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Beverly Hills

Expectations don’t change as Country Day hoops gets playoffs going

February 27, 2013

» click to enlarge «
Country Day’s Asia Doss drives around a Grosse Pointe North defended during the regular-season finale last week. The Yellowjackets begin the Class B state playoffs Feb. 27.

BEVERLY HILLS — Years go by, freshmen quickly become seniors, and the roster turns over and over again.

Change at the high school level has been, and always will be, a part of the athletic landscape.

But as long as the jersey reads Country Day across the front, expectations this time of year remain consistent.

“And we all know that,” Yellowjackets girls basketball coach Frank Orlando said with a laugh last week. “Expectations here are always the same.”

The perennial Class B power had another typical winter, going 14-3 despite returning just one starter from last year’s squad.

The girls open the postseason Feb. 27, taking on either Clawson High or Cranbrook-Kingswood in a district semifinal at Clawson.

Two wins would extend a district-title streak for Orlando and company that’s been running since 1997.

So, is this year’s crop ready for the challenge?

“We’ve been in a different situation this year, where with one girl back, our cohesiveness has been a work in progress,” Orlando said. “You try to put yourself in a situation where you’re finding your best offense and defense at this time of year. I think we’re pretty close.”

Country Day will be a considerable favorite, no matter who the opponent is.

Clawson finished the regular season 3-17, while Cranbrook was 13-6 at press time and will provide a solid challenge, should the Cranes avoid a first-round upset.

The other half of the bracket includes Pontiac Notre Dame Prep, Macomb Lutheran North and Madison Heights Lamphere, with the title game set for 6 p.m. March 1 at Clawson.

“We can’t underestimate anyone,” senior forward Tiana Glimpse said. “It’s the ‘respect all but fear none’ type of mindset we’re going to have. You take things one day at a time or you’ll get yourself in trouble.”

Country Day is mired in a bit of drought, by its standards, anyway.

The Yellowjackets haven’t won a state title since 2009, ending the past two seasons in quarterfinal losses to Goodrich High, and in 2010, they fell in the title game to Grand Rapids Catholic Central.

“This is a team that can win a state championship,” Glimpse said simply. “It’s a matter of working at it every single day, getting past districts and then regionals, and then finding a way to do what we can.”

“I’m so proud of what this team has done so far, to uphold the tradition this program has,” Orlando added. “We’re optimistic (about the playoffs). Without a league title to aim for, this is our time of year, what we set our sights on. We’re looking forward to it.”

“We’re ready for the challenge,” Glimpse said with a smile. “It’s that time of year we like to be part of.”

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