FOWLERVILLE — The Fowlerville basketball teams resume play in the CAAC White Division tonight, and both say playing a non-league game Tuesday should serve them well.
“I think it was very valuable for our kids,” Gladiators girls coach Nick Douglass said. ‘It was good for them to get the rust out, run up and down the court and play a quality opponent (in Mason).”
The Glads won that game on a last-second basket by Jackie Jarvis, improving to 6-2 overall, 1-1 in the White.
The boys, meanwhile, shot poorly (18-for-59 from the floor) in a loss at Mason.
“We played a decent game,” Fowlerville coach Fred Hackett said. “But it’s tough to win games doing that.”
Both get another chance tonight against Ionia in a 6 p.m. doubleheader at Fowlerville High School. The games will be broadcast on The Livingston Post at 5:50 p.m.
The boys play first, part of a Capital Area Activities Conference rule that alternates which team plays the first game of league doubleheaders. Each gender alternates.
That’s in contrast to the Kensington Lakes Activities Association which, except in rare instances, will have the boys playing at one high school and the girls at another, preceded by freshman and JV contests.
The Fowlerville boys go into the game at 2-3 overall, 1-1 CAAC White, while Ionia is 1-4, 0-2. Both come in looking to end losing streaks, Fowlerville at three and Ionia at four.
Hackett says his team will have to account for Ionia standout Brady Swinehart, but says a more controllable factor is rebounding.
“In our wins, we’ve had a distinctive advantage on the boards,” he said. “In our losses, we’ve had a noticeable disadvantage. But we also have to put the ball in the hole.”
Point guard Caden Carter said he was a little glad to see the Christmas break end.
“We want to get out there and play,” he said. “We’ve been practicing for a long period of time, but it’s all worth it in the end. We just have to work hard and know what we’re striving for.”
The Fowlerville girls, meanwhile, are off to another fast start. The Glads are 6-2, 1-1, and take on an Ionia team that is 5-2, 1-1.
“Ionia’s got some nice players,” Douglass said. “Jaylynn Williams is closing in on 1,000 points there for her career. They’ve got a couple of nice sophomores and a freshman who can really score.”
After years in the basement of the CAAC White, the Gladiators won 13 games last season and are well on their way to matching that total this season. Ollie Updike, a junior who started as a freshman, says communication has been a key,
“It’s a big thing we’ve improved on this season,” she said. “We’ve been working on communication, and it really helped against Mason.”
Douglass says his team is more talented, which helps, but also has an edge that can’t be taught.
“They hate losing more than anything else,” he said. “They have that drive, that internal motore and a will to be successful. It has its ups and downs. Sometimes your practices can be pretty intense, which isn’t a bad thing, but that can also be a downside. You have to make sure they walk off the court with smiles on their faces and know that it was part of the game.”
It’s the first home game at Fowlerville since school resumed on Wednesday.
“It will help, for sure,” Updike said. ‘Hopefully people will stay after the boys play to watch us.”