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January 30, 2013

Lathrup girls basketball team moving forward as team to beat

By Mike Moore
C & G Sports Writer

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Lathrup girls basketball team moving forward as team to beat
Erica Longmire and the Lathrup girls basketball team was 11-2 at press time and one game out of first in the OAA Red.

LATHRUP VILLAGE — The hype was immediate.

Expectations soared on the heels of players slated to return and players transferring in.

Before the season’s first game, there were those proclaiming the Lathrup Village Southfield-Lathrup girls basketball team as the one to beat in the Oakland Activities Association, and well beyond.

With the second half of the season in full swing, and coach Michele Marshall able to take a step back for reflection, it’s more than apparent that nothing will be simply handed to the Chargers, but they just may be a serious contender in the league, come playoff time.

As expected.

“With what we’ve done so far, I think you have to be pleased and you have to be happy,” Marshall said last week. “There’s still plenty of room to improve and plenty of progress to be made, but we feel like we’re in a good spot right now.”

At press time, the Chargers were 11-2 on the season and 7-1 in the OAA Red.

They started the year with nine consecutive wins with an average margin of victory at 25 points.

Even the 2-2 record in the past four games isn’t reason for concern, with losses coming to an 11-1 Clarkston team and a 12-0 Detroit King squad.

“They’ve been so humble,” Marshall said. “To come in with the rankings we saw and the expectations we heard, it was tough. I didn’t know how things would come together, but they’ve been great.”

With a host of returning players in the mix, along with a trifecta of transfers, few can be surprised at what’s transpired so far or with the notion that the best is still to come.

“Asia King (Pontiac High transfer) wasn’t eligible until the second semester, so we’re still adjusting to her, too,” Marshall said. “The chemistry and the little things all can still get better.”

Still, as the year goes on, Marshall knows talent won’t be enough to win games, as it was earlier in the winter.

“We’ve got so much skill. I think that, alone, will keep us in any game, and allowed us to win some games when we weren’t at our best,” she said. “But the key for us, moving forward, is playing team ball. That’s when we’re at our best. When we share the ball, play team defense and play with that focus. Especially in the second half of the league schedule, you have to be better.”

Trailing Clarkston by a single game in the Red standings, Lathrup still had to face nearly every team once more, including the Wolves at 7 p.m. Feb. 14 on the road.

“The main goal right now is taking care of business in the league,” Marshall said. “Then we can worry about the state tournament. But truthfully, these girls push themselves so much. They know what’s at stake, and they know we’re in a good spot right now. You have to enjoy it.”

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