Breslin Bound: 2021-22 Girls Regional Preview

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

March 8, 2022

Breslin is only one more week away. And what a week it's going to be. 

MI Student AidRegional play begins tonight with 128 teams becoming just 32 quarterfinalists by Friday. Check out “Tracking the Tournament” on for every matchup, and see below for some of last week’s most notable District scores and three Regionals in each division to pay special attention to as we move closer to determining this season's champions.

“Breslin Bound” is powered by MI Student Aid.

Week in Review

The countdown of last week’s five most intriguing results: 

1. Fowler 50, Portland St. Patrick 41 The Division 4 reigning champ Eagles (19-3) avenged losses of four and seven (in overtime) to the Shamrocks (21-1) from the regular season. 

2. Portland 45, Lansing Catholic 30 The reigning Division 2 champion Raiders (21-1) made it two straight over the Cougars (19-3) after losing the first meeting in January. 

3. West Bloomfield 46, Bloomfield Hills Marian 35 Both had been building notable momentum over the last few weeks, but the Lakers (20-1) advanced in the final game at Marian (15-7) for legendary coach Mary Cicerone. 

4. Muskegon Western Michigan Christian 61, Hart 47 The Warriors (17-4) won this matchup of league champions, also avenging a 16-point season-opening loss to the Pirates (17-4). 

5. Newaygo 61, Sparta 49 The Lions (21-1), last season’s Division 2 runners-up, won their 15th-straight game by double digits in ending the run for Sparta (19-3).

Regionals at a Glance

These could be among our most competitive brackets. Host sites are in bold:


Byron Center
Muskegon Mona Shores (19-3) vs. Rockford (20-2), Hudsonville (20-2) vs. Byron Center (19-2)

Hudsonville, Mona Shores and Byron Center all were league champions in the Ottawa-Kent Conference, and Rockford was runner-up to Hudsonville in the Red with its only two losses to the reigning Division 1 champion Eagles – who also entered the tournament No. 1 overall in Division 1 MPR. But although Hudsonville has defeated all three of these teams, this hardly will be a breeze. The Eagles defeated Byron Center on Dec. 14 in overtime, 59-56, and that was the Bulldogs’ last loss this season. Mona Shores lost two more times, but avenged both on the way to sharing the O-K Green title with Muskegon Reeths-Puffer.

Alpena (14-9) vs. Midland Dow (21-1), Flint Carman-Ainsworth (18-4) vs. Grand Blanc (17-4)

Dow, Carman-Ainsworth and Grand Blanc finished first, second and third, respectively, in the Saginaw Valley League, while Alpena tied for third in the Big North Conference before putting together a District run that included a win over runner-up Gaylord, a one-point victory over Marquette and a two-pointer over Traverse City Central. Next up for the Wildcats is Dow, a Division 1 semifinalist last season. The Chargers clinched the SVL with a 56-45 win over Carman-Ainsworth on Feb. 22, and surely their rematch is anticipated by most this week. But Grand Blanc has won eight straight since falling back-to-back to Dow and the Cavaliers and also will be tough seeing either or both the second time.

West Bloomfield
Berkley (13-8) vs. Grosse Pointe North (17-5), Farmington Hills Mercy (18-4) vs. West Bloomfield (20-1)

Mercy (No. 4), West Bloomfield (6) and North (11) all finished among the highest in overall Division 1 MPR and won league championships. Mercy also earned a 43-35 win over North back on Dec. 5, the only time any of these teams played each other this regular season – although West Bloomfield advanced with a 46-35 win over Bloomfield Hills Marian, which got past Mercy in overtime three weeks ago. Not only has West Bloomfield not lost since its season opener, it has had only one single-digit game since the start of the calendar year. Don’t look past Berkley, which defeated 2021 Division 1 runner-up Detroit Renaissance by 20 to win their District last week.


