LANSING | Kameron Dickens and teammate Ninah Bertrand start every second half with more than a hop in their step.
It is more of a skip.
The two hold hands, swinging them while they skip onto the court for pre-third quarter warmups. Why?
"We just started it and I can't remember which game, but I think it was Shepard," Dickens said. "We did not have a good first half and we needed something to pick us up. Show some unity."
Bertrand said it shows that they can't feel down.
"When one of us is down, we have to pick each other up," Bertrand said. "That is what we do on this team."
What they do is have success to the tune of a 20-5 record heading into Wednesday's Class 4A T.F. North Regional semifinal against Marist.
The Rebels are not the tallest team with their biggest starter no taller than 5-foot-8.
"We make up for it with playing hard, not getting frustrated and listening to the coach," Bertrand said. "We just have to outhustle our opponents. Whether it be for a loose ball or being in position for a rebound.
As practice wound down early last week, ninth-year coach Steve Breshock was reminding his team of the importance of making free throws.
"Concentrate, concentrate," he said. "Got to make 'em. We have to make seven or we do some running."
The kids are not the only ones having fun. when asked if this was the most fun team to coach, he didn't hesitate: "Absolutely."
He said he is clearly enjoying the season, something that T.F. South fans have also noticed. He has had better teams and taller teams, but none that has the chemistry that the 2013-14 Rebels do.
"They listen and they know that it takes hard work," Breshock said. "They are not afraid to put in that extra effort. Plus they bought into what we told them and they listen to what we tell them to do.
"This is just a great group."
Breshock admits he bribes them with sweet treats like doughnuts and pastries from a Torrence Avenue bakery after home games. Maybe that is the only time they don't listen to him and his assistant, daughter, Tara. When he says single file and one doughnut per person, it seems to fall on deaf ears.
"We knew we were not that big and we had to do the little things and they went ahead and did it," Breshock said. "Every day at practice, the extra dribbles and the drills. Do you know how boring that can be? Well, they never complained. They did them. We have to be selective in our shots, so they work on hitting the open man."
Bertrand, a three-year captain said the Rebels are a true team.
"We feed off of each other," Bertrand said. "We love playing together and doing things off the court."
Dickens said it might be a pasta party or just watching a movie or TV.
"We all take care of each other," Dickens said. "If someone needs help with homework, we're there. I really think us being so close off the court has helped on the court."