Breslin Bound: Girls A-B Semis Preview

March 13, 2013

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

There are more unranked than top-ranked teams playing in this weekend's MHSAA Class A and B Semifinals at Michigan State University's Breslin Center.

Dexter and Midland Bullock Creek didn't receive a vote in The Associated Press' polls heading into the offseason. But they're still alive, unlike the number one teams in their respective classes.  

That said, returning champions Grand Haven in Class A and Goodrich in Class B both are back hoping to repeat – and potentially as slight favorites again,.See below for this weekend's schedule, broadcast information and a quick look at all eight teams. 

Semifinals - Friday
Class A
Westland John Glenn (24-1) vs Grand Haven (26-0), 1 p.m. 
Grosse Pointe South (24-1) vs Dexter (23-3), 2:50 p.m. 

Class B
Midland Bullock Creek (23-3) vs Flint Powers Catholic (20-6), 6 p.m. 
Goodrich (23-3) vs Grand Rapids South Christian (24-1), 7:50 p.m.

Finals - Saturday
Class A - Noon
Class B - 6 pm
Class C - 4 pm 
Class D - 10 am 

Tickets cost $8 per pair of Semifinals and $10 per two-game Finals session. All Semifinals will be streamed live on and available on a pay-per-view basis for $3.95 per day, $6.95 for the weekend or $9.95 for all girls and boys Semifinals over the next two weekends. All four Finals will be broadcast live on Fox Sports Detroit. Free radio broadcasts of all weekend games will be available on

Class A

Record/rank: 23-3, unranked
League finish: First in Southeastern Conference
Coach: Mike Bavineau, 17th season (240-142)
Championship history: Has not played in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 36-24 over Ann Arbor Huron (District Final), 37-34 over honorable mention Farmington Hills Harrison (Regional Final), 34-33 over Saginaw Heritage (Quarterfinal), 47-35 over Class C No. 3 Manchester.
Players to watch: Riley McDonald, 5-7 sr. G (7.7 ppg, 4.9 rpg); Emma Kill, 6-2 sr. F (7.0 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 2.2 spg).
Outlook: Dexter got over a major obstacle by beating Huron in the District Final after being swept by Huron during the regular season. That earned the Dreadnaughts their first District title since 2004, and they’ve gone on to win their first Regional since 1998. Balance has been key; four players average between seven and eight points per game, and three more average between four and six ppg.

Record/rank: 26-0, No. 3
League finish: First in O-K Red
Coach: Katie Kowalczyk-Fulmer, 15th season (247-109)
Championship history: Class A champion 2012.
Best wins: 43-35 over honorable mention Grand Ledge (Quarterfinal), 45-39 over Class B honorable mention Grand Rapids Catholic Central.
Players to watch: Abby Cole, 6-5 sr. C (13.6 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 8.3 bpg, 2.5 apg); Hannah Wilkerson, 5-9 sr. G (10.6 ppg, 2.2 apg).
Outlook: Cole was a star on last season’s championship team, and Wilkerson was a key sub. But they are the only two on this team that played in the 2012 Final – which makes this run even more impressive. Unlike last winter, Grand Haven comes into the final week undefeated. Cole, who will play volleyball at the University of Michigan this fall, finished third in the Miss Basketball voting earlier this week.

Record/rank: 24-1, No. 2
League finish: First in Macomb Area Conference Red
Coach: Kevin Richards, sixth season (108-32)
Championship history: Class A runner-up 2012.
Best wins: 49-41 over honorable mention Brownstown-Woodhaven, 54-52, 57-52 and 59-48 (Regional Final) over honorable mention Macomb Dakota, 53-33 and 56-42 over honorable mention Utica Ford, 63-58 over No. 9 Bloomfield Hills Marian (Quarterfinal).
Players to watch: Cierra Rice, 5-8 soph. G (13.4 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 2.0 spg); Claire DeBoer, 6-1 sr. F (12.6 ppg, 9.7 rpg, 3.5 apg, 3.0 spg).
Outlook: South hasn’t lost since falling to Chicago Whitney Young in its first game this season and is 47-5 over the last two. Rice, DeBoer and senior guard Christy Flom all started in last season’s championship game, and sophomore guard Aliezza Brown got significant minutes. Brown averages 8.4 points and two assists per game off the bench this winter.

Record/rank: 24-1, tied for No. 6
League finish: First in Kensington Lakes Activities Association (Kensington and overall)
Coach: Eric Kovatch, second season (44-4)
Championship history: Has not played in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 55-50 over No. 1 Detroit Martin Luther King (Quarterfinal), 55-47 over No. 8 Inkster (District Semifinal), 47-32 over honorable mention Brownstown-Woodhaven (Regional Final), 57-56 over honorable mention Novi, 71-44 over honorable mention Brighton, 57-40 over Class B honorable mention Flint Powers Catholic.
Players to watch: Raven Bankston, 5-7 sr. F (18 ppg); Raine Bankston, 5-7 sr. G (12 ppg).
Outlook: The Rockets have eliminated two teams that entered the postseason undefeated – and despite their impressive season so far, Tuesday’s win over King was a statement maker. Despite the slight upset, no one should be surprised: John Glenn is undefeated in this state this season as well, with its only loss to Toledo (Ohio) Rogers. Four players average in double figures, with senior guard Sha’Keya Graves averaging 11 points as a starter and junior Kaira Barnes scoring 12 per game off the bench. 

