LBI Michigan Mega Scrimmage Recap
Grosse Pointe, MI - The first big scrimmage of the preseason took place on Saturday at Grosse Pointe South High School. Despite a few cancellations of teams due to the snowy conditions, many teams came ready to compete at a high level to make the Michigan Mega Scrimmage a fun day of hoops. College coaches from Michigan, Central Michigan, DePaul, Wayne St, Grand Valley St, Davenport, UMass Lowell, St. Johns, Kent St, and Western Michigan was in attendance. Game after game, teams from all over the state gave a sneak peek at what we have to look forward to during the regular season. There were a few teams that stood out amongst the rest.
Toledo Rodgers (Toledo, OH)
The Rams were arguably the best team at the Michigan Mega Scrimmage. They possess several significant matchup problems for any team. Post players Keaja Peace and Tanaya Beacham were tough to handle with both girls scoring at will, knocking down deep jumpers and dominating in the paint. Freshman Zia Cooke is one of the best players in the country and she proved it by doing anything that she wanted to on the court! Whether it was setting up her teammates in transition for easy layups or breaking down her defender for easy scores, this “diaper dandy” was extremely exciting to watch. Saturday, December 12 will be a big day in Michigan when Toledo Rogers faces top ranked Country Day at the Best of Michigan Holiday Classic.
Southfield Lathrup (Class A)
Southfield Lathrup played Class C favorite Arbor Prep and looked very impressive. There is no doubt Lathrup will be a consensus top three team in Michigan, regardless of class. No one should be surprised if they win the Class A championship. That being said, in order to reach their championship goal, head coach Michelle Marshall will need to iron out some wrinkles and find more depth from her bench. A tough December schedule and brutal league schedule poses them as a possible 2 or 3 loss team by the time playoffs start. Minnesota commit Tayie Bello was the scrimmages most dominant post. The Charger’s senior point guard, Antoinette Miller was solid at scoring and setting the table for her backcourt mate Deja Church to be very effective on the offensive end.
Detroit Martin Luther King (Class A)
Detroit King didn’t have the length and size that we have grown accustom to seeing them with, but the Crusaders do have some dynamic guards that perform on both ends of the court. Senior Micaela Kelly headed the way by being a strong leader on the defensive end in King’s pressure defense approach. The Crusaders were relentless in their defensive efforts which created turnover opportunities and allowed them to use their greatest strength; getting their guards in the open floor to create shots off the dribble. There were many occasions that they were able to get the ball up the court with 3 passes and score. Sophomore Erica Whitley-Jackson and Freshman Del’Janae Williams contributed significantly on Saturday afternoon and will be two of the best players in the PSL.
Detroit Country Day (Class B)
The defending Class B champs hit the floor with energy and execution. Led by junior Destiny Pitts, the Yellow Jackets are a definite offensive threat with five legitimate weapons on the floor at any given time. Whether hitting a long range three or attacking the basket, Pitts can put the ball in the hoop. Floor general, sophomore Kaela Webb, handled the ball well and commanded the game’s tempo while knocking down the three. Sophomore Maxine Moore returns this season stronger, leaner and very impressive as she battles in the paint, attacks the basket, and knocks down the three. 6’4” junior Tylar Bennett controls the middle by snatching boards on both ends of the floor and is an undisputed dominant shot blocker. The depth of Country Day’s roster will bode well for them as they are battle tested throughout the regular season. Look for the very impressive play of freshman guard Jasmine Powell and classmate Adrienne Folks, to make significant contributions as the Yellow Jackets contend for a back to back championship season.
Detroit Renaissance (Class A)
Renaissance looked ahead of schedule on Saturday. They were extremely solid on the defensive end of the floor, applying a full court pressure defense that forced numerous turnovers and produced easy transition buckets. Penn State commit Siyeh Frazier was very impressive and showed that she is the team’s leader. The senior guard has improved her mid-range game to compliment her existing skills to get to the basket and score with contact. Senior Brittany Hill is a “lights out” shooter that will give the Phoenix another dimension they didn’t have last season. The way Renaissance played at the Mega Scrimmage; it is likely that this team will continue to get better throughout the regular season. They will definitely be in the top three of the Detroit PSL and could possibly walk away with a league championship.
