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North Farmington girls hoops gearing up for postseason

By: Zachary Manning | Farmington Press | Published March 4, 2020

 North Farmington’s Molly Simpson shoots over an Auburn Hills Avondale defender Feb. 25. The Raiders open district play against Livonia Stevenson.

North Farmington’s Molly Simpson shoots over an Auburn Hills Avondale defender Feb. 25. The Raiders open district play against Livonia Stevenson.

Photo by Sean Work

 North Farmington’s Maya Kelly goes up for a shot against Auburn Hills Avondale Feb. 25. At press time, the Raiders were 11-9 overall.

North Farmington’s Maya Kelly goes up for a shot against Auburn Hills Avondale Feb. 25. At press time, the Raiders were 11-9 overall.

Photo by Sean Work

FARMINGTON — With the regular season now in the rearview mirror, girls basketball teams around the state have begun their journey toward a state championship.

Just one season removed from a 2-17 record, North Farmington has put itself in a position to compete for a Division 1 district title.

The Raiders have found more balanced scoring, with the supporting cast playing a pivotal role in the one-year transformation. At press time, North Farmington was 11-9 overall and 6-6 in the Oakland Activities Association White Division.

“I’ve been really pleased,” Raiders coach Jeff Simpson said. “The kids just keep fighting and playing hard, and that’s all I can ask.”

The state tournament started on March 2, with some teams playing in district quarterfinal matchups after press time. For North Farmington, postseason play will begin at 7 p.m. March 4 against Livonia Stevenson in a district semifinal at Farmington High.

On the other side of the bracket, the host and Farmington Hills Mercy played after press time, with the winner advancing to take on Novi High. The district final is set for 6 p.m. March 6 at Farmington.

Simpson considers Mercy the favorite but believes anyone can take the district. Mercy ended the year 17-3 overall and won the Catholic High School League Central Division and league tournament title.

Right now, however, the Raiders’ focus is on finding a way to defeat Stevenson.

“We feel like we’ve had a solid season, and the kids believe in what we’ve been doing,” Simpson said. “Our goal is to win on Wednesday and get a chance to play on Friday for a district championship.”

With four teams in the district having at least 10 wins, Simpson knows the path to a district title won’t be easy. However, he’s confident his group can find success in the postseason.

Having a veteran presence of seven seniors could play a factor, according to Simpson. They’ve been through the grind of postseason basketball, and they know it could be their last time taking the floor for North Farmington.

“That would be a tremendous accomplishment for the girls,” Simpson said of winning a district title. “That’s obviously their goal, and I support them in that 100%. Our goal is to always compete for a district.”