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Madison Heights

Foley and Shrine girls basketball teams set to meet for first time in 2013

January 23, 2013

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Foley’s Juliana Aiuto goes up for a shot during a win against Southfield Christian last month. The Ventures take on league rival Shrine Jan. 23.

Dave Joseph has been around the block enough times to understand exactly what this is all about.

Wayne Gigante is still learning — and fast.

But both coaches know just how big the Jan. 23 game is going to be.

“Rivalries like this are something special,” said Joseph, the Madison Heights Bishop Foley girls basketball coach, of his team’s game, set for 7:30 p.m. at Royal Oak Shrine. “You have to look forward to these.”

“I haven’t been here long enough to totally understand it, but I know it’s a great rivalry,” Gigante, the Knights’ coach, said. “From everything I’ve heard, it’s pretty intense.”

The teams are used to meeting at least once a year, but now, as Catholic League A-East Division foes, the Jan. 23 game is the first of two this winter.

“It’s pretty cool. It adds something to it,” said Joseph, now in his seventh year at Foley, of being divisional rivals. “I expect this to be like the ones I’ve been part of before — a good game. A good rivalry.”

At press time, Foley was 4-4 overall and 0-2 in division play.

Shrine, a team loaded with youth, was 2-5 overall and 0-2 in division play.

“Our goal is to make it hard for them,” Gigante said. “We know we’re a team trying to learn how to compete, right now. … The key for us, though, is defending. That’s the main thing. Secondly, we have to limit our turnovers. That’s hurt us at times this year.”

Gigante, in his first year at Shrine, inherited a team that is rebuilding.

His starting lineup consists mainly of underclassmen, and he said he has five sophomores who see regular minutes any given night.

“Every game we play, we’re looking to get better,” he explained. “If we can do that against Foley, it’d be something pretty big for these girls to build on. They know about that rivalry, and they know they better be ready to go against a team like that.”

Joseph, whose team has won four straight over Shrine and hasn’t lost since January 2010 in the series, knows his girls can’t take anything for granted.

“We can’t give them anything easy, at all,” he said. “If we don’t protect the ball, rebound and play our game, it’s going to be a bad night. … It’s tough to win on the road in the Catholic League, and if we don’t do what we have to, it’s going to be even tougher.”

The teams’ second meeting of the regular season is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Feb. 4 at Foley.

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