- Marc Pendleton Staff Writer
Mickayla Perdue’s ultimate wish was finally granted and Springfield High School girls basketball hasn’t been the same since.
Perdue is the Wildcats’ most anticipated incoming athlete since two-sport standout Danny Davis was a middle school phenom. Here’s why:
• A highly touted, 5-foot-8 freshman guard, she put a school-record 40 points on Yellow Springs in the season opener, her first high school game.
• Through three weeks she was the Greater Western Ohio Conference’s leading scorer (25.6).
• She already has an offer from the University of Detroit Mercy and that was before the season. Many more are sure to follow.
• At 4-2, Springfield already has surpassed last season’s win total (3-23).
• The Wildcats snapped a 79-game GWOC divisional losing streak by defeating Miamisburg 60-56 last Saturday. Springfield’s previous divisional win was a 36-34 defeat of Wayne way back on Dec. 16, 2009.
Miamisburg is in the GWOC National West and Springfield in the National East, but crossover games in the same conference count toward divisional standings.
That’s heady stuff for a program that hasn’t had a winning team since North and South merged in 2008.
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“I’ve been dreaming about being on varsity since I was a little kid,” said Perdue. “It’s been a really good experience. My team helps me out a lot. We just have a good team chemistry.”
That’s been three seasons in the making for Wildcats coach Darris Gattis. He had extensive girls AAU basketball experience and was a longtime coach at Brookhaven until that Columbus school closed.
Gattis knew all about the Wildcats’ girls basketball woes, but also of a great middle school class, led by Perdue. Considered one of the state’s top freshman, his initial goal was to make certain Perdue didn’t transfer to a more successful program. Once that was settled, upping the Wildcats’ game to a competitive level was paramount.
“There’s a buzz,” Grattis said. “We still have a ways to go but the word is out. We’re playing hard and that’s the thing. We’re a different kind of team. We have athletes out there. They’re disciplined. Now, we have somebody who can put that ball in the basket.”
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Springfield has yet to push National East powers Beavercreek, Centerville, Fairmont and Wayne. Springfield could have made a major statement Wednesday night at Centerville. Instead, the Elks collapsed defensively on Perdue and posted a 71-35 blowout win. Perdue was held to seven points on 2-of-13 shooting. Her previous scoring low was 18 points.
Springfield returned most of its team from last season: seniors Naomi Hookfin, Caralyssa Byrd, Makayla DeArmond and Jasmine Williams, and junior Takoya Massey.
“We have a great boys program,” Gattis said. “You want to try and duplicate what they do and represent the city the right way and make the city of Springfield proud of what we’re doing here. We’re still a work in progress but we’re on the right track to put Springfield on the map.”
Springfield is at Fairborn (2-4) at 11:30 a.m. Saturday.
• Tecumseh junior Corinne Thomas set a single-game school scoring record with 48 points in Saturday’s 82-46 defeat of visiting Jonathan Alder. The daughter of Arrows coach Danielle Thomas, Corinne leads the Central Buckeye Conference in scoring (26.7), just ahead of Kenton Ridge’s Mikala Morris (24.5), another freshman standout. Morris tallied a season-high 32 points in her debut against Southeastern.
Tecumseh (5-2) has mounted a four-game win streak and hosts Bellefontaine at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
»HOW THEY’RE RATED: Boys power rankings
• The Kenton Ridge boys basketball team has reason to celebrate. The Cougars (2-0) snapped a 22-game, regular-season losing streak (over two seasons) by beating Catholic Central in the season opener and followed up with a 60-56 defeat of Graham. Kenton Ridge was 0-21, but stunned Indian Lake 64-56 in a D-II sectional opener last season and finished 1-22.
Kenton Ridge is led by leading scorer Nasiim McKay (19.0 points), Jameel Cosby (16.5) and Tyler Eberhart (15.0). The Cougars host Tecumseh (1-3) at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
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• Springfield (3-0) joins Butler (4-0), Wayne (3-0) and Lebanon (4-0) as the only remaining unbeaten GWOC boys teams. The Wildcats host Centerville (2-1) at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
JaJuan Rodgers (17.0) is the Wildcats’ leading scorer, followed by Leonard Taylor (16.0) and RaHeim Moss (11.0).