Hartland and Brighton have had two of the top girls basketball teams in the state this winter.
Tonight, they’ll meet with the KLAA West Division title on the line.
Hartland, ranked No. 2 in this week’s Associated Press Division 1 girls basketball poll, play host to No. 3 Brighton tonight in a game broadcast by The Livingston Post. Click here for the link.
Both teams are 15-1 overall, 11-1 in the West. Hartland’s only loss was at Brighton, 40-33, while Brighton’s only loss was a 43-41 decision at Howell.
“I don’t think there will be too many surprises,” Brighton coach Paul Ash says. “We know each other. We’ll have a few minor adjustments, but in all honesty, no, there aren’t going to be any major surprises.”
Both teams have standout post players in Whitney Sollom of Hartland, who has signed to play at Michigan, and Brighton’s Sophie Dziekan, who will play at Bowling Green.
Both also have strong supporting casts and have dominated opponents this season.
Tonight’s game also has been on each team’s radar for some time.
“Any time we play Hartland or Howell, we have their full attention in practice,” Ash said. “We’ve had two really good practices. We’re confident, and I’m sure they are, too.”
Hartland coach Don Palmer says it’s his team that has the bigger challenge.
“They beat us by seven,” he said. “We’re the ones that have to change. We’re going to have to do something so we’re a little more competitive. We scored a basket at the buzzer to make it 40-33, and Amanda Roach had a great game. She had 12 points, and if she doesn’t have 12, we barely score 20. So we have to make some changes.”
The Bulldogs, Ash said, will be ready.
“We have to play really well outside, with our interior defense, and limit the amount of 3s that they get,” he said. “They like to get the ball inside and hope you collapse down hard and get them open shots for 3s. If they get their 3s, they’re really hard to guard.”
Although the winner will take the lead in the KLAA West, there will be one more game in the division after tonight. Hartland is at Novi and Brighton takes on Salem in Friday’s league fineles.
“This game has a winner-take-all effect,” Palmer said, “but it’s one of those thing where you need to win (tonight) but you also have to finish the season.
“This will be a fun event,” he continued. “I think it will be a good game, and in this era, these girls don’t always get to experience these types of games, win or lose. So they’d better enjoy them, because they’re a rarity. Win or lose, it should be a fun event to participate in and a fun event to watch.