FerndaleJanuary 16, 2013
Lloyd has Ferndale girls hoops team hitting on all cylinders, atop OAA Blue
By Mike Moore
C & G Staff Writer
Coach Eric Lloyd has guided Ferndale to a strong start in his first year with the team. The Eagles were unbeaten in OAA Blue play at press time.
Taking over the Ferndale girls basketball program was never really in the cards for Eric Lloyd.
He’d had success coaching the Alternative School team for years, especially last winter when he guided his guys to a 24-0 record and Michigan High School Alternative Athletic Association state championship.
But when the girls position became open, Lloyd jumped at the opportunity just a few months before the first practice.
He vowed to hit the ground running — and he has.
“I’ve been blessed with a great group,” Lloyd said last week. His squad was 8-1 at press time and a perfect 5-0 in the Oakland Activities Association Blue Division. “It’s a real good group of girls. We’ve learned about each other on the fly, but it’s worked.”
And “on the fly” is exactly how the Eagle have operated.
Their up-tempo attack is resilient: a headache in the making for opponents.
The girls are averaging nearly 60 points per game in their eight wins. They have scored as many as 74 once, and 68 or more in three games.
The lone loss, a 54-40 setback, came at the hands of an 8-1 Dexter High team.
“I like the fast pace,” Lloyd said simply. “I mean, it’s basketball; it’s supposed to be entertaining. And they love it, too.”
“It’s a fun offense, especially as a point guard,” junior Micaela Ellis said with a laugh. “Everyone has to be involved. And it’s not like we’re trying to run scores up, but we push things. It’s worked pretty well.”
The Eagles were 13-8 a year ago and captured a district crown.
When this season started, that was essentially Lloyd’s starting point — winning another district title.
Then came four straight wins, including a 59-52 win against a Royal Oak High team that was 18-3 a year ago.
Lloyd’s eyes opened a bit.
“Royal Oak was a big win,” he said. “I guess I’m not real surprised at how well we’ve played. Surprised isn’t the right word. But since I’m still learning about these girls, it’s been pretty cool to see them grasp everything so quickly. … My motto is to get better every day, and as long as they do that, they’ll be just fine. So far, we’ve done it.”
Lloyd and his girls understand there is still plenty of basketball to be played.
The 6-1 start is nice. The 4-0 mark in the Blue is good for first place, but it’s a one-game lead on Royal Oak, Berkley High and Birmingham Lahser with nine still to go.
“There’s a lot of work to do,” Ellis said. “But this is a team that can win the league and, come playoff time, hopefully do some of the same things we did last year.”
Depth is one strength Lloyd likes to fall back on, but it’s not just the number of girls he can call on, it’s the way each contributes.
Even as the Eagles pile up the points, there isn’t anyone averaging more than 12 or 13 a game, he said.
“We’re a quick team, more so than most,” he added. “They move the ball real well, and the attack is so balanced. It’s tough to stop.”
“That’s what makes us so dangerous: the way we get everyone involved,” Ellis added. “It makes it fun. Everything we’ve done so far, everyone has something to do with.”