Arbor Prep Closes in on 2nd Straight Title

March 17, 2017

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

EAST LANSING – Absolutely, Ypsilanti Arbor Prep has noticed differences playing in Class B this season after winning the Class C title a year ago.

As expected, it’s tougher. There’s structure, more athletes. The Gators still pride themselves on suffocating defense, but at times it’s hasn’t been as bothersome against some of these new opponents.

And yet, the results have been the same – if not better.

Arbor Prep entered the postseason ranked No. 1 in Class B, and it remains undefeated after handing previously-undefeated and No. 5-ranked Freeland its first and only loss 54-46 in Friday’s last Semifinal at the Breslin Center. 

The Gators now have won 36 straight games and will try to finish a perfect run against No. 2 Detroit Country Day in Saturday’s 6 p.m. championship game.

“It’s our last time playing together, and we just want to make it as special as we can,” Gators senior guard Ro’zhane Wells said. “And that’s winning the state championship. There’s no other way to go out than that.”

“Like Ro’zhane said, we’ve won the state championship. What better way to go? 28-0?” senior Adrienne Anderson added. “So that’s what we’re going for, and that’s our goal.”

Two teams had that goal Friday, with the assurance the season would end for one of them. Freeland’s strengths – especially outside shooting – were almost enough to send the Falcons (26-1) on instead.

Their 46 points were the second-most Arbor Prep (27-0) has given up this season despite facing a schedule that has included Class A finalist Flushing, another Class A power in Muskegon Mona Shores and a pair of ranked Class B teams during the playoffs in No. 3 Williamston and No. 8 Ida. Only Dearborn Heights Robichaud, with 54 in a four-point District Final loss to the Gators, put up more points against them.

Freeland made nine 3-pointers on 23 tries and shot better than 40 percent in two quarters, finishing just under 40 percent from the floor for the game. Leading Falcons scorer, senior guard Jessica Piper, made 6 of 9 shots including three 3-pointers on the way to 18 points.

But Arbor Prep’s defense did make a difference when it came to possessing the ball. The Gators took advantage of 21 Freeland turnovers, while giving the ball up only 10 times.

Still, a Piper 3-pointer pulled the Falcons to within 49-46 with 2:31 to play. At 5:55, they trailed Arbor Prep by 13.

“We’re like, we’re a good 3-point shooting team. We needed to get the 3 off, and the shots started falling; they didn’t fall the rest of the game,” Piper said. “And we looked at each other and we’re down by six. And we’re like, that’s two 3s, just look to shoot. We got it down to three at the end and almost pulled it off.”

Arbor Prep made five free throws down the stretch as Freeland had two turnovers and missed two shots.

“I knew we would never give up. We came out, I think we were a little hesitant, maybe a little nervous,” Freeland coach Tom Zolinski said. “(But) this team at any point could score 20 points in five minutes, and I think that’s half the reason we didn’t give up. We knew our firepower and what we were able to do.”

Wells had 14 points and six steals to lead Arbor Prep, and Anderson and Williams both added 10 points, with Anderson grabbing eight rebounds. 

There are certainly some similarities as well between this run and Arbor Prep’s last two to Breslin (the Gators made the Class C Semifinals in 2015). They aren’t fazed by the stage, the different shooting perspective and other differences that might throw off first-time finalists – which should put them on at least even footing from that perspective with a Country Day team they know plenty about from playing against and with many of those players growing up.

“The girls believe they can play against anybody,” said Arbor Prep coach (and Ro’zhane’s father) Rod Wells. “We don’t really look at the jersey of the other team. We just think we can beat anybody. The girls still don’t get the attention they deserve. But they work extra hard, and you’ve got to respect that. I’ll probably never get a group (again) that works this hard.”

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS: (Top) Arbor Prep’s Lasha Petree stops Freeland’s Jenna Gregory (11) during Friday’s Class B Semifinal. (Middle) The Gators’ Cydney Williams (20) puts pressure on a driving Alyssa Argyle.

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

By Geoff Kimmerly 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.