Countdown to Calvin: Girls Report Week 2

December 12, 2017

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

The first weeks of girls basketball season give us an opportunity to watch potential new powers emerge – and we’ve already got some candidates.

This week’s “Countdown to Calvin” – powered by MI Student Aid – is filled with teams making strong first impressions, starting with the first two victors mentioned in the “Week in Review” below that earned victories over teams that made it to the final weekend of last season.

These reports are based on results and schedules posted for each school at – to offer corrections, email me at [email protected]

Week in Review

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

1. Howell 51, Ypsilanti Arbor Prep 41 – The Highlanders moved to 4-0 and broke a 26-game regular-season winning streak for Arbor Prep, which lost last season in the Class B championship game.

2. Coldwater 42, Marshall 30 – Coldwater broke Marshall’s 42-game perfect run during the first three seasons of the Interstate 8 Athletic Conference, and after losing to the 2017 Class B semifinalist Redhawks by 15 and 24 last season.

3. East Lansing 52, DeWitt 51 – East Lansing handed DeWitt a one-point loss for the second straight meeting after doing the same in last season’s Class A District Final; DeWitt won the first meeting last season by a point.

4. Negaunee 74, Houghton 44 – The Miners moved to 4-0 with a big win over a Houghton team that won last year’s meeting by a basket and finished 21-2.

5. Flint Hamady 57, Dearborn Henry Ford Academy 38 – The Hawks are off to their usual strong start, but this one was especially impressive with Henry Ford Academy coming off 19 wins last season.

Watch List

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


Battle Creek Harper Creek (3-0) – Harper Creek’s noticeable first week was followed by an important win Friday, 56-53 over Jackson Northwest. The Beavers finished 12-10 overall and fifth in the Interstate 8 Athletic Conference last season, splitting two games with Northwest – which finished runner-up in the league. Harper Creek also opened this season with a win over St. Joseph, 17-5 last winter.

Bay City Western (3-0) – The Warriors improved from 12 to 15 wins over the last two seasons, and made the jump last winter despite an 0-2 start. Two of last December’s defeats were by 10 to Freeland and 19 to Midland; last week Western beat Freeland by two and Midland by seven.


Corunna (2-1) – The Cavaliers did lose to Laingsburg by five to open last week, after also losing to the Wolfpack at the start of 2016-17. But Corunna finished with a 62-57 win over Flint Beecher on Friday and also has a 17-point win so far against Birch Run, last winter’s Tri-Valley Conference East runner-up.

Gladwin (3-0) – The Flying G’s shared last season’s Jack Pine Conference title and already are off to a better start, avenging last winter’s four-point loss to Midland Bullock Creek with a 10-point win last week. Gladwin also has close victories over Farwell and Houghton Lake, the former Farwell’s only loss against three wins.


Marlette (3-0) – The Red Raiders play in a tough Greater Thumb Conference East that includes usual powers Sandusky and Harbor Beach, but early returns make it look like they could factor into the mix. Marlette also started 3-0 last year on the way to finishing 10-10, but last week’s 38-33 win over Millington should be a good sign of things to come. 

Reese (4-0) – We point out the Rockets every season, and with good reason – they went 20-3 last winter. This opening run has included three wins by double digits including by 14 over Millington and 18 over Frankenmuth, and a five-point win last week against Class A Saginaw Arthur Hill.


Kingston (3-0) – Kingston has held two of its first three opponents to single-digit scoring as it looks to repeat as North Central Thumb League champion. The Cardinals went 18-3 last season and get their first chance at avenging those defeats next week against Sandusky.

Ontonagon (2-0) – The Gladiators are hoping to build off last season’s 9-12 finish after winning 16 games the winter before that. They’re off to the right start; last week’s 45-40 win over Baraga avenged an eight-point loss a year ago.

Can't-Miss Contests

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

Wednesday – Portland St. Patrick (3-0) at Laingsburg (4-0) – The Shamrocks also get undefeated Pewamo-Westphalia on Friday, so this will be the first step toward seeing which of these teams will take the lead in the Central Michigan Athletic Conference.

Friday – Farmington Hills Mercy (4-0) at Bloomfield Hills Marian (3-0) – These two as usual find themselves quickly at the top of the Detroit Catholic League Central; Mercy won the league title and Marian was runner-up last season.

Friday – Flint Hamady (4-0) at Goodrich (3-1) – The only loss this season between these annual Genesee Area Conference powers was Goodrich’s to Arbor Prep two weeks ago; Goodrich was first and Hamady second in the GAC Red last season. 

Saturday – Detroit Martin Luther King (0-0) vs. Detroit Country Day (1-1) at Detroit Edison – These two will meet against as part of the Best of Michigan Classic, and most seasons they are in Class A and B, respectively.

Saturday – Ypsilanti Arbor Prep (3-1) vs. Flint Carman-Ainsworth (4-0) at Detroit Edison – These two should find themselves near the top of the first state rankings in Class C and A, respectively, when polls come out next month.

PHOTO: Marlette shut down Millington for a 38-33 victory last week. (Click to see more from Varsity Monthly.) 

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.)