Finals Flashback

By Ron Pesch

1976 Farmington Hills Our Lady of Mercy made its third consecutive Class A finals appearance, but again came away short, falling to Marquette, 68-41, at East Kentwood High School. Mercy would return to the Class A final again in 1977, this time emerging victorious.

Marine City jumped out to an early lead, then never looked back in a 52-38 win over Three Oaks-River Valley. Mariners 6-2 center Doreen Grote led all scorers with 12 field goals and a free throw for 25 points. Deb Lundin paced River Valley with 15 points.

Teammates Janet Goschnski and Carol Valchine combined for 36 of Allen Park Cabrini's points in a 48-35 win over Scottville-Mason County Central. The Monarchs led 22-19 at the half, then scored 12 unanswered points in the third quarter before senior guard Glenda Gruno hit a bucket for the Spartans with a minute to play in the period. Monarch center Goschnski ended the contest with 20 points, while Gruno led Scottville with 15 points.

Abby Currier scored 26 points and Becky Sessions added 22 as Lake City cruised past Perkins, 58-48, for the Class D title. Lynette Royer led Perkins with 23 points.

1981 Flint Northern and Coach Dottie Kukulka won their fourth consecutive Class A title with a 37-32 victory over Harper Woods Regina before a crowd of 2,111 at the University of Detroit's Calihan Hall. Laurie Spencer notched a game high 16-points for Regina. Felicia Cooper, the only senior starter for the Vikings, led Northern with 10. Teammate Yvonne Thompson added six points and nine rebounds.

In Class B, Okemos posted a 64-52 win over Marshall in a thriller. The Redskins jumped out to a 18-9 lead in the first quarter, and led by 13 with three minutes to play in the second. But Okemos battled back to within five, 30-25 by halftime. Sue Tucker scored 10 of her game high 27 points in the third quarter as the Chieftans continued to chip away. Tied at 50 with 5:24 to play in the contest, Okemos grabbed the lead on Jill Cooley's putback following a rebound. The Chiefs proceeded to score the final nine points in the game enroute to the title. Cooley came off the bench to score 13 points and a game high 11 rebounds. Marshall's Sal DeGraw ended with 23 points including 10 of 17 from the field.

Vonnie Thompson tallied 17 points and Kelly Burns added 15 to lead Carrollton past Addison, 53-46, in Class C. Lorri Vettes led Addison with 19 points, while Sandy Parker finished with 17. It was the second crown in three years for the Cavs, a township located outside of Saginaw.

Leland grabbed its 55th consecutive victory under Coach Larry Glass, and its second consecutive Class D crown with a 50-33 win over Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard. Paula DeFord led Richard with 13 points, while Julie Polakowski's 21 points in the contest capped a stellar prep career at Leland. The senior ended the year with 812 points in 28 games, establishing a new single season scoring mark that still stands today. Currently, Polakowski's career totals of 2,109 points in 97 g ames, ranks 11th on the Michigan's prep all-time career scoring list.

1986 Hattie Davis scored 19 points, Kayette Jones dropped in 15, and Annette Babers added 14 as Saginaw came from behind to defeat defending Class A champion Detroit Martin Luther King, 58-52 at Grand Valley State College Fieldhouse in Allendale. Trailing 48-41 with 3:04 to play, the Trojans came back and tied the game on Jones' midcourt steal and uncontested layup. The senior guard hit a 12-foot jumper with 13 seconds remaining to give Saginaw the lead. Following an intentional foul, Jones added a pair of free throws then Davis h it a 25-footer with two second remaining to round out the scoring. Guard Denise Kirby led the Crusaders with 17 points.

Runner-up in the 1985 Class B championship match, Dearborn Divine Child battled to a 50-45 overtime win over Okemos. Sue Nissen led the winners with 22 points. Leading most of the second half, Okemos fell behind 43-41 on Andrea McAllister's breakaway with 1:33 left in the fourth quarter. Sophomore Amy Zack tied the game with a five foot jumper, and the Chieftains had a chance to win with one second to play in regulation. After being fouled, Zack missed the front end of a one and one, and the game went into overtime. Divine Child scored the first six poin ts in the extra frame.

Sophomore Carrie Isanhart scored 16 points, including a short jumper, to pull Evart to within one point of Wyandotte Mt. Carmel, 42-41 late in the Class C title game. But in the final minute, the Wildcats missed two chances for the lead, and were force to foul. Carol Szczechowski (25 points) stepped to the line and nailed both free throws to put the Comets up 44-41 with six seconds to play. Tammi Bruggema's basket at the buzzer wasn't enough, as Mt. Carmel ended the year with a 44-43 win and the Class C championship trophy.

The Peck Pirates capped a perfect season with a 72-58 victory over Climax-Scotts in Class D. Despite foul trouble, Cherie Swarthout scored 34 points for the Panthers. Colleen Bradley paced the winners with 31.

1991 Farmington Hills Mercy worked to take away Detroit Martin Luther King's strong inside game in the first half of the Class A title matchup at Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek. That left the Crusaders' 5-0 guard, Schwanna Prince, to carry the load from the perimeter. Prince responded to the challenge, scoring all of her game-high 16 points in the first half, as King jumped out to a 30-18 lead at the intermission. The Crusaders added a 9-1 run to open the third quarter, and ended the day with a 52-36 victory. Tiffany Mitchell finished with 13 points and nine rebounds for the victors. Laure DeMattia led Mercy with 14 points.

In Class B play, Flint Powers ended New Boston Huron's 23-game winning streak, 41-29. Lisa Negri and Sarah Willyerd paced the Chargers with 15 and 11 points, respectively. Janet Hughes scored 14 points for New Boston.

Sophomore Jessica Powers hit 5 of 11 from the field and 8 of 8 from the free throw line as Burton Bendle defeated Williamston, 69-60 for the Class C title. Trailing 31-28 at the half, the Tigers turned to the press, and took the lead with just over three minutes to play in the third quarter. Melissa Monroe and Maria Logan each scored 16 for Williamston.

Runner-up in 1990, Fowler downed Central Michigan Athletic Conference rival Potterville for the third time on the year, 45-28. Kara Hafner grabbed 11 rebounds and guard Kristin Nobach scored 17 points to lead the Eagles to the Class D crown.