Ferndale, TroyJanuary 22, 2014
Ferndale and Athens girls hoops teams set to meet again
By Mike Moore
C & G Sports Writer
FERNDALE/TROY — One team is trying to end a streak of misfortune, while the other takes aim at boosting an already impressive record.
When the Troy Athens and Ferndale high school girls basketball teams meet at 7 p.m. Jan. 24 in Troy, both will have the chance to do exactly what they want.
“It’s going to be another big game,” said Ferndale coach Eric Lloyd. “These are all big games, and we expect it to be closer than last time.”
The Oakland Activities Association Blue Division foes met once this season, a 50-38 Ferndale victory at Athens in December.
Since that game, the Eagles had won four straight at press time and were 5-1 overall.
Their 4-0 mark in the Blue was tied for first place.
“We’ve done a good job continuing what we started last year,” Lloyd said of his team, which was 21-4 last winter. “We brought back most of our scorers. All five starters have been with us for a few years. We’ve got a pretty good situation going right now.”
Miceala Ellis and Taryn Stephens continue to pace Ferndale’s offense, averaging double figures in scoring for a team putting up more than 51 points per night.
For Athens, which was 2-2 heading into the first Ferndale game, it’s been a struggle since.
The Red Hawks were 3-7 at press time, but coach Stacie Klumpp sees Ferndale as a huge opportunity.
“We need a big game like this to get us going,” she said. “We had a big win last week, and a chance to upend Ferndale could be another step in the right direction.”
Despite its struggles, Athens upset previously undefeated Birmingham Seaholm 48-46 Jan. 8.
As winners twice since the Athens loss, Seaholm is 8-1 on the season.
“We talked about the New Year being a new opportunity for us,” Klumpp said. “That Seaholm game was a big one — a big win for us.”
Ferndale’s pressure in the first game, and subsequent turnovers by Athens, were a key both coaches spoke about in reference to the rematch.
“We’ve worked a lot on press breaks and handling pressure since that game,” Klumpp said. “We have to slow down (Ellis and Stephens) if we want to be successful, but we also have to protect the ball.”
“I think the early parts of the game are going to be key,” Lloyd added. “I think we’ll know in that first quarter what kind of plan they have for us and what type of game our girls are going to have.”