JENISON – Allyssa DeHaan-Clark remains one of the greatest shot blockers in national high school and college basketball history.
Recently, the former Grandville High School and Michigan State University standout became a mother for the first time.
DeHaan-Clark, and her husband Aaron, adopted a baby girl last September.
Bradley Noelle Clark was born on Sept. 29, 2021, at 36 weeks.
When the Clarks found out about the impending delivery, they drove straight to the hospital from their vacation in Tennessee to meet her. They took her home a few days later.
“Parenthood is awesome, hard, wonderful and beautiful,” DeHaan-Clark said. “She’s 9½ months old, and she just lost her first tooth and is starting to crawl. She says, ‘Da, Da’ a lot, even though I’m with her most of the time during the day.”
DeHaan-Clark, who turned 34 last month, married in 2012. She and her husband had aspirations to raise a family.
Unfortunately, the road to parenthood was more difficult than they envisioned.
“We tried to get pregnant for six years,” DeHaan-Clark said. “We went through a lot of testing and different fertility procedures, but nothing took. We never had one positive pregnancy test.”
Although disappointed and frustrated, the Clarks pursued another avenue.
“Adoption was always in the back of our mind, and it came to a point where I didn’t know what to do,” DeHaan-Clark said. “One night we prayed to God for clarity and wisdom and just some direction. He answered that prayer the next morning with a text message, and that put us on a fast track to adoption.”
The Clarks went through the application process last June. Four months later, Bradley was born. She officially became a Clark in May.
“It was awesome for God to answer that prayer so quickly,” DeHaan-Clark said. “After six years of struggle, she was meant to be in our family. We love her so much and adore her to pieces.
“She’s loved by so many, and we are very thankful that the birth family chose us. After all that pain and suffering, God made something beautiful through that.”
DeHaan-Clark was a four-year towering presence at Grandville. As a junior in 2004, she set the MHSAA record for blocks in a single season with 236 and averaged nearly a triple-double (27 points, 13 rebounds and 9.5 blocks per game).
As a senior, she helped lead the Bulldogs to a 25-2 record and their first Class A Semifinal appearance. She was named the 2005 Miss Basketball Award winner by the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan.
DeHaan-Clark grew six inches during middle school and entered her high school freshman year at 6-foot-6. She was 6-9 as a senior before taking her talents to East Lansing.
“Middle school was tough for everyone, but it was extremely tough for me,” DeHaan-Clark said. “I was entering a new school system, and I had just started playing basketball a year or two before that and had a huge growth spurt. Learning how to be coordinated and play the game took a while.”
DeHaan-Clark was a part of three consecutive Ottawa-Kent Conference Red championship teams. The Bulldogs won District and Regional titles in 2005 before defeating previously-unbeaten Benton Harbor in a Class A Quarterfinal. Grandville’s run ended with an overtime loss to Southfield-Lathrup in the Semifinal at Breslin Center.
“My senior year was the best,” DeHaan-Clark said. “It was so much fun with the championships and all the wins. Playing with the same girls for four years and then finally having a successful team was amazing.”
DeHaan-Clark made the MHSAA’s single-season scoring list as a senior with 710 points, having averaged 26.3 per game that fall. She also finished with 718 career blocks, setting an MHSAA record later broken by Kalamazoo Central’s Asia Robeson (723) in 2014. Still, DeHaan-Clark remains seventh all-time nationally for career blocks, with Robeson sixth on the list.
DeHaan-Clark arrived at Michigan State with high aspirations.
“I had big goals of playing in the Olympics and playing professionally, but obviously those didn’t come to fruition,” she said. “I learned to dream big, so I set big goals from the beginning.”
DeHaan-Clark emerged as a dominating shot blocker for the Spartans, and was Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2006-07 as she set the conference record with 145 blocks.
As a sophomore she re-established the Big Ten record for single-season blocks with 150. She was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year as a senior in 2009-10.
She ended her career as Michigan State’s all-time blocks leader with 503 – with that total also second in Division I history at that time and now third on the NCAA DI list – to go with career averages of 12.1 points and 6.8 rebounds per game.
“It was a big transition from high school to college, but I wanted to be a contributor,” DeHaan-Clark said. “I had amazing coaches and teammates, and my freshman year turned out better than I thought it would.
