Three schools with two objectives with one thing in common.
Three schools: Skyline, Huron and Pioneer girls’ basketball teams.
Two goals: Win the SEC Red Division and the Districts.
One thing in common: If they could start the new season today, they would all gladly roll the balls out there without hesitation. I doubt they would skip the summer – after the long winter the warm weather can’t get here soon enough – but there seems to be some unfinished business in this town with girls’ basketball.
Skyline Coach Johnnie Horne summed it up pretty well for all three schools even though he was referring to his Eagles at the time: “We are young and hungry to learn and get better, and we can’t wait for next season,” he said following his team’s loss to Dexter in last Wednesday’s District semifinal.
The Eagles had a roster devoid of seniors so Horne had a tough task ahead of him this season. But he quickly realized there was talent – the team was just going to have to pay the price to learn the ropes. Let’s face it, experience is expensive.
Lauren Courtright spent her freshman season on varsity and showed signs of being a special player. You can be sure when she steps on the court next year she won’t only be ready for the speed of the game but will probably be the one setting the pace
And Courtright was one of six freshman on Skyline’s varsity team.
Sophomore sisters Renee Faulkner and Janee Faulkner along with guards Cammi Tirico and Alaina Heetderks should all be ready to go next season with a year of experience to lean on.
Pioneer was another team that made huge strides during the season and should be a solid team next year. In a District opener last week, junior Asaria Turman showed how dominate she can be when she led the Pioneers to a win over Romulus with 23 points.
Turman vowed to work harder than ever in the off-season to raise her game even higher and that could be bad news for the rest of the SEC Red.
Another player to watch is Pioneer’s Felicia Stewart. Only a freshman, she flashed some serious skills this past season and if she too dedicates herself the Pioneers could offer up a very dangerous offensive pairing.
Juniors Whitney Gallagher, Nina Makhlouf and Ilena Garrett also should be back next year for Coach Tyrone Hicks and the Pioneers.
The team to beat next year will be the same team to beat this past season in the River Rats. Huron does lose a few seniors including talented Shamim Wambere, who provided plenty of points, rebounds and experience. Michaela Glenn and Dani DiGiovine both had solid senior seasons and will be missed next year.
Huron’s strength was its depth and that shouldn’t change next season. In fact, all the playing time coach Waleed Samaha handed out this year should only help next year along with Eden Johnson and Afua Nkansah-Andoh, who will be the seniors on the club.
Huron had freshman Kaiden Glenn on the roster along with four talented sophomores in Jadyn Smith, Siena Smith, Reeya Patel and Alexa Lyon. The River Rats went 18-2 this past season and that’s valuable experience for a solid group returning.
And that loss to Dexter in the opening round of Districts will only fuel Huron’s motivation to work hard and get better. If they are looking for a slogan, how about “no stone unturned.” That way they won’t leave anything to chance next season.
Back over to Skyline to wrap up the state of girls’ basketball in Ann Arbor.
“At the end of the day I told the girls that we have to learn how to close teams out, and play consistently for 32 minutes,” Horne said. “We will be back and we will be better, no doubt about it.”
Again, Horne was referring to his Eagles but could have been referring to all three local teams.