Early Jitters Fade Away as Glen Lake Makes Way to Championship Day

By Keith Dunlap
Special for MHSAA.com

March 16, 2023

EAST LANSING — As far as a good sign despite futility goes, this couldn’t have been any better for Maple City Glen Lake in its Division 4 Semifinal against Adrian Lenawee Christian on Thursday.

Glen Lake had shot 3 of 20 from the field in the first quarter, despite many of those opportunities coming from close range near the basket. 

But the Lakers still led 10-4. 

From there, the shooting picked up and so did the lead throughout the next three quarters for Glen Lake, which ended up surging to a 49-31 win. 

The Lakers will attempt to win their first Finals championship since claiming the Class D title in 1978 when they meet Baraga at 10 a.m. Saturday. 

“You felt their nerves,” Glen Lake head coach Jason Bradford said. “I just told them at halftime to slow it down. Slow it down, face up, see that hoop and put it in. I think the nerves got a little bit better in the second half, and they had better composure.”

Players scramble for a loose ball during the Lakers’ eventual 49-31 victory.Glen Lake started to find the basket more in the second quarter, scoring 15 points in the frame to take a 25-11 lead into halftime. 

The Lakers built their lead to 18 points at 31-13 with 5:13 remaining in the third quarter and held a 37-20 lead going into the fourth. 

Glen Lake took a 45-24 lead with 4:50 left and was never threatened. 

Senior Maddie Bradford had 18 points and 12 rebounds, and senior Ruby Hogan nearly had a triple-double registering 13 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds to lead the way for Glen Lake (25-2).

The Lakers dominated the boards, outrebounding Lenawee Christian by a 47-30 margin and collecting 20 offensive rebounds. 

“I think that was huge,” Jason Bradford said. “Rebound, rebound. We preach it in practice, and we’re always working on that. You have to be aggressive. Rebounds are kind of like extra (possessions) and free points.” 

Isabelle Kirkendall scored 11 points and Avery Sluss added eight for the Cougars (18-11). 

Lenawee Christian returned to the Semifinals despite losing four starters from last year’s team, this time guided by first-year head coach Emilie Beach. 

“Big picture, this is so special,” Beach said. “At our school, it seems like the norm to win your District, win your Regional and get to the Final Four. This is so special.” 

Glen Lake was making its second-straight Semifinal trip as well after losing in Division 3 a year ago, and seemed to overall benefit from that experience despite the slow start offensively.

“Nerves are going to come,” Hogan said. “You know it’s going to be there, and you’re going to have slip-ups because you are getting used to the big crowd at this stage. Just being able to bounce back from that in the second quarter and second half and making those shots you missed in the first quarter (was nice).”

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS (Top) Glen Lake’s Jessie Pugh (14) gets through the lane and to the basket during Thursday’s second Division 4 Semifinal at Breslin Center. (Middle) Players scramble for a loose ball during the Lakers’ eventual 49-31 victory.

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

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.)