Edison Ends 2023-24 Winter Season Back at Breslin, Back on Top

By Dean Holzwarth
Special for MHSAA.com

March 23, 2024

EAST LANSING – Detroit Edison wanted the opportunity to gain redemption in its return to Michigan State University’s Breslin Center.

The Pioneers needed stout defense during the final quarter Saturday to accomplish that goal.

Edison held Ann Arbor Father Gabriel Richard to only three fourth-quarter points on its way to a 41-33 win in Saturday’s Division 2 title game.

The Pioneers (23-3) won the program’s fifth Finals championship over the last 10 years and handed the Irish their only loss of the season.

The Pioneers’ Myana Cooksey, left, drives the lane.“We set a goal, and that was to go back here and win,” said Edison coach Monique Brown, whose team lost in a Regional Final last year after winning Division 2 in 2022.

“I gave them a theme this year, and it was leadership. We had six seniors, and they bought into everything we were doing. To see them fight through adversity at the end of the game was great. We made a run, and we fought through. We wanted to be smiling at the end of the year, and we are.”

Edison led 22-17 at the half and still maintained a slight edge going into the fourth quarter when Myana Cooksey dropped in a short baseline jumper to make it 34-30.

The Irish trimmed Edison’s lead to one (34-33) when Cora Williams scored inside and converted the and-one with 4:49 left.

But the Pioneers held the Irish scoreless the rest of the game.

“There was a little squabble that happened, and I think it woke us up and gave us a kickstart,” Brown said. “I told them it wasn’t a boxing match, it was a basketball game and we had to score the ball and play good defense.

“We do so many defensive drills, and we started something the last two weeks where we play defense for a whole minute. If you want to win you have to play defense and make sure they don’t get good shots.”

Senior Isis Johnson-Musah led the Pioneers with 16 points and five rebounds, while Cooksey finished with nine points and six boards.

“To come in here in my first year and help them win their fifth (championship) means a lot,” Johnson-Musah said. “We were just trying to play good defense and not foul (in the fourth quarter). And no 3-pointers because we saw what they did (Friday night). We tried to not let that happen.”

Edison’s Devin Hagemann, left, considers her options with FGR’s Vanessa Rodriguez guarding her. FGR (28-1) was seeking a perfect season and the program’s first Finals win since 1993 in Class D. The Irish advanced to Saturday on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer in Friday’s Semifinal against Grand Rapids West Catholic.

However, a tough shooting night this time proved to be the Irish’s downfall as they were 12 of 38 from the field and 1 of 12 from beyond the 3-point arc. FGR also was just 8 of 14 from the free throw line.

“Sometimes you don’t have that rhythm, and it was just one of those days,” Irish coach Tim Cain said. “Our shot wasn’t falling, and when they went to four guards it got us out of our comfort zone defensively. We thought we could dominate down low, but we got into foul trouble. They played well, and Isis made a lot of plays.

“The special part of the season is the players and the relationships. We won a lot of games, and I will miss my seniors.”

Junior Charlotte Miller, who made the game-winning shot Friday, led FGR with 12 points and five rebounds.

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS (Top) Detroit Edison’s Isis Johnson-Musah gets to the basket Saturday with FGR’s Bethie Benz (12) defending. (Middle) The Pioneers’ Myana Cooksey, left, drives the lane. (Below) Edison’s Devin Hagemann, left, considers her options with FGR’s Vanessa Rodriguez guarding her. (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

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.)