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Center Line

December 5, 2012

Center Line girls basketball team eyes MAC Silver title

By Jason Carmel Davis
C & G Sports Writer

» click to enlarge «
The Center Line High girls basketball team forced 27 turnovers in its Nov. 27 season opening win over Hazel Park. Pictured is Panthers senior Crystal Thomas, who led Center Line in scoring last season.

CENTER LINE — Even with a young team, Center Line High girls basketball coach Trevor Warczinsky has his sights set on a Macomb Area Conference Silver Division title.

“Our goal is always to win a league championship,” said Warczinsky, in his fifth year with the Panthers. “That’s what we talk about at the start of every season, and it’s our No. 1 goal.”

Center Line sports a young group, made up of two seniors, five juniors, three sophomores and one freshman. Warczinsky said a productive offseason that saw players take part in camps and tournaments helps build continuity.

Center Line (1-0 at press time) last won a division title in 2009-10 season as a member of the now-defunct MAC Bronze and had gone 11-32 from 2010-12 as members of the MAC Gold. The Panthers will call the MAC Silver home this season.

The Panthers opened up the new season Nov. 27, a 66-15 win over Hazel Park.

Warczinsky said early-season games are a big part of the learning curve before starting play in the MAC Silver.

Warczinsky said he’s looking at senior Crystal Thomas and sophomore Jade Smith to lead the Panthers. Thomas, a three-year varsity player, led the team in scoring last season. Smith was called up from JV late last year and is expected to provide the Panthers with a solid post presence.

Thomas said she’s taking on more of a leadership role. She said she prepared for that by watching past players take the reins.

“I’m just trying to help out as much as I can,” Thomas said. “If anybody has a question, I try to answer it. But it’s more about being a leader on the court and playing hard.”

Warczinsky said he knows his squad isn’t the biggest, so he’ll use pressure to create turnovers and running opportunities.

“Play tough defense, rebound, and get out and run. That’s what we wanna do,” Warczinsky said.

That approach served the Panthers well in their opener, forcing 27 Hazel Park turnovers. Thomas hopes that gameplan continues to be successful on the road to a MAC Silver title, which would be her first and last.

“That’s all I’ve ever wanted because basketball’s the only sport I really care for,” Thomas said.

Warczinsky said he knows the league will be competitive, adding that each team in the division is well-coached and always has solid players.

“The games in this league have always been hard-fought, and I expect that to still be the case,” said Warczinsky, who coached against MAC Silver teams New Haven, Clinton Township Clintondale, Madison Heights Lamphere and Clawson in the Bronze.

“I know South Lake and Lamphere both had good years last year. The league title race should be exciting,” he added.

The Panthers next tip is with Warren Fitzgerald. The matchup is set for 7 p.m. Dec. 7 at Center Line.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Jason Carmel Davis at jdavis@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1107. Twitter Follow Jason on Twitter.