The Pistons Elite 7th grade team finished first in the 2017 Big Cat Spring League as they posted a 9-1 season record. “This was a great season and I’m very happy the way the girls played,” said head coach Geo Thomas, “I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
The Piston girls won two close games Sunday. The first was the rubber game against the powerful Lady Hawks of Livonia. It was a game that went back and forth as no team could hold more than a four point lead. However, with the Elite down 22-20, Eva Khalil drove to the basket, scored and was fouled during the shot. Her free throw gave the Pistons a 23-22 lead with just 46 seconds left. Pistons guard Ashley Loon hit a free throw on the Pistons next possession to seal the 24-22 victory. The Hawks were the only team to beat the Pistons this season with a 30-23 win on April 23. Loon led the Pistons with 11 points while Jillian Gomes added four points and 12 rebounds. Gomes also provided strong interior defense making difficult for the hawks to score in the paint. Ava Twardowski hit one of the largest baskets of the game when the Pistons trailed 22-18. “Ava scored after a timeout to change our offense,” said coach Thomas after the game, “It was a big score.”
The second game Sunday was a tough contest vs the Michigan Magic as the Pistons trailed most of the game. It was a physical game where the Pistons scrapped their way to a 20-14 victory “We were definitely tired after the Livonia game,” added Coach Thomas, “The gym was hot and playing with eight girls meant very little rest.”
The Pistons Press was the key as Ava Renee Beard and Ella Sturtz did a great job trapping the Magic in the corner. Their ability to force difficult passes allowed the Pistons to create turnovers and score in transition. The defense locked down as well. Anjani Koneru played her best defensive game of the season as she played strong helpside defense, forced many jump balls and never allowed the Magic to be comfortable in the half court. Payton Asher also played her best game defensively as she outrebounded many taller players. Asher scored the final basket of the game and the season as the Pistons won by six and finished the season on an 8-game win streak.
“It was a rewarding season,” said Coach Thomas, “especially for our 7th graders who had a rough winter season. To see them succeed was so rewarding. The team chemistry was amazing and nobody got down or panicked when we faced adversity. Simply a great team!”