MIKE NIETO: T.F. South girls have the right chemistry

2014-01-03T22:00:00Z 2014-09-18T23:36:13Z MIKE NIETO: T.F. South girls have the right chemistryMike Nieto Prep Beat nwitimes.com
January 03, 2014 10:00 pm  • 

LANSING | Perhaps the only selfishness on the T.F. South girls basketball team is when coach Steve Breshock brings out the two big boxes of doughnuts from a local bakery.

The veteran coach has to remind them to take one and make sure everyone gets one. The players can't resist because as they said, "They are so good." Breshock even caught one girl with two treats in each hand.

It's not that way on the court. There are a few reasons the Rebels are off to a program-best 11-2 record after Friday's 68-42 win over Agricultural and Science.

The main one is that nobody cares who gets the credit or the points. Friday, it was captain Ninah Bertrand, the heart and soul of the Rebels, tying a program record with 41 points. She matched Shauniese Harvin's output from the 1999-2000 season. Junior guard Kameron Dickens summed it up when asked why this team, with no starter taller than 5-foot-8, is successful.

"Our team chemistry is probably at 100 percent," Dickens said. "We do everything off the court together. We play with love of the game and each other. When we get together, everyone who can go goes.

"Last year, not everyone was on the same page. We lacked that chemistry."

Thursday night it was a sleepover at a teammate's house. The girls ordered chicken and just hung out. Friday, it was pizza for lunch and of course, the postgame sweet treats.

"We talked about the game and what we needed to do," Dickens said. "We do this all the time, whether it is a movie, getting something to eat or just going to someone's basement and watch TV. We do it together."

They wear that "Smurfs" label with pride and Bertrand said lack of height is not a problem.

"Size does not matter if you play with a big heart," Bertrand said. "We have to get in position to box out for rebounds and do the fundamentals. The main thing is we are unselfish."

Bertrand stands 5-6, while Dickens is 5-7. Sophomore guard Ren'Cia Rolling is 5-3.

"My role is to dish it off to Ninah, Kam or whoever is open," Rolling said. "We play so well together and we also play good defense. maybe not being that big, we take pride in our defense and playing hard."

The Rebels are enjoying the season, but the girls also said they cannot rest. There is still a lot of season left, including the Class 4A postseason. Every game they face bigger teams, but they have managed to come out ahead 11 of the 13 tries.

It has been a good ride for a good group of kids. Just remember to leave at least one chocolate doughnut for Coach Breshock.

This column is solely the writer's opinion. Reach him at mike.nieto@nwi.com.

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