Erika Hill, Bloomfield Hills Andover, gets past Bloomfield Hills Lahser defender Alex Jackson, during girls district basketball action at Birmingham Marian High School Monday, Feb. 25, 2013. (Special to The Oakland Press / LARRY McKEE)
Basketball - Girls
GIRLS BASKETBALL: Andover clips Lahser in last-ever game between rivals to tip-off state tourney WITH VIDEO
Shannon Wilson, Bloomfield Hills Andover, goes up for a shot in the paint during girls district basketball action at Birmingham Marian High School Monday, Feb. 25, 2013. (Special to The Oakland Press / LARRY McKEE)
Michaela Jennings (32), Bloomfield Hills Lahser, battles for a rebound with Shannon Wilson, Bloomfield Hills Andover, during girls district basketball action at Birmingham Marian High School Monday, Feb. 25, 2013. (Special to The Oakland Press / LARRY McKEE)
Suzanne Miller, Bloomfield HIlls Lahser, pulls up for a shot during girls district basketball action against Bloomfield Hills Andover at Birmingham Marian High School Monday, Feb. 25, 2013. (Special to The Oakland Press / LARRY McKEE)
BLOOMFIELD HILLS – The final “Battle of Bloomfield” on the girls basketball floor took on added significance Monday night: the losers’ team would cease to exist.
Next year, Bloomfield Hills Andover and Bloomfield Hills Lahser will merge into Bloomfield Hills High School, where the longtime rivals will become teammates.
On Monday, the two squads had one more score to settle on the hardwood in the opener of the 2013 state tournament.
Utilizing its star power and a scorching-hot start to the third quarter, Andover bounced its inter-city adversaries off the map with a 53-46 victory that advanced the Barons into Wednesday’s district semifinal against host Birmingham Marian, champions of the Catholic League's A-B Division.
The win was more decisive for Andover (15-6) then it looked on paper. The Barons were in front by as much as 20 points for a majority of the second half.
“I think we made a bit of a statement with how well we played late when the game was still in balance,” Andover head coach Jeff Rubin said. “The girls went out there and took care of business, plain and simple.”
Coming off the heels of a triple-double in her last outing, Andover all-league junior point guard Shannon Wilson nearly posted a quadruple-double Monday evening, going for another stuffed stat line of 23 points, 11 steals, eight assists and eight rebounds.
“This was the last time we were ever going to face Lahser, our biggest rivals, and I wanted to make sure we’d be keeping the bragging rights,” she said. “They were after us good and we weathered the storm. We got into the next round and at this point of the season, that’s all that matters.”
Wilson scored 15 of her points in the first half of action, leading the Barons to a 29-22 advantage at the break.
To start the third quarter, the whirling dervish of a floor general went for Lahser’s jugular.
She kick-started a 13-0 Barons’ run out of the locker room with back-to-back steals she took coast-to-coast for buckets. Her nifty reverse lay-up at the 3:26 mark of the third provided Andover a 42-22 cushion.
Lahser (8-13) kept fighting though and wouldn’t go down for good until the closing buzzer. A 3-pointer from Knights guard Amanda Moss with 35 seconds left trimmed Lahser’s deficit to single-digits.
However, a jumper at the foul line by Andover senior sniper Rachel Rea (14 points), who broke the school’s single-season and career 3-point mark last week, sealed the game for the Barons.
Following Rea’s back-breaking shot, Lahser head coach Bob Brydges called a timeout, which allowed Knights’ leading-scorer and senior captain Suzanne Miller to exit her last game as a prep hoopster to a standing ovation.
Miller, most likely headed to play soccer in college, paced Lahser in the score sheet with a team-high 18 points.
“That young lady has more heart than most people I’ve met in my entire life,” said an emotional Brydges of his star. “She’s been our rock the last couple of years, just everything you could ever want in a player. I’ll miss coaching her dearly.”
BH ANDOVER 53, BH LAHSER 46
ANDOVER - Emma Hill (1) 3; Shannon Wilson 8 (1) 4-5 23; Rachel Rea 3 (2) 2-3 14; Gina Perry 3 6; Erika Hill 1-2 1; Jamie Lederman 3 6
LAHSER - Amanda Moss 1 (2) 8; Katie Steward 2 4; Suzanne Miller 4 (2) 4-4 18; Alex Jackson 3 1-2 7; Shailynn Brown 1 1-2 3
SCORE BY QUARTER
A 16 13 18 6 - 56
L 6 16 9 14 - 43
RECORDS: Andover 15-6; Lahser 8-13
Scott M. Burnstein covers prep sports and college recruiting for The Oakland Press. You can email him at Hoosierscott@aol.com and follow him at Twitter.com/Burneystweets