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December 10, 2012

Hazel Park girls basketball hopes to have bounce-back season

By Mark Vest
C & G Sports Writer

» click to enlarge «
Hazel Park players attempt to grab a rebound during the Vikings’ season opener against Center Line Nov. 27. Coach Sue Stuef, who also coaches Hazel Park’s volleyball team, thinks there are similarities between the two programs.

The last couple of years have been a struggle for Hazel Park’s girls basketball team, as the Vikings have won just one game, according to first-year coach Sue Stuef.

Stuef is hoping to change all that and make playing girls basketball fun at Hazel Park.

Winning is a good place to start, and with time, she believes she has a team capable of doing just that.

“I think it’s going to be a building process,” she said. “I think we’re going to make improvement very quickly — I really do. We’ve already seen vast improvement. We really do think we’re going to win quite a few games this year. That’s our goal. We want to win some games this year.”

Stuef, who also coaches volleyball, sees a parallel between the two programs. Some of Stuef’s players are also part of the volleyball team, and they reminded their coach of that after the team’s season-opening loss to Center Line Nov. 27.

“After we got beat, we all kind of looked at each other and said, ‘Wow, we’re kind of back where we were at the beginning of last year in volleyball. We took it step-by-step, and kept building it up. By the end of last season, we were contenders. This year, our record didn’t look as good as we wanted, but by the end of this year, we lost in the district finals, so that was pretty good,” she said.

“When we get closer to districts, we’ll see where we’re at,” Stuef said of the basketball team. “And then we’ll set some goals. Districts is like another season.”

Stephanie Toma and Micah Unternahrer are members of the volleyball team, and both would also like to help get the basketball program turned around at Hazel Park.

Toma is aiming high.

“We want to make improvements, go to districts, regionals and then states,” she said.

Unternahrer added that she would like the team to “improve as we go on in practice.”

Dana Moore-Sylva is hoping the team is unified in pursuit of picking up some victories.

“I want to improve, have us be a family, and a team, together,” she said.

Stuef is not sure what the Vikings can expect once they begin play in the Oakland Activities Association Blue Division, and for her, the not knowing only adds to the fun.

“I’m not really sure how good the competition is,” she said. “You play everyone twice. I think after we get through the first round of games within our division, we’ll have a good idea where we stand. We don’t know how good we can be, and I think that’s kind of exciting, actually.”

Staci Starks-Seldon is hoping that excitement comes in the way of victories, as she would like to end her senior campaign with a bang.

“I just want to win,” she said. “I think everybody wants to win.”

While Stuef would also like Hazel Park to experience success as soon as possible, she understands it is going to be a process. And while it may take some time, she plans on enjoying the journey along the way.

“I’m excited to see how this turns out,” she said. “Even when I watch sports on TV, I like watching the building process. I’m one of the few people watching the Pistons right now, because I like watching the building process — how they put it together — and watch them get better. I think the kids have bought into that on my team, that it’s going to be exciting to see how good we can get.”

Hazel Park is next scheduled to be in action at 7 p.m. Dec. 14 against Royal Oak at home.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Mark Vest at mvest@candgnews.com or at (586)279-1112. Twitter Follow Mark on Twitter.