Detroit Edison
Detroit Edison (14-3) vs. Redford Westfield Prep (20-1), Carleton Airport (14-8) vs. Romulus (19-2)

Edison and Westfield Prep finished first and second, respectively, in final Division 2 MPR, and this will be their first meeting as both played B teams for Charter School Conference games. Edison’s Ruby Whitehorn is one of four finalists for the Miss Basketball Award and keys a team that lost in-state only to West Bloomfield, 65-62 on Feb. 15. Westfield’s only loss was to Division 3 contender Ypsilanti Arbor Prep, 54-51 on Jan. 13. The other side of the bracket also has plenty of intrigue: Romulus has won 10 straight and is the Western Wayne Athletic Conference champ, while Airport is enjoying its best stretch and avenged two losses to Grosse Ile with a 48-41 District Final win.

Saginaw Swan Valley (18-4) vs. Belding (19-3), Frankenmuth (20-2) vs. Ovid-Elsie (21-1)

Frankenmuth (No. 5), Ovid-Elsie (No. 11) and Swan Valley (No. 13) were among the top ranked in the final Division 2 MPR. All have impressive records and lost almost entirely to opponents that posted similarly high win totals. Frankenmuth defeated Swan Valley twice on the way to winning the Tri-Valley Conference 8, but Swan Valley’s other losses were to teams that won 17 and 18 games. The Eagles fell to Arbor Prep and Grand Blanc, but defeated Midland Dow. Ovid-Elsie lost to Goodrich but has pairs of victories over 16-game winners New Lothrop and Chesaning, and two of Belding’s defeats were to 19-game winner Sparta.

Marshall (16-6) vs. Portland (21-1), Williamston (17-6) vs. Chelsea (19-3)

The Division 2 reigning champion Raiders finished third in final Division 2 MPR, and Chelsea was fourth. The Raiders got by a significant challenger in No. 7 Lansing Catholic with a 45-30 District Final win; the Cougars had handed Portland its only loss. The Raiders also have an early win over Williamston, by 12, and a mid-January 17-point victory over Chelsea. But to see either again they’ll have to get past Marshall, which finished second in the Interstate 8 Athletic Conference with all but one of its losses to teams that won at least 15 games and two of those defeats to Division 1 contender Parma Western (21-1). Williamston is on an eight-game winning streak that helped result in a league title, and Chelsea also won its league and can boast victories over Marshall and 18-win Battle Creek Lakeview and Tecumseh (twice).


Houghton Lake
Lake City (18-4) vs. Oscoda (15-6), McBain (19-3) vs. Sanford Meridian (20-2)

Meridian is enjoying one of its best seasons in recent memory after going 6-9 last year and 0-21 the season before. The Mustangs won 18 straight before falling to Division 1 contender Midland Dow in the regular-season finale, and they edged Jack Pine Conference rival Farwell for the third time to claim the District title. They’ll see McBain, which won a Highland Conference that had four teams reach 15 wins this season – including runner-up Lake City, which defeated McBain in their first meeting. Oscoda also shared its league title, in the North Star League Big Dipper, and is enjoying an 8-2 stretch.

Reese (18-4) vs. St. Charles (18-3), Sandusky (22-0) vs. Cass City (16-4)

Reese, St. Charles and Sandusky are league champions, and Cass City was the runner-up to the Rockets in the Greater Thumb Conference West but with losses by only three and two points to the league title winner – the latter just two weeks ago. Sandusky is enjoying its best of a long run of excellent seasons and first undefeated this late since 2016-17. St. Charles has four victories over teams that won at least 15 games, and Reese has taken 11 of its last 12 with last week’s District title its first since 2015-16.

