2012 Girls Basketball Finals in Review

April 3, 2012

Mathematically speaking, the 2010 MHSAA Girls Basketball Finals were just a bit closer than this season’s, with a combined point differential of 28 over the four championship games.

But it's a decent argument to call this winter’s Finals the most highly-contested set, as a whole, since the late 1990s.

In three of the four championship games, the eventual winner didn’t take its last lead until the final five minutes of the fourth quarter. Two Finals came down to the final two minutes. Class A was decided by a fastbreak lay-up with six seconds to play.

Combine those with a pair of three-point Class A Semifinals and appearances by the reigning champions in all four classes, and it made for a highlight-filled weekend at Michigan State’s Breslin Center.

Here’s our wrap-up of some of the most memorable moments:

Four quarters

Much to overcome: First Grand Haven had to get past reigning Class A champion Inkster in a Semifinal, and did so 43-40. Then the Buccaneers were told in the locker room that a group of their classmates had been involved in a crash on the way to the game and hospitalized. Then Grand Haven found itself down 18 points in the Class A Final – and completed the third-largest comeback in MHSAA Girls Finals history in downing Grosse Pointe South 54-53 to win the Bucs’ first championship. Senior guard Shar’Rae Davis might’ve had the play of the weekend, a baseline to baseline drive and lay-in for the deciding points with six seconds remaining. (Read the full report.)

It’s our turn: Goodrich is a team many in the girls basketball community saw coming for a while. After being stopped by a number of state powerhouses over the years, the Martians solidified their status among them by advancing to their first MHSAA Final and beating Grand Rapids Catholic Central 60-53 in Class B. Goodrich trailed by five with 5:32 to play, but finished on a 9-2 run and ended the season a flawless 28-0. It was the Cougars' their third championship game appearance in four seasons. (Read the full report.)

Champions again: Morley-Stanwood’s Class C title was its first in girls basketball, but second for the school’s girls teams this school year after the Mohawks also won the Class C volleyball title. Two stars from that latter team came up big in these Finals as well – Bailey Cairnduff scored 28 points as Morley-Stanwood beat reigning champion St. Ignace 60-50 in the Semifinal, and Alexis Huntey had 27 points and 16 rebounds in the 61-57 championship game win over Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett. The Mohawks had to outlast the Knights and Miss Basketball winner Madison Ristovski, whose 42 points were the second-most in MHSAA girls championship game history. (Read the full report.)

No D-nying Lakers: Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes won its third-straight Class D championship with a 53-47 win over Athens on the strength of five players scoring between seven and 13 points. Senior Ava Doetsch and juniors Lexie Robak and Jessica Parry were members of all three championship teams. Athens, meanwhile, made its first title game appearance. (Read the full report.)

Numbers game

16,897: Total attendance for the 12 Semifinals and Finals, combined. Keyed in part by a giant Grand Haven student section, the biggest crowd attended the Class D and A Finals session Saturday morning – although Class B drew the most fans among the Semifinal sessions.

56: Percent of its shots from the floor made by Waterford Our Lady in the Class D Final. The Lakers’ five starters took all but one of the team’s 34 shots, and all five hit at least 50 percent of their attempts from the field – including 6 of 12 from 3-point range.

18: The number of points by which Grand Haven trailed Grosse Pointe South with 1:51 to play in the third quarter of the Class A Final. Only Farmington Our Lady of Mercy in 1982 (19 points) and Detroit Cass Tech in 1987 (20) made bigger championship game comebacks in winning titles.

42: Total points scored in the Class C Final by University Liggett’s Ristovski, on 15 for 29 shooting from the floor including 4 for 8 from 3-point range. Only Peggy Evans for Detroit Country Day in 1989, with 47 points, scored more in a girls championship game.

99: The number of wins over four-year varsity careers for Grand Rapids Catholic Central seniors Shellis Hampton and Tiesha Stokes, after their Semifinal victory, which tied them with two others for second-most in MHSAA girls basketball history.


