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January 29, 2014

Roseville girls basketball team showing marked improvement on the floor

By Jason Carmel Davis
C & G Sports Writer

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The Roseville High girls basketball team next hits the court for a battle against Warren Woods Tower at 7 p.m. Jan. 29 at Tower. Pictured is Panthers coach Andy Houghton, center, talking strategy with his team during a Jan. 10 matchup against Warren Fitzgerald.

ROSEVILLE — The Roseville High girls basketball team has improved leaps and bounds from last season.

At press time, the Panthers averaged 12.2 more points per game (43.3) than last season and surrendered 7.3 fewer points (41.5) than they did in the 2012-13 season.

At 5-5 overall and 3-1 in the Macomb Area Conference Blue Division, Roseville has already eclipsed last season’s win total of three. The three wins in divisional play are more than the previous two seasons combined.

First-year coach Andy Houghton, taking over for his wife, Angela, said familiarity has played a role in the team’s resurgence, as five players return from last season’s team. Houghton said upgrades in personnel at certain spots have helped, too.

“We haven’t had a true point guard the last few seasons, so we were kind of piecing things together with that,” said Houghton, who previously coached at St. Clements and Immaculate Conception. “This year, we have a great freshman point guard, Nija Collier, and she’s done a really good job of leading the team and getting us into our offense.”

Houghton said the girls have excelled in the matchup zone defense. He said Roseville struggled the last couple of years on defense, but he thinks the team has turned a corner on that end of the floor.

The Panthers’ coach said junior Brianna Hodge has had a breakout season. Houghton said he told Hodge she would have a solid year at the outset.

“I just play as hard as I can in all of our games just like everybody else on the team,” said Hodge, a three-year varsity player. “Whether it’s scoring, rebounding or playing defense, I’m trying to contribute in any way I can to help the team.”

Houghton said senior Mykina Scott has proved to be a solid scorer for the team, which likes to get out and run and attack the paint on offense.

Houghton said the team’s confidence must remain high for the final 10 games of the regular season. He said the MAC Blue is a tough league, featuring strong teams such as Sterling Heights High and Macomb L’Anse Creuse North. North has won three straight league titles.

Roseville takes on North twice — Jan. 31 on the road and Feb. 3 at home.

“We just have to keep playing hard and make sure our confidence stays high,” Houghton said. “In our first game against Sterling Heights, we had a couple of early turnovers and lost confidence, and it was all downhill from there. As long as we maintain our confidence, we should be all right.”

Roseville next hits the court against Warren Woods Tower at 7 p.m. Jan. 29 at Tower.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Jason Carmel Davis at jdavis@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1107. Twitter Follow Jason on Twitter.