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Sterling Heights

Stevenson girls basketball team hopes speed makes up for lack of size

December 4, 2012

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The Utica Stevenson girls basketball team will utilize its speed when it faces teams with taller players and may play up to four freshmen at the same time. Pictured are freshman Madeline Brender (10) who will start at point guard, and sophomore Rachel Magliulo (11).

Because of the youth of his team, Utica Stevenson girls basketball coach Troy Marks said the season will be broken down into quarters.

“We’re going to see where we’re at after five, 10, 15 and 20 games,” said Marks, in his third year with the Titans. “We may even do that in games and say, ‘Ok, we need to win these next three minutes or this quarter.”

The youth movement comes as a result of Stevenson graduating seven seniors. He said he might play up to four freshmen at a time this season.

Marks, whose team went 7-15, 4-8 in the Macomb Area Conference Red Division last season, said the early part of the season might feature some growing pains, but he expects the Titans to play hard every night.

“The girls haven’t played together hardly at all, so right now we’re just really dealing with the basics to try and build some continuity,” Marks said.

Erin Lyon, the team’s lone senior, has taken on more of a leadership role. She said she knew what to expect coming into the season with so many new players, but that those younger players have to be ready to contribute.

Some of the young players Marks expects to contribute include freshman Madeline Brender, who will start at point guard, sophomore Torri Futch, who will start at center and who Marks said is his most athletic player, freshman Ally Silos, and juniors Carmela Leone and Sarah Leone.

Brooke VanLacken, the Titans’ tallest player at 5 foot 10, will contribute, as well, according to Marks.

“We know there’s a lot of pressure on us because we’re so young, but coach wouldn’t put us out there if we couldn’t play,” Brender said. “We’re just going to practice hard every day and play as hard as we can every game.”

Marks said he’s going to look for his team to create offense off of defense by employing a pressing, trapping style. He said he knows Stevenson will play teams with bigger players, and he hopes the press will prevent the opposition from getting into its halfcourt sets.

The Titans’ coach said he’d look for mismatches on offense, looking to use his team speed to his advantage.

“We’re going to play teams with a couple tall girls, so we’re going to try to draw them away from the basket, and either shoot over or drive by them,” Marks said. “We’re going to play some four-guard sets, so our speed will be important.”

Marks said he sees the MAC Red being tough. Grosse Pointe South is coming off a trip to the Michigan High School Athletic Association state finals, and Macomb Dakota and Romeo should field solid squads, as well.

“We’re going to have girls who are 13 or 14 years old going up against girls who are 18,” Marks said.

“I’m interested to see how we hold up mentally and physically. We just have to come out and play hard every night. We’re just looking to get better as the season goes along.”

Stevenson next hits the court for a matchup with Warren Cousino, set for 7 p.m. Dec. 7 at Cousino.

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