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'Dangerous' Detroit Renaissance aims for state title as girls basketball practice begins in Michigan

David Goricki
The Detroit News

Nika Dorsey and her Detroit Renaissance teammates were excited to get on the floor for the first day of girls basketball practice Monday afternoon.

Renaissance returns the majority of its PSL championship team – a team that was primed for a state championship run in Division 1 before the journey got halted due to COVID-19.

Nika Dorsey

Dorsey joins Miss PSL Kailee Davis, a 5-foot-4 guard who earned a spot on The Detroit News Dream Team, 6-2 forward Shannon Wheeler and 5-10 guard Mikyah Finley (Wagner) as starters from last year’s team, which finished 22-2 and was set to play Birmingham Marian in a regional title game before the sports world was shut down.

“I’m definitely excited for this season, want to see us get better and progress as a team,” said Dorsey, who will play next year at Bradley. “We’re a very talented team. We’re all D1 athletes who have different contributions to the game. We’re like a sisterhood.”

Davis (Northern Kentucky) scored 34 in last year’s PSL title game win (81-55) over Detroit Cass Tech, making seven 3-pointers and getting several baskets in transition off of Renaissance’s outstanding press.

“Kailee is like the rock of the backcourt, she goes for steals and is very aggressive,” said Dorsey of Davis. “I like to pressure the ball and Shannon does a great job back there protecting the rim when we’re pressing. We all work well together.”

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Detroit Edison won three straight state titles – Class C in 2017 and 2018, and Division 2 in 2019 – but Renaissance is The News' preseason No. 1 team.

Edison lost a pair of Miss Basketball winners in the last two years, Rickea Jackson in 2019 and Gabby Elliott this past season, resulting in the state’s top player, Michigan State-bound Damiya Hagemann, not having as much around her this season.

Still, the teams will fight for the No. 1 spot on Dec. 27 in the PSL Holiday Classic at Renaissance.

Kailee Davis

Renaissance is in search of its first state championship since 2005 (Class B), losing state title games in Class A in 2010 and 2011.

Shane Lawal made some noise in his first year as head coach of Renaissance last season. Now, he wants to take care of unfinished business.

“I really think we’re going to be dangerous,” Lawal said. “I think Kailee has gotten better as a team player. I don’t think she really knew how good her teammates were last year, now she understands they are all great, so what makes her dangerous is her efficiency goes up because she doesn’t have to do as much. Kailee will score 23, 25 points in 10 or 12 shots and defensively she’s improved. Her and Nika play so well together in the backcourt.

“Shannon Wheeler has played center, but she’s going to be a three in college (at Dayton) and her perimeter game has really improved, and she can get to the basket.”

Taylor Anderson, the fifth starter last season, transferred to South Lyon East.

Renaissance opens the season Nov. 30 against Midland Dow at Detroit Edison.