St. Ignace
Bark River-Harris (15-6) vs. Calumet (19-2), Maple City Glen Lake (22-0) vs. St. Ignace (20-2)

This loaded Regional includes the No. 2 (St. Ignace), No. 3 (Calumet) and No. 8 (Glen Lake) teams in final Division 3 MPR, and all four were league champions. Calumet defeated St. Ignace and Glen Lake on the way to last season’s Division 3 Semifinals and lost this season only to Division 2 Escanaba and Houghton. The Saints have won 17 straight and avenged one of their defeats this winter, to Sault Ste. Marie. Glen Lake last made the Semifinals in 2018, and its only defeat last season was to the Copper Kings. The Lakers haven’t had a game closer than 10 points since Dec. 7. Bark River-Harris has won 10 of its last 11 games and made a nice statement edging Menominee by four in last week’s District Final.


Baraga (20-1) vs. Ontonagon (15-7), Eben Junction Superior Central (14-7) vs. Carney-Nadeau (21-1)

Baraga won its fourth-straight league title, in the Copper Mountain Conference Copper Country division, and lost this season only to Division 2 Houghton. The Vikings finished No. 10 in overall Division 4 MPR and have five and 12-point wins over Ontonagon this winter, although the Gladiators also are league champions after sharing the title in the Porcupine Mountain division. They’ve won 11 of their last 13 games, including avenging three of their defeats. Superior Central had a tough end to the regular season but downed Munising (16-6) to advance to this week and a third matchup with Carney-Nadeau, which won the first two big and has only a two-point loss to Felch North Dickinson keeping it from a perfect record. Carney-Nadeau made the Division 4 Semifinals a year ago.

Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart
Hillman (14-7) vs. Saginaw Nouvel (19-3), Fowler (19-3) vs. Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart (17-4)

The Eagles are the reigning Division 4 champions and finally got past rival Portland St. Patrick in the District Final after losing both regular-season games against the Shamrocks. But things don’t get easier this week – starting with a Sacred Heart team that’s won 11 straight and defeated its Mid-State Activities Conference co-champ Coleman to win last week’s District. On the other side, Hillman was co-champion in the North Star League Little Dipper, and has won 10 of its last 12 games. Nouvel also won a league title, in the Division 3-heavy Tri-Valley Conference 10, and hasn’t lost since opening 1-3 – with one of those early defeats by 16 to Fowler.

Rogers City
Pickford (17-2) vs. Engadine (15-7), Posen (20-1) vs. Harbor Springs Harbor Light Christian (13-7)

Posen is coming off its fifth-straight league and third-straight District championships, with its only loss this season by three to Little Dipper co-champ Hillman. Tonight’s opponent Harbor Light Christian won its first District title since 2017-18 and avenged a loss in clinching last week. Pickford finished No. 7 in overall Division 4 MPR with its only defeats to Division 3 St. Ignace and two wins by 18 over Engadine during the regular season.

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PHOTO West Bloomfield and Bloomfield Hills Marian played in one of the headlining Division 1 District Finals last week. (Photo by Douglas Bargerstock.)

High School 'Hoop Squad' Close to Heart as Hughes Continues Coaching Climb

By Keith Dunlap
Special for

July 11, 2024

Jareica Hughes had a Hall of Fame collegiate basketball career playing at University of Texas-El Paso and has played professionally overseas, but her most prized possession is something she earned playing high school basketball in Michigan. 

Made In Michigan and Michigan Army National Guard logosA standout at now-closed Southfield-Lathrup High School during the early-to-mid 2000s, Hughes proudly displays a signature symbol of Lathrup’s Class A championship team in 2005. 

“I have my state championship ring on me right now,” said Hughes, now an assistant head coach for the women’s basketball program at UTEP. “I wear this ring every single day. Not so much for the basketball aspect. Inside of the ring it says ‘Hoop Squad.’ It’s more the connection I’ve had with those particular young ladies. Friends that I’ve known since I was kid. Every once in a while when we talk, we go back in time.”

Believe it or not, Hughes and her high school teammates next year will have to go back 20 years to commemorate a run to the title that started when they were freshmen. 

It was a gradual build-up to what was the first girls basketball state championship won by a public school in Oakland County. Lathrup, which has since merged with the former Southfield High School to form Southfield Arts & Technology, remained the only public school in Oakland County to win a state girls basketball title until West Bloomfield did so in 2022 and again this past March. 

