Coach Kellen Janes wanted to find out just how good his undefeated Rochester Hills Stoney Creek girls basketball team was.
“Have you seen who we’ve played?” he asked before the game.
Traveling to Southfield-Lathrup, a Class A finals contender, was a good test of his team’s mettle. He found out in a hurry that his Stoney Creek squad might need some more work in the gym.
The Chargers scored the first 16 points of the game amid a flurry of turnovers and fast-break baskets on their way to a 63-36 victory. It was the most points Stoney Creek had allowed all season.
The backcourt tandem of junior Deja Church and senior Antoinette Miller was too much for the Cougars, who fell to 8-1.
Miller had 24 for the winners while Church chipped in 20.
“We aren’t losing another game,” declared Miller. “We had some things we needed to correct. We just had to get off to a good start in league play. I wouldn’t say it was good we lost (before), but it’s good that we did it now instead of March.”
Dressing just eight players, the Chargers already had lost two games, albeit to good squads in Bay City Glenn and Grand Rapids Christian, and improved to 4-2 with the victory.
“The losses were painful, but it taught us something,” said coach Michele Marshall. “We’re concerned about depth when we get in foul trouble. We run a lot in practice and they hate running.”
The Bello twin towers, Kehinde and Taiye, dominated the middle and intimidated the Cougars.
Miller came out firing, scoring the first five points as the Chargers took a 7-0 lead, forcing Janes to call a timeout to request his team drive to the basket against the 6-foot-3 twins.
By the time senior Courtney Eckhout hit a triple with 2:58 left in the first quarter, the Cougars faced a 16-3 deficit.
Eckhout would eventually score six straight points to get the visitors to within 10.
Lathrup led, 21-10, after one quarter with Miller scoring nine and Church six.
“We have enough depth to get the job done,” said Church. “We knew Stoney Creek would try to press us and I thought we did a good job of forcing turnovers and getting to the basket.”
Stoney Creek got the deficit to under 10 in the second quarter on two free throws by Eckhout and four early turnovers by the Chargers.
However, a steal and lay-up by Church and a long triple by Miller had the Chargers up, 28-14.
Church scored the final three points of the half for the Chargers, giving them a 33-18 lead.
“When we went in at halftime our big thing was keep them off the boards,” said Janes. “I think at halftime Antoinette and Deja had all but six points. We had a hard time containing the middle. They are very, very good.”
A triple by Miller, a three-point play by Taiye Bello and a triple by Church to start the third had the Chargers up 42-18.
The 12-0 run to start the third put the Chargers safely ahead by 27.
Emily Eckhout led the Cougars with 10 points.