False MI Prep Zone: GIRLS' BASKETBALL: Unstoppable April Micheaux powers Truman to three wins (PHOTO)
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Daija Anderson led her Kennedy team in scoring in both games last week; a loss to Truman and a victory over Lincoln Park. Photo by Tom Alexander

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GIRLS' BASKETBALL: Unstoppable April Micheaux powers Truman to three wins (PHOTO)

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By Samantha Elliott

The News-Herald

April Micheaux is a name that comes with impressive stats in Downriver League sports.

At last year’s News-Herald Track and Field Championships, the then-junior was first in four events and finished with 40 individual points to give Truman a seventh-place team finish.

On the basketball court, it’s pretty much the same.

In three games last week, she finished one rebound short of three double-doubles but still made her mark.

When all was said and done, the Cougars had three more wins on the season and Micheaux had 46 points and 41 rebounds.

Truman capped the week with a 49-28 victory over visiting Inter-City Baptist on Saturday.

Judah Frazier led the Cougars (9-3, 7-3 Downriver League) with 19 points for the game, while Micheaux had 12 and Ciara Bush netted 11.

For the Chargers (4-6, 1-3 Michigan Independent-Blue) Karalynn Goering and Alyssa Saenz both scored nine points and Ashley Harrison came away with five.

Inter-City was up by three points in the final seconds of the first quarter, but the hosts cut it to one after Frazier ran the length of the court and scored at the buzzer to make it a 12-11 game.

To start the second quarter, three of the first four baskets belonged to the Chargers, as Harrison, Arie Sandoval and Alexa Krug all scored and their team went up 18-13.

The Cougars hit back, guided by five points from Frazier, and at the half led 20-19. Frazier’s five points consisted of her first of three 3-pointers for the night, as well as two free throws.

In the third quarter, the Chargers managed only three points, while Truman’s Micheaux hit four, Frazier hit another three-pointer and Bush added two, which gave the squad a 28-20 lead heading into the last quarter.

Inter-City’s shooting struggles continued in the final eight minutes and on the other side Bush and Frazier scored five each, while both Micheaux and King each contributed four.

“Allen Park Inter-City Baptist came out in the first half and played very strong and gave us a real good challenge in the first half of things,” said Truman Coach Chad Putnam. “I challenged my kids at halftime to come out… and get after them a little bit.”

Earlier in the week, the Cougars added two DRL wins to the season, first edging Trenton 45-35.

It was a close first half for the teams. Trenton led 9-8 after the first quarter and Truman took a 23-21 lead into the half.

A big third quarter of 17 points propelled the Cougars to the final victory.

Truman saw six players contribute to the stat sheet in the quarter, led by Micheaux with six points.

“I thought that my team finished the third quarter of this game really well,” Truman Coach Chad Putnam said. “We got nice contributions offensively and defensively from Jewel Rubens and in her first game of the season, Mariah Henderson made an important three-point shot from the corner for us.

“(She’s) a good shooter and she has some ability to handle the ball. Her addition to our roster at this point in time in the season should provide us with another valuable option off our bench.”

Micheaux dominated the floor and the glass, finishing the game with 19 points and 18 rebounds.

Frazier (four points, four rebounds), Jewel Rubens (four points), Hopkins (four points, nine rebounds, four assists, two steals), Henderson (three points) and Caprice King (four points) also contributed to the victory.

Trenton was led by Kaylie Crowell with 10 points and five rebounds.

Aevah Hebda finished with eight points and led the glass with 12 rebounds. Izzy Olds finished with eight points and three rebounds.

“I thought we played a good game against Truman,” Trenton Coach Rob Sauter said. “I thought our girls competed so much better against them the second time than we had the first time so I was really happy with that.”

Against Kennedy, Micheaux had her worst night of the week. if you want to call 15 points and nine rebounds bad.

Truman’s early lead was key as the in-city rivals made a second-half comeback but the Cougars held on for the 30-28 win.

Kennedy pulled the game within two with four minutes left, but Truman finished with the win.

“In reflecting back on this game, it was extremely important that we got out to the quick start that we did,” Putnam said. “While Truman was able to win the first quarter of play decidedly, Kennedy won each of the final three quarters of play.

“Kennedy did a good job of getting back into this game and we made some poor choices late in this game in terms of shot selection and game management that could have hurt us more than they ultimately did.

Also contributing to the night were King (four points, eight rebounds), Bush (five points, three rebounds) and Frazier (four points, seven rebounds, five steals).

Daija Anderson led the Eagles with 10 rebounds and eight points and Teressa Savastano had a nice game of six points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals.

“We just couldn’t dig ourselves out of the early hole we dug ourselves into early in the game” Kennedy Coach Jeff Baum said. “Being a young team, I was very proud that our kids never gave up and fought back to make it a close game.

“The final three quarters were our best defensive effort of the season; we just need to get better offensively, especially at the free throw line.”

Earlier this season, the Kennedy girls fell to Lincoln Park to give the Rails their first league win in almost two seasons.

The Eagles avenged that win on Tuesday night and a strong second half ensured the 45-30 win.

Lincoln Park led 10-8 after the opening quarter, but Kennedy turned things around for a 19-15 halftime advantage before pulling away in the second half.

The Eagles outscored the hosts 26-15 to ensure the win.

It was a slow start and the Rails were up 6-3 mid first quarter when Olivia McKinney put away two free throws.

Asia Page kept the Eagles close and pulled her team within two early in the second quarter.

With six minutes left in the half Mary Chambers tied things up at 12 after an inbound Lincoln Park pass went straight to the Eagles.

Thirty seconds later, Daija Anderson grabbed a rebound and gave her team its first lead with the ensuing field goal.

Brittany Woods’ free throw made it a 14-13 game but that was the closest the Rails would get.

Anderson gave her team an early 21-15 lead to start the second half and dominated the glass en route to the win.

Anderson finished the half with 11 rebounds.

“We were having trouble rebounding the ball and it’s a bad combination if you can’t rebound the ball and don’t score,” Lincoln Park Coach Shaun Thacker said. “We were giving them so many chances; we give those girls extra chances, they’re gonna score.”

The Rails settled with splitting the season with the Eagles this year and Thacker said he was content with that after his team’s play.

“I thought we played pretty well,” he said. “The outcome wasn’t what we wanted, but I thought we played okay.”

The Rails were led by Llanes with 15 points and three rebounds.

McKinney finished with five points and seven rebounds, Early had six points.

Anderson led the Eagles with a double-double of 15 points and 16 rebounds and also had a steal.

Asia Page finished with 10 points, four rebounds, two assists and a steal, Chambers had five points, two rebounds, three assists, a block and a steal and Teressa Savastano had four points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals.

The Rails fell to 1-8 on the season, but Thacker is optimistic about the future.

“We’re getting better,” he said. “We’ve got some young girls and we just had trouble scoring there and Kennedy kind of pulled away at the end.

“We’re getting better day by day and we’re trying to incorporate some of the young girls now.”

The Eagles, too are young and Baum said each game is another growth.

“We’re learning,” he said. “We’re still making a lot of young mistakes, but we’re also doing some things better and growing every single game.”

Last Updated: 1/28/2014 3:11:46 PM EST