Lathrup lost in the District round to Bloomfield Hills Marian during Hughes’ freshman year, and then after defeating Marian in a District Final a year later, lost to West Bloomfield in a Regional Final.

When Hughes was a junior, the team got to the state’s final four, but a bad third quarter resulted in a heartbreaking one-point Semifinal loss to eventual champion Lansing Waverly. 

A year later, when Hughes and other core players such as Brittane Russell, Timika Williams, Dhanmite’ Slappey and Briana Whitehead were seniors, they finished the job and won the Class A crown with a 48-36 win over Detroit Martin Luther King in the Final.

However, the signature moment of that title run actually came during the Semifinal round and was produced by Hughes, a playmaking wizard at point guard who made the team go. 

Trailing by three points during the waning seconds of regulation against Grandville and Miss Basketball winner Allyssa DeHaan – a dominant 6-foot-8 center – Hughes drained a tying 3-pointer from the wing that was well beyond the 3-point line. 

Lathrup went on to defeat Grandville in overtime and prevail against King.

Hughes said the year prior, she passed up on taking a potential winning or tying shot in the Semifinal loss against Waverly, and was reminded of that constantly by coaches and teammates. “I just remember in the huddle before that shot, that just kept ringing in my mind,” she said. “That was special. I cried for weeks not being able to get a shot off (the year before) and leaving the tournament like that.”

Growing up in Detroit, Hughes got into basketball mainly because she had five older brothers and an older sister who played the game. In particular, Hughes highlights older brother Gabriel for getting her into the game and taking her from playground to playground.

“I’m from Detroit,” she said. “We played ball all day long. Sunup to sundown. When the light comes on, you had to run your butt into the house.”

Hughes, second from left, begins the championship celebration with her Lathrup teammates at Breslin Center.Hughes played for the Police Athletic League and also at the famed St. Cecilia gym in the summer, developing her game primarily against boys.

“My first team was on a boys team,” she said. “I was a captain on a boys team.” 

The family moved into Lathrup’s district before she began high school. 

Once she helped lead Lathrup to the 2005 championship, she went on to a fine career at UTEP, where she was the Conference USA Player of the Year twice and helped lead the Miners to their first NCAA Tournament appearance.

Hughes still holds school records for career assists (599), steals (277) and minutes played (3,777). On Monday, she was named to Conference USA’s 2024 Hall of Fame class. 

After a brief professional career overseas was derailed by a shoulder injury, Hughes said getting into coaching was a natural fit. 

“I had to make the hard decision, and I knew as a kid I wanted to be around basketball,” she said. “Once I made that decision (to quit), I knew I was going to coach.”

Hughes started coaching in the Detroit area, first serving as an assistant at Southfield A&T from 2016-20 and then at Birmingham Groves for a season. She then served as interim head coach at Colby Community College in Kansas before being named an assistant at UTEP in May 2023, a month after her former coach Keitha Adams returned to lead the program after six seasons at Wichita State.  

While fully immersed in her job with UTEP, Hughes’ high school memories in Michigan certainly aren’t going away anytime soon – especially with the 20th anniversary of Lathrup’s championship coming up. 

“We are still close friends because we all essentially grew up together,” she said. “They are still my friends to this day.”

2024 Made In Michigan

July 10: Nightingale Embarking on 1st Season as College Football Head Coach - Read
June 28:
 E-TC's Witt Bulldozing Path from Small Town to Football's Biggest Stage - Read

PHOTOS (Top) At left, Southfield-Lathrup’s Jareica Hughes drives to the basket against Detroit Martin Luther King during the 2005 Class A Final; at right, Hughes coaches this past season at UTEP. (Middle) Hughes, second from left, begins the championship celebration with her Lathrup teammates at Breslin Center. (UTEP photo courtesy of the UTEP sports information department.)