the mental sickie will be something to watch for Manchester and his program this season.
NORTH FARMINGTON RAIDERS
LAST SEASON: 23-1, 14-0 White. Lost 59-23 to Farmington Hills Mercy in Division One District Finals.
KEY PLAYER: Asiyah Jihad-F
PLAYER ON THE SPOT: Hannah Hart-F
BREAKOUT WATCH: Anaiah Bowes-F
WEAKNESS: Transition period.
STORYLINE: How will the Raiders transition into a new regime???
It was a historic season for the Raiders which led them to the White crown and an undefeated season but they fell to Farmington Hills Mercy in the district finals last season. North Farmington went through a complete culture shock this offseason. They have a new coach in Michael Allin taking over for Jeff Simpson whom stepped down last season. “It’s been great, I’ve really enjoyed my experience at Lapeer, loved those girls, loved that community but I’m more than excited to be here and I’ve gotten to know almost all of the girls and those that I’m still meeting and I’m looking forward to the season and the girls have been great to work with and working really hard and they deserve a ton of credit already and hope to make their mark as the season goes on” said Allin. The Raiders have Hannah Hart, Asiyah Jihad coming back and added a transfer in Anaiah Bowers this offseason. Allin is really high on Jihad with what she brings to North Farmington. “She’s extremely verstale, she’s got a strong inside,out game, has multiple finishes at the rim, whether it’s in transition or in the half-court offense, she has a good dribble drive attack, she shoots the three, has good post moves, she can defend pretty much all five positions at least four of the five but beyond that, her work ethic, her attitude, dedication, her commitment, all of those are great examples for the younger players to follow and great characteristics for her life going forward” Allin said about Jihad. North Farmington has a really interesting non-conference with Warren Woods Tower, Frankel Jewish Academy, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep, and Livonia Stevenson with the rest of the schedule being against OAA schools. “We want to compete, Improve, have fun, and win games” Allin concluded.
SOUTHFIELD ARTS AND TECH WARRIORS
LAST SEASON: 4-16, 2-11 Red. Lost 66-56 to North Farmington in First Round.
KEY PLAYER: Kamaria Paige-G
PLAYER ON THE SPOT: Jordan Ushery-G
BREAKOUT WATCH: Jamyra Fritz-F
STORYLINE: Can the Warriors defend???
The Warriors have been up and down and the record along with the stats don’t lie either. Southfield Arts and Tech was a high scoring machine but it was a different story defensively. They gave up a ton of points which has to concern Coach Shaquita Coltrane. The Warriors have the guards in Kamaria Paige, Jordan Ushery, and Christen Banks coming back. The interior looks to be the question mark despite having Jamyra Fritz coming back. The non-conference is brutal for Southfield Arts and Tech with games against Warren Michigan Collegiate, River Rouge twice, Livonia Stevenson, Detroit Denby Tech, the MLK Classic, and Detroit Pershing with the rest of the schedule being against OAA schools. The Warriors are the early favorites in the Blue but their defensive issues could be a big issue if Coltrane and her program doesn’t address that end of the floor this season.
LAST SEASON: 3-19, 0-14 Red. Lost 62-34 to Seaholm in First Round.
KEY PLAYER: Diamond Prince-G
PLAYER ON THE SPOT: Reagan Zeiter-G
BREAKOUT WATCH: Olivia Sprangler-G
STRENGTH: Proven Experience, Program Strength, Depth.
WEAKNESS: Mental sickie.
STORYLINE: Can Guzman put the mental belief of success with this young and hungry team???
It was a really tough year for the Colts being in the Red with a really young team last season. Troy made some big changes this offseason and is in a new division. They hired Laura Guzman from Farmington. Guzman coaches the softball program at Troy. “The transition has been pretty seemless, the kids are excited and eager and they’ve been showing up, we’ve had great numbers, I think they are ready to work hard and show what they are capable off” said Guzman. Guzman will have a ton of young and proven experience in Diamond Prince, Carly Higginbottom, Olivia Sprangler, Reagan Zeiter, Shivani Angadi, Victoria Siegan, Carly Blair, Sophia Kaltsounis, Aly Matuza, Justine Perkas, Savannah Oddy, and Kelsey Block coming back. “It’s great when you have a returning core of players but the players that you didn’t mention is ready to show everybody else like here is Troy basketball, we’re not just five deep, we can play 10 or 11 girls, I think that’s the most exciting part, having those returners really helps but I think players like one or whoever is on the team is going to come on the varsity team is going to come in and be able to play and that’s a big plus” Guzman added. The Colts have a really interesting non-conference which includes Novi, Romeo, Sterling Heights Stevenson, St. Clair Shores Lakeview, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, Richmond, and Walled Lake Central with the rest of the schedule going against OAA schools. “I think we’re going to win our division, we have enough kids to compete with the talent and the kids are buying in, I think they are going to surprise a lot of people and I’m excited for that” Guzman concluded.
