Beverly HillsJanuary 29, 2014
Smaller team giving way to typical results for Orlando, Country Day girls
By Mike Moore
C & G Sports Writer
BEVERLY HILLS — It’s a luxury he’s commonly enjoyed.
Whether it be a shot blocker in the middle, a taller-than-most presence on the post or just a power forward who could battle inside, Beverly Hills Detroit Country Day coach Frank Orlando has rarely worked with a team that couldn’t hold its own under the basket.
But this year’s team measures up differently.
“This is a type of team that understands how you have to play to be successful,” Orlando explained. “They work hard to motivate each other, and when they get going well, they keep it going. The challenge is to be consistent every game, but they’ve found ways to do that.”
They’ve found that consistency despite a lack of any significant size.
In the starting lineup, Kristina Grace is the tallest player — all 5 feet 9 inches of her.
But the Yellowjackets haven’t been short on success, so far.
In fact, they’ve been perfect.
“We’re a quick, aggressive team that is going to challenge you,” Orlando said of his group, which was 10-0 at press time. “We play up-tempo, and we like to attack. The lack of height is something I think we have to overcome. We’re a group of guards, really. The only thing you can do is try to keep the up-tempo approach and try to keep (opponents) off the boards. It starts with defense, and that’s the key.”
While the size maybe lacking, experience certainly isn’t.
Last year’s team reached the Class B quarterfinals before falling to Flint Powers Catholic, ending the season 16-5.
From that group, all but one starter returned this winter, and they hit the ground running.
Country Day, ranked No. 4 in Class B, is averaging nearly 50 points per game, while giving up roughly 25.
The speed, quickness and defensive pressure have all but made up for a lack of size.
“I think we had some real questions to be answered when the season started,” Orlando said, admitting he is somewhat surprised at the start. “At the same time, it’s only half a season so far. It’s been nice. I’m proud of the girls and the way they’ve played.”
Still, the loss against Powers came to a team with an inside presence: one Country Day had little answer for.
“A team with size and athletic ability would be a challenge for us,” Orlando admitted. “But our goal is to be at a level where we can compete and can maintain what we’ve done in the past.”
Does that including winning a state title with this group?
“Winning a championship is a great thing, but you can’t do that every single year,” Orlando said. “The best thing we can do is play consistently and put ourselves in a position to be successful.”