Breslin Bound: Girls Report Week 6

January 14, 2014

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

By the end of this week, we'll have reached the midpoint of this girls basketball regular season.

But plenty of teams are showing they might just be warming up for a much longer run this winter.

Below are 10 that impressed last week, including a handful which have made it through the season's first month and a half without a loss. (Records are based on results reported to the MHSAA Score Center.)

1. Hemlock (8-0, Class C) – After winning a respectable 12 games last season, Hemlock has dominated this winter and already beaten reigning Tri-Valley Conference Central champion Freeland.

2. Holt (8-0, Class A) – The Rams have consistently piled up wins for more than a decade, but often in the shadow of rival East Lansing; a 12-point win over the Trojans last week has helped Holt look like another Lansing-area contender. 

3. Charlotte (6-0, Class B) – The Orioles, who finished a game over .500 in 2012-13, proved their perfect start is for real with a two-point win over rival and mid-Michigan power Eaton Rapids on Friday.

4. St. Louis (8-0, Class C) – Volleyball usually is the Sharks’ best game, but they finished tied for third in TVC West hoops last season and have a one-game lead this time thanks to an 18-point win over second-place Carrollton last month. 

5. Haslett (6-1, Class A) – Quietly the Vikings also are looking like a team to watch in Class A, although an 11-point win over rival DeWitt on Friday rang loudly.

6. Cadillac (7-1, Class B) – Only a four-point loss to Manistee on the season’s second Friday has kept the Big North Conference-leading Vikings from a perfect start. 

7. Midland Dow (8-1, Class A) – Since a four-point loss to Saginaw Heritage before holiday break, Dow has won five straight by an average of 17 points per.

8. Gaylord St. Mary (6-1, Class D) – The Snowbirds are returning to their former roost as a Class D power, with their lone flaw this winter a loss to Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart. 

9. Negaunee (5-3, Class C) – After a 1-3 start, the Miners have won four straight to rise to the top of the Mid-Peninsula Athletic Conference.

10. Grand Rapids Covenant Christian (7-2, Class C) – A 1-2 start is a distant memory thanks to six straight wins including handing the first defeat to league foe Kentwood Grand River Prep.

PHOTO: Hemlock defeated league foe Alma last week to improve to 8-0 overall this season. (Click to see more at

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.)