Class B

Record/rank: 20-6, honorable mention
League finish:  Second in Saginaw Valley Association South
Coach: Thom Staudacher, second season (28-19)
Championship history: Four MHSAA titles (most recently 2001), three runner-up finishes.
Best wins: 61-53 over  No. 1 Freeland (Regional Semifinal), 50-30 over No. 6 Detroit Country Day (Quarterfinal), 44-35 over Saginaw Heritage, 64-41 over Class C honorable mention Flint Hamady.
Players to watch: Kim Berry, 5-11 sr. F (13.9 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 2.3 spg); Michela Coury, 6-1 jr. F (10.5 ppg, 14.3 rpg, 4.9 bpg), Ally Haran, 5-9 jr. G (10.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 4.0 spg, 5.0 apg).
Outlook: The last two weeks make it difficult to remember Powers began this season 3-5. The Chargers have been mostly unstoppable during an 11-game winning streak that has included eliminating the top-ranked team in Class B. It’s an incredible turnaround as well off last season’s 8-13 finish – and should continue with Berry and starting guard Darbie Barkman the only seniors.

Record/rank: 23-3, No. 3
League finish: First in Genesee Area Conference Red
Coach: Jason Gray, 14th season (291-41)
Championship history: Class B champion 2012.
Best wins: 49-42 over honorable mention Haslett (Regional Semifinal), 58-57 over Class A No. 4 East Lansing.
Players to watch: Taylor Gleason, 5-9 sr. G (21.6 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 4.1 apg, 5.0 spg); Tania Davis, 5-4 soph. G (17.6 ppg, 4.0 apg, 3.2 spg).
Outlook: Goodrich runs four guards around 6-2 sophomore center Isabella O’Brien (1.1 blocks per game), and has two of the most explosive in Class B in Miss Basketball runner-up Gleason and Davis. Gleason has signed with Illinois for next season, and she and Davis have stepped  their games up even more to fill in for senior guard Aketra Sevillian – a Penn State signee – who has missed the season with an injury. Goodrich’s losses were nearly as impressive as its wins – to No. 1 Freeland by four, Class A honorable mention Ann Arbor Huron by two and Ohio power Twinsburg.

Record/rank: 24-1, tied for No. 7
League finish: First in O-K Gold
Coach: Jim DeBruyn, 24th season (415-130)
Championship history: Class B champion 1988, one runner-up finish.
Best wins: 40-39, 53-39 and 46-33 (Regional Semifinal) over honorable mention Grand Rapids Catholic Central, 53-29 over Marshall (Quarterfinal), 58-44 and 46-35 (District Semifinal) over Wayland.
Players to watch: Angelique Gaddy, 5-4 sr. G (10.3 ppg, 3.5 apg, 2.8 spg); Cassidy Vredevoogd, jr. F (11.2 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 1.8 bpg).
Outlook: South Christian began taking steps toward this run last season, when it nearly doubled its wins from 2010-11 to go 21-4. The Sailors’ only loss came midseason to Wayland, and they’ve avenged it twice. South Christian has won its tournament games by an average of 24 points per.

Record/rank: 23-3, unranked
League finish: Second in Tri-Valley Conference Central
Coach: Justin Freeland, 11th season (195-55)
Championship history: Has not played in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 49-42 over No. 2 Ludington (Regional Semifinal), 57-56 over honorable mention Clare (Quarterfinal).
Players to watch: Ellie Juengel, 5-8 soph. G (13.4 ppg, 4.2 apg); Halee Nieman, 5-10 soph. F (12.8 ppg, 3.0 spg); Kendra Shankel, 5-8 sr. F (10.5 ppg).
Outlook: Bullock Creek has put together outstanding seasons under Freeland, but made everything fall into place this winter for its first trip to Breslin in his 11 seasons. And the next may not be far off, as the two leading scorers are sophomores and only one senior starts. The Lancers’ losses came twice to No. 1 Freeland and once to Hemlock – which Bullock Creek then beat by 28 in the rematch. 

PHOTO: Grosse Pointe South's Gretchen Shirar (20) works for a shot during a 49-41 win over Brownstown-Woodhaven in December. (Click to see more at

High School 'Hoop Squad' Close to Heart as Hughes Continues Coaching Climb

By Keith Dunlap
Special for

July 11, 2024

Jareica Hughes had a Hall of Fame collegiate basketball career playing at University of Texas-El Paso and has played professionally overseas, but her most prized possession is something she earned playing high school basketball in Michigan. 

