West Bloomfield High sophomore Jade Goodloe tries to find a teammate in a game against Walled Lake Western Dec. 11. The Lakers will be competing in the OAA White this season.

West Bloomfield High sophomore Jade Goodloe tries to find a teammate in a game against Walled Lake Western Dec. 11. The Lakers will be competing in the OAA White this season.

Photo by Donna Agusti


OAA girls basketball teams navigate through conference play

By: Jacob Herbert | C&G Newspapers | Published January 4, 2019

Advertisement
Advertisement

OAKLAND COUNTY — Girls basketball teams from across the Oakland Activities Association have competed in their respective nonconference games. League play, which started Dec. 20, is in its beginning stages.

Following is a division-by-division breakdown of the conference with respect to the teams in the C & G Sports coverage area.

For a breakdown of the Macomb Area Conference, visit candgnews.com/sports.

 

OAA Red
Teams include (last season league record): Clarkston High (12-1), Southfield A&T (12-1), Bloomfield Hills High (7-5), North Farmington (7-5), Rochester Hills Stoney Creek (4-8), Birmingham Groves (13-1 in the White) and Royal Oak High (13-1 in the White).

After sharing the OAA White crown last season, the Falcons and Ravens moved up to new competition this year, while Lake Orion High and Rochester Adams dropped down to the White.

Groves has had a tough start to the season, as the Falcons sat at 2-4 overall at press time. However, coach Jessica Wieseler’s team was coming off a 44-39 victory over Pontiac Notre Dame Prep Dec. 28 at Bloomfield Hills High.

Royal Oak is the other newcomer to this division, and the Ravens couldn’t have asked for a better start to the 2018-19 campaign. Coach Brian Sopata’s team was 6-0 at press time. The Ravens bring five of their top seven scorers back, including Samantha Potter and Jessica Adams.

“We moved up to the Red,” Sopata said. “So now the competition in that league is every night you’ve got to play well to win. There are really good teams and coaches. We bring back what we feel like is a pretty strong team again.”

Clarkston, which made it to the Class A state semifinals last season, along with Southfield A&T, which won a Class A district title, will both look to defend the Red crown they shared a year ago.

North Farmington coach Jeff Simpson believes the division is wide open this year. Simpson is entering his fifth season on the Raiders sideline and believes his team has the potential to be good; however, they have many players stepping into new roles, which will take some time to work out.

Stoney Creek rounds out the division and will look to improve its 4-8 conference record from a year ago. At press time, the Cougars were 4-1, but coach Kellen James said the team is still a work in progress. He is pleased with the team’s pace of play, as they average 60 points per game, but it’s the defense that gives him some concerns.

James also called Southfield A&T the favorite in the Red this season. 

 

OAA White
Teams include (last season league record): West Bloomfield High (7-7), Troy High (4-10), Troy Athens (5-9), Auburn Hills Avondale (11-1 in the Blue), Farmington High (11-1 in the Blue), Rochester Adams (1-11 in the Red) and Lake Orion High (1-11 in the Red).

After tough seasons a year ago, Adams and Lake Orion are looking to bounce back. The competition may be just as tough despite going down a division, though.

OAA Blue co-champions Avondale and Farmington join the White Division after 11-1 conference records last year. The Yellow Jackets were 6-0 overall at press time, and the Falcons were 1-4.

Avondale coach Bob Lees said that while the White Division is stacked from top to bottom, Oxford and Troy are playing like the top teams right now. Lees said West Bloomfield is also capable of challenging anyone for that top spot.

Farmington coach Laura Guzmán said her team is going through a rebuilding year, but her girls are working hard and gaining confidence with every game. Guzmán also said the White Division has a lot of depth and experience, and that her team should be able to surprise some people once they find their rhythm.

Athens, West Bloomfield and Troy all return to the White Division. West Bloomfield is off to a 4-1 start this season.

“I definitely think we’re right at the top as far as talent,” Lakers coach Bert Mosley said. “Now we’re in a position where we just have to go out and play those tough teams and get some wins against them.”

 

OAA Blue
Teams include (last season league record): Oak Park High (2-9), Berkley High (8-4), Pontiac High (3-9), Ferndale High (2-9), Hazel Park High (3-9),  Birmingham Seaholm (2-12 in the White) and Rochester High (2-12 in the White).

Seaholm and Rochester are new to the Blue this year. Chris Manchester is in the midst of his first season on the Maples sideline and said his team is working hard to be considered one of the best teams in the league.

“I believe we can compete with all of the teams, and we should finish first or second in my opinion, but we must play well because our margin of error is very small,” Manchester said.

Manchester said that among other teams, Rochester could be one of the favorites in the Blue this year. Falcons coach Jeff Haney agrees, but only if his team plays up to its potential.

“We are a pretty inexperienced varsity team, with only two seniors,” Haney said. “They are Tori Hawkins and Payton Johnson. We also have two juniors who spent some time on varsity last year, Laura Kucera and Anna Winkler. We are a pretty balanced team, with 10 girls playing a lot of minutes each game.”

The consensus favorite among coaches this year seems to be Berkley. The Bears were 8-4 in the league last year and made it to a Class A district final but fell to Detroit Renaissance. They return four of five starters for the upcoming season and were 4-1 at press time, including 1-0 in conference play with a victory over Ferndale.

Bears coach Kirk Carolan understands the hype behind his team. They have the experience and athleticism to be in the hunt for a title, Carolan said, but they can’t afford to take any team for granted.

Carolan said newcomers Seaholm and Rochester will be two teams favored to win the league. The coach also said Pontiac has been gradually improving. The Phoenix were 3-3 at press time.

“(They have) good coaching and could be a sleeper in the league,” the coach said.

Ferndale, Hazel Park and Oak Park will all look to improve on nine-loss conference seasons last year. As of Jan. 2, Hazel Park and Ferndale were both 0-1 in conference. Oak Park was 1-0 with a 45-40 win over Hazel Park Dec. 20.

Sports Writers Mark Vest and Zachary Manning contributed to this story.

Advertisement
Advertisement