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Berkley

January 30, 2013

Berkley and Ferndale basketball coaches anticipate close game

By Mike Moore
C & G Sports Writer

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Amber Williams and Ferndale basketball team beat Berkley 47-19 in the first meeting. The teams are set to play again Jan. 31.

After the first meeting, both coaches were surprised at how things played out.

Leading into the second meeting, both expect things to be different.

Much different.

“I think we caught them off-guard, and I don’t see that happening again,” Ferndale High girls basketball coach Eric Lloyd said of a 47-19 victory against Berkley High earlier this season. “They’ve become a much better team since then.”

The local rivals are set to tip again at 7 p.m. Jan. 31 at Berkley.

“We didn’t show up in the first game, and that cost us,” Berkley coach Jordan Gruppen said. “This time around, we expect things to be much better. If we can slow down their penetration, we’ll have a much better chance.”

Both teams have been rolling of late.

Ferndale was 10-2 overall at press time and atop the Oakland Activities Association Blue Division with a 7-0 mark.

“Our defense is key,” Lloyd said. “As long as we play the defense we’re capable of, we’re going to be all right. Defense is all effort, and that’s where most of our games will be won.”

Since losing to Ferndale on Dec. 14, Berkley has ripped off five wins in six games, bumping its record to 7-4 overall and 4-2 in the Blue.

“We’ve been playing better lately, and I think that’s been due to a team effort,” Gruppen said. “The defense has gotten stronger. Our pressure has led to offense, and it’s paid off.”

And, predictably, Gruppen and Lloyd were anxious to get this rivalry going yet again.

“Growing up, I always had friends at Ferndale, and they always talked about the games against Berkley,” said Lloyd, who’s in his first year with the Eagles. “I didn’t know how big it was that first time we played them, until after we won. Then you saw what this means. We’re looking forward to the second one. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

“It’s always exciting to see them. It’s like that crosstown rival you love to play,” Gruppen said. “The girls are looking forward to it. We still believe we have a chance in the league, and this is a big opportunity for us.”

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