Every team playing against South Lyon East this year knew who it had to stop, but few were able to do so.
Gabi Bird a senior, led the Cougars to their first district title while completely rewriting the record books along the way. She capped it off by being named girls basketball All-Area Player of the Year.
Bird played both inside and outside. She scored 17 points per game with 9.3 rebounds, 3.4 steals and nearly two assists. She hit 34 percent of her 3-pointers.
Both her 1,270 career points and 749 career rebounds are school records.
“Gabi is a fundamentally sound basketball player who is an inside and outside threat,” coach Rob Leadley said. “Gabi is an outstanding player, teammate and student and has been fantastic to coach. She broke almost every single-season and career record at East.
“She led the KLAA in scoring for the past two years, averaging a double-double last year and a near double-double this year, despite constant defensive pressure on her by our opponents.”
Bird will continue her career at Central Michigan University.
After missing her entire junior season with knee injuries, Lock came back to average a double-double as a senior with 12 points and 11.7 rebounds per game. She scored a season-high 22 points against Walled Lake Western and pulled down 22 rebounds in the district final against Walled Lake Central.
“Among the best rebounders I have ever seen on a court and certainly one of the best offensive rebounders in the state,” coach Mike Head said. “While averaging a double-double through the season, Amanda showed particular skill on the offensive boards, grabbing 5.7 per game. Considering she lost an entire season of practice and game experience, Amanda’s return to the court as a premier player in the KLAA was particularly impressive.
“She also has a GPA just under 4.0, plus she’s been involved with numerous school and community activities during her high school career.”
The senior inside player capped a four-year run on varsity with averages of 8.5 points and 7.4 rebounds. She is third all-time for Milford in career rebounds (733) and fourth in career points (728).
“Elise is a player that knows the amount of effort and work that it takes to succeed on and off the court in basketball,” coach David Browne said. “She is one of the best on-court leaders that I have had in my coaching career.”
The 5-6 point guard, who earned all-KLAA honors, enjoyed a stellar freshman year, averaging 10.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.7 steals and two assists per game, while shooting 79 percent from the foul line for the Wildcats (13-8).
“Ellie is one of the most coachable players I have ever had,” coach Bill Kelp said. “She has an incredible work ethic that matches her passion for the game. She led us in scoring, assists, steals, free throws, 3-pointers and was third in rebounding, all while being a freshman point guard. Her potential is limitless. It will be fun to watch her progress the next three years.”
The 5-11 sophomore guard averaged 8.6 points per game, while shooting 38 percent from the field and 71 percent from the foul line en route to all-KLAA honors.
“Although Jessica started as a freshman, she made huge strides this season offensively,” coach Todd Gudith said. “She has the ability to shoot long range, but can take her defender off the dribble and that makes her a such a tough cover. She is also one of our top defenders, using her length and quickness.”
South Lyon East
The junior guard/forward took advantage of teams trying to lock down on Gabi Bird and used her shooting touch scored 11.7 points per game while also snagging 3.4 rebounds.
“Peyton is an excellent shooter, especially from 3-point range,” Leadley said. “She is also good at getting to the basket and converting at the free-throw line. She was a key player in East’s success this year and helped East advance to the regionals.”
The 5-11 senior center, a three-year varsity player who made all-KLAA, averaged 7.8 points and six rebounds per game while shooting 44 percent from the floor for the Mustangs (13-8).
The speedy 5-2 freshman point guard averaged a team-best 8.9 points points to go along with three assists per game while earning all-KLAA honorable mention recognition.
The versatile 5-10 senior forward, a third-year varsity player, was the team’s second leading scorer (7.5 points per game) and rebounder (5.5 per game), while coming up with 1.5 steals per outing as she earned all-KLAA honorable mention recognition.
The senior post player was a perfect complement inside with Amanda Lock. The two dominated the boards. Weyer finished with 5.9 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.6 blocks a night. She had five blocks against Walled Lake Central.
The senior shooting guard was a stat sheet filler with 7.5 points, 3.6 rebounds, 3.8 steals and 2.2 assists per game. She had a season-high nine steals against Pinckney and finished with 119 steals in two years of varsity play.
The 5-6 junior point guard earned all-Michigan Independent Athletic Conference Blue Division honors, averaging 11.7 points, five rebounds and 4.3 assists per game.
ALL-AREA GIRLS BASKETBALL
Player of the Year
Gabi Bird, South Lyon East
Amanda Lock, Lakeland
Elise Gustafson, Milford
Ellie Mackay, Novi
Jessica Moorman, Northville
Peyton Jones, South Lyon East
Emily Maresh, Northville
Mariah Modkins, Northville
Alex Felice, Novi
Breanna Lovera, Milford
Alana Weyer, Lakeland
Hannah Rayburn, Franklin Road
Northville – Kendall Dillon (fr.)
Novi – Kelsey Miller (sr.), Allie Lipson (jr.)
Franklin Road Christian – Katie Larabell (sr.)
South Lyon – Madison Swiatlowski (sr.), Emily Heinrich (sr.)
Milford – Mallory Barrett (soph.)
Lakeland – Amanda Berci (sr.), Molly Stec (jr.), Lena Tiedeman (sr.)