– SOUTHGATE STAR
Last season the Southgate Anderson girls basketball team won just three games.
It is a good bet the Titans will do better than that this year.
Coach Larry Sakalas’ team is a little light on varsity experience, but long on character and with an influx of players off a successful 2018-19 junior varsity team, the Titans will be a handful for a number of teams on the schedule this season.
Anderson opened the season with a victory over non-league Warren Woods-Tower and then played a competitive game with defending Downriver League champion Allen Park before falling 48-35.
“I feel like we can compete with anyone,” said Sakalas. “This is a hungry young team, but we have to get better offensively.”
That the Titans need some offensive polish was evident in the loss to the Jaguars. Ancderson had numerous chances at the basket, but went long stretches without scoring, which allowed the Jags to pull away.
In the end, Anderson lost by 13 points and the Titans missed 13 free throws.
The Jags led 10-9 at the end of one quarter and 26-18 at halftime. The Jags essentially put the game away with a 7-0 run late in the second quarter when their lead went from 17-14 to 24-14.
Clearly though, there are some parts there. Senior Courtney Mabery is an athletic specimen, one who can handle the ball and get to the basket. But, like the others, finishing at the hoop is not automatic.
In the middle, 6-foot-2 junior Faith Plummer is hard to miss, but she, too, needs to work on her offensive skills and has to work on her physical play. The lack of physicality showed up against an aggressive team like Allen Park, which has never seen an opponent it didn’t want to foul.
Mabery finished the game with nine points. Ava Peryam, Brooke Johnson, Plummer and Natalie Beltran each had five points.
Allen Park senior Julia Martin had 13 points to lead all scorers. Gabrielle Vera had nine and Kyleigh Richards had eight.
Defensively, the Titans can get after it. They swarm and go for the ball, a trait that will cause plenty of turnovers this season.
The Titans feature six seniors on a roster of 13 players. The 12th-graders are Mabery, Madison Frietas, Celese Tomocik, Madison Moon, Brooke Johnson and Caitlyn Wetherbee.
The juniors are Plummer, Natalie Beltran, Ava Peryam and Marcella Thomas and the three sophomores on the varsity roster this year are Miranda Graham, Autumn Bolash and Riley Thacker.
How the Titans will fare in the Downriver League is a little up in the air, according to Sakalas because there are so many new coaches at so many league schools that it’s hard to tell who the contenders are.
Come playoff time, the Titans will find themselves in the five-team tournament at Riverview. Joining Anderson there will be the host Pirates, River Rouge, Lincoln Park and Roosevelt.
2019-20 Anderson Girls Basketball
3 Miranda Graham
4 Madison Freitas
5 Autumn Bolash
11 Celese Tomocik
14 Madison Moon
15 Natalie Beltran
21 Ava Peryam
22 Brooke Johnson
23 Caitlyn Weatherbee
24 Riley Thacker
32 Courtney Mabery
42 Faith Plummer50 Marcella Thomas