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

Ewen-Trout Creek Grad Rekindles Memories of 'The Barn' in 8-Part Docu-Series

By Jon Ross
MHSAA Director of Broadcast Properties

February 7, 2023

It was known as “The Barn.” And it was home to the 1972 Class D boys basketball champion, the 1973 Class D girls basketball champion and the 1982 Class D boys basketball runners-up.

The Upper Peninsula’s all-time winningest female basketball coach coached at The Barn, as did the Upper Peninsula’s all-time winningest male basketball coach. And when Ewen-Trout Creek advanced to the 2022 Division 4 Final, its roster was littered with names from E-TC’s past:

► Leading scorer Jaden Borseth’s dad played on the 1995 team that advanced to the Class D Regional Final.

► Kelsey Jilek’s dad played on the 1992 team.

► Brendan Polkky’s dad is currently an assistant coach for E-TC and played on the 1991 team that also advanced to the Class D Regional Final.  

► Caden Besonen’s dad Dave starred on the 1982 state runner-up team. Caden’s uncle Brad is the E-TC head coach. And Brad’s dad, Bryan, played on the 1972 championship team.

The Barn hosted its final E-TC game in 1998 and is now owned by Gary Fors, who also played on the 1972 title team. It’s now a community gym of sorts, and many members of the 2022 team worked out there growing up.

E-TC grad Kristin Ojaniemi – an award-winning documentary film maker and photographer, and the TV producer and host of “Discovering” for 906 Outdoors – is taking a look at the history of “The Barn” as well as its ties to the 2022 team in an eight-part series called “Born in the Barn.” The first two parts are complete, and the entire series will be available to view at  

I had a chance to ask Ojaniemi about the project and why it’s so special to so many people.

Kristin, how did you come up with the idea to document the history of The Barn?

The idea to document the history of The Barn and E-TC basketball developed over time. Five years ago I had a conversation with Dan Truckey of the Beaumier Heritage Center at Northern Michigan University, and when I told him where I went to high school, we got on the topic of basketball and how E-TC was a powerhouse and that "there must be something in the water" here. Fast forward to 2021, and I saw on Facebook some photos of the inside of The Barn and all the newspapers Gary Fors had lined the walls with, sort of like a museum. February of 2022 I realized it was 50 years since the 1972 boys state championship and 40 years since the 1982 state runner-up seasons. I like anniversaries in history and thought it would be the perfect time to do some sort of documentary. Originally my focus was Gary and The Barn and more of the 70s and 80s boys and girls seasons, but once the 2022 boys started advancing in the tournament, that obviously changed.

What did the 2022 team’s run to the Finals mean to the players from the ’72 and ’82 teams?

The 2022 run meant a lot to the players of '72 and '82 because many of those boys are sons, grandsons, great-nephews of those guys. Bryan Besonen of the '72 team is coach Brad Besonen's father. Many of them traveled to every tournament game, and watching the 2022 season brought back memories of their glory days. They're definitely very proud of the 2022 team and the tradition that E-TC has continued through the years. Watching them watch those games was just as fun as watching the court. The 2022 team's run to the Finals meant a lot to the whole community. So many others traveled all the way to Lansing to cheer them on, and there is just a ton of pride in this team. I went to the banner unveiling a few weeks ago, and it was a huge crowd at the game to watch those few seconds of history being made.

What is your history with The Barn?

I graduated from Ewen-Trout Creek in 2000. We were in the "new" school then, but I spent four years – seventh-10th grade – in the "old" school, which had so much more character than the new one! I did play basketball seventh-10th – junior high and junior varsity. I was a benchwarmer most of those years. I loved the game but didn't spend any time offseason playing or practicing like others. I was also a cheerleader those years too, and if you look closely at one of the newspaper photos from the last game in the Barn, I'm in the background. Ha ha! This was back when girls basketball was in the fall and boys in the winter, so you could do both. As others in the documentary mention, The Barn was also where you hung out at lunch, and gym class was in there, and homecoming activities. Filming in there brought back a lot of memories.

What did Nancy Osier (U.P.’s winningest female basketball coach) and Tom Caudill (U.P.’s winningest male basketball coach) think made The Barn such a difficult place for opposing teams to play?

Thinking back to Nancy and Tom's interviews, I think the difficulty for other teams really boiled down to the atmosphere and the E-TC fans and that intimidation factor. E-TC had the ultimate homecourt advantage in The Barn, and their players spent hours upon hours practicing on that floor. And the school's history and tradition of rarely losing a home game is also intimidating.

There’s obviously a lot of family ties from the 2022 team to earlier teams – and it was the 50th anniversary of the ’72 win – did they feel more pressure along the way because of that?

I think the 2022 boys had this feeling that they wanted to one-up their grandfathers/fathers. I think it was Kelsey Jilek that told his grandfather, George Hardes (1972), that they had one more game in their schedule so they could potentially have a better record if they won all their games. But none of them came out and mentioned that the anniversary put pressure on them, but I’m sure it was there. They set out to win it all from the beginning and put the work in, and it paid off. There are a lot of parallels in these winning seasons.

When will the next part of the series be released?

Part 3, I should have done by the end of February. Part 3 focuses on the 1973 girls state champs; 1973 was the first year there was a state final for girls basketball after Title IX, and E-TC won the Class D title. And then I plan to release each part every two months with the final, Part 8, done by the end of 2023. This is just a fun hobby/personal project, I guess you'd say, so I only have so much time to dedicate to it after all my "real" work.

(PHOTOS of "The Barn" courtesy of Kristin Ojaniemi.)