 “It was a pretty emotional day (Friday), a lot of tears and a lot of crying. We tried to keep the kids focused on what we could control. I was exhausted, and I wasn’t even playing. I just think waiting for that Class D game to get done; it’s just a long two-day period here. But the kids, we were playing for them. The girls really wanted to do it for them and for this community, but more so for those kids that would not be able to be here.” – Grand Haven coach Katie Kowalczyk-Fulmer, on her team coming back strong in Saturday's Final after hearing about the Friday crash

“Our theme this year was ‘stay hungry.’ Two years ago we in the Quarterfinals, last year the Semifinals, and we knew we were a good team. We didn’t want to be in a situation where we expected to be here. We wanted to make sure we were still putting forth the effort. We have a lot of talent, maybe the most talent in the entire state right now. But we didn’t want to use that as the only thing that guided us all year.” – Goodrich coach Jason Gray

“I knew they were three special players at that young age, and I truly in my heart believed we could get down here. I told them all year, we don’t want to just get down there and get bounced out. We want to come down there and win it. And these three had a lot to do with that, obviously.” – Morley-Stanwood coach Bob Raven, on seniors Cairnduff, Huntey and Elyse Starck

“Throughout the year, we each had moments where we could be the last player to have the ball in our hands, who wanted it, and that’s what we needed.” – Waterford Our Lady junior Lexie Robak.

See you next year ...

Grosse Pointe South: The Blue Devils came from unranked to nearly Class A champion, and the team’s two leading scorers in the Final – freshman guard Cierra Rice and junior forward Claire DeBoer – should make the team a contender again when practice begins this winter. Junior Christina Flom also started in the Final, and freshman guard Aliezza Brown played 23 minutes.

Freeland: Although the Falcons fell 72-49 to Grand Rapids Catholic Central in their Class B Semifinal, it could end up as just another catalyst for a team that graduates no one this spring. Guard Tori Jankoska will sign with Michigan State this fall, and she’s got one more season after scoring 29 points in this trip to Breslin.

Concord: The Yellow Jackets will begin next season with four starters back from this Class C Semifinalist team, and without only three seniors who graduate this spring. Junior guard Megan Redman earned all-state recognition this season in helping Concord to a 26-1 record despite playing in a league that also included Class D Semifinalist Athens. Total, the Yellow Jackets had eight juniors who should contribute again in 2012-13.

Crystal Falls Forest Park: Four starters graduate from the team that made it to Breslin. But sophomore Alexis Gussert is only a sophomore, and could be the next elite player to emerge from the Upper Peninsula – her 34 points and 12 rebounds in the Semifinal loss gave a strong first impression. All four players Forest Park brought off the bench should be back next season as well.

Link up

To watch all 12 games and press conferences after each, click on MHSAA.tv.

PHOTOS courtesy of Terry McNamara Photography.

High School 'Hoop Squad' Close to Heart as Hughes Continues Coaching Climb

By Keith Dunlap
Special for MHSAA.com

July 11, 2024

Jareica Hughes had a Hall of Fame collegiate basketball career playing at University of Texas-El Paso and has played professionally overseas, but her most prized possession is something she earned playing high school basketball in Michigan. 

Made In Michigan and Michigan Army National Guard logosA standout at now-closed Southfield-Lathrup High School during the early-to-mid 2000s, Hughes proudly displays a signature symbol of Lathrup’s Class A championship team in 2005. 

“I have my state championship ring on me right now,” said Hughes, now an assistant head coach for the women’s basketball program at UTEP. “I wear this ring every single day. Not so much for the basketball aspect. Inside of the ring it says ‘Hoop Squad.’ It’s more the connection I’ve had with those particular young ladies. Friends that I’ve known since I was kid. Every once in a while when we talk, we go back in time.”

Believe it or not, Hughes and her high school teammates next year will have to go back 20 years to commemorate a run to the title that started when they were freshmen. 

