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Royal Oak, Lathrup Village

February 24, 2014

Lathrup girls open Class A playoffs with a bang, roll past Royal Oak 45-23

By Mike Moore
C & G Sports Writer

» click to enlarge «
Lathrup's Kendall Terrell, left, is pictured during last week's regular season finale against Harrison. Kendall and the Chargers had a better night on Monday, cruising past Royal Oak 45-23 in a Class A district opener.

LATHRUP VILLAGE — What a difference four days can make.

Michele Marshall emerged from her team’s locker room Monday night with a smile, even a little swagger.

Just a handful of days after a devastating loss ended the regular season and all hopes for a conference title, Marshall and her Lathrup Village Southfield-Lathrup girls basketball team kicked off the Class A state playoffs with a resounding bang, cruising past Royal Oak High 45-23 at home in a game that wasn’t even that close.

“We knew coming in, to start the district, we had to have a short memory,” Marshall said after the win. It was last Thursday the Chargers lost a heartbreaker to Farmington Hills Harrison in which the Oakland Activities Association Red Division title also slipped away. “We had to move on from Thursday. We wanted to come out, play under control, and take some steps in the right direction.”

Lathrup did just that, jumping out to a 14-5 lead after the first quarter and 30-12 advantage by halftime.

The Chargers never looked back.

“When you have a team that’s favored, like we were, the mentality of a high school athlete can be tricky,” Marshall said with a smile. “To get off to the start we did, and play the game the way we wanted to, that was pretty big for us.”

“Real tough,” said Royal Oak High coach Brian Sopata. “We struggled to put the ball in the basket, and when get behind like we did, you really start to press. That was tough.”

Lathrup eased off on the gas a bit in the second half, outscoring Royal Oak just 15-11 in the final 16 minutes.

“That’s a very good team,” Sopata said with a smile. “It’s very tough to similate the way they can attack with their speed and quickness. They’re just so strong.”

The game was a rematch of last year’s district final, a 54-41 Lathrup victory.

The Chargers (15-6) move on again this year, and will host Berkley High (10-10) at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday evening in a district semi.

“We don’t know too much about them,” Marshall said. “But really, we have to focus on what we do. If we do that, the rest will take care of itself.”

Freshman Deja Chruch led Lathrup in scoring with 14 on the night.

Taiye Bello scored 11, while Keirston Ashford added 10.

Sam Bartlelotti and Nina Salowich each scored six points to lead Royal Oak, which ends the year 12-9.

In other basketball playoff action

Walled Lake Central 47 - Walled Lake Western 22. 

Port Huron Northern 42 - Macomb Dakota 32

Utica Ford 30 - Utica High 29

Sterling Heights High 65 - St. Clair Shores Lake Shore 34

Rochester Hills Stoney Creek 60 - Lake Orion High 38

Beverly Hills Detroit Country Day 68 - Clawson High 18

Pontiac Notre Dame Prep 60 - Madison Heights Lamphere 27

Ferndale University 52 - Detroit Central Collegiate 22

Ferndale High 53 - Detroit Old Redford 39

Madison Heights Bishop Foley 39 - Wixom St. Catherine 32

Madison Heights 63 - Bloomfield Hills Academt 38

In playoff hockey action

Sterling Heights High 2 - Troy Athens 1

Orchard Lake St. Mary's 8 - Waterford Mott 0 

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