Just when one Ristovski sister leaves, another one arrives. Last season, Haleigh and Lola Ristovski helped the Detroit Mercy Titans reach the Horizon League championship game. Though Haleigh is in the final year of a five-year business program and will earn her degree in the spring, she’s completed her eligibility as a player. However, chapter two of the Titans sister act will began now thanks to the arrival of Madison Ristovski as an assistant coach on head coach Bernard Scott’s staff.
“It’s obviously very different having one as a player and one as a coach, but I have a very different relationship with each of my sisters,” Lola said. “Haleigh’s more of my mom-type of sister and Madison is more hard-headed with me, so it’s actually a very good transition and I’m very excited for Madison to be here.”
In other words, Madison is the fiery one while Haleigh is the motherly one.
“I just hold Lola accountable, that’s all,” Madison.
Madison Ristovski, the oldest of the three, arrives to Detroit Mercy after a playing career which included becoming Michigan’s Miss Basketball in 2012 and then playing at the University of Michigan before obtaining her Master’s degree in Education. Now she gets to coach Lola, the youngest.
“Just growing up, I knew I really wanted to stay in the sport of basketball and coaching always drew my attention,” Madison said. “I really love college basketball and I knew that working with girls specifically was something I really wanted to try and do; so I met Coach Scott a few years ago and just developed a relationship with him and once the position opened up, I interviewed for it and I was very, very grateful to have the opportunity to be at Detroit Mercy.”
Of the many memories the Ristovski sisters have together, one that sticks out is the one season they all played together at Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett, where they reached the Class D State Finals together, which Madison described as being “pretty awesome.”
“We were all numbered one, two and three by oldest to youngest,” Madison said. “I got to share that with both Haleigh and Lola and that’s just a memory that my family has and it was a pretty special day.”
All three even kept their numbers through their college careers even though Madison played for the Maize and Blue instead of the Titan Red, White, and Blue.
Basketball is a very huge part of the Ristovski family legacy. The sisters’ father, Loren, coached boys varsity basketball at Harper Woods High, and is now the athletic director for the Taylor School District. Their uncle, Dean, a former assistant coach for the Titans, has coached boys and girls varsity basketball and now runs a basketball academy.
“Shout out to Dr. Hoops,” Madison said with a laugh.
Madison and Lola both agreed with chuckles that Lola was a bit rebellious when she was younger and didn’t always listen to their father when it came to basketball.
“My uncle was definitely my mentor for basketball, growing up, even through high school, he trained me” Lola said. “My dad had my older sisters because they listened to him.”
The evolving story of the Ristovski family should play a key role this season as part of the overall family of the Titans, as Scott has instilled a family-type atmosphere in the program. They will play an exhibition game at Calihan Hall, Friday at 7pm.