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South girls hoops contends for league title, shows no signs of slowing down

By: Sue Teggart | Grosse Pointe Times | Published February 3, 2011

 Grosse Pointe South junior Caitlin Moore takes a shot during a Jan. 20 practice. Moore is a key cog in the Blue Devils’ offense at point guard, helping with an average of 14 points per game.Photo by David Schreiber

Grosse Pointe South junior Caitlin Moore takes a shot during a Jan. 20 practice. Moore is a key cog in the Blue Devils’ offense at point guard, helping with an average of 14 points per game.Photo by David Schreiber

GROSSE POINTE FARMS — Maybe they had to take a fall before rising to the top.

After three straight early season losses — to Dearborn Divine Child, Grosse Pointe North and Bloomfield Hills Marian, respectively — the Blue Devils girls basketball team was looking for a positive streak just in time for league play.

Grosse Pointe South bounced back by going on a seven-game winning streak at press time, posting a 6-0 record in the Macomb Area Conference White Division, 9-3 overall.

“At that time, in the beginning of the season, I think mentally we weren’t really prepared for the games,” lone senior and captain Aisha Rodney said. “I just think that we didn’t click at that point in the season.”

“After three losses, the girls got it going and started competing more,” coach Kevin Richards said. “Now we’re on a hot streak, which is what I expected from the beginning.”

Rodney said the rough start actually served as an impetus heading into league play.

“I think the losses that we had really propelled us forward,” Rodney said. “Now, we’re getting better looks on offense and really stepping up on defense.”

It took some time, but the Blue Devils are playing with the confidence it takes to contend for a division championship.

“It took a little bit longer, but we’re making better decisions with the basketball and working harder,” Richards said.

Those harder practices translated into some wins and gave the Blue Devils encouragement. Richards said the girls are gaining confidence every day and are getting everyone involved in the squad’s run of victories.

Rodney, who averages 16 points per game, shot 13-for-13 from the floor against Warren Cousino Jan. 21 and scored a season-high 33 points. She’s not alone in her efforts, as junior Caitlin Moore is running the offense from the point guard position and averaging 14 points a game.

“(Aisha) is getting a lot of people involved,” Richards said. “She’s very unselfish.”
Sophomore Claire DeBoer’s defensive tenacity and ability to run the offense has paid huge dividends for the Blue Devils.

“She is a nightmare to defend because she is so active, and she rebounds the ball. She’s relentless,” Richards said.

At this point, the Blue Devils show no signs of slowing down. Richards hopes that drive will power his squad into the second half of league play and beyond.

“We want to make a run in the state playoffs,” said Richards, whose squad was eliminated from last year’s tournament by GPN in a Class A district final. “We lost to Grosse Pointe North earlier in the year, and we’re going to have to go through them. Our goal is, with the way we’re playing right now, to be playing in the quarterfinal.”