By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Many of the girls basketball teams impressing us most this season are those we're used to watching march to the Breslin Center every winter.
But others are popping back on the radar in a big way for the first time in a few years – and this week's list includes a few of those as well.
The following 10 teams were among those most impressive while school was out these last few weeks. Records and scores are based on those submitted to the MHSAA.com Score Center.
1. Muskegon Oakridge (11-0) – Oakridge now has won 24 straight regular-season games including a pair at this season’s Oakridge Holiday Tournament, an event it did not win a year ago.
2. Southfield-Lathrup (7-0) – The Chargers have been expected to dominate, and they’re making good on that forecast. Their only close game was still a 51-45 win over a solid Ypsilanti Arbor team.
3. Flat Rock (8-0) – The Rams showed signs of this ability going 16-7 last season. A 47-44 win over a strong Eaton Rapids team is among those most impressive so far this winter.
4. Center Line (6-0) – After opening last season 3-0 and finishing with just four wins total, the Panthers have won all of their games this winter by at least 20 points.
5. Goodrich (7-1) – On one hand, Goodrich lost for the first time since the end of the 2010-11 season. On the other, that loss came to Twinsburg, Ohio, meaning the Martians still haven’t lost to an in-state team in more than a year – and beat Class A power East Lansing the day before that defeat.
6. Grosse Pointe South (6-0) – It’s been hard not to mention this reigning Class A Semifinalist yet. And 15 and eight-point wins on back-to-back days over Livonia Ladywood and Brownstown Woodhaven made it even tougher to wait any longer.
7. Freeland (6-0) – Michigan State recruit Tori Jankoska and her teammates are favorites to make another run at Class B after reaching the Semifinals last season. A one-point win over Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett should build some momentum for that effort.
8. Calumet (6-1) – This volleyball school is showing some skills on the basketball court as well and is already halfway to last season’s win total. On Thursday, Calumet handed L’Anse its first loss this winter.
9. Saginaw Valley Lutheran (5-1) – The Chargers have been elite for a few seasons now, and can add a 69-40 win over much larger Saginaw Arthur Hill to recent accomplishments. Their only loss this season was to Freeland on opening night.
10. Saginaw Nouvel (6-1) – The frequently-powerful Panthers are off to another nice run. They bounced back from that lone loss, to undefeated Reese, with a 46-44 win over Dearborn Divine Child.
PHOTO: Grosse Pointe South's Aliezza Brown looks for an open teammate while being guarded by multiple Brownstown-Woodhaven players during a win at the end of December. (Click to see more at HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)