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Macomb Township

March 6, 2013

Dakota girls basketball wins district title

By Mark Vest
C & G Sports Writer

» click to enlarge «
Macomb Dakota’s Miranda Bates attempts to defend Marisa Oleksiak of L’Anse Creuse North during a district semifinal game Feb. 27. The Cougars were able to get past LCN, which was followed by a victory over Port Huron Northern March 1 to capture a district championship.

Macomb Dakota girls basketball won its fourth district title in the last five years, following a 54-49 victory over Port Huron Northern in a Class A district final March 1 on the Cougars’ home court.

Despite the close score, the Cougars were in control for the majority of the contest, in large part due to a 30-point performance by senior guard Olivia Savage.

“She took it to another level,” said Dakota coach Phil McCune. “What a display. That’s what seniors are supposed to do this time of year.”

Savage is one of seven seniors on the roster, and McCune acknowledged the role they have played for the Cougars.

“We have a lot of seniors that have been through it before,” he said. “This time of year, it’s always nice to have those kind of players. They spent a lot of time in the offseason to work on their game (to) get better.”

At press time, Dakota had an overall record of 19-3. Two of those defeats came against Grosse Pointe South, which won the Macomb Area Conference Red Division and finished as last season’s Class A state runner-up.

The Cougars also reside in the MAC Red, where they finished second to South. McCune considers the MAC Red to be, perhaps, the toughest division in the state. He thinks the competition his team his faced within the division has been beneficial.

“That helped prepare us for the kind of games we saw in districts,” he said.

Winning as many district titles as they have in recent years has set a high standard for Cougars girls basketball, and that’s just the way McCune prefers it.

“That’s what everybody plays for, is the playoffs,” he said. “You get a chance to put a picture on the wall for winning a district. It leaves a memory for those girls, so when they come back 20, 30 years with their own kids, they can say, ‘Hey, that’s me up there. I won a district championship’ That’s what we try to go for.”

Prior to taking on Port Huron Northern, Dakota defeated L’Anse Creuse North 65-47 in a semifinal matchup Feb. 27. The Cougars received a first-round bye.

The Cougars were scheduled to face Sterling Heights High in a regional semifinal game March 5, after press time. The winner of that game faces the winner of South/Warren Cousino in a regional final at 6 p.m. March 7 at St. Clair Shores Lake Shore.

In other local action:
Macomb Lutheran North’s girls basketball team was defeated by Country Day 43-26 in a Class B district final March 1 at Clawson High School; the Mustangs beat Pontiac Notre Dame Prep 48-41 Feb. 25 and Madison Heights Lamphere 47-30 Feb. 27.

Chippewa Valley was defeated by Sterling Heights 68-53 in a Class A district final game on the Stallions’ home court. Earlier in the tournament, Chippewa beat Roseville 56-28 after receiving a first-round bye.

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