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Hail to the champs!

December 29, 2010 - 2010 was a great year to be a seventh-grade girl who loves playing basketball.

Not only did the middle school team go undefeated, but a group of eight seventh-grade girls took their skills up to Cage Sports in Swartz Creek and dominated the competition.

Playing for the Oxford Lightning, a middle school program that started five years ago, the eight girls went undefeated and won the seventh grade championship, much to the surprise of head coach Michael Savich.

"I didn't expect it," Savich said. "The competition is usually very good. This year it was good, but we have been playing now for about two years together and we kind of jelled."

The Lightning defeated the Broncho Ballers 19-15 in the championship game on Sunday, Dec. 19. Last season, the team finished third out of 12 teams.

Savich said the girls improved greatly over last season because they had another year of practicing and playing together.

This was the first time that any Oxford Lightning team has gone undefeated. They went 10-0 in league play and 2-0 in the playoffs.

Members of the Lightning include Lisa Savich, Christina Medici, Abby Butkiewicz, Jennifer Brasington, Logan Medel, Jasmine George, Jasmine Bailey and Tina Akers.

Savich called his team "the most aggressive, scrappy and determined players that I have ever coached."

"For most kids, their nature is to play off and not run up and down the court that fast, but these girls give it 100 percent up and down the court and they are all over the ball," he said. "It's hard to teach that in girls, and even in boys."

For Savich, the biggest challenge of the season was the amount of time the girls had between the end of the middle school basketball season and the start of the Lightning season.

"We had one practice and went right into the season at the Cage. From that point on, we started having practices more regularly," he said.

Savich said Oxford Lightning takes the top players from Oxford Parks and Recreation league to form one team. They compete against teams from Flint, Swartz Creek, Holly, Fenton and Clarkston.

"It's like an all-star team below AAU," Savich added.

Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.
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