Farmington Hills, Lathrup VillageFebruary 20, 2014
Harrison comes to life in fourth quarter, claims OAA Red title with 38-30 victory against Lathrup
By Mike Moore
C & G Sports Writer
FARMINGTON HILLS — The deficit was five, but as Tim Micklash explained, “it felt like 15.”
More than half the fourth quarter had expired, and Farmington Hills Harrison had yet to record a point in the frame.
So, trialing Lathrup Village Southfield-Lathrup 29-24 in a winner-take-all game, Micklash turned up the heat, called for a full-court press, and in the end, celebrated an Oakland Activities Association Red Division title.
“This means a lot,” Micklash said following the 38-30 victory at home Thursday night. “Usually you need the season to end to have that chance to really sit back and appreciate what you did, but I’m so proud of these girls right now. To move up (a division) and to compete and to play this hard, I’m so proud of them.”
Down by five with roughly 3:30 remaining, Harrison took the game over.
Kristen Nelson got things rolling when she was fouled on a drive to the bucket. Her layup and subsequent free throw brought the game to a 29-27 difference.
Seconds later, Amber Stephens stole a Lathrup pass and laid in the game-tying bucket.
On the ensuing possession, Lathrup threw the ball out of bounds trying to break Harrison’s press, and Nelson connected again from inside to give the Hawks a 31-29 lead they would never relinquish.
By the time Lathrup got its next points, Harrison was ahead 35-29 and just 48.3 seconds remained in regulation.
“It was lack of composure,” Lathrup coach Michele Marshall said afterwards. “We played composed most of the game, and then we weren’t in those last three minutes. … At the end, I think we just got a little rattled and a little panicked.”
“We had to go for it, and we did,” Micklash said of the final three minutes in which his team outscored Lathrup 14-1. “We had to go with what we do best. We were using a half-court press, but it wasn’t putting enough pressure on them. So we went to the full-court press and started to force some things.”
Harrison, the OAA White champ last year, clinched the Red title with a 12-2 record.
“A lot of people doubted us because we moved up this year,” Asia Campbell said. “We worked so hard for this. We worked even harder this year than we did last.”
Harrison (17-3) closed the regular season on a nine-game winning streak.
Nelson led the Hawks in scoring with 11 points, nine in the fourth quarter.
Taylor Kelley scored 10, while Kyla Roland added nine.
Lathrup, which had won seven games in a row to put itself in a spot to win the division, finishes 14-6 overall and 11-3 in Red play.
“We knew it was going to be competitive. It’s a great game to go into the state tournament on,” Marshall said. “Our hats are off to Harrison.”
Deja Church led the Chargers with 10 points, while Kendall Terrell scored seven.