Chargers set to play quicker, up-tempo game with eyes on repeat in OAA

By: Mike Moore | Southfield Sun | Published December 7, 2011

 Lathrup’s Christina Green goes up for a layup during a practice at the 
school last week. The Chargers expect to run with an up-tempo offense this winter.

Lathrup’s Christina Green goes up for a layup during a practice at the school last week. The Chargers expect to run with an up-tempo offense this winter.

Photo by Donna Agusti

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LATHRUP VILLAGE — This was intensity, defined in every way.

Three-on-three play with take backs.

No out of bounds lines, no foul calls, just wholehearted intensity from one whistle to the next.

With a quick glance, it may even be confused with chaos, and rightfully so.

But this is exactly what Michele Jackson wants.

This is exactly the way her team needs to play.

“We’re very talented, just different than usual,” the Lathrup Village Southfield-Lathrup girls basketball coach said last week. “I’m real excited about this group. We’ve had some advantages with our size in the past that we don’t have this year, so we’re going to play a different brand of basketball. It’s going to be quicker, faster and with more mobility. We’re going to score a lot of points, and the plan is to win a lot of games.”

“We’re ready, and we’re going to wear some teams down,” said senior guard Michele Hayes. “We’re smaller than usual, but we’re faster. We’re going to get up and down the court and have people trying to chase us.”

The new style of play isn’t necessarily by choice as much as it is need.

The Chargers were simply dominant last year, rolling to a 19-4 overall record and district title. They also ran the table in the Oakland Activities Association Red Division, finishing 16-0 and five game ahead of second-place Clarkston High.

Then came an offseason that saw four starters, two at 6 feet tall, and the team’s first player off the bench graduate. All five girls — Ginnesica Lawler at Texas Southern, Amber McCann at Iowa Western, Andrea Collins at Ohio Valley, Kyra Littlejohn at St. Mary’s in Texas and Tierra Williams at Chicago State — are now playing college basketball,

“It’s pretty cool to be able to say something like that, but it also changed the whole dynamic of our team,” Jackson said with a laugh.

While Lathrup may be smaller on the court, there is certainly no drop in experience.

Eight girls, including six seniors, are back in the mix this winter and most have played substantial minutes over the past few years.

“We’ve got five kids with three or more years of varsity experience,” said Jackson, whose squad has played just once so far, a game against Troy High after press time.

“They’re all like starters; they played a lot. They just didn’t hear their names called at the start of the game.”

With Hayes running the point, Jackson expects the offense to go at full tilt.

Speaking during a Nov. 30 practice at the school, and taking a much-needed break from the team drill, Hayes said simply, “We’re ready. We can’t wait to get this going.”

Fellow senior Amber McCullough was equally bold.

“The goal is to repeat,” she boasted. “Sure, we lost some people, but that doesn’t mean we have to lose. This is a good group. We may surprise some teams with what we can do.”

And if not, they’ll at least wear them down trying.
 

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