Despite winning the Class B state title last year, and starting this season 11-1, Detroit Country Day girls basketball coach Frank Orlando says his team still has a lot of work to do, especially if it hopes to repeat.
Country Day — ranked second in Class B last Tuesday by the Associated Press — beat host Detroit Renaissance 56-50 on Monday night.
“It’s hard to maybe understand sometimes, but we only have one senior,” Orlando said. “We’re really young. They have good experience by winning the state championship last year, but we’ve still got to work on the fundamentals. We sometimes take shots too quickly and we have to work on rebounding time and time again. We’re not a team that can just not play well and win tough ballgames. Renaissance is a really good team, they’re well-coached. To win a game like this you have to have a lot of things go right for you.”
Country Day has won its last four, after losing 39-29 to Saginaw Heritage on Dec. 29 — which snapped a 6-0 start to the season.
Maxine Moore had 15 points to lead Country Day. Kaela Webb added 13 and Arika Tolbert 10.
“Maxine is an inside player and she had quite a few inside baskets,” Orlando said. “She hit the boards hard and did a great job for us underneath. It was the inside game that helped us win.”
Siyeh Frazier scored 18 and Brittany Hill 13 for Renaissance (11-2), which is ranked sixth in Class A.
The game was close from the start. It was tied 13-13 after one, and Country Day led 27-22 at the half.
“Both teams were playing extremely hard,” Orlando said.
After three, the score was tied at 38-38, and even in the fourth — where no team led by more than eight — the difference was only a point with 1:20 left.
Eight of Webb’s 13 points came in the fourth quarter.
“She is an opportunistic player,” Orlando said of the sophomore. “When the game is on the line, she’s going to to her best to make things happen for us. She’s done it both years. She’s a player who’s going to come up with a steal, or a fast break basket. She’s just a clutch-type player.”
Country Day travels to Toledo (Ohio) Waite on Saturday before making the trip to Haslett Wednesday for a rematch of last year’s Class B state championship game.
Waite (1-9) has struggled the last two years, winning one of its last 27 games (76-15 on Jan. 9). Haslett (11-1), on the other hand, is rolling. The only loss for the Class B runners up came on Jan. 8, 52-40 to St. Johns.
“We have a very demanding schedule,” Orlando said. “We just have to keep working on it. There’s a lot of people playing very good basketball. We’ll have to keep working on it.”
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