Lathrup VillageNovember 21, 2012
Potential in abundance with Lathrup girls basketball team, from near and far
By Mike Moore
C & G Staff Writer
Asia King, a transfer from Pontiac High, dribbles around Erica Longmire during a Nov. 16 practice. King is one of three transfers expected to make an impact this winter.
LATHRUP VILLAGE — She had coached her last game, hung up her whistle and scribbled on a clipboard for the final time.
After years with the Lathrup Village Southfield-Lathrup girls basketball program, Michele Marshall was ready to move on.
“I had some new things going on in life,” she explained. “I got married. We bought a house, and my husband and I were ready for what was next.”
Then, the phone started ringing.
Then, there were knocks on her door.
“I had parents calling me and girls asking me to keep coaching,” Marshall said, still with a tone of disbelief. “It was just so hard to step away from the kids. And when you see that support, and you look at this team and what we have moving forward, how do you walk away from something like that?”
Well, she couldn’t.
“We were happy, extremely thrilled when she decided to come back,” senior Makayla Avery said with a laugh. “I was one of the many girls that talked to her. We said it was up to her, and we all wanted her to be happy, but we didn’t want to see her go.”
The Chargers were 13-10 a year ago, with a relatively young roster that Marshall molded into a competitive unit.
But by coming back this winter, she may be dealing with her most talented group in a long time.
“There’s a lot of excitement,” Marshall said simply. “I don’t know when the last time we had this much talent was. I’d have to go back to that 2005 (Class A state championship) team.”
Marshall laughed as she finished the previous sentence, only to follow it with this: “And I know we’re going to hear about it, because we did have some girls transfer in,” she said. “But it’s all legit. Every girl that came here has been cleared to play. Every transfer was a family situation relocating to our district.”
The triple-threat of transfers, along with the veterans back in the mix, instantly makes Lathrup one of the top teams in the Oakland Activities Association.
Sydni Davis anchors the transfer crew.
The senior was dynamite for West Bloomfield High last year, averaging 19.4 points, 3.8 assists and 4.5 steals per game.
She’s instantly the most dangerous scoring threat for the Chargers.
“I’d been in the West Bloomfield (district) since second grade, but had some family situations that allowed me to move to Southfield,” Davis said. “I think it’s great what we have going on here. And the chance to play for coach Marshall is a blessing.”
Sabria Cotton also joins the team for her senior season, after starring for Troy High the previous few years, and junior Asia King, a former Pontiac High standout, also joins the mix for her junior year.
Davis, King and Cotton join a roster that includes senior Christina Green, now a four-year varsity player who was the third-leading scorer as a junior, and junior Erica Longmire, who was the fourth-leading scorer as a sophomore.
Freshmen twins Taiye and Kehinde Bello, both of whom are at least 6 feet, instantly add size and a post presence.
“It’s going to take some time, but when we figure each other out and get all the kinks out, we could be pretty unstoppable,” Davis said. “The personnel is so strong. We’re going to get contributions from everyone, and that could set us apart from other teams.”
“The girls know this, but it’s not going to be easy right off the bat,” Marshall added. “The biggest thing is going to be chemistry and everyone getting on the same page. I mean, you look at them right now, and you see the talent, but you don’t see the chemistry yet.”
Asked if, once things get rolling, this is a team that could end the year as a state champ, Marshall just smiled.
“It is,” she said. “It’s as simple as that.”