Grand Rapids Catholic Central (Class B)
Grand Rapids Catholic Central will be one of the favorites in the Class B race and a team you will want to watch. Juniors Kyra Bussell and Sophia Karasinski led the way for the Cougars, and they looked very impressive when they battled against Detroit Cass Tech and powerhouse Toledo Rogers. Myka Cromwell had a very effective day by attacking the basket off the dribble and rebounding on the defensive end. Freshmen Mariah Barnes is a great addition to the team. She showed her ability to run the point position well and play solid in your face defense.
Dearborn Heights Robichaud (Class B)
Robichaud will have to adjust to a new a group of players due to the graduation of three starters from last year’s team and the absence of Kamaria McDaniel. The Bulldogs do have some solid pieces, starting with junior point guard Kayla Brown, who was very good on both ends of the floor all day long. She shot especially well from three-point range while also demonstrating that she can get to the basket by scoring during several isolations. Newcomer Monae Palmer scored effectively from mid-range and also had strong baseline finishes. Post Nicole Buffington was the team’s top rebounder as well as the most vocal player on the court. The Bulldogs had their moments of challenge in each of their three games, as many first time varsity players adjusted to different rolls. However, the Bulldogs were able to recover quickly and showed great promise for the makings of a solid season. If Brown and Palmer can continue to be effective on both ends of the court, once they are joined by the talented McDaniel, they will definitely be a trio to watch out for.
Ypsilanti Arbor Preparatory (Class C)
The Arbor Prep Gators are a very quick and competitive team. Anchored by Wayne State Commit senior Natasjja Chambers, the Gators are playing with a chip on their shoulder and a goal to make it back to the Breslin. Chambers is joined by a very solid supporting cast of juniors that are certain to make some noise this season. Perhaps the most impressive thing about this team was their tenacious defensive play and the ability to simply “get after” every opponent. The Gators battled Class A favorite Southfield Lathrup in an up tempo and exciting matchup that was all we expected it to be. The biggest surprise for the Gators was the performance of 6’0” junior wing, Kayla Knight, who has really improved her perimeter skill set. Knight made numerous outside shots by breaking down the defense and causing the Gators dribble drive offense to be even more effective.
Grosse Pointe South (Class A)
After a strong five year run in the class A division, Grosse Pointe South finds themselves rebuilding and striving to dominate their conference. Lead by 6’2” senior Benna Ames, the Blue Devils are not as quick as they used to be, but are still just as precise in their execution of Coach Kevin Richards’ offense. Ames provides a post presence for her team, altering shots and rebounding on both ends. Look for GP-South to be a strong shooting team and contender in the Macomb Area Conference.
Grosse Point Liggett (Class C)
Liggett was a very scrappy group in the two games that we watched them play. Junior point guard Nia Ahart looked more comfortable shooting the perimeter shot as she made four first half triples against Utica Ford. Kendal Mechanico is also a good perimeter player that has a solid offensive skill set and plays tough on the defensive end. This isn’t the same Liggett team that could light up the scoreboard last season, but coach Omar Ahart will have them ready by the start of the season to be a very competitive team.
Wayne Memorial (Class A)
Wayne Memorial showed huge offensive improvements on Saturday as sophomore guard Camree’ Clegg and freshman Jenae Terry commanded the court. Terry had a great day for the Zebras. She was not shy and never backed down from the competition. Janae shot well from the perimeter and didn’t turn the ball over as much as you might think a freshman would. Junior Amare Chikwe ran the floor well and provided an inside presence. The Zebras has made a dramatic turn-around this season and should be a solid team in the KLAA; facing teams like Canton, Churchill, John Glenn, Plymouth and Salem.