In Play with Tom Markowski

There's a long list of contenders for the 2017 Miss Basketball race, tournament will serve as a preview

Basketball   | Tom Markowski

There's a long list of contenders for the 2017 Miss Basketball race, tournament will serve as a preview


The primaries and caucuses are just about complete this season in the race for the Miss Basketball award. Kysre Gondrezick of Benton Harbor and Mardrekia Cook of Muskegon appear to have the inside track for the most prestigious individual award for girls.

Other than their fine individual accomplishments to this point, both players have been a part of successful programs. Benton Harbor reached the Class B semifinals last season and Muskegon is one of the top 15 teams in Class A this season.

The race for the 2017 Miss Basketball promises to be more wide open. For one, there’s more depth in this season’s junior class. And, two, the talent is not concentrated in one area of the state. Players from southeast Michigan, notably Oakland and Macomb counties, will be in the hunt as well as the Flint area. The west side also has fine representatives from Grand Rapids and, again, Muskegon.

The top two candidates, at this time, are Deja Church of Southfield-Lathrup and Destiny Pitts of Detroit Country Day. Both have received numerous major Division I scholarship offers and both play on teams that are ranked in State Champs Super 10.

Fans has an opportunity to see Church and Pitts go head-to-head this past Saturday at Southfield-Lathrup. Country Day won the game, 56-52, but Church outscored Pitts 29-23.

Both are strong and are able to play a physical style. Church, at 5-10, is more of a perimeter player offensively and the best part of her game is when she takes the ball to the basket. Pitts is 6-feet tall and is more versatile offensively. Pitts is a fine post player. Her strength and quickness often cause opposing coaches to double team her in the paint. Pitts is also accurate from the 3-point range.

No player from Southfield-Lathrup has won this award and none will. The school will close in June and merge with Southfield High for the 2016-17 school year.

Oddly enough, despite all of the talented players that attended Country Day just one, Peggy Evans in 1989, has been named Miss Basketball.

As good as Church and Pitts are it is not a slam dunk that either will win. The next tier of players is outstanding and it would not be a huge surprise if one of these players won it.

The other top contenders, in alphabetical order, include Kierra Fletcher of Warren Cousino, Claire Hendrickson of Wyoming, Sophia Karasinski of Grand Rapids Catholic Central, Breanna Perry, of Flushing, Krystal Rice of Flint Hamady, Ellie Taylor of Midland Dow and Jordan Walker of Muskegon Mona Shores.

I told you there was a lot depth.

First of all, the Miss and Mr. Basketball awards are voted upon by memb