LAST SEASON: 4-18, 1-12 White. Lost 51-29 to Stoney Creek in the First Round.
KEY PLAYER: Samantha Blaine-F
PLAYER ON THE SPOT: Faith Zoldos-G
BREAKOUT WATCH: Reagen Jarrell-G
STRENGTH: Proven Experience.
WEAKNESS: Mental sickie.
STORYLINE: Can the Highlanders take the next step???
It has been a very long and rocky road for the Highlanders and Coach Joe Malburg. Adams struggled in two consecutive years as they had to rebuild the program. There is some optimism for the Highlanders. Adams has Samantha Blaine, Faith Zoldos, Reagan Jarrell, and Layla Tomezak coming back. “The biggest thing that we have to do is build a full program, we just can’t wait for the talent to be there, we have to develop it and develop that chemistry between the talent and that’s where the summer program comes in” said Malburg on the podcast. That foundation has really started to come out which is a great sign for Malburg. “A lot of the girls are playing for the third year in a row in the summer program, they’re really starting to understand you know with what we want out of them as a program and what their expectations are, what are we going to hold them accountable, so it’s definitely been our best summer not in terms of winning and losing but the summer is more for development but we’re also seeing some of the rewards of having those players with a little bit more experience” Malburg added. Malburg expects to see some success with the proven experience that is back. “The majority of our players, the core of our players were freshmen and sophomores and that’s going to make a lot of the playing rotation this year, we’re going to continue to be more athletic and have a little bit more size” Malburg concluded. Adams mental sickie will be tested, Malburg is curious to see how his young team will handle success this season. The Highlanders could be in line for a big season with a young and proven group this season. Adams has a really interesting non-conference with games against Waterford Kettering, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood, and Northville while the rest of the schedule is against OAA schools. The Highlanders are more than capable of making that big jump this season not only as a program but also in the league as well.
LAST SEASON: 11-10, 9-5 White. Lost 56-29 to Detroit Renaissance in Division One District Semifinals.
KEY PLAYER: Maeve Nolan-F
PLAYER ON THE SPOT: Avery Weingarden-G
BREAKOUT WATCH: Nadia Watt-G
STRENGTH: Team culture.
STORYLINE: Bears are in a much better place under Shaver.
The Bears were around 500 but fell to a very good Detroit Renaissance program last season. Berkley changed coaches this offseason with Clay Shaver taking over the program. “This year’s varsity team will be exceptionally athletic and they love playing together, a lot of high level soccer players who do the things with speed and footwork that’s naturally hard to teach” said Shaver. Shaver has done really well this offseason with the transition. “We’re very pleased with the offseason and where we are at going into tryouts. We lost four seniors, three starters who played 105 of the 160 minutes on average, that level of experience will be tough to replace, thankfully we have a lot of talented and impressive young people back this year, from day one back in March when I took over multiple kids have stepped up and taken over leadership roles” Shaver mentioned. Shaver will have a ton of proven experience coming back led by Maeve Nolan. Nolan has done really well this offseason. “Maeve will play a big role on both ends of the court, great kid, great leader, every program would be lucky to have someone like Maeve” Shaver said of Nolan. Berkley also has another proven player in Kate McAllister whom could be primed for a big year. “Kate has also stepped up as a senior leader. She was underutilized and played out of position. She hit big baskets for us all summer” Shaver added on McAllister. Berkley will also have Avery Weingarden, Hailey Kirkwood, and Madi Boswall coming back. These three saw a ton of minutes and he’s extremely excited about the sophomore class which includes Nadia Watt. “I expect big steps from my junior class highlighted by Hailey, Madi, and Avery and I’m REALLY high on a talented sophomore class. We’re going to have some decisions to make at tryouts on some of these sophomores who have varsity skills and if we can find them minutes. Shaver has done a really good job with program strength. He will have three programs this season. “Last season, there was 22 healthy players in the program total, through this offseason we’ve worked hard to recruit a solid freshman class. We also reengaged with some talented athletes who left the program. I’m expecting 35 to 40 kids at tryouts to roster three levels. We’ve also engaged in the youth in the area, 53 student athletes played Middle School in the fall and there’s over 300 girls currently registered for the Berkley Bears local youth program. We’re building a “vertical program” from the youth to varsity and the future feels bright” Shaver added. Berkley has a tough non-conference which includes Plymouth, Utica Eisenhower, Madison Heights Bishop Foley, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep, Swartz Creek, Saginaw Heritage, Warren Mott, and Royal Oak Shrine with the rest being against OAA schools. They are in a very tough district which has Detroit Mumford and Detroit Renaissance. “Our goal is to make a legit run in the Blue while prepping for the postseason. We’re playing a tough schedule because ultimately we know this district runs through Detroit Renaissance. Our goal is to be peaking in March” Shaver concluded.