Made In Michigan and Michigan Army National Guard logosA standout at now-closed Southfield-Lathrup High School during the early-to-mid 2000s, Hughes proudly displays a signature symbol of Lathrup’s Class A championship team in 2005. 

“I have my state championship ring on me right now,” said Hughes, now an assistant head coach for the women’s basketball program at UTEP. “I wear this ring every single day. Not so much for the basketball aspect. Inside of the ring it says ‘Hoop Squad.’ It’s more the connection I’ve had with those particular young ladies. Friends that I’ve known since I was kid. Every once in a while when we talk, we go back in time.”

Believe it or not, Hughes and her high school teammates next year will have to go back 20 years to commemorate a run to the title that started when they were freshmen. 

It was a gradual build-up to what was the first girls basketball state championship won by a public school in Oakland County. Lathrup, which has since merged with the former Southfield High School to form Southfield Arts & Technology, remained the only public school in Oakland County to win a state girls basketball title until West Bloomfield did so in 2022 and again this past March. 

Lathrup lost in the District round to Bloomfield Hills Marian during Hughes’ freshman year, and then after defeating Marian in a District Final a year later, lost to West Bloomfield in a Regional Final.

When Hughes was a junior, the team got to the state’s final four, but a bad third quarter resulted in a heartbreaking one-point Semifinal loss to eventual champion Lansing Waverly. 

A year later, when Hughes and other core players such as Brittane Russell, Timika Williams, Dhanmite’ Slappey and Briana Whitehead were seniors, they finished the job and won the Class A crown with a 48-36 win over Detroit Martin Luther King in the Final.

However, the signature moment of that title run actually came during the Semifinal round and was produced by Hughes, a playmaking wizard at point guard who made the team go. 

Trailing by three points during the waning seconds of regulation against Grandville and Miss Basketball winner Allyssa DeHaan – a dominant 6-foot-8 center – Hughes drained a tying 3-pointer from the wing that was well beyond the 3-point line. 

Lathrup went on to defeat Grandville in overtime and prevail against King.

Hughes said the year prior, she passed up on taking a potential winning or tying shot in the Semifinal loss against Waverly, and was reminded of that constantly by coaches and teammates. “I just remember in the huddle before that shot, that just kept ringing in my mind,” she said. “That was special. I cried for weeks not being able to get a shot off (the year before) and leaving the tournament like that.”

Growing up in Detroit, Hughes got into basketball mainly because she had five older brothers and an older sister who played the game. In particular, Hughes highlights older brother Gabriel for getting her into the game and taking her from playground to playground.

“I’m from Detroit,” she said. “We played ball all day long. Sunup to sundown. When the light comes on, you had to run your butt into the house.”

Hughes, second from left, begins the championship celebration with her Lathrup teammates at Breslin Center.Hughes played for the Police Athletic League and also at the famed St. Cecilia gym in the summer, developing her game primarily against boys.

“My first team was on a boys team,” she said. “I was a captain on a boys team.” 

The family moved into Lathrup’s district before she began high school. 

Once she helped lead Lathrup to the 2005 championship, she went on to a fine career at UTEP, where she was the Conference USA Player of the Year twice and helped lead the Miners to their first NCAA Tournament appearance.

Hughes still holds school records for career assists (599), steals (277) and minutes played (3,777). On Monday, she was named to Conference USA’s 2024 Hall of Fame class. 

After a brief professional career overseas was derailed by a shoulder injury, Hughes said getting into coaching was a natural fit. 

“I had to make the hard decision, and I knew as a kid I wanted to be around basketball,” she said. “Once I made that decision (to quit), I knew I was going to coach.”

Hughes started coaching in the Detroit area, first serving as an assistant at Southfield A&T from 2016-20 and then at Birmingham Groves for a season. She then served as interim head coach at Colby Community College in Kansas before being named an assistant at UTEP in May 2023, a month after her former coach Keitha Adams returned to lead the program after six seasons at Wichita State.  

While fully immersed in her job with UTEP, Hughes’ high school memories in Michigan certainly aren’t going away anytime soon – especially with the 20th anniversary of Lathrup’s championship coming up. 

“We are still close friends because we all essentially grew up together,” she said. “They are still my friends to this day.”

2024 Made In Michigan

July 10: Nightingale Embarking on 1st Season as College Football Head Coach - Read
June 28:
 E-TC's Witt Bulldozing Path from Small Town to Football's Biggest Stage - Read

PHOTOS (Top) At left, Southfield-Lathrup’s Jareica Hughes drives to the basket against Detroit Martin Luther King during the 2005 Class A Final; at right, Hughes coaches this past season at UTEP. (Middle) Hughes, second from left, begins the championship celebration with her Lathrup teammates at Breslin Center. (UTEP photo courtesy of the UTEP sports information department.)