Breslin Bound: Girls Report Week 8

January 22, 2013

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

With 20 games to play and most teams seeing at least half their opponents twice, finishing the regular season perfect is truly an incredible accomplishment. 

The number of teams with the opportunity to do so this season is getting smaller by the week. Keep an eye on the teams topping this week's list of recent high performers as they go for that rare feat – plus the rest of this 10 if they get chances to play spoiler.

1. St. Ignace (11-0) – The Saints haven’t allowed an opponent within 20 points since Dec. 1, and none this season have gotten closer than 14.

2. Detroit Martin Luther King (11-0) – King has been the favorite all season to win Class A in March, and solidified that status further by beating highly-regarded Southfield Lathrup by 18 last week.

3. Niles Brandywine (11-0) – The Bobcats remained perfect in part by handing Mendon its first loss of the season, 51-47 on Thursday.

4. Midland Dow (13-0) – Dow is the team to beat in either division of the Saginaw Valley Association and next week will face Midland for the first time after being swept by its rival last season.

5. Benton Harbor (8-3) – Two of the Tigers losses were by a combined five points, and they won big against expected Big 16 West favorite St. Joseph, 66-37 on Tuesday.

6. Saginaw Nouvel (10-1) – The Panthers make a quick return to this list after beating fellow Class C contender Saginaw Valley Lutheran, 60-50, plus Class A Saginaw.

7. Wayland (8-3) – The Wildcats have won five straight and handed Grand Rapids South Christian its first loss of the season, 57-38 on Friday.

8. Mendon (11-1) – The Hornets may have lost to Brandywine last week, but they also beat 2012 Class D runner-up Athens, 42-27.

9. Fenton (8-3) – The Tigers have won seven of their last eight and are the team to chase in the Flint Metro League after beating Holly 38-27 on Friday and Clio 56-49 on Monday.

10. Hamilton (11-1) – The Hawkeyes have taken another step after losing five games last season, with their only loss this winter to Grandville during a holiday tournament. 

PHOTO: Saginaw Nouvel (white jerseys) edged Valley Lutheran 60-50 last week in a battle of Class C powers. (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

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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.)