Happy Birthday & Happy to be Back: Hagemann, Edison Celebrate at Breslin

By Dean Holzwarth
Special for MHSAA.com

March 22, 2024

EAST LANSING – Detroit Edison senior guard Devin Hagemann couldn’t have found a better way to celebrate her 18th birthday.

A victory, and another chance to win a championship.

The Pioneers used a balanced attack, coupled with their size and athleticism, to overpower Negaunee 63-46 in Friday’s Division 2 Semifinal at Michigan State University’s Breslin Center.

“It’s my birthday, but we’re still trying to win a championship so I can celebrate after that,” said Hagemann, who was one of three Edison players in double figures scoring with 11 points. “We still have to get the job done.”

Isis Johnson-Musah paced Edison with 16 points, seven assists and five rebounds, while Myana Cooksey recorded 13 points, three assists and three steals.

The Pioneers will seek their second Finals win in the three years Saturday. They won Division 2 in 2022 before losing during Regionals a year ago.

The Pioneers’ Nabrea Lane (11) gets to the basket.“We are just really glad to be back here,” Edison coach Monique Brown said. “Our seniors were here as sophomores, and we had a chance to finish that out with a victory.

“Last year we got stung, and we had that on our mind the whole year. The whole summer they worked hard, and to be able to get back here and get a chance to win again is an awesome feeling right now.”

The Pioneers broke up a close game at the end of the opening quarter with a scoring barrage during the second and third. Edison went on a 13-1 run in the second quarter to snap a 16-16 tie and never looked back.

Their lead ballooned to 48-28 in the third quarter as Hagemann knocked down a 3-pointer from the top of the key.

“I told her to shoot it, and I wished her Happy Birthday in the middle of the game,” Brown said. “I think that kind of got her going.”

The balanced scoring, along with pressure defense, have become major factors in this postseason run.

“That is who we have been,” Brown said. “Just really trusting and sharing the basketball and playing good defense. We had to do it by committee this year as far as scoring, and that's why we are here right now.”

Negaunee, playing in its first Semifinal, finished the season 26-2.

“They are very good, and we respect their program,” Miners coach Mike O’Donnell said. “They showed why (they are) one of the top teams in the state, and their size bothered us. We haven’t seen that size this year, the closest was Ishpeming, and their quickness and athleticism in transition.”

Senior Ella Mason, the Western Peninsula Athletic Conference Player of the Year and the school’s all-time scoring leader, tried to keep Negaunee in the game.

She finished with a game-high 25 points, shooting 9 of 18 from the field and 5 of 10 from beyond the 3-point arc.

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS (Top) Detroit Edison’s Devin Hagemann (1) launches a 3-point shot Friday with Negaunee’s Aubrey Johnson defending. (Middle) The Pioneers’ Nabrea Lane (11) gets to the basket. (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.)