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January 8, 2013

Harrison shrugs off bad start, battles back for OAA White win against Andover

By Mike Moore
C & G Sports Writer

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Harrison shrugs off bad start, battles back for OAA White win against Andover
Harrison's Marissa Cotton lines up a free throw late in the first half. Cotton finished with 16 points in the Hawks' 51-45 victory.

FARMINGTON — The turnaround is far from complete, but the Farmington Hills Harrison girls basketball team has done in 10 games this season what it took 21 to do a winter ago — earn its ninth win.

The Hawks shrugged off a dismal start at home Tuesday night, falling behind Bloomfield Hills Andover 8-0 in the first few minutes of the game to rebound for a 51-45 victory.

“Huge win,” coach Tim Micklash said. “This was a big game, and to find a way to win was just awesome. Andover caused us a lot of problems with their length and size, but our girls battled for this one.”

Andover needed just three shots to take an 8-0 lead when the game started, and led 13-8 after the first quarter. But Harrison’s defense turned things up a notch, and with a suffocating press, took momentum back and took a 23-22 lead into halftime.

“I think we just lost our composure,” Andover coach Jeff Rubin said of the second frame. “We got it back in the third, and then lost in again in the fourth for some reason. I think not playing many close games last year, we’re still learning how to close things out down the stretch. It’s not an excuse, but we had chances to win this one.”

Harrison led 36-35 going into the fourth, then got a pair of huge 3-pointers from Marissa Cotton, and then iced the game from the free-throw line.

“It’s a tough loss, because I think about 80 percent of the game we played the way we needed to,” Rubin added. “The other 20 percent was the part that got away. And that was disappointing.”

Shannon Wilson led Andover with 17 points. Erika Hill finished with 14, while Rachel Rea finished with 12.

Freshman Amber Stephens poured in 19 points to lead Harrison. Cotton added 16 and Kristen Nelson scored 10.

“We’re still right there,” Micklash said of the Oakland Activities Association White Division standings. Harrison is now 9-1 overall and 6-1 in White play, second only to Oxford High (7-0).

Harrison faces Lake Orion High at home Friday night.

Andover, now 5-3 overall and 4-3 in the White, is back in action at Beverly Hills Groves Thursday.

On Jan. 12, the Barons face Birmingham Lahser for the final time in a 6 p.m. game at Oakland University.

The boys teams will face one another immediately afterward.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Mike Moore at mmoore@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1038. Twitter Follow Mike on Twitter.