Welcome back, girls basketball. It’s good to see you again.
Girls hoops started back up this week, and despite the Livingston County teams opening up with a bunch of young squads, youth didn’t appear to be an issue in Week 1.
The county teams posted an overall record of 7-1. Brighton got two wins and went 2-1 overall, the one loss coming to the three-time defending Class C champions. Fowlerville also notched two victories to start 2-0 while Hartland, Howell and Pinckney all won their respective season openers.
So, yeah, it was a promising start that also provided a whole bunch of candidates for the Athlete of the Week.
Hockey, of course, continued to provide entertainment as well with Brighton and Howell going 2-0 while Hartland went 1-1, its loss coming by the score of 2-1 in what might be a candidate for game of the year in the county between the Eagles and Highlanders.
Things will only heat up from here as the rest of the winter sports are set to open this week.
Let’s get to the nominees.
Nate George, Howell hockey
Though it’s still way too early to start watching the standings, the Howell hockey team took control of the KLAA West last week. It did so on the shoulders of George, who first helped the Highlanders end a six-game winless streak against Hartland and then was key in Howell getting a 4-3 overtime win over Walled Lake Northern. George saw a total of 61 shots on goal and stopped 57 of them as Howell moved to 4-1 overall and 4-0 in the West. Thirty-six of those shots came vs. the Eagles, who he kept to one goal in a 2-1 win Tuesday night. Though he let in three against Northern, he was instrumental in forcing the overtime period, and then in keeping Northern off the board for Howell to get its victory.
Lexa Elzerman, Fowlerville girls basketball
Elzerman becomes the first Fowlerville Athlete of the Week nominee for her performances in two Gladiators’ wins during opening week. They first defeated Corunna, 52-49, behind 21 points and nine rebounds from the senior forward, and then won a 62-56 game vs. Lansing Everett with a double-double contribution from her. The four-year varsity player posted 10 points and 10 boards in the second game to put her season averages thus far at 15.5 points and 9.5 rebounds. Thanks to Elzerman — among others — the Gladiators are already halfway to their 2014-15 win total.
Beth Dziekan, Brighton girls basketball
The Brighton girls basketball team is faced with the rare challenge of replacing its entire starting lineup from a season ago. Dziekan, however, was the one returning player with significant minutes, and it’s apparent she’s loving her new role as a starter. She recorded team highs in points (13) and rebounds (11) in a two-point, 51-49, loss to the three-time defending Class C champion St. Ignance, and then returned with another near double-double of 14 points and nine boards in a 44-34 win vs. Petoskey. Brighton, which played three games in four days and also won its season opener against Linden, is getting 13.5 points and 10 rebounds per game from Dziekan, and it will need her to keep producing at that rate as the rest of the team adapts to their new roles. Brighton coach Paul Ash believes she will, stating at the start of the season she’s a player capable of averaging a double-double this season.
Keith Wikman, Brighton hockey
A bunch of Brighton hockey players had great showings last week. As a team, the Bulldogs scored 13 goals and allowed one in two victories, allowing them to get their record to 4-2 on the season. Wikman was arguably the best of the bunch, notching four points in the two contests. He scored a goal and tallied an assist in Brighton’s 8-1 victory over South Lyon Unified and then returned to put up the same line in a 5-0 triumph against University of Detroit Jesuit. Wikman is now fourth on the team in points with seven, behind only Lee Pietila (10), Nick Foran (nine) and Mathew Kahra (nine).
Meghan Douglass, Fowlerville basketball
The Gladiators freshman posted a pair of fun lines in her team’s two wins last week. In the 52-49 triumph vs. Corunna, Douglass began her high school career with a near double-double of nine points and nine rebounds. She tied teammate Lexa Elzerman for the team lead in boards. In her second game vs. Lansing Everett, she further demonstrated her do-it-all ability with totals of 12 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. That’s awfully close to a triple-double for the ninth-grader. And for that, she earned the nod over teammate and fellow freshman Jackie Jarvis, who in her second career game against Everett led all scorers with 23 points. The Gladiators went 4-17 a year ago. In head coach Nick Douglass’ first year, they’re already 2-0.