By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
EAST LANSING – Detroit Country Day coach Kurt Keener said he doesn’t get hung up on numbers, like the ninth MHSAA title his team could claim Saturday.
For this group of Yellowjackets, it would be the first. And that’s what counts most of all.
Country Day has come to Breslin Center and left without a championship the last two seasons. But for the first time since winning Class B in 2010, the Yellowjackets will play in the championship game – thanks to a 73-42 Semifinal win Friday over Cadillac.
“It would mean everything to me,” Country Day senior Austin Price said. “The last two years we came up here expecting to win and fell short. It would be great to end on a high note and win my last game as a high school basketball player.”
Top-ranked Country Day will face either Wyoming Godwin Heights or Detroit Community for the title at 6:30 p.m. Saturday.
In terms of Finals experience, few programs could sit on further ends of the spectrum.
While Country Day is a Breslin regular, Cadillac (21-5) made its first appearance in an MHSAA Semifinal.
Country Day’s last two Finals weekend visits ended with Semifinals losses to eventual champion
Lansing Sexton. But these Yellowjackets have a different look than some of their most recent teams, with a smaller lineup and a style Keener tells his players should be more track meet than golf match.
That speed became tough for Cadillac to handle immediately, as Country Day (24-3) jumped to a 22-10 lead by the end of the first quarter. The Vikings committed nine turnovers during the first eight minutes.
But they wouldn’t be run off. Cadillac pulled within 26-20 midway through the second quarter.
“At 26-20 we had the game where we wanted it,” Cadillac coach Jeff McDonald said. “We wanted it to be close and give ourselves a puncher’s chance.”
But they ran out of punches soon after, as Country Day went on a 14-2 run and never led by fewer than 10 points over the final 18 minutes.
Junior Edmond Sumner led the Yellowjackets with 30 points on 9 of 15 shooting, and also had six steals. Senior Mory Diane added 11 points.
Of Cadillac’s 26 turnovers, 21 were Country Day steals.
“Defensively, they don’t make mistakes. And obviously they like an uptempo game. They like to gamble on defense,” Vikings senior Nick Paquet said. “We like to slow it down, make it a halfcourt game. We allowed ourselves to play a little faster than we wanted to, and that hurt us.”
Paquet led Cadillac with 18 points and four steals. Junior Jalen Brooks added 15 points and a game-high seven rebounds.
PHOTOS: (Top) Detroit Country Day's Edmond Sumner pushes the ball upcourt Friday while Cadillac's Jalen Brooks (2) and Lewis Finch (15) give chase. (Middle) Brooks makes a strong move to the basket during the Semifinal. (Photos by Hockey Weekly Action Photos.)