You might wonder how Ypsilanti Arbor Prep could lose a game by 30 points — its fourth loss of the season — and still remain No. 1 in Class C in the Free Press girls basketball rankings.
Well, Arbor Prep began last week with a 54-39 victory over Birmingham Detroit Country Day, which is ranked No. 4 in Class B, before losing, 56-26, to Birmingham Marian, which is Class A’s No. 1 team.
“From the Marian game, first of all, we have to learn to forget,” Arbor Prep coach Rod Wells said. “When you make mistakes you have to move on, you can’t let them compound, so we really worked on that in practice. You have to be able to move forward and learn from those things.”
Since the Mustangs are so much better than any other team in the state, they presented Arbor Prep with problems it rarely faces.
“We learned we have to shoot the ball better, and we have to be a little more patient on offense,” Wells said. “A lot of times we feel we can get what we want right away, and against a team like Marian, you have to be a little more patient and run the play to the second and third stage.”
When Arbor Prep’s players watched the tape of the game, they gained a better understanding of the Marian defense that makes the Mustangs the overwhelming favorite to repeat as Class A state champs next month.
“They play such great team defense,” Wells said. “That’s one thing I talked to our team about, and I thought they really understood it after they saw Marian. They didn’t allow us anything in the paint, and that’s kind of what we like doing.”
The Gators bounced back Tuesday with a 59-26 win over Romulus, another Class A team, again proving why Arbor Prep is still No. 1 in Class C.
Clarkston’s Throgmorton should return soon
The last time we saw Clarkston coach Dan Fife was after his team knocked off North Farmington in a battle of unbeatens. He was a bit subdued because he thought he might have lost 6-foot-3 junior Tabin Throgmorton for the remainder of the season with an anterior cruciate ligament injury.
Instead, it turned out to be a bone bruise in the back of Throgmorton’s knee — so he should be cleared for full practice Monday, meaning Throgmorton will be available against visiting North Farmington on Feb. 27.
“He won’t be the same, he’ll be getting back in shape,” Fife said, “but he should be able to play, I think.”
Throgmorton comes off the bench for the Wolves, and he enters a game shooting.
“He’s a big difference in who we are,” Fife said. “You get someone taller, and his shooting puts another person on the floor they have to guard or be aware of all the time. In high school, most of the time you’ve got one and sometimes two guys, but when you’ve got three guys that can shoot the ball, it makes it a little different.”
The Operation Friendship series between the Catholic League and the Public School League is on again this year and will begin with the girls runners-up and champions of the leagues playing Thursday at Birmingham Marian. The runners-up will play at 5 and the champions at 7.
The PSL champ will be decided tonight at Calihan Hall, and the Catholic League champ will be determined Sunday. No. 1 Marian potentially could play No. 2 Detroit King in the Friendship champions game.
The day and site for the boys Operation Friendship games have yet to be determined.
— Mick McCabe