Avondale girls basketball team rolling right along

By: Mike Moore | C&G Newspapers | Published January 18, 2011

 Senior Courtney Williams said Avondale is the team to beat in the OAA White. So far, so good for the Yellow Jackets, who were 5-0 in league play at press time.

Senior Courtney Williams said Avondale is the team to beat in the OAA White. So far, so good for the Yellow Jackets, who were 5-0 in league play at press time.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

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ROCHESTER HILLS — Dave Muczynski has never believed in moral victories.

He understands the concepts surrounding them and the reason some see fit to lay claim to their importance, but to him, a loss rarely gives way to the notion of celebration.

With all that said, however, the Auburn Hills Avondale girls basketball coach can’t help but have a bit of appreciation for the season-opening setback his squad endured, and more importantly, the lessons taken from it.

“Since halftime of that first game, the girls have played some exceptional basketball,” Muczynski said last week. “I’m not going to call that a good loss, but it opened our eyes to a lot of things we have since corrected.”

The night was Nov. 30, and Avondale was simply overmatched by Watterford Kettering in the first half, trailing 34-19 by the time the teams headed to their respective locker rooms.

From that point on, things have been different. Avondale rebounded nicely in the second half, eventually pulling within two points before falling 52-46 to a team that was still unbeaten at press time.

The Yellow Jackets haven’t lost since, either.

“We had some things put in perspective by that game,” senior guard Andrea Strauss said before a Jan. 14 win at Rochester Adams. “We saw what happened when we make certain mistakes, and we knew exactly what had to get better.”

“A lot of small things fixed, and a bit of a difference in attitude,” Muczynski added. “But they’ve responded very well.”

At press time, the girls were riding an eight-game winning streak, sitting at 8-1 overall and atop the Oakland Activities Association White Division standings with a 5-0 mark.

Few can say they are surprised with the success thus far, given the fact last year’s team was 13-8 overall, shared the White Division crown with Troy Athens and Rochester Hills Stoney Creek, and then saw both those teams depart to the OAA Red before the start of this season.

The Yellow Jackets also brought back three starters and a handful of players who saw significant minutes in 2009-10, and thanks in large part to that first loss, have maintained the same attitude that carried them to the crown last year.

“We’re the target in this league right now, and we know it,” senior guard Courtney Williams said. “It’s tough knowing teams are gunning for you, but we enjoy it. It keeps us motivated and keeps us focused. We know, as we saw (against Kettering), we’re not good enough to just take the floor and expect to win.”

Muczynski admitted he expected the success that’s transpired so far, for a few different reasons. One of the biggest, though, has been the way he’s seen his girls play as a cohesive unit.

“There’s no superstar on this team,” he said. “There’s no egos or anything like that. They are playing as one group, with winning as the only objective.”

To Muczynski’s point, Hannah Little is the team’s leading scorer with roughly 13 points per game. Avondale scores nearly 60 per contest.

“Teams that rely on just one girl to carry them can be dangerous, but if you stop that one player, then what?” Williams said. “With us, you can stop one girl because somebody else is going to step up.”

Still, with all the expectations entering the season, and all the winning that’s ensued, Muczynski maintains that he and his girls feel little, if any, pressure.

“I’ve always felt that pressure is self imposed,” he said. “We go into every game looking to have fun and appreciating the opportunities we’ve been blessed with. When you buy into that mindset, the pressure is gone and winning will take care of itself. … We’re going to keep aiming high, and we expect a lot out of ourselves, but when we do what we can, I feel like we can compete with anyone out there.”

Including Kettering, which if certain things fall into place could be Avondale’s opponent in a Division 1 district final.
 

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