Berkley High girls basketball returns to action

By: Mark Vest | Woodward Talk | Published December 10, 2019

 Berkley High senior Lauryn Thomas shoots a free throw during practice earlier this year. Last season,  Berkley won a share of the Oakland Activities Association Blue Division championship.

Berkley High senior Lauryn Thomas shoots a free throw during practice earlier this year. Last season, Berkley won a share of the Oakland Activities Association Blue Division championship.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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BERKLEY — Coming off a strong season last year, the Berkley High girls basketball team is back to defend its title.

Last season, the Bears went 16-5 overall and won a share of the Oakland Activities Association Blue Division, with an 11-1 mark. Berkley shared the title with Rochester High.

The Bears have six players back from that championship squad.

“I think we have decent skill across the board,” coach Kirk Carolan said. “I feel like the energy across the board is pretty positive. I would say our attitude is generally pretty positive. Our skill, I feel like we have a fairly good balance.”

Carolan will be counting on seniors Charlesa Rice, Lauryn Thomas and Emma Hamilton.

“Two of the girls have been regular starters, Rice and Thomas, and Hamilton has been a big contributor coming in the past couple years,” Carolan said. “All three, this will be their third year playing varsity basketball. We’re (going to) need them to kind (of) bring their A-game.”

The Bears will also be leaning on the lessons and experiences learned last season.

“I think we won our last three games by (a) total of eight points (last season),” Carolan said. “All three we had to win to stay in the running for that championship. So, that experience alone, I think — playing some tight games where we were actually down at times and battling back — has to be valuable.”

Carolan said Berkley is “trying to build a program,” but there aren’t quite as many players in the program as he would like to have. He noted there are 24 girls in the whole program, down from 28 last year.

“I think If you talk to other coaches, you’ll see, probably across the board, a lot (of) schools are kind (of) seeing a little bit of a fall off with their numbers, in particular girls basketball.”

Despite where the numbers are at, Carolan said, “I feel like we’re really going the right direction.”

What can help Berkley keep it that way is having a group of girls who embrace the notion of suiting up for the Bears.

“We want kids to kind (of) take on that true-team identity — hang out, be together,” Carolan said. “Our theme this year is … the idea of playing for the ‘paw,’ playing for Berkley. We want kids to try to buy into that.”

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