The Hartland girls basketball team has a No. 1 seed in its side of the Lakes Conference bracket.
It has home court for at least two of the three rounds of the conference tournament, should it advance that far.
But coach Don Palmer is ambivalent, not about winning, but the tournament itself.
“To me, if I’ve got my choice to win the KLAA title or a district title, I’m definitely in favor of the district title,” he said. “Because it’s the state tournament and you extend the season. Don’t get me wrong, I think (the KLAA) would be a great title to win, but if I’ve got to choose, I’d take the state tournament.”
The state tournament comes up in a couple of weeks. Tonight, the Eagles play host to Walled Lake Northern in the Lakes Conference tournament’s first round. The game will be broadcast on The Livingston Post.
Hartland (15-1, 10-0) finished first in the KLAA West, while Northern (5-11, 4-6) was fourth in the North.
“They’re big, they’re physical and they have a good point guard in Courtney Callahan,” Palmer said. “They’ve got a handful of 3-point shooters, and they’re streaky. They hit either a bunch of 3s or no 3s. But the Callahan girl is pretty legit. She can go off for 20 at any given time.”
The Knights also play zone defense, something the Eagles haven’t seen much of this season.
Tonight also is senior night, which has its own pitfalls.
“You worry about the rhythm of the game,” Palmer said of his team, which has seven seniors. “But it’s Senior Night, and these kids have put in the hours and the time and they deserve to play.”
Senior Night will be a challenge, but Palmer most relishes the challenge of playing a team he and his Eagles don’t know.
“The league season is a grind,” he said. “You play the same teams twice and it goes by fast and furious, so it will be refreshing in terms of someone new.”
It might be the last such game for nine days. It’s possible the Eagles will have rematches with Brighton on Thursday, should the Bulldogs win, and a rematch with Howell on Monday.
“I haven’t thought that far ahead,” Palmer said. “I’m not a fan of it, but that’s the league and you have to play. … Once you step on the floor, you compete. You may not be happy with the scenario or what could happen, but that’s what you do as a coach, and what your kids do as players. You compete.”