Arbor Prep Earns Another Title Game Trip

March 15, 2018

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

GRAND RAPIDS – Ypsilanti Arbor Prep calls its championship pursuit a “4-mile run.” And the Gators got through about 3.9 a year ago.

They’ll get another chance to finish the final leg after a 53-35 Class C Semifinal win over Maple City Glen Lake on Thursday at Van Noord Arena.

The Gators, who won Class C in 2016 and then finished Class B runner-up a year ago, will face reigning Class C title winner Detroit Edison in Saturday’s 4 p.m. championship game.

Arbor Prep was the only team this season that defeated Edison, downing the Pioneers 54-49 on Jan. 11.

“Considering what happened with us last year, and the type of players we are and the type of team we have this year, we’re anxious that way,” Arbor Prep senior Jala Petree said. “We’re ambitious to get what we deserve. And I think we’re going to keep working. It isn’t over yet.”

Junior Mahri Petree – Jala and senior Lasha’s younger sister – said after she can feel “a different type of energy in our locker room and practices.”

Arbor Prep (21-5) came out with that drive, opening the Semifinal on a 12-1 run. Glen Lake (23-3) – a semifinalist last season as well – pulled to within four points with two minutes to go in the first half, but the Gators finished with another 7-0 surge.

“It’s like a roller coaster,” Glen Lake coach Jason Bradford said. “The first couple of buckets, (our) first two layups were in and out.

“We’ve been behind before, and the girls know how to work through the runs. We say it’s a roller coaster and just keep on fighting. We have confidence since these girls are used to fighting back, since freshman year, each tournament run … (they have) a lot of composure and a lot of heart.”

The Lakers played Arbor Prep even in the third quarter – notable especially because senior forward Jennifer LaCross, who scored 10 points during the first half, didn’t play at all during the second because of a broken nose.

But the Gators got rolling again in the fourth quarter, closing on a 12-5 run to earn the third straight championship game berth.

Jala and Mahri Petree both scored 12 points, Mahri grabbing seven rebounds with five assists and three steals. Lasha Petree, a Miss Basketball Award finalist this season, had eight points, five assists, five steals and four blocks.

“Last year, losing, that pain is still in my heart,” Lasha Petree said. “I want to avenge it, and I’m ready for it and want to help my teammates do whatever to win.”

Freshman Hailey Helling led Glen Lake with 11 points and five rebounds. LaCross, despite not playing the second half, was the second-leading scorer. The Lakers’ 35 points total were 10 fewer than their previous season low.

Guard Savannah Peplinski and forward Allie Bonzelet joined LaCross finishing four-year careers that included two league titles and two Semifinal trips – and many more memorable moments.

“As a team, it’s just fun the memories we make – not even during the games, but like at the hotel (during Finals weekends),” LaCross said. “I’ll probably be thinking about it when I’m missing basketball the rest of my life.”

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS: (Top) Maple City Glen Lake’s Allie Bonzelet (11) works to get past Arbor Prep’s Karli Waddell (11) and Lasha Petree. (Middle) Petree defends against Savannah Peplinski.

Lansing Catholic Closes Season With Memorable Victory Close to Home

By Paul Costanzo
Special for

March 18, 2023

EAST LANSING – The Lansing Catholic girls basketball team took a short drive to end a long wait.

Playing just three miles from their high school, the Cougars defeated Frankenmuth 43-29 Saturday at the Breslin Center to win the MHSAA Division 2 Final. It was the first Finals title for the program since 1995.

“It felt like homecourt advantage a little bit,” Lansing Catholic senior guard Hannah Pricco said. “Our bus trip wasn’t super long. It just kind of felt like we were coming to our own court.”

The Cougars treated it that way, dominating from the beginning of the matchup in their first Finals trip since that 1995 title. They scored the game’s first 11 points and never looked back.

The Cougars’ Anna Richards (10) attempts to get a shot up over Frankenmuth’s Lexi Boyke.“This is, as you can imagine, extremely surreal,” Lansing Catholic coach Kacee Reid said. “You’re going through literally every emotion on the bench, especially in a game like that. Frankenmuth is making such a great comeback, and we knew they were going to fight to the end. To go through the anger and sadness and happiness, and now it’s over and we’ve won it. It’s just been a rollercoaster of emotions, and I can’t describe the pride I have in these girls.”

It was the second meeting between the two teams, with Lansing Catholic taking the first 74-42 on Feb. 2. But Reid wasn’t going to let her team come in overconfident.

“They didn’t get here by accident,” Reid said. “They’re in the state championship because they’re playing their best ball of the year. We played them a month and a half ago. … We’re a totally different team, and we knew they were a totally different team. We knew they had been playing some really good basketball, and it didn’t matter at all what that first outcome was. We knew this was going to be a battle.”

Lansing Catholic (24-5) never trailed, and led by as many as 17 points in the third quarter. Leah Richards led the Cougars with 16 points and nine rebounds, while Anna Richards had 14 points. Gabby Halliwill added seven.

The Cougars were spurred by their defense throughout, holding Frankenmuth to 9 of 36 shooting from the field and forcing 13 turnovers.

“For us, defensively, we had to switch it up,” Reid said. “We had to keep switching up between man and zone. They were making adjustments and we couldn’t really sit in one thing for too long; they got comfortable. That’s a credit to their coaching staff always making adjustments. We had to continue to switch things up defensively and try to hopefully make their shooters second-guess their shot, or maybe not know where we were coming from.”

Frankenmuth (25-3) didn’t go away, despite trailing by double digits for the majority of the game. 

That was helped by Lansing Catholic shooting 1 of 11 from the field in the third quarter, and going scoreless for the final 5:26 of the frame.

Tessa Roe (12) works to get past Clare Conzelmann and to the basket.The Eagles cut the lead to seven with 2:45 to play on a steal and layup from Clare Conzelmann, but never got closer.

“There was always belief no matter what detriment we got ourselves in,” Frankenmuth senior Lexi Boyke said. “I wouldn’t want to choose any other girls to play with and be in with at that point. I think we fought back and really prided ourselves on, ‘We can still do it.’ We didn’t stop fighting until the end.”

Lansing Catholic always figured Frankenmuth would make a run to get into the game, but was ready when it came.

“We knew they were going to make runs, we knew we weren’t going to hold them to seven points the whole game,” Anna Richards said. “We knew in the third quarter they were going to score, so we just had to stay composed, work the ball around on offense to get the good shots that we wanted.”

Boyke, who scored Frankenmuth’s first 10 points and was its only scorer well into the third quarter, finished with 16. She also reached 1,000 career points in the game, and had six rebounds, while Izzy Bernthal had seven.

Frankenmuth was making its first Finals appearance since winning the Class C title in 1996, one year after Lansing Catholic. 

“That’s a really good Lansing Catholic team, and you’ve seen that from their postseason run and beating an undefeated West Catholic team, and tonight finishing their season off with a state championship. So, congratulations to them,” Frankenmuth coach Joe Jacobs said. “I’m super proud of our kids. They didn’t quit tonight. They could have. … Fun experience, one that we want to treasure forever, but the motivation to come back again is here after tonight’s loss.”

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS (Top) Lansing Catholic celebrates its Division 2 championship Saturday night at Breslin Center. (Middle) The Cougars’ Anna Richards (10) attempts to get a shot up over Frankenmuth’s Lexi Boyke. (Below) Tessa Roe (12) works to get past Clare Conzelmann and to the basket.