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
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.
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 MHSAA.tv 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 MHSAANetwork.com.
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.
GROSSE POINTE SOUTH
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.
WESTLAND JOHN GLENN
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.
FLINT POWERS CATHOLIC
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.
GRAND RAPIDS SOUTH CHRISTIAN
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.
MIDLAND BULLOCK CREEK
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 HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)
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.