Another girls basketball season began last week – and took off in a hurry for several teams anticipating great things this winter.
Two themes generally dominate the start of a hoops season – contenders facing off in intriguing nonleague matchups, and teams that didn’t enjoy the greatest success last winter eclipsing it quickly this time around. We have plenty to tell of both as we begin another series of “Breslin Bound” reports.
Week in Review
The countdown of last week’s five most intriguing results:
1. Grand Rapids West Catholic 55, Hudsonville 50 – Last season’s Division 2 runner-up opened with this win over the 2020 Division 1 champion Eagles, who are coming off a 21-3 finish from a year ago.
2. Lowell 66, Kent City 39 – The Red Arrows handed Kent City – a Division 3 semifinalist last season – its first regular-season defeat since Jan. 14, 2020.
3. Hart 43, Ludington 42 – The Pirates opened the season by edging the Orioles, who are coming off a Division 2 Semifinals appearance in March.
4. Grosse Pointe North 56, Detroit Country Day 45 – The Norsemen capped the season’s first week with a double-digit win over the Yellowjackets, who have made the Division 2 Semifinals two straight seasons.
5. Lake Fenton 46, Frankenmuth 36 – Lake Fenton, a Division 2 Regional finalist last season, opened with this win over one of last season’s quarterfinalists.
With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each division making sparks:
Flint Carman-Ainsworth (2-0) Despite starting 0-2 last season, Carman-Ainsworth rebounded to finish 18-5 and win a District title. Those early defeats came to Williamston by three and Brighton by 19, and those teams both went on to win 17 games. Last week, Carman-Ainsworth opened with a 61-50 win over Williamston and then defeated Brighton 59-43.
Taylor (3-0) The Griffins closed 5-2 over their final seven games last winter to get to 11-11 for the season, and they’re well ahead of that pace with three first-week wins – including a 38-33 victory over Dearborn Heights Crestwood, which is coming off a 12-7 finish. This week should be telling as Taylor faces Gibraltar Carlson and Allen Park after going a combined 1-3 against them last season.
Ann Arbor Father Gabriel Richard (3-0) The Irish also opened with three first-week wins, the exclamation mark coming with a 73-50 victory over Redford Westfield Prep at Saturday’s Arbor Prep Ice Breaker Invitational – Westfield was 21-2 last season. Gabriel Richard is coming off a 15-7 run last winter and also last week defeated reigning Division 4 runner-up Plymouth Christian Academy 61-44.
Kingsford (2-0) A 5-5 start last season turned into a 7-13 finish, but Kingsford looks to be on stronger footing early with wins last week over Felch North Dickinson 48-37 and Ishpeming Westwood 42-38. Those two handed the Flivvers losses of six and 29, respectively, to start last winter. Kingsford is seeking its first winning season since 2018-19.
Dansville (2-0) The Aggies are coming off a solid 17-8 season, especially considering they play in a league with statewide powers Portland St. Patrick, Fowler and Pewamo-Westphalia among others. Dansville lost to the two-time reigning Division 4 champion Eagles by six and 27 last season, but finished last week by handing them a 36-22 defeat.
Gwinn (2-0) The Modeltowners didn’t win a game last season until Feb. 9, and that was their lone victory. Their 19 losses included a pair to Gladstone, and Gwinn avenged those with a 41-38 win Tuesday – and then doubled last year’s win total with a 41-31 victory over Brimley on Saturday.
Manistee Catholic Central (2-0) The Sabers opened with double-digit wins over Big Rapids Crossroads Academy and Kalamazoo Hackett Catholic Prep, the latter after losing 43-30 last season as Hackett went on to finish 13-9. MCC continued to finish 14-6 and share the West Michigan D League title, and will see the first of the other two co-champions, Mesick, for the first time Friday.
Morenci (2-0) The Bulldogs generally see Adrian Lenawee Christian once during the regular season and then frequently a second time during the MHSAA Tournament. Last week’s 47-39 win over Lenawee Christian was Morenci’s first since Dec. 4, 2015, and the Bulldogs also defeated Addison 49-17 to avenge an opening-night loss from last year.
Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up:
Monday – Bloomfield Hills Marian (1-1) at Imlay City (2-0) – The Spartans were 19-4 last season and loaded up a strong nonleague opponent for an early test.
Tuesday – Clarkston (2-0) at Macomb Dakota (1-0) – Both are coming off 17-win seasons and will play (other opponents) in the weekend’s Best of Michigan Holiday Classic.
Friday – Fowler (1-1) at Portland St. Patrick (1-1) – Fowler may have won last season’s Division 4 championship thanks in part to a District Final win over the Shamrocks, but St. Pat won both regular-season meetings and the league title.
Friday – Detroit Edison (1-0) vs. Bolingbrook, Ill. (8-0) – The reigning Division 2 champion Pioneers start a weekend facing Illinois powerhouses with Bolingbrook at Belleville, then take on Chicago Whitney Young on Saturday.
Saturday – Detroit Country Day (1-1) at Belleville (0-0) – The most intriguing matchup of instate opponents at the Best of Michigan Holiday Classic pits the host Tigers – who have upped their win total three straight seasons – against a Country Day team with high aspirations.
MHSAA.com's weekly “Breslin Bound” previews and reviews are powered by MI Student Aid, a part of the Office of Postsecondary Financial Planning located within the Michigan Department of Treasury. MI Student Aid encourages students to pursue postsecondary education by providing access to student financial resources and information. MI Student Aid administers the state’s 529 college savings programs (MET/MESP), as well as scholarship and grant programs that help make college Accessible, Affordable and Attainable for you. Connect with MI Student Aid at www.michigan.gov/mistudentaid and find more information on Facebook and Twitter @mistudentaid.
PHOTO Davison and Flushing tip off last week; the Raiders won their season opener 50-41. (Photo by Terry Lyons.)
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.