Davis Sinks Memory-Maker This Time as West Bloomfield Downs Rockford in OT

By Dean Holzwarth
Special for MHSAA.com

March 22, 2024

EAST LANSING – West Bloomfield wanted badly to avenge last year’s loss to Rockford in the Division 1 Final.

The Lakers did so in dramatic fashion Friday.

Indya Davis banked in a 3-pointer at the regulation buzzer to force overtime, and West Bloomfield converted timely free throws during the extra session for a thrilling 55-47 win over the Rams in the second Division 1 Semifinal at Michigan State University’s Breslin Center.

“It took us 365 days and an extra quarter to get that back,” Lakers coach Darren McAllister said. “Since last year we felt like we left something in East Lansing and it was about Rockford because they beat us, but the big thing is it's not about Rockford. It’s about getting what we left in East Lansing and Rockford, which is a great coached team, was the next step.”

West Bloomfield (26-1) trailed the entire second half before Davis’ heroics.

“Before I took the shot, I told Summer (Davis, her twin sister) that I wanted the shot,” Davis said. “Give me the ball. As soon as that ball came off my hand, I knew it was good.

“That’s the type of shot you see in movies. You don’t think it's really going to go in, but we believed in it and practiced it. When it went in, it was our day.”

Indya Davis (24) pulls up for a shot with Rockford’s Kate Higgins defender. Summer Davis led the Lakers with 22 points and made 13 of 16 from the free throw line. She made 10 of 11 in overtime, accounting for all of West Bloomfield’s points during those additional minutes.

Indya Davis finished with 17 points and seven rebounds, the game-tying 3-pointer one of two she made from beyond the arc.

“I believe in her, so I wasn't about to question giving her the ball and it went in,” Summer Davis said. “It was a big surprise, but it wasn't because we came to win.”

McAllister wasn’t surprised to see that shot go in.

“That's Indya all day long, and we practice that,” he said. “I wasn't shocked by it because I knew at the end of the day they weren't ready to go home and schedule a banquet. They wanted to keep playing."

West Bloomfield will face Grand Blanc in Saturday’s Division 1 Final at 12:15 p.m.

The shot stunned the Rams (26-2), who appeared to be on their way to an opportunity to finish a repeat title run.

“I thought we were in a great position up three there in the closing moments,” Rockford coach Brad Wilson said. “We defended it pretty well, but hats off to them. They made a heck of a shot.

“It was tough when we saw that one go through. However, I think we really preached that (positive mentality) all season and we were ready to take on overtime and try and get the win.”

It was the third straight meeting at the Breslin between the two teams. West Bloomfield defeated Rockford in a Division 1 Semifinal in 2022 before the Rams’ victory last year – when Rockford took the final lead on a 3-pointer with 40 seconds to play.

“Losing to Rockford by four last year was unacceptable,” said Indya Davis, who finished with 17 points and seven rebounds. “We came back with a new fire this year, and we wanted to win. The rivalry between us and them is huge, and today we got the outcome.”

West Bloomfield led 15-10 in the first quarter, but the Rams responded and outscored the Lakers 19-5 in the second to take a 29-20 lead into halftime. A 7-0 run sparked the comeback, punctuated by Kate Higgins’ 3-pointer.

Despite the halftime deficit, the Lakers cranked up the defensive pressure and clawed back, getting to within six (39-33) after three quarters.

The Rams shot only 35 percent (15-43) from the field, including 4 of 19 from behind the 3-point arc. They were led by Anna’s Wypych’s 20 points. Jordan Mateer added 12 points, while Higgins, a sophomore, recorded 11 points and 13 rebounds.

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS (Top) West Bloomfield’s Destiny Washington (1) brings the ball up the court during Friday’s Division 1 Semifinal at Breslin Center. (Middle) Indya Davis (24) pulls up for a shot with Rockford’s Kate Higgins defender. (Photos by Hockey Weekly Action Photos.)

High School 'Hoop Squad' Close to Heart as Hughes Continues Coaching Climb

By Keith Dunlap
Special for MHSAA.com

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.)