TROY ATHENS RED HAWKS
LAST SEASON: 7-14, 2-11 White. Lost 46-44 to Utica in the Division One District Semifinals.
KEY PLAYER: Abby Malone-G
PLAYER ON THE SPOT: Alex Link-F
BREAKOUT WATCH: Kayci Mercier-G
STRENGTH: Interior, Proven Experience.
STORYLINE: Can the Red Hawks stay healthy???
The Red Hawks had a great start but they had ton of injuries that really hurt them including their very tough loss to Utica last season. Troy Athens looks to have a bounce back year under Coach Stacie Klump. The Red Hawks have a ton of proven experience in Abby Malone, Alex Link, Kayci Mercier, Ava Laurer, Katy Keller, and Yasmeen Dabish coming back for Klump. Troy Athens has a very tough district and a tough non-conference with Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood, Wayne Memorial, Utica Eisenhower, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep, Flint Hamady, and River Rouge. The rest of the schedule being against OAA schools. It will be very interesting to see how the Red Hawks respond this season. If they can stay healthy then they would be in line for a much better season.
LAST SEASON: 12-10, 10-2 Blue. Lost 68-33 to Farmington Hills Mercy in First Round.
KEY PLAYER: Jayla Silver-F
PLAYER ON THE SPOT: EdiMari King-G
BREAKOUT WATCH: Anna Tornachuck-F
STRENGTH: Skill players.
WEAKNESS: Experience, Transition period.
STORYLINE: How will the Falcons do under Nowak???
The Falcons have had a ton of success in the division but have really struggled when they go out of the division. Farmington has had a really interesting offseason. They saw Laura Guzman leave for Troy this offseason but they have Natalie Nowak who teaches in the school and she takes over the program. “It’s been really helpful that I am a teacher in the building and I coached the junior varsity five years ago before I stepped away to coach at Schoolcraft College, I know a lot of the girls, it’s been really helpful that I’ve known them as players or as students” Nowak said. Farmington has proven experience in Jayla Silver, Anna Tornachuck, and EdiMari King coming back. “I met with a few of them the other day just really talking to them about the leadership that we’re going to need so whether they played a lot of minutes last year or didn’t, they still need to come in and lead a team. We got a lot of young players that are ready to make an impact so we need the older players to lead them” Nowak added. The Falcons have a very interesting non-conference with Livonia Stevenson, Hartland, and Garden City with the rest of the schedule being against OAA schools. “Get girls in, get them into the program, work hard, compete, and get better every day.” Nowak concluded.
AVONDALE YELLOW JACKETS
LAST SEASON: 7-16, 5-7 Blue. Lost 59-17 to Utica Ford II in Division One District Semifinals.
KEY PLAYER: Madison Manyweathers-G
PLAYER ON THE SPOT: Morgan McPherson-F
BREAKOUT WATCH: Amaria Daniel-G
STRENGTH: Proven Experience.
STORYLINE: How will McPherson fit in with the Yellow Jackets???
The Yellow Jackets had a really rough season last year winning seven games and falling to a really good Utica Ford II program. Avondale has a ton of optimism which makes Coach Roy Christmon really excited for the season to start. The Yellow Jackets have a ton of proven experience in Madison Manyweathers, Arielle Dudley, Khalil Bradley, Trinitee Carroll, and Amaria Daniel coming back. They also added Morgan McPherson as she transferred from Adams this offseason. McPherson is expected to take on a much bigger role this season. “We got a lot of girls coming back, it’s good to have kip and occurring group of girls coming in and coming back, working hard in the weight room working hard, just looking to compete” Christmon said. McPherson has had a strong impression along with the team this summer and it has shown. “It’s been great, we’ve gone to a team camp with the girl from Adams (McPherson) so they got time to bond and we do a lot of things off campus, they go to movies, they do a lot of stuff together as far as chemistry, we should be great” Christmon added. The Yellow Jackets have a really interesting non-conference with Warren Mott, Dearborn, Walled Lake Central, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep, and Chippewa Valley with the rest of the schedule being against OAA schools. “Win Gold, get out of Gold and go from there” Christmon concluded.
LAST SEASON: 8-7, 6-6 Blue. Lost 68-35 to Warren Fitzgerald in Division One District Semifinals.
KEY PLAYER: Demi Bolton-G
PLAYER ON THE SPOT: Aaliyah Davis-G
BREAKOUT WATCH: Iyanna Davis-F
STRENGTH: Proven Experience.
WEAKNESS: Depth, Program Strength.
STORYLINE: Can the Eagles make strides and build program strength???
