Countdown to Calvin: Girls Report Week 9

February 4, 2019

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

It took five days for most teams to get started. But last week ended with a flurry including the first losses of the season for three of Michigan’s girls basketball powers.

And there’s plenty more matchups of that magnitude coming up this week, as we detail below.

Countdown to Calvin is powered by MI Student Aid and based on results and schedules posted for each school at To offer corrections or fill in scores we’re missing, email me at [email protected].

Week in Review

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

1. Midland Dow 52, Saginaw Heritage 48 – The Chargers took control in the Saginaw Valley League Red by handing reigning Class A champ Heritage its first loss this season, breaking the Hawks’ 20-game winning streak.

2. Grass Lake 42, Michigan Center 39 – The Warriors avenged a 27-point December loss to the Cardinals, handing Michigan Center its first defeat while breaking the team’s 25-game Cascades Conference winning streak.

3. Flint Hamady 50, Corunna 42 – Hamady avenged its lone loss, to Corunna in overtime in December, to hand the Cavaliers their first defeat and pull even with them at the top of the Genesee Area Conference Red.

4. Stanton Central Montcalm 67, Ypsilanti Arbor Prep 64 – Tough matchups with Fremont and Kent City among others remain, but this was a major win as the Hornets go for a second straight unbeaten regular season.  

5. Pewamo-Westphalia 69, Detroit Country Day 41 – Reigning Class B champion Country Day may be 5-6, but that’s relative to the incredible schedule it’s playing this season – and that makes this a huge win for the Pirates.

Watch List

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


• Auburn Hills Avondale (12-1) – After falling to West Bloomfield by seven Jan. 4, Avondale trails the Lakers by a win in the Oakland Activities Association White heading into Thursday’s rematch. The Yellow Jackets are looking to add to last season’s shared OAA Blue title and have 10 wins by double digits.

• Coldwater (12-1) – The Cardinals finished second to Jackson Northwest in the Interstate 8 Athletic Conference last season, thanks to two overtime losses to the Mounties, but lead the league this season thanks to a 10-point win in the first meeting between the annual favorites. Coldwater’s lone loss came by four points to one-loss Ann Arbor Pioneer.


• Cadillac (9-1) – The Vikings are unbeaten five games into the Big North Conference schedule, and will play second-place Traverse City West for the first time Saturday. Cadillac won those first five league games all by at least nine points, and the only loss was to Tri-Valley Conference East leader Essexville Garber – quite a turnaround after Cadillac went 3-18 a year ago.

• Whitehall (10-1) – After finishing 11-11 last season, Whitehall can equal and then surpass that win total this week and leads the West Michigan Conference thanks to a triple overtime win over Muskegon Oakridge on Jan. 8. Those two meet again Friday. Whitehall will have the chance to avenge its lone loss to Montague at the end of this month.


• Hemlock (12-0) – The Huskies are playing for their second straight TVC West title after also reaching the Class C Regional Finals last season. Hemlock has won all but one of its league games – and 10 of 12 games total – by double digits, and can clinch the league title outright without help by the end of next week.

• Oscoda (11-0) – The Owls hold a slim lead in the North Star League Big Dipper with a key matchup with second-place Rogers City coming up Thursday. It’s been a solid jump into contention after the team went 13-9 last winter and won just six games two seasons ago.


• Mendon (10-1) – After finishing 8-13 last season, Mendon has nine wins by double digits already this winter. A December loss to Division 3 and undefeated Centreville is all that’s kept the Hornets from sitting atop the Southwest 10 Conference. Those two meet again Friday.

• St. Ignace (14-0) – The Saints appear on their way to a second straight Straits Area Conference title, with a 10-point win over second-place Sault Ste. Marie in their only meeting so far (and the rematch coming up Thursday). Statewide eyes are watching for more wins like those over Reese and Detroit Mumford, with Kingsley and Goodrich coming up over the next three weeks.

Can't-Miss Contests

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

Tuesday – Southfield Arts & Technology (12-1) at Royal Oak (12-0) – First place in the OAA Red is at stake as these two meet for the first time this season, with the only loss between the two a two-pointer by A&T to Saginaw Heritage. 

Thursday – Muskegon Oakridge (10-2) at Muskegon (8-3) – The Big Reds lead their league, and Oakridge could be doing the same by the end of this week. 

Friday – Manton (10-2) at Lake City (11-1) – Manton won the first meeting by three to gain its current one-game lead in the Highland Conference; both could have aspirations in Division 3 as well.

Saturday – Saginaw Heritage (10-1) at Detroit Edison (12-1) – The Hawks are coming off their lone loss, but most would argue these still are the two best teams in the state regardless of division.

Saturday – Kingsley (11-1) at St. Ignace (14-0) – These two will have opportunities later to show they aren’t just among the best in northern Michigan, but statewide as well in Divisions 2 and 4, respectively.  

Second Half’s weekly “Countdown to Calvin” reports are powered by MI Student Aid, a part of the Student Financial Services Bureau located within the Michigan Department of Treasury. MI Student Aid encourages students to pursue postsecondary education by providing access to student financial resources and information, including various student financial assistance programs to help make college more affordable for Michigan students. MI Student Aid administers the state’s 529 savings programs (MET/MESP) and eight additional aid programs within its Student Scholarships and Grants division. Click for more information and connect with MI Student Aid on Facebook and Twitter @mistudentaid.

PHOTO: Williamston defenders wall off a Fowlerville player’s attempt to get to the basket during last week’s win over the Gladiators. (Click to see more from

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.)