Howell’s girls basketball team is off to a blazing start, sporting a 7-1 record, 2-0 in KLAA West play, going into tonight’s home game against a much-improved Pinckney program.
But Highlanders coach Tim Olszewski isn’t taking anything for granted.
“We talked about that (Thursday),” he said Thursday night. “We talked about Maryland losing to Michigan, and look at Michigan State. We take everything seriously.”
Tonight’s game will be broadcast on The Livingston Post beginning at around 7 p.m.
His team beat Milford and Grand Blanc by identical 61-19 scores, but is working to ensure Howell isn’t ambushed like MSU’s men were on Thursday. The Spartans trailed by 22 at halftime and got as close as 13 before falling to Iowa.
Pinckney, meanwhile, is looking to get back on track. After a 6-0 start, their best in a decade, the Pirates lost their first two division games to Hartland and Brighton, respectively.
Pirates coach Jarrett Cogswell has helped engineer his school’s turnaround.
“We hadn’t beaten Chelsea in a long time,” he said, referring to a recent win. “Years of losing can get in there (mentally), but it doesn’t change that this is a new season. This season is about the way we do things, the way we execute, and the way we play. It’s one game at a time, regardless of the opponent.”
Olszewski, in his first season with the Howell girls, is focused on this year’s Pirates, too.
‘What I’ve seen on film is they are aggressive on defense,” Olszewski said. “They like to get after the rebounds, they have a couple of girls who look to get the ball inside and can do some damage there. What we’ll have to do is be on top of the game and how we handle their post players.”
The same could be said for the Pirates, who will have to find a way to slow down a Howell offense that has scored 60 points or more in its last three games.
“They like to run a lot of different presses,” Olszewski said. “We’re going to have to handle their pressure and have to work to not fall into their traps.”
In the end, the coach said, the Highlanders will concentrate on their own performance.
“We’ll go at it the same way as we have the other games and hopefully come out on top,” Olszewski said. “It’s one of the things we talk about at practice: You’ve gotta play the game. You can’t just show up. … It really is about worrying about ourselves and how we execute. They’re pretty good. We’ll have our hands full, for sure.”
Meanwhile, the Pirates aim to make a statement tonight.
“Our focus has been defense,” Cogswell said. “We had a letdown defensively (in Tuesday’s 58-21 home loss) and Brighton came to play. Our progress in what we do defensively has been impressive. We were picked to finish last out of the six teams, and we have the mentality of having a chip on our shoulders.”