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Farmington Hills

February 27, 2013

Harrison girls claim first hoops league title since Western Lakes crown in ’98

By Mike Moore
C & G Sports Writer

» click to enlarge «
Harrison’s Amber Stephens lays the ball in while Gaelen Wilson looks on. The Hawks finished the regular season 19-1 and won the OAA Blue.

His team was 1-1, full of youth, lacking much varsity experience and trying to figure out just what kind of winter this was going to be.

Tim Micklash said he had heard where many had projected his squad to finish anywhere from the bottom to “in the middle somewhere” in conference play.

“There was a lot of uncertainty around this team,” the Farmington Hills Harrison girls basketball coach said regarding the first week of the season. “But I think the girls took it personally, and after that second game (first loss), you could see a difference.”

The Hawks took to the court 18 times following the 1-1 start, and exited with 18 wins to close the regular season.

“They learned how to play together,” Micklash added. “They believed in each other and what we were doing.”

The payoff was a 19-1 regular season that included a 15-1 mark in the Oakland Activities Association White Division, good for the first division title since a Western Lakes crown in 1998, and the first city title in seven years.

“I guess I’d say we were due for one,” Micklash said with a laugh. “After all that time, it was something we were ready to go get.”

The Hawks clinched the White title Feb. 19, beating Andover 54-30 on the road to guarantee the first place outright.

Rochester Adams and Oxford High (12-3) tied for second.

“Once we put a few wins together, there was no stopping us,” Micklash said. “They just took off, as a team.”

With the first order of business complete, Harrison began the 2013 state playoffs Feb. 25 against North Farmington in a game played after press time.

The winner of that game faces Walled Lake Northern at 5 p.m. Feb. 27 at North Farmington, with the title game set for 6 p.m. March 1.

But with the reality that only four teams will end the season with a victory, Micklash said winning a league crown is something he’ll likely cherish forever, no matter how the postseason goes.

“There was so much pressure as we got closer and closer. We couldn’t let up,” he explained. “Regardless of what happens in the tournament, this season was a great success. This is a year I will always remember, because you never know if something like it will come along again. My hope is these girls can look back on all this and truly appreciate it. When they grow up and move on from here, it’s an accomplishment they can always be proud of.”

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Mike Moore at mmoore@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1038. Twitter Follow Mike on Twitter.