Berkley and Ferndale girls hoops teams meet for second and final time
February 12, 2014
BERKLEY/FERNDALE — Neither coach got into specific game plans or changes to be instituted — not because they were trying to be secretive, but simply because they don’t see a need for it.
In fact, as Jordan Gruppen and Eric Lloyd prepare their Berkley High and Ferndale High girls basketball teams for the season’s second meeting, both want to simply see more of the same.
“We’ve been playing well, of late,” said Lloyd, the Ferndale headman. “We’ve got our rotations down. We’re getting contributions from the bench, and that’s all huge. That’s what we want to keep focusing on.”
“I don’t think there’s anything specific we’re planning,” said Gruppen. “It’s about playing defense and finishing on offense. When we’ve been successful this season, that’s what we’ve done.”
The teams will put words to action at 7 p.m. Feb. 13 at Berkley.
“We always love playing them,” Gruppen said. “It’s like a crosstown rivalry. It’s a fun game and usually a great atmosphere.”
“We’ve got lots of rivals, but Berkley is something different,” he said. “It’s like a crosstown rivalry. We know them. The students know each other. It’s something you look forward to.”
Both teams can pin an importance on the game.
Ferndale, 8-3 overall and 6-2 in the Oakland Activities Association Blue Division at press time, is still in the hunt for a league title.
Berkley, 5-7 overall and 2-4 in the Blue, was out of league contention but, like Ferndale, knows the playoffs are a little less than two weeks away.
“This is a game we feel we can win, and this time of the year, you want to be playing your best basketball,” said Gruppen, whose squad dropped the first meeting to Ferndale 48-37 on Jan. 10. “We’re getting to that point where we feel we can play with just about anyone, which is good. … The keys for us are still getting back on defense and putting the ball in the basket. I think, in the first game, we had some chances to score more but didn’t.”
“We played a good game last time, where we had some good rhythm and found ways to get done what we wanted,” Lloyd said. “But we expect them to be better this time around, and it’s essential we do the same. This is the time of year where we need everyone at the top of their game. Every night, this close to playoffs, things are a little more intense.”