Warren Lincoln girls hoops looks to take division by storm this season

By: Mark Vest | Warren Weekly | Published January 18, 2012

 Warren Lincoln senior Brittany Streetman attempts to defend teammate Brittany Whitaker during a recent practice. Streetman is a four-year starter for the Abes, and she is attempting to lead her team to the top spot in the MAC Gold.

Warren Lincoln senior Brittany Streetman attempts to defend teammate Brittany Whitaker during a recent practice. Streetman is a four-year starter for the Abes, and she is attempting to lead her team to the top spot in the MAC Gold.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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When consideration is given as to which teams are most likely to contend for the Macomb Area Conference Gold Division title in girls varsity basketball this season, the two that seem to be getting most of the attention are Sterling Heights High and Macomb L’Anse Creuse North.

Given that the Stallions and the Crusaders were the top two teams in the division last season, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that they are the ones stealing the spotlight in the 2011-2012 campaign. But the team most likely to sneak in under the radar just may be Warren Lincoln.

As of press time, the Abes were off to a 5-2 overall start to the season, including a 1-1 mark in the MAC Gold. The biggest reason for Lincoln’s strong start may be the fact that every one of its starting players is a senior.

One of those seniors is Brittany Streetman, who, through press time, is averaging more than 20 points-per-game. The versatile player has the ability to make life difficult for Lincoln’s opponents’ in a variety of ways.

“I believe she is one of the top players in the county this year,” Lincoln coach Lyle Turner said. “She’s a fourth-year starter. She had two triple doubles this year already. She’s an all-around player.

“She can play from any position,” the coach continued. “She’s got double figures in rebounds, steals (and) assists so far this year. She leads my team, and the girls respect her.”

Perhaps the most significant benefit of having a team with plenty of senior representation is the leadership that can come as a result. Turner has discovered that he is not the only one who is playing the role of coach this season.

“I’m trying to get the younger girls more on board,” he said. “I got Brittany now who’s going (and) taking the girls on the side, saying, ‘OK, here’s what you need to do to improve.’

“She’s now becoming a leader in practice, helping the younger girls get along and understand the offense. I’ve got girls going down to JV practices, helping with the JV team. As long as my senior leaders keep helping, I think we should be growing more and more throughout the year.”

Streetman is not the only weapon Lincoln has at its disposal. Gina Sarbinowski, Chardonney Willoughby, Starlina Moss and Jacquelyn Brown represent the Abes’ other four starters. According to Turner, each will have a role to play as Lincoln attempts to fight its way through the MAC Gold this season.

“(Brown’s) my five-foot-three inch center,” he said. “She boxes out well, works hard inside (and) gets a lot of steals, too. Gina Sarbinowski is my other forward. Her and Jacqi (Brown) work like a clock. A lot of teams, you look at their big girls inside, (and) the last two years they haven’t scored a lot because those two work so well together.

“Starlina Moss (is) playing her best that I’ve seen the last three years, and then Chardonney Willoughby, they’re key on my defense,” the coach continued. “Jacqi and Brittany are my scorers, but the other three are my defensive stars. They do all the dirty work for the rest of the team.”

Aside from the five veteran starters Turner is able to pencil into his starting lineup, Lincoln does have its share of inexperienced players. In fact, three members who suit up for the Abes had never played basketball on the high school level before.

A well-rested team is typically a better one, and Turner is hoping to get some contributions from his bench when they are called upon to help carry the workload.

“I’ve got 14 girls on my team, but I’ve got a lot of younger underclassmen who haven’t played varsity,” he said. “By the end of the year, if I keep working with my girls, I should have a pretty strong bench. If I can keep developing my bench, we’ll be really tough by the end of the season.”

Lincoln’s strong start to the season seems to have raised expectations. Last season, the Abes finished at 11-11 overall, and went 5-5 in league play. Entering this season, the goal was just to get above the .500 mark.

But Turner’s players now believe bigger and better things may be in store.

“Our goal is to win the MAC Gold,” he said. “They think they can. Sterling Heights is a team that’s coming back (after) winning the MAC Gold last year. (They’re) led with a bunch of good girls. I think we can compete with every team. I’ve got a good, strong group of girls this year. The dedication’s there. They want to win.”

Streetman echoed the sentiments of her coach.

“I think we have a chance,” she said. “We’re a strong team. I want to go out on a good note.”

The Abes will be in action next at 7 p.m. Jan. 20, as they travel to Center Line High to take on the Panthers.
 

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