Warriors back on track after starting the winter with four losses

By: Mike Moore | Southfield Sun | Published January 17, 2018

 Southfield A&T’s Cheyenne McEvans holds the ball during a recent practice while being guarded by Dawsony Borum, center, and Essence Pickett. After an 0-4 start, the Warriors were 6-5 overall at press time.

Southfield A&T’s Cheyenne McEvans holds the ball during a recent practice while being guarded by Dawsony Borum, center, and Essence Pickett. After an 0-4 start, the Warriors were 6-5 overall at press time.

Photo by Donna Agusti

SOUTHFIELD — There were a number of ways to describe the start of the season, and when she considered one of them, Michele Marshall couldn’t help but laugh.

The Southfield A&T girls basketball coach has been on the high school sideline for decades, but the introduction to the 2017-18 season was, by far, “the worst ever for me,” she said, forcing the aforementioned laugh.

“It really was,” she added. “But the turnaround since then has been one of the best I’ve ever had too.”

After reaching the Breslin Center in last year’s state semifinal, the Warriors returned most of their roster and brought back some serious expectations.

And then, in the first four games of the season, well, there came the first four losses of the season.

“Injuries really hurt us,” Marshall said. “And then we had an incident in one game where we lost another one of our top players due to suspension. We just couldn’t find a way to get a win.”

At 0-4, Marshall and her girls were down, but far from out. Then, on Dec. 19, the entire roster was back together for the first time.

The Warriors snuck past Rochester Adams 46-39 and haven’t looked back since.

“We took some lumps, but kept battling,” Marshall said.

Since the 0-4 start, Southfield A&T has won six out of seven games and was 6-5 at press time.

“The chemistry is back,” Marshall said. “The defense has always been strong, and on the offensive side of things we’re shooting the ball very well.”

The turnaround for Southfield A&T also includes a 4-1 record in the Oakland Activities Association Red Division.

Only Clarkston High (3-0) was without a loss in the Red at press time, and no other team had fewer than two losses.

“Our depth, the depth we knew we had, is really becoming a factor,” Marshall said. “We have four starters who are scoring in double figures, so everybody is chipping in. … We knew it was a bad start, but we knew if we worked we’d get better. It was tough, but we’re getting there.”

With more than half the season complete, Marshall said there’s no long-range focus right now, even if this is a team with aspirations of getting back to, and beyond, the point that last year’s team reached.

“I like this team. It’s the team I thought we could be early on,” she said. “Maybe it’s taken longer than I predicted, but they are playing well together. The kids understand what they have to do. I’m excited right now with what this could turn into. We’re headed in the right direction.”