ST. CLAIR SHORES — St. Clair Shores South Lake girls basketball coach Shay Lewis said she was somewhat relieved, following her team’s three-point loss to Madison Heights Madison Feb. 5.
The loss was the Cavaliers first in the Macomb Area Conference Silver Division. A 9-1 mark has South Lake atop the Silver.
“You could feel it building. They were having fun and they were excited, but with this team, I think a loss at that time was the best thing that could have happened,” said Lewis, whose team at press time had an overall record of 9-6.
“They were able to look and say to themselves, ‘OK. We need to keep working.’”
What was also building, according to Lewis, was the prospect of going 14-0 in league play. Lewis said the record doesn’t matter, in the grand scheme of things.
“We want to raise a banner. We don’t care if it was after a 14-0 season or not — we want to win the MAC Silver,” Lewis said.
The Cavs are in a three-team race for the league title. Center Line High and Madison Heights Lamphere sat one-half and one full game behind South Lake in the Silver at press time.
Aside from the Feb. 5 setback, the Cavs have been dominant since the start of league play. An 0-4 start didn’t kill the morale of Lewis’ group, as it has rebounded to the tune of a 9-2 stretch.
Only one of South Lake’s victories inside the Silver has come by fewer than 13 points. Six of the Cavs’ nine wins have been by at least 24 points.
“Our offense just started to click. Everything on offense just started to come together and everybody understood their role,” said Lewis, who stressed defense at the start of the season.
Lewis said senior guard Taylor Pitts, a transfer from Warren Fitzgerald, has done a solid job running the team and serving as South Lake’s primary playmaker — almost always making the right play and finding shooters and cutters for baskets.
Sophomore forward NaKyra Jordan, the reigning MAC Silver MVP, leads the Cavs in scoring. Freshman forward Kadajah Williams has been strong on the boards, averaging 10.5 rebounds per games.
Along with a MAC Silver crown, Lewis has aspirations of a strong showing in the Michigan High School Athletic Association state playoffs. With the team nearly at 100 percent after some injuries shortened the roster, Lewis sees now as the time to tighten up some things. The Cavs have three regular season games remaining.
“We need to tighten up our defense,” said Lewis, whose team allows an average of 46 points per game — fourth in the MAC Silver. “That’s what we stressed early on and now that the offense has caught on, we have to get back to locking teams down on defense.”
South Lake’s next game is a tip against Bloomfield Hills Kingswood, set for 7:30 p.m. Feb. 14 at Kingswood. The state playoffs begin Feb. 25. For more information on the MHSAA state tournament, check www.candgnews.com.