Southfield A&T girls hoops has state championship aspirations

By: Zachary Manning | Southfield Sun | Published December 5, 2018

 Southfield A&T senior Alexis Johnson tries to get around a defender at a recent practice. Johnson is committed to Marshall University.

Southfield A&T senior Alexis Johnson tries to get around a defender at a recent practice. Johnson is committed to Marshall University.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

 Senior Soleil Barnes dribbles into the paint and looks for an open player. The Warriors open the season at 7 p.m. Dec. 6 at home against Ann Arbor Huron.

Senior Soleil Barnes dribbles into the paint and looks for an open player. The Warriors open the season at 7 p.m. Dec. 6 at home against Ann Arbor Huron.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

SOUTHFIELD — Anything less than being one of the top teams in the state is something the Southfield A&T girls basketball team is not willing to accept.

After being co-champions in the Oakland Activities Association Red Division and making a run to the regional semifinals last year, the Warriors are expecting even more out of themselves this season.

They want to win another OAA Red title and make a run to Calvin College to compete for a state championship.

“We’re actually pretty excited about the group of kids that we have,” Warriors coach Michele Marshall said. “We have some kids who love playing with each other. We have pretty good talent on this team this year, so our expectations are that we think we’re going to do really well. Obviously, we want to compete in the league and try to be one of the best teams in the state, and we think that we actually have the ability to do so.”

The Warriors won’t be lacking in the talent department, as they return seven players from a season ago and add Soleil Barnes, a University of Toledo commit who transferred from Cleveland, Ohio. Alongside Barnes, A&T will be led by Marshall University commit Alexis Johnson and junior Cheyenne McEvans, who has multiple Division 1 offers.

With the amount of talent the Warriors have, they know it can be easy to get complacent and play down to the level of the opponent. Marshall and the captains want to make sure they are staying focused on the goals they have set and are working hard every day.

“Every year we play good competition, and we always came in with the mindset that we’re going to win, and we have gotten beaten that way, so I feel like just experience and our past losses have helped us gain confidence and just become more humble in our game,” Johnson said.

To reach their lofty goals, the Warriors would like to improve defensively, but Marshall believes her team is solid in a few aspects of the game, including athleticism, shooting and leadership.

For the program, winning another league title and making a run toward a state championship would be special. It’s something they have dreamed of doing and would bring a lot of joy to the team and the community.

“I would be speechless,” Barnes said. “I wouldn’t find the words to say. Just for me transferring and to be able to be a part of this team and help them out, that would be a big accomplishment on my part.”

The Warriors open the season at 7 p.m. Dec. 6 at home against Ann Arbor Huron.