2nd-Half Surge lifts Sacred Heart in Class D

March 17, 2016

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor 

EAST LANSING – Averi Gamble had a smile on her face for all but a few seconds of the final minute of Thursday night’s MHSAA Semifinal.

Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart’s Class D championship win two years ago was “the best moment of my life, thus far,” she said after. 

And she and her teammates earned the opportunity to go through it all again.

Sacred Heart chipped away over three quarters to finish a 45-38 win over Stephenson and set up championship game matchup against top-ranked Pittsford.

“Just the fact that I can come back here twice is overwhelming,” Gamble added. “I know how it feels already. It’s just so exciting that I can do it twice.”

The No. 3 Irish (24-1) will face Pittsford at 10 a.m. Saturday. Stephenson, ranked No. 8 entering the postseason, was playing in its first Semifinal and finished 24-3.

But for more than a half, it looked instead like the Eagles’ dream season might go on.

Stephenson took a five-point lead into the final seconds of the first quarter, and led as late as two minutes into the third.

But that’s when Sacred Heart’s experience began to pay off.

The Irish actually are relatively young, with a freshman and two sophomores in the starting lineup. But Gamble was The Associated Press’ Class D Player of the Year this winter and senior guard Megan English also started in the 2014 Final.

Gamble finished with 13 points, 13 rebounds and four blocked shots, but had 11 points, five rebounds and two of those blocks over the final 14 minutes and nine of her team’s 12 points during the fourth quarter.

Stephenson, which had shot 33 percent from the floor during the first half, sagged to 23 percent during the second half against the Oilers’ zone, which was anchored by Gamble dissuading would-be drivers from taking a run at the basket.

English added two points, two steals and an assist over the final 14 minutes.

“We just settled in,” Sacred Heart coach Damon Brown said. “We just had to get through that first quarter, get our nerves out of the way, just think of it as a regular basketball game. Once we did that, settled in, our defense looked a lot better and our offense looked a lot better.”

The Irish did switch things up defensively a bit during the second half in an effort to apply more pressure and up the pace of the game. Stephenson coach Shanna Beal admitted that uptick in tempo might have drained her team’s energy a bit too quickly – although the inability to get many open looks and stop Gamble down the stretch certainly made differences as well.

“Obviously she’s the focus and what they base their offense around, and we just decided to play in front and behind her,” Beal said. “The problem that arose was getting body position, and rebounding was a big key in the second half. We just couldn’t move her out of there to get second shots.”

Sophomore forward Sophie Ruggles added 10 points and eight rebounds for the Irish, and freshman guard Scout Nelson also scored 10 points.

Senior Karley Johnson was the lead scorer for Stephenson with 12 points, and senior center Tori Wangerin had six and 13 rebounds while locking up Gamble for more than a half defensively.

“I have no words; I’m super proud of the girls this year,” Beal said. “These three girls (Wangerin, Johnson and Kelsey Johnson) have grown up in the gym. This was a dream of theirs, and I’m glad we were able to make it here. I believe we fought hard all the way to the end. We have a lot of pride being the first women’s team from our school to make it here. Most of our community was here; we’re pretty small, but that they were all here was great support.”

Click for the full box score.

The Girls Basketball Finals are presented by Sparrow Health System.

PHOTOS: (Top) Sacred Heart players celebrate clinching their second MHSAA championship game appearance in three seasons. (Middle) Scout Nelson works to get past Stephenson’s Haley Truitt.

St. George's Senior Season Filled with Historic Trip, Sizzling 3-Point Shooting

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

May 21, 2024

Delaney St. George helped Kingston reach its first MHSAA Girls Basketball Final this winter – and along the way finished her high school career among the most prolific 3-point shooters in state history.

The four-year varsity senior made 87 3-pointers this season for the Division 4 runner-up Cardinals, good to tie for 10th on the single-season list after she made 93 as a junior to rank fourth all-time.

She finished her Kingston career with 290 3-pointers in 793 attempts over 94 games – good for second on the career 3-pointers list.

See below for more recent additions to the MHSAA girls basketball record book, and click on the heading to see the record book in full.

Girls Basketball

Hemlock’s 18-6 run this season was fueled in part by more successful 3-point shooting. The Huskies made single-season lists with 170 3-pointers and 552 attempts, and also for making 14 3-pointers Jan. 5 against St. Louis.

Senior Mia McLaughlin made nine of 15 3-point shots for Frankenmuth in a Feb. 6 win over Birch Run as the Eagles made the team record book list with 15 3-pointers total. They also were added for 14 3-pointers in a Feb. 20 win over Bay City John Glenn. McLaughlin will continue her career at Ferris State.

McBain sophomore Peyton Grant scored all 27 of her points Jan. 17 against Houghton Lake on nine 3-pointers to make the single-game list in that category.

Seniors Autumn Tremblay and Ceara LeBlanc earned Brimley’s first girls basketball record book listings this season. Both made single-game lists in a Feb. 27 win over Harbor Springs Harbor Light Christian – Tremblay scored 21 points during the first quarter and LeBlanc had 16 steals for the game – and LeBlanc also was added for 141 steals total over 25 games this past winter.

Reed City’s run at the Central State Activities Association title this winter was fueled in part by 3-point shooting. The Coyotes finished one game out of first, but made the records with 517 3-point attempts over 24 games – and just missed the made 3-pointers list connecting on 143.

Howell sophomore Gabrielle Piepho added her third record book listing over her first two seasons this winter making 89.2 percent of her free throw attempts to rank eighth on that single-season list. Howell as a team also made the 3-point attempts list with 536 over 25 games, and also just missed the 3-pointers made list with 146.

Saline finished the 2023-24 season among the all-time leading 3-point shooters again, this time with 192 – 14th-most for one season – in 587 attempts over 24 games. Sophomore Keira Roehm led the way with 78 3-pointers, tying for 21st on that list.

Junior Tamerah Peterson led Sterling Heights Parkway Christian to a District title this season, providing a record-setting defensive boost in addition to her offensive skills. She finished with 173 steals – eighth-most for one season – over 21 games.

Niles Brandywine reached Breslin Center this season with another stellar distance shooting display, making the record book with both 186 3-pointers and 610 attempts from beyond the arc in finishing Division 3 runner-up.

Alie Bisballe capped her career at Lake City this winter by helping her team reach the Division 3 Semifinal at Breslin Center – and by reaching the MHSAA girls basketball record book in two categories. The 6-foot-4 post player made the lists with 329 rebounds and 188 blocked shots, both in 28 games as Lake City finished 25-3. She will continue her career at Wisconsin.

Ironwood junior Hanna Vaughn will enter her final season next winter already on the career 3-pointers list. She’s made 155 3-pointers over her first three seasons and 70 games on varsity.

PHOTO Kingston’s Delaney St. George (10) pulls up for a shot during the Division 4 Final against Ishpeming.