Winter has moved in across Michigan, and this time we’re on time with the start of girls basketball season.
Every Monday with “Breslin Bound” we’ll take glances at five scores that especially jumped out from the previous week, provide snapshots of two teams in each division to watch as the winter progresses, and then give a glimpse of five intriguing matchups on the schedule during the week to come.
Week in Review
The countdown of last week’s five most intriguing results:
1. Plymouth Christian Academy 65, Detroit Country Day 49 The Eagles wasted no time making a statement with this win over a returning Division 2 semifinalist; Country Day had won last season’s matchup 57-43.
2. Parma Western 43, Grass Lake 30 The Panthers put an exclamation mark on a 2-0 opening week with this win over the reigning Division 3 champion.
3.Essexville Garber 50, Saginaw Nouvel 49 The Dukes began rebounding from last season’s 4-11 finish immediately last week, edging a Nouvel team that went 17-2 last winter and came within a bucket of the Division 4 Semifinals.
4. Bloomfield Hills Marian 54, Clarkston 48 This rematch of a Regional Final again went Marian’s way, but a little closer than the 63-50 Mustangs win in March.
5. Saginaw Arthur Hill 43, Flint Hamady 29 The Lumberjacks won one game last season, and lost to Division 3 perennial power Hamady by 16 in an early-March matchup.
With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each division making sparks:
Grandville (3-0) After just a week, the Bulldogs are one win from equaling their win totals of each of the last three seasons – which all finished with four victories. Grandville opened with a 49-33 win over Middleville Thornapple Kellogg, then defeated Petoskey 40-37 and Marquette 42-37 to win the Northmen’s tournament.
Portage Northern (2-0) The Huskies opened with a championship at the Kalamazoo Loy Norrix Tournament, defeating Lansing Everett 43-14 and then the host Knights 49-34. Northern won only one game last season, also against Loy Norrix, and with two more wins will guarantee their best finish since 2016-17.
Ovid-Elsie (2-0) The Marauders won 15 games two seasons ago and finished 12-5 during last winter’s shortened campaign. They lost the first game both of those seasons – but not this time, as they’re instead building off a pair of opening victories over Ionia (54-52) and Bath (50-29).
Sparta (2-0) The Spartans finished 12-4 last season and had won 10 straight before ending their season with a District Final loss to Newaygo, the eventual Division 2 runner-up. Sparta picked right back up last week with a 41-23 win over Muskegon Oakridge and 44-35 victory over Greenville.
Harbor Springs (2-0) The Rams are coming off a 2-14 finish that included 11 straight defeats to begin last season. But Harbor Springs opened last week with a 52-38 win over Johannesburg-Lewiston and followed with a 60-45 victory over Indian River Inland Lakes. Those opponents went a combined 18-9 last winter.
Montrose (2-0) After winning two games a season ago, and six in 2019-20, the Rams won both of their games during the first week – in some dramatic fashion. Montrose edged Burton Bendle 43-42 on Monday and came back with a 44-42 win over Genesee the following evening. Genesee is coming off its second-straight winning season.
Cedarville (2-0) The Islanders – 10-3 last winter – are off to a fast start with wins last week over two teams also coming off winning seasons. They opened with a 57-37 victory over Hillman, which was 10-7 last winter, and then emerged 50-47 over Frankfort, which was 13-5 and reached the Regional Finals a season ago.
Plymouth Christian Academy (2-0) As noted above, the Eagles – 10-4 last season – opened with the win over Detroit Country Day. They then defeated Schoolcraft at the Kalamazoo Central Icebreaker; Schoolcraft went 14-3 and made the Division 3 Quarterfinals last winter.
Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up:
Tuesday – Midland Dow (2-0) at Hudsonville (1-0) – This is a rematch of a Division 1 Semifinal from last season; Hudsonville won 49-37 and went on to claim the championship.
Tuesday – Sault Ste. Marie (1-0) at Marquette (2-1) – Sault Ste. Marie went 14-2 last season and the Redettes finished almost the opposite, but they did hand the Blue Devils their only regular-season defeat.
Wednesday – Lansing Catholic (1-0) at Detroit Cass Tech (0-0) – These are two more teams looking to build on double-digit wins last season.
Saturday – Ypsilanti Arbor Prep (0-0) vs. Wayne Memorial (0-0) at Belleville – This Best of Michigan Classic matchup features teams that went a combined 31-6 last season.
Saturday – Buchanan (2-0) vs. Grosse Pointe South (0-1) at Belleville – Another Best of Michigan game matches Buchanan – 13-1 last season – against a South team that lost its opener last week but also won 13 games last winter.
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PHOTO Williamston’s Reese Gaytan works to get a shot up with Portland’s Alexa Weber defending Friday. (Photo courtesy of the Lansing State Journal.)
Hemlock and Rockford's drives to their first Girls Basketball Finals championships in March were paced in part by some of the strongest 3-point shooting in MHSAA history.
The Division 1 title-winning Rams connected on 243 3-pointers – third-most all-time – over 29 games in tying the single-season wins record while finishing 28-1. Grace Lyons, a senior this fall, made the single-season individual list with 70 3-pointers.
The Huskies won in Division 3 having connected on 229 3-pointers over 29 games, seventh-most in MHSAA history, on 678 attempts, which ranks 12th on that list. Chloe Watson made the single-season list with 75 3-pointers, and Regan Finkbeiner did as well connecting on 67.
