Hartland girls basketball coach Don Palmer agrees with a maxim once posed by one of his players: “Players play, coaches worry.”
So it wasn’t out of character for him, after his team rolled past Howell in its season opener, to embrace his inner worrier, and for good reason.
“I felt they outplayed us,” Palmer said of his team’s 51-24 win. “I felt they outrebounded us by a large margin, but they just missed shots. They got whatever shot they wanted, but nothing went in. I felt they played harder than us.”
The Eagles (7-0) and Highlanders (6-1) have won every game since then, and they meet again today at about 5:30 p.m. at Howell High School in a game that will be broadcast on The Livingston Post. Click here for the link.
Howell has done it with youth. Maeve St. John, a junior who already has committed to Northwood, is the standout player, but sophomores like Molly Duerloo, who hit a 3-pointer to tie the game late in regulation last week against Brighton, and Sophie Daugard have stepped into scoring roles.
“I love this team,” Howell coach Tim Olszewski said. “I’m so proud of them. I’ve seen a lot of improvement since that first game. So (tonight) will be another gauge of our progress. And hopefully we’ll see them at the district championship again.”
Last week’s overtime win over Brighton sent a message throughout the West Division. St. John led the Highlanders with 13 points in that game, but she didn’t score after the third quarter.
“Other team roll the dice (on defense) and concentrate on her and see what our other kids can do,” Olszewski said. “And our other kids are stepping up.”
In contrast, Hartland has a veteran team in the midst of a 21-game winning streak dating back to last season.
“I’ve coached in a lot of games against Howell, at Milford and now at Hartland,” Palmer said, “and I can’t recall any of them being easy in terms of when it’s over. You always know you’ve been in a competition.”