“My big goal was to be a key defensive player and break as many records as I could with blocked shots because of my height.”
In 2009, DeHaan-Clark was the catalyst in Michigan State’s run to the Sweet 16. The Spartans upset top-ranked Duke in the second round before losing to Iowa State, 69-68.
But DeHaan-Clark suffered a back injury during the Big Ten Tournament that winter which ultimately ended her hopes of playing beyond college.
“I never recovered from that, so I didn’t enter the WNBA draft,” DeHaan-Clark said. “I ended up having back surgery and finished my remaining classes before graduating.”
DeHaan-Clark returned home and worked in the medical field while also helping lead a sports ministry program at Grand Valley State University.
She received an intriguing opportunity to continue playing college sports as part of the Lakers volleyball program.
“I needed to take more graduate classes, and I had one more season of college eligibility other than basketball,” she said. “My skill level wasn’t to the level of basketball, but it was still really fun to play and compete and be a part of a team because those are things I still love doing today.”
DeHaan-Clark changed her focus from medicine to continuing her work in sports ministry, as well as for a non-profit organization.
She also got her real estate license in 2015, and she and her husband began flipping houses on the side.
“It brings me a lot of joy to cast a vision of what a home could look like after a lot of blood, sweat and tears,” she said. “I love that kind of work.”
The projects allowed the Clarks to spend meaningful time together.
“It was a lot of nights and weekends, and we just had to learn things as we went,” DeHaan-Clark said. “The one thing we learned is we cannot do drywall. It’s not our skill set, so in order to save our marriage and our relationship we would hire it out.
“We did a lot of it ourselves, and we like seeing the transformation from old to new. It’s really fun, and hopefully we can do it again.”
The Clarks currently reside in Jenison and have been embraced by their community and friends. They live on a lake, enjoying water sports in their free time. Allyssa was inducted into the Grandville High School Athletic Hall of Fame in March.
As for the future, DeHaan-Clark said nothing is set in stone.
“We take it one day at a time,” she said. “I still have my real estate license, so we’re hoping to renovate and invest. I’m sure in the future there will be more kids added to the Clark clan, but right now we’re very happy and content with just one.”
2021-22 Made in Michigan
July 21: Championship Memories Still Resonate with St. Thomas Star Lillard - Read
July 14: Portage Central Champ Rolls to Vanderbilt, Writing Next Chapter in Alabama - Read
July 12: Coaching Couple Passing On Knowledge, Providing Opportunities for Frankfort Wrestlers - Read
June 30: Hrynewich's Star Continuing to Rise with Olympic, Pro Sports Arrivals - Read
PHOTOS (Top) At left, Allyssa DeHaan puts up a shot during Grandville’s 2005 Class A Semifinal against Southfield-Lathrup. At right, the Clark family including Allyssa, husband Aaron Clark and daughter Bradley. (Middle) DeHaan looks for an open teammate while playing her high school finale at her future college home, the Breslin Center. (Below) The Clarks enjoy a moment together. (Basketball photos from MHSAA archives; Clark photos courtesy of Allyssa DeHaan-Clark.)
The St. Ignace girls basketball teams is off to a 2-0 start – and great starts and finishes certainly have been the norm over the last 25 seasons under the leadership of head coach Dorene Ingalls and her assistant, and husband, Doug.
Tuesday’s season-opening win over Brimley made Dorene Ingalls 500-94 beginning her 25th season guiding the program – now 501-94 after Thursday’s 63-27 victory over Boyne City. She entered this season 16th on the state list for most girls basketball coaching victories, and seventh among active coaches.
For all 501 wins, Doug Ingalls has been by her side as an assistant within the program – while also serving as boys varsity basketball coach from 1992-2008, 2011-16 and again currently in the fifth season of his latest tenure. His Saints also have opened 2-0, and he has a 355-175 record leading the boys program.
The Ingalls have led the girls program to five MHSAA Finals championships, most recently in Class D in 2015, and four runner-up finishes, most recently in Division 4 in 2019.
Dorene Ingalls received the MHSAA Women In Sports Leadership Award in 2021.
PHOTOS (Top) Doug and Dorene Ingalls, far left and right, respectively, take a photo with 2003 Miss Basketball Krista Clement. (Middle) Dorene and Doug Ingalls. (Photos by David Latva.)