Watson also made the career 3-pointers list with 224 and Finkbeiner with 194, and 2017 Hemlock graduate Samantha Krauss was added for 65 3-pointers as a junior in 2015-16 and 188 for her career. Additionally, past Hemlock standout Karli Herrington was added for her 317 rebounds in 2012-13, and Peyton Apsey was added for 144 steals in 2010-11.
Watson is continuing her career at Mid-Michigan College, and Finkbeiner is playing softball at Madonna. Herrington went on to play at Central Michigan and Northwood, Krauss played at Ferris State and Apsey played at Oakland.
Read on for more recent record book additions for girls basketball:
Hudsonville’s Maddie Petroelje joined the list of top 3-point shooters in MHSAA history as a junior in 2021-22, when she connected on 70 (in just 147 attempts) to make the single-season list. She graduated this spring 16th on the career list as well with 226 3-pointers in 512 attempts over 92 games and four seasons. She is continuing at Loyola (Ill.).
Byron Center’s Avery Zeinstra also finished her career among those top 3-point shooters. She also made the single-season list with 70 in 147 attempts as a freshman in 2018-19, and she capped her career in 2021-22 with 206 3-pointers (tied for 20th-most) in 502 attempts over four seasons and 80 career games. She is continuing at Grand Valley State.
Hannah Thompson was best known for her soccer scoring at Schoolcraft. But she’s made a second MHSAA record book for her 15 steals in a Jan. 28, 2022, basketball win over Galesburg-Augusta. She’s continuing her soccer career at Eastern Michigan.
Baraga’s run to the Division 4 Semifinals in 2022 received big boosts from Corina Jahfetson’s 3-point shooting and Reide Osterman’s defense. Jahfetson was added to the record book with 66 3-pointers over 25 games, including nine in a game against Carney Nadeau – when Baraga as a team made the record book with 14 3-pointers total. Osterman made the record book with 153 steals. Jahfetson graduated this spring, and Osterman is playing at Northern Michigan.
Grand Rapids West Michigan Aviation Academy’s Audrey Mileski had one of the busiest games at the free throw line in MHSAA history Dec. 14, 2021. She made 23 free throws – third-most in a single game – against Wyoming Kelloggsville. Mileski graduated this spring.
Sophia Bussell had set Monroe’s single-game 3-pointers record of eight as a freshman two seasons ago, and she bettered it last Dec. 13 by tying for the 10th-most in MHSAA history. She made 10-pointers including the game-winner of a 58-56 victory over Ypsilanti Lincoln. A little less than 10 months earlier, Adrian Lenawee Christian then-senior Kylie Summer also made 10, on 17 attempts, during a 57-34 win over Lansing Christian on Feb. 24, 2022.
Lydia Meredith enjoyed a memorable senior season for Portland St. Patrick in 2021-22, finishing her four-year varsity career with 453 steals over just 80 games. She also was added for drilling 17 free throws in 22 attempts against Fowler. She plays now at Saginaw Valley State.
Gabby Piepho got off to a fast start at Howell as a freshman last season, and at a record-setting pace at the free-throw line. She made 93 of 107 attempts over 25 games, for an .869 percentage that made the single-season list. That included a string of 47 straight free throws that ranks as the second-longest in MHSAA history. As a team, Howell tied for sixth all-time with 301 free throws over 25 games, on 439 attempts.
Kent City’s Lexie Bowers reached the single-season 3-pointers list for the second time last season, connecting on 72 of 233 tries over 26 games (after making 77 as a junior), and finished her four-season varsity career 16th on that 3-pointers list with 225 in 693 attempts over 99 games. She’s continuing her career at Northwood. Kent City as a team also reached the single-season 3-pointers made and attempted lists again, ranking fourth with 753 attempts and tying for eighth all-time by connecting on 202.
Posen then-junior Faith Cousins earned a par of record book entries during 2021-22 for assists. Her 16 in a District Final win on March 4, 2022, remain tied for fifth-most in one game, and she finished with 165 over 22 games for the season. She’s set to begin her softball career at Alma College.
Niles Brandywine went over 20 wins again this past season, finishing 21-3, and again the 3-pointer was a key tool in that pursuit. Brandywine made the record book with back-to-back games of 13 3-pointers to close the regular season, and finished with 175 3-pointers in 592 attempts over 23 games (with one won by forfeit).
Greenville’s Megan Leslie averaged more than two 3-pointers a game during her four-season varsity career, making the record list with 153 total over 76 games through graduation this spring. She’s continuing her career at Alma College.
Successful 3-point shooting played a major role in Saline finishing 21-4 with league and District titles last winter. The Hornets attempted 704 3-pointers – ninth-most all-time for one season – and connected on 191, which is 12th on that list. They made a season-high 14 against Ypsilanti Lincoln on Nov. 29 to make the single-game list.
Marcellus senior Brooklyn VanTilburg enjoyed a big finish to her high school career last winter, making the record book with 16 blocked shots in a game against Centreville and 135 blocks total for the season. She’ll continue at Kalamazoo Valley Community College.
Kennedy Gustafson made headlines last winter as a sophomore and earned a pair of record listings for her rebounding. She grabbed 26 in a March 3 District Final win over Muskegon Western Michigan Christian, and she finished with 376 rebounds over 25 games for the season.
PHOTO Hemlock's Regan Finkbeiner, left, follows through on a free throw attempt during last season's Division 3 Final, and Rockford's Grace Lyons launches the game-winning 3-pointer in Division 1.