The Eagles showed some real progress in winning eight games last season but they still aren’t there yet when it comes to the postseason and they will have a challenging one with Birmingham Detroit Country Day in there. Ferndale went all nuclear this offseason with a ton of proven experience and transfers. They have proven experience in Jayla Pouncey, Isabella Mendoza, Jada Buchanan, Jayla Jackson, Lily Bowson, Iyanna Davis, Demi Bolton, and Aaliyah Frost coming back for Coach Keith Paris. Paris has Bolton coming into the program along with newcomers Frost and Davis who will be relied upon this season. The challenge for Paris is finding more games and building program strength. He mentioned that the program was on the rise but can it be proven is the question. Ferndale really toughened up their non-conference with games against Ann Arbor Skyline, River Rouge, Harper Woods Chandler Park Academy, Detroit Martin Luther King, Dexter, Macomb Dakota, Brandywine, Ohio, Michigan West-Prep Classic, Novi, Detroit Western, and Madison Heights Lamphere. This schedule should help them prepare for the division and the postseason. The Eagles could be a team to watch for this season.
FERNDALE UNIVERSITY EAGLES
LAST SEASON: 2-16, 2-10 Blue. Lost 58-17 to Ferndale in First Round.
KEY PLAYER: Kayla Lewis-G
PLAYER ON THE SPOT: Laressa Broghton-G
BREAKOUT WATCH: Brooklyn Gray-F
STRENGTH: Proven Experience.
WEAKNESS: Depth, Program Strength.
STORYLINE: Can the Eagles make the next step???
It was a really rough year for the Eagles winning two games, both against Pontiac last season. Coach Brianna Rowe has a ton of optimism surrounding Ferndale University in her second season as coach. They have a ton of proven experience in Kayla Lewis, Laressa Broghton, Brooklyn Gray, among others coming back. “It’s been good, the girls have been in the gym, I’m really excited about getting in and getting better, they are progressing” said Rowe. The Eagles non-conference is very interesting with Madison Heights Bishop Foley, Marine City Cardinal Mooney, Detroit Old Redford Academy, Clawson, and Bloomfield Hills Sacred Heart with the rest of the schedule being against OAA schools. “We’ve been in the weight room more, I expect the girls to be a lot stronger, a lot tougher, score more around the rim, just competing, they’re excited, I’m excited, it’s going to be a great year, hopefully be around 500 this year” Rowe concluded.
OAK PARK KNIGHTS
LAST SEASON: 10-9, 6-5 Blue. Lost 48-19 to Berkley in First Round.
KEY PLAYER: ???
PLAYER ON THE SPOT: ???
BREAKOUT WATCH: ???
WEAKNESS: Depth, Program Strength.
STORYLINE: Can the Knights gain more experience???
The Knights made a ton of changes this offseason despite the late season turnaround. Oak Park named Tyler Washington as their new coach. There are some questions for the Knights heading into the season and there will be a transition period that has to happen during the season. Oak Park has non-conference games against South Lyon, Walled Lake Central, and St. Clair Shores South Lake with the rest of the schedule being against OAA schools. It will be very interesting to see what Washington brings to a program that had their moments last season.
LAST SEASON: 0-20, 0-12. Lost 64-22 to Waterford Kettering in First Round.
KEY PLAYER: Aniyah Shaw-G
PLAYER ON THE SPOT: Isisas Shaw-F
BREAKOUT WATCH: Carroll Hunt-G
STRENGTH: Proven Experience, plus added talent.
WEAKNESS: Program Strength, Mental sickie.
STORYLINE: Can the Phoenix grow and make the next step???
It was a very tough first season for Coach Corray Lett and the Phoenix. Pontiac looks like they have the experience and talent to turn it around really quick. “Our backs are against the wall, we’ll be competitive every game we step on the floor” Lett said. The Phoenix have the majority of their team coming back with Aniyah Shaw, Isisas Shaw, Carroll Hunt, among others. “The offseason has been good, interesting for us, it’s good to have a good core that sticks together, we’re young, we got a lot of mistakes to correct. This year coming in we got some additional pieces that will help, we got a young lady who moved from Alabama that’s going to help us out a lot, and will be a senior, we have a freshman coming in who hasn’t played too much basketball but is a hell of an athlete, I’m looking forward to the season and being able to compete” Lett added. Program strength is a big concern for Pontiac coming into the season. “We’re working on that right now, it’s hard to get girls to come out, we do have some core pieces that came from our eighth grade team that are freshmen now, we’re going to establish that program and if not then we’ll keep them and use them on our bench” Lett concluded. Pontiac has a favorable non-conference with games against Waterford Kettering, Waterford Mott, Detroit Christo Rey, Hazel Park, Sterling Heights Parkway Christian, Marine City Cardinal Mooney, Brighton Stockwell Prep, Bloomfield Hills Sacred Heart, Ypsilanti, and Westland John Glenn. The Phoenix should win some games this season with the non-conference. It will help with their confidence going forward.