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November 20, 2012

Chippewa Valley girls basketball will attempt to follow-up on last season’s success

By Mark Vest
C & G Sports Writer

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Chippewa Valley senior Katie Dang runs through a drill at a recent practice.

At the end of last season, the girls basketball team from Chippewa Valley was the last one standing from Macomb County.

After capturing the program’s first district championship since 2008, the Big Reds made it all the way to a regional final, before falling to Grosse Pointe South, which finished as the Class A state runner-up.

Chippewa has returned to practice, and coach Jackie Maurer understands that last year’s impressive run has set a certain standard for this season’s squad to attempt to emulate. She has an idea as to what she would like to see accomplished in the upcoming season.

“I think one of our biggest goals for the year is to show up to every game, compete, and be in every single game,” Maurer said. “Give ourselves a chance to win each game by showing up and being ready to play. I know winning districts is a goal we’ve set for us.”

The Big Reds return seven players, including Tiffany Misch and Tori Staver, who were starters last year, to attempt to turn that goal into a reality. Chippewa was set to return three starters but  lost Olivia DeMoss for the season, due to a knee injury.

Aside from DeMoss, the Big Reds are also likely to miss the presence of post players Emily Tolksdorf and Ciara Helton, both of whom graduated.

In order to help keep things afloat, Maurer will be relying upon her seniors to help provide some leadership.

“I think we’re still trying to find out who our leaders are going to be,” she said. “I would hope our seniors would step up into that role. We have some expectations to get back where we were. We were playing really well toward the end of the season.

“My seniors are learning how to take a leadership role. I think,  last year, my two post players really helped maintain and set the tone. My seniors are learning, so we’re improving every day.”

Given the change in personnel, Chippewa will likely be utilizing a different style of play to conform to what Maurer considers the strength of the team.

“We have a lot of quickness this year,” she said. “I think our strength is our ability to push the basketball. That’s something we’re going to look to do a little more — push the basketball and make teams uncomfortable by playing a faster style.

“We’re going to be pressing a lot more than we have in the past. We’re going to adjust our style of play a little bit.”

Before the Big Reds get a shot at defending last year’s district championship, they will have to try to make their way through the Macomb Area Conference Red Division, and Maurer understands that doing so will be no easy chore.

“I think the Red’s going to be very competitive with the addition of Grosse Pointe South,” she said. “Dakota’s returning pretty much their entire team from last year, and they were competitive last year. Romeo has pretty much their entire team back. We have a very competitive schedule; the Red’s going to be tough.”

Chippewa is scheduled to open its season at 7 p.m. Dec. 4 in a road game against Port Huron.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Mark Vest at mvest@candgnews.com or at (586)279-1112. Twitter Follow Mark on Twitter.