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January 29, 2014

West Bloomfield, Lathrup girls basketball teams to play twice in six days

By Mike Moore
C & G Sports Writer

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Taylor Pierce (25) takes a shot between two Stoney Creek defenders during a recent game. The Lakers’ upcoming schedule includes a pair of games against Lathrup.

WEST BLOOMFIELD — Certainly not the ideal situation, in his words, but Zach Hilbers figures his team might as well make the most of it.

And that’s just how the West Bloomfield High girls basketball coach is going to approach his team’s upcoming schedule, which includes dates with some of the best squads in the Oakland Activities Association Red Division.

Four in a row, to be exact.

“With the schedules and the cancellations and everything else this year, what can you really do?” Hilbers said. “At the same time, when you’re not in the hunt for the league title, you want to get yourself prepared for the districts. Playing these games will certainly do that.”

With a 1-3 record in Red play at press time, the Lakers were more or less too far down in the standings to contend for a division crown.

But everyone on their schedule the next week or so is right at the top, presenting a very interesting challenge.

West Bloomfield faces Farmington Hills Harrison (8-2 overall, 4-1 in the Red) at 7 p.m. Jan. 30 at home, before hosting Lathrup Village Southfield-Lathrup (7-4, 4-1) at 7 p.m. Feb. 4, then hosting Clarkston High (6-1, 2-1) at 7 p.m. Feb. 7, before finally closing out the crazy stretch with a 7 p.m. Feb. 10 date at Lathrup.

And it’s those two games against the Chargers in a six-day span that may be the most intriguing for Hilbers.

“The good thing about playing them that close together is having a real good idea of what they can do, especially the second time around,” Hilbers said. “Lathrup is a very athletic team that is going to make you work for everything. They are going to be tough to play against.”

The Feb. 10 game was originally scheduled for earlier in the season but was rescheduled due to a gym conflict at Lathrup.

“Not exactly what you’d prefer, playing the same team just a few days apart, but with the way this year has gone with the schedules, there wasn’t much else we could do,” Hilbers said.

Still, he plans to make the most out of the upcoming gauntlet, including the home-and-home series with the Chargers.

“Facing a team like Lathrup twice this late in the season is only going to make us better,” Hilbers said. “They are a team that outsizes us. For us to be successful, we have to find ways to neutralize their size. That’s going to be key, as well, come postseason time. We’re going to see some teams like that if we’re successful.”

Hilbers said he’ll also use the stretch to see just how far his team has come.

“Our goal after the holiday break, and after the other cancellations, was to use every day we had left before the postseason to get a little bit better,” he explained. “I think these games (against Lahtrup) will be a good gauge for us. To play them once, and then right away again, will show us how we’re improving from one day to the next.”

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Mike Moore at mmoore@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1038. Twitter Follow Mike on Twitter.