Breslin Bound: 2023-24 Girls Report Post-Break

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

January 8, 2024

A new year can allow for a fresh start as teams come back from holiday break.

MI Student Aid

But several of Michigan’s best girls basketball teams will want to remember what they accomplished during this season’s first month – and especially over these last few weeks.

Most have played anywhere from a quarter to nearly half of their regular-season schedules, and 43 teams enter this week still undefeated. Another 82 have only one loss.

A handful are highlighted below as “Breslin Bound” also begins again, powered by MI Student Aid and based on results and schedules posted for each school at

Week in Review

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

1. Detroit Edison 48, Parma Western 45 (OT) Edison (7-0) has played only three in-state opponents so far, and its scares over the last few seasons from Michigan teams have been fewer still, but the Pioneers handled this one to win the Parma Western Holiday Tournament over the host Panthers (4-5). 

2. Goodrich 46, Hemlock 32 The Martians (8-0) haven’t lost since reaching the Division 2 Semifinals last season, and over the last month they’ve followed up avenging that Breslin loss to Frankenmuth on Dec. 19 with this win Dec. 29 over the reigning Division 3 champ Huskies (5-2) at the Michigan Hardwood Classic at Romulus.

3. Rockford 71, Grand Rapids West Catholic 57 This win to open the Cornerstone University Holiday Tournament Gold bracket over another 2023 Division 2 semifinalist in the Falcons (6-1) was sandwiched between wins over Frankenmuth and then Chelsea in the Gold championship game.  

4. Niles Brandywine 45, Blissfield 43 The Bobcats (5-0) handed reigning Division 3 runner-up Blissfield (5-1) its lone loss of the season, also at the Hardwood Classic. 

5. Ypsilanti Arbor Prep 51, Lowell 46 Arbor Prep (7-2) finished a successful holiday break run by handing Lowell (6-1) its lone loss, at the West Michigan Hoop Summit at Aquinas College.

Marysville’s Avery Wolters passes to a teammate on the perimeter during her team’s loss to Davison at the Skippers Holiday Showcase on Dec. 28 at St. Clair County Community College.

Watch List

With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each division making sparks:


Canton (7-0) Canton finished 11-13 a year ago, but that record may not have told the entire story; the team plays in the Kensington Lakes Activities Association West and finished sixth behind five teams that all won at least 14 games. Six losses by six or fewer points seem to be going the other way, as Canton has close wins over Macomb Dakota and Bloomfield Hills, the former Dakota’s only loss. A 49-41 win over Plymouth on Friday sent the Wildcats to 7-2.

Rockford (7-0) The reigning Division 1 champion has been nothing short of excellent during its encore with wins over Frankenmuth, West Catholic and Chelsea – see above – plus notable victories of more than 20 points over Byron Center and Muskegon. The West Catholic victory avenged last season’s lone loss, as Rockford now has won 30 straight games. 


Goodrich (8-0) The Martians are rivaling Rockford’s impressiveness with the wins noted above against Frankenmuth and Hemlock plus a 10-pointer over Kingston – the Cardinals’ only loss – and wins on back-to-back nights last week by 20 over Farmington Hills Mercy and two over Grand Blanc. Lake Fenton dealt Goodrich three of its four losses last season, and they meet for the first time Jan. 19.

Negaunee (9-0) The Miners have hovered between Divisions 2 and 3 the last few seasons and moved back into Division 2 after reaching the Division 3 Regional Finals a year ago. Negaunee already has defeated all four opponents it lost to last season – Escanaba, Houghton, Hancock and Calumet – and the Miners won their Christmas Tournament by handing the only loss this season to Manton and then defeating reigning Division 4 runner-up Baraga 63-48. 


Manton (8-1) As noted above, Manton’s only loss came at Negaunee 57-50 – and among its eight wins, four have come against teams that defeated Manton last season as the Rangers finished 7-14. They’ve also stormed out to a 5-0 start in the Highland Conference and play Roscommon on Friday for the league lead.

Sanford Meridian (5-0) After going 20-2 last season, but running into Hemlock in the District Final, Meridian is picking up where it left off. The Mustangs have won by an average margin of 36.2 points per game, including impressively over Jack Pine Conference opponents Clare and Beaverton (both 5-2). Meridian won the league last season, and reigning runner-up Farwell comes to Sanford on Thursday.


Fowler (6-1) The Eagles opened with a 55-47 loss to Division 1 Midland Dow, but haven’t lost since despite facing two of their biggest Central Michigan Athletic Conference rivals and a New Lothrop team expected to contend in the Mid-Michigan Activities Conference. Fowler reached the Division 4 Semifinals and has played at Breslin the last three seasons but is seeking its first league title since 2021; its first game with reigning CMAC champ Dansville is Jan. 24.  

Martin (6-1) Handing Kalamazoo Hackett Catholic Prep a 40-35 loss Dec. 12 no doubt was a plus; the Irish ended Martin’s 2022-23 in a District Final. But the best win so far arguably came 10 days later, 32-27 over Saugatuck, which is perhaps the biggest threat as Martin seeks to repeat in the Southwestern Athletic Conference Central.

Can’t-Miss Contests

Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up: 

Tuesday – Portland (7-0) at Lansing Catholic (3-3) – The eventual Division 2 champion Cougars were first and Portland second in the Capital Area Activities Conference White last season, with Lansing Catholic winning both meetings by more than 20 points. 

Thursday – Michigan Center (8-0) at Grass Lake (6-2) – These two and Leslie look like early favorites in the Cascades Conference East. Grass Lake’s two losses are by a combined three points to Division 1 Saline and Division 2 Parma Western. 

Friday – Salem (6-1) at Canton (7-0) – Salem won all three matchups with its neighbor last season, first earning the Kensington Lakes Activities Association West championship and with the last to claim a District title.

Friday – Lowell (6-1) at Byron Center (7-2) – Byron Center won 22 games and the Ottawa-Kent Conference White title last season, sweeping third-place Lowell – which still went on to win 18 games and a District title. 

Friday – Ishpeming (5-0) at Negaunee (9-0) – Negaunee claimed last season’s meetings by nine and then one point on the way to finishing just ahead of the Hematites in the Western Peninsula Athletic Conference East.'s weekly “Breslin Bound” previews and reviews are powered by MI Student Aid, a division within the Department of Lifelong Education, Advancement, and Potential (MiLEAP). MI Student Aid encourages students to pursue postsecondary education by providing access to student financial resources and information. MI Student Aid administers the state’s scholarship and grant programs that help make college Accessible, Affordable and Attainable for you. Connect with MI Student Aid at and find more information on Facebook and Twitter @mistudentaid.

PHOTOS (Top) Negaunee's Keira Waterman goes up for a shot while being defended by Ishpeming Westwood's Makayla Fisher (1) and Kaylin Doney (30) during a Dec. 21 win. (Middle) Marysville’s Avery Wolters passes to a teammate on the perimeter during her team’s loss to Davison at the Skippers Holiday Showcase on Dec. 28 at St. Clair County Community College. (Photos by Cara Kamps and Terry Lyons, respectively.)

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

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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.)