It was a gradual build-up to what was the first girls basketball state championship won by a public school in Oakland County. Lathrup, which has since merged with the former Southfield High School to form Southfield Arts & Technology, remained the only public school in Oakland County to win a state girls basketball title until West Bloomfield did so in 2022 and again this past March. 

Lathrup lost in the District round to Bloomfield Hills Marian during Hughes’ freshman year, and then after defeating Marian in a District Final a year later, lost to West Bloomfield in a Regional Final.

When Hughes was a junior, the team got to the state’s final four, but a bad third quarter resulted in a heartbreaking one-point Semifinal loss to eventual champion Lansing Waverly. 

A year later, when Hughes and other core players such as Brittane Russell, Timika Williams, Dhanmite’ Slappey and Briana Whitehead were seniors, they finished the job and won the Class A crown with a 48-36 win over Detroit Martin Luther King in the Final.

However, the signature moment of that title run actually came during the Semifinal round and was produced by Hughes, a playmaking wizard at point guard who made the team go. 

Trailing by three points during the waning seconds of regulation against Grandville and Miss Basketball winner Allyssa DeHaan – a dominant 6-foot-8 center – Hughes drained a tying 3-pointer from the wing that was well beyond the 3-point line. 

Lathrup went on to defeat Grandville in overtime and prevail against King.

Hughes said the year prior, she passed up on taking a potential winning or tying shot in the Semifinal loss against Waverly, and was reminded of that constantly by coaches and teammates. “I just remember in the huddle before that shot, that just kept ringing in my mind,” she said. “That was special. I cried for weeks not being able to get a shot off (the year before) and leaving the tournament like that.”

Growing up in Detroit, Hughes got into basketball mainly because she had five older brothers and an older sister who played the game. In particular, Hughes highlights older brother Gabriel for getting her into the game and taking her from playground to playground.

“I’m from Detroit,” she said. “We played ball all day long. Sunup to sundown. When the light comes on, you had to run your butt into the house.”

Hughes, second from left, begins the championship celebration with her Lathrup teammates at Breslin Center.Hughes played for the Police Athletic League and also at the famed St. Cecilia gym in the summer, developing her game primarily against boys.

“My first team was on a boys team,” she said. “I was a captain on a boys team.” 

The family moved into Lathrup’s district before she began high school. 

Once she helped lead Lathrup to the 2005 championship, she went on to a fine career at UTEP, where she was the Conference USA Player of the Year twice and helped lead the Miners to their first NCAA Tournament appearance.

Hughes still holds school records for career assists (599), steals (277) and minutes played (3,777). On Monday, she was named to Conference USA’s 2024 Hall of Fame class. 

After a brief professional career overseas was derailed by a shoulder injury, Hughes said getting into coaching was a natural fit. 

“I had to make the hard decision, and I knew as a kid I wanted to be around basketball,” she said. “Once I made that decision (to quit), I knew I was going to coach.”

Hughes started coaching in the Detroit area, first serving as an assistant at Southfield A&T from 2016-20 and then at Birmingham Groves for a season. She then served as interim head coach at Colby Community College in Kansas before being named an assistant at UTEP in May 2023, a month after her former coach Keitha Adams returned to lead the program after six seasons at Wichita State.  

While fully immersed in her job with UTEP, Hughes’ high school memories in Michigan certainly aren’t going away anytime soon – especially with the 20th anniversary of Lathrup’s championship coming up. 

“We are still close friends because we all essentially grew up together,” she said. “They are still my friends to this day.”

2024 Made In Michigan

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PHOTOS (Top) At left, Southfield-Lathrup’s Jareica Hughes drives to the basket against Detroit Martin Luther King during the 2005 Class A Final; at right, Hughes coaches this past season at UTEP. (Middle) Hughes, second from left, begins the championship celebration with her Lathrup teammates at Breslin Center. (UTEP photo courtesy of the UTEP sports information department.)