Goodrich's Tania Davis wins Miss Basketball

David Goricki
The Detroit News

Detroit — Tania Davis didn't let her size get in the way of making big things happen on the basketball court during her career at Goodrich.

Davis, a 5-foot-3 point guard, was rewarded for her outstanding play by being named Miss Basketball Monday afternoon in voting by Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan members.

Davis won the prestigious award by a 2,591-2,194 margin over Wayland guard Presley Hudson. Grosse Pointe South point guard Cierra Rice was third (2,119), followed by Clarkston post player Erika Davenport (2,083) and Benton Harbor guard Kalabrya Gondrezick.

Davis made sure BCAM members and all other basketball fans knew who she was once she hit the scene her freshman year at Goodrich, starting and helping her team to the Class B state championship in 2012.

Goodrich repeated as Class B state champions her sophomore year when she had 20 points and seven rebounds in the title game win over Flint Powers.

"It's great to receive such an award, this award that I'm receiving today knowing how much I've been doubted by a lot of people because of my size," said Davis who is averaging 19 points and 6.7 assists this season. "To be able to win this great award and to prove everyone wrong, it just means a lot to me."

Davis found out she had won the honor Friday afternoon when Goodrich coach Jason Gray told her in the athletic director's office. She called her mother, Nicky Anderson, to give the great news.

"Our head coach, Coach Gray, just decided to tell me we might have a conflict on Monday with practice, seeing how the Miss Basketball press conference was that day," Davis said. "I stopped for a second and said, 'Are you telling me I won?' and he was like, 'Yes, you won.' It was pretty awesome. I was just really excited about that. I told my mom and my best friend, but it was hard to keep it a secret."

Yes, Gray said Davis called her mother and it was an emotional moment with tears flowing while telling her the news. Tania's mother played at Flint Southwestern Academy.

Davis feels that getting to Breslin Center in East Lansing, then playing well in the state finals put her in position to earn the award. Goodrich (24-1) will face Manistee (24-1) in a state quarterfinal Tuesday at Mount Pleasant to try and get back to Breslin.

"I think it was really, really important," Davis said of playing in the state finals. "I think that's where I led the pack because I've been to the Breslin a couple more times than a few of the other candidates so I think that's what set me apart from the other candidates and that's how I got my votes. I had the chance to bring home two state championships."

Davis, who will play next season at Iowa, never felt her size was a problem, but instead an advantage.

"I think people think it's a problem for me, but it's really not, I think I make it an advantage," Davis said. "I guard the best player and I'm pretty good at it. I get to the basket, get the fouls.

"My biggest strength is my court vision. I see the court really well and I'm able to create for my teammates and for myself."

Davis credits numerous individuals for helping her develop her talent, including her mother and former Flint Northern coach Leteia Hughley who let Davis play with the team, run plays when she was a ball girl at age 10.

Hughley guided Flint Northern to consecutive state championships in the mid-'90s when former Shock All-Star Deanna Nolan led the way. Nolan was the 1996 Miss Basketball award winner.

"When I was about 10, I was the water girl at Flint Northern and (Hughley) really got into me," Davis said. "She treated me as one of her players, so that's motivation and she continued to stay with me so I really thank her. I actually practiced with them, running plays, everything. She would throw me in the fire."

Now, Davis wants to end her career with another state title, especially after getting eliminated in the regional last season.

Davis made sure Goodrich would get to the quarterfinals by making the plays down the stretch Thursday in a 50-48 regional final comeback win over previously unbeaten Midland Bullock Creek.

"Tania has the ability to take over a game," Gray said. "Going back to the game Thursday night, we're down three and she hits a runner, we're down one and she finds an open teammate for an easy layup and then hits a free throw to put us up two late. She can really impact a game however it's needed. If somebody has an easier opportunity she'll get them the ball to finish."

Davis was brokenhearted with how last year finished.

"That's been in the back of my mind since last year and it's been my motivation," she said.

"When the tournament started all I could think about was last year how I didn't hold a regional championship or a state championship in my hand so that definitely motivated me and drove me to the point that I am at now, wanting to play on Saturday and win another state championship. It's (winning Miss Basketball) a great start (to the week), but we have to end it the right way though."