Girls Basketball State Tournament Preview: Hamady looks to play off of last year's tournament run
Flint – If experience is the best teacher then Flint Hamady has a locker room full of knowledge.
Hamady lost in the Class C title game last season to Calumet and Hamady coach Keith Smith has four starters back from that team and they ran through the season unscathed until last week when the lost to Flushing, ranked No. 7 in Class A, 56-49.
Four players average in double figures for Hamady (18-1) led by senior Jalisha Terry at 18 points per game. Krystal Rice, (5-9), one of the state’s top juniors averages 12 points and eight rebounds.
Senior Marisa Wade is 5-10 and she starts at center with Rice playing the four spot.
“We play small ball,” Smith said. “We like to play up tempo but we can play in the half court, too.
“I noticed this year, when the situation isn’t going well, we don’t panic. And when we get the lead we’re showing some patience with the ball.”
Smith doesn’t pull the reigns in too tightly. He has talented team and he prefers to have his players not hold back. If mistakes are made, so be it. Just keep them to a minimum.
“The thinking part of the game we’ve grown,” he said. “We make better decisions now. When you have an athletic team it’s tough to understand time-possession.
“We had a close game with (Burton) Bendle (42-35 in overtime) and we weren’t able to make the outside shot. They were able to milk the clock and get a high percentage shot. I was impressed how they handled that.”
Three underclassmen fill out Smith’s list of top players. Junior Deajah Cofield is a 5-7 wing and perhaps the team’s top perimeter shooter. Sasha Penn and Talaka Wallace are sophomores who are capable of scoring in double figures in any game.
The Hawks will host a district and will play the winner of the Bendle-Burton Bentley game in a district semifinal on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Here’s our take on the tournament including predicted winners.
2015 champion: Calumet
Top district: Laingsburg
Top opening game: Johannesburg-Lewiston at Maple City Glen Lake
Top region: Marquette
Possible upset: Glen Lake over Traverse City St. Francis in a district final
Final Four: Niles Brandywine, Calumet, Flint Hamady, Ypsilanti Arbor Prep
2015 champion: Birmingham Marian
Top district: Lansing Waverly
Top opening game: Clarkston vs. Waterford Kettering at Lake Orion
Top region: Hudsonville
Possible upset: Unranked Hudsonville over No. 8-ranked Grand Rapids Christian in a region final
Final Four: Southfield-Lathrup, Saginaw Heritage, Hartland, Grand Rapids Christian
2015 champion: Detroit Country Day
Top district: Coldwater
Top opening game: Spring Lake at Fruitport
Top region: Wayland Union
Possible upset: Stevensville Lakeshore over Grand Rapids Catholic Central in a quarterfinal.
Final Four: Detroit Country Day, Grand Rapids South Christian, Bay City John Glenn, Grand Rapids Catholic Central
Winner: Country Day
2015 champion: St. Ignace LaSalle
Top district: Bark River-Harris
Top opening game: Hillman vs. Posen at Rogers City
Top region: Kingsford
Possible upset: Newberry over Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart in a state semifinal
Final Four: Pittsford, Bay City All Saints, Sacred Heart, Newberry
Winner: Sacred HeartTweet