The Pistons Elite 6th grade girls team traveled west to Tecumseh on Saturday and returned with their first championship of the season after an exciting 27-17 victory over the Plymouth Fury.
“The focus for the day was defense,” said head coach Sara Pallas, “If we could execute on D, that would lead to offensive opportunities. We needed to make stops, limit opponents to one shot per possession and just be scrappy. We also talked about the importance of teamwork. Everyone stepping up. If we were going to win, it would take 100% from each player.”
In the first game against the Fury the Elite played well in a 24-7 victory. We spread the floor well and averaged 2-3 passes per possession. Payton Asher had a couple of beautiful outside shots. Tough defense by Audrey Hambrick and Sammi Withrow, helped spur the transition game. Ava Beard inspired the defense by diving for balls all day long.
The second game was against Michigan Magic Elite. More of a physical battle compared to the first. The game was scrappy with lots of jump-balls and loose balls. The Elite pulled away late in the second half as Destiny McCurdy had two really big steals. She also added an “And-1″ opportunity driving to the basket on the baseline, making a tough shot and drawing the foul. The game ended with a 23-13 victory for the Elite and a birth in the Championship Game.
The Championship Game was a rematch with the Fury who were determined to give a better showing than in Game 1. “Both teams were exhausted but they knew what was at stake,” said Pallas, “After a turnover-plagues first half, we made some adjustments. When we came out of the halftime huddle, we took off and didn’t look back.” Anjani Koneru made three putback-baskets to put the Elite up by six late in the game. Naiya Darden played well also with some nice passes and a big basket late in the game. McCurdy had a few more steals in the final minute as the Elite secured their 27-17 victory.
“This was an outstanding effort,” concludes Pallas, “I Couldn’t be prouder of this team and the performance they gave especially playing with just seven girls.”