Breslin Bound: Girls A-B Semis Preview

March 12, 2014

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

The most fun angle to this weekend's Class A and B Girls Basketball Finals at the Breslin Center is that none of the eight teams still alive in those classes has won an MHSAA championship since at least 1998. 

In fact, four of the eight have never played in an MHSAA championship game.

That's not to say this is new ground for all of the teams making the trip. Aside from reigning champion Goodrich, the rest of the 2013 Class B final four returns intact. And Detroit Catholic League rivals Farmington Hills Mercy and Bloomfield Hills Marian have six champioships between them – with the guarantee one will be playing Saturday for the Class A title. 

Here's a look at Friday and Saturday's schedule (Class C and D teams were previewed in a separate story earlier Wednesday): 

Semifinals - Friday
Class A
Canton (21-4) vs. Grand Ledge (24-2), 1 p.m.
Farmington Hills Mercy (25-1) vs. Bloomfield Hills Marian (23-2), 2:50 p.m.

Class B
Grand Rapids South Christian (25-0) vs. Midland Bullock Creek (24-1), 6 p.m.
Flint Powers Catholic (23-2) vs. Eaton Rapids (21-5), 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 on a pay-per-view basis. All four Finals will be broadcast live on Fox Sports Detroit, the Class D and A title games on FOX Sports Detroit's primary channel and the Class C and B games on FOX Sports Detroit-PLUS. Free radio broadcasts of all weekend games will be available on

Here's a look at all eight Class A and B teams playing this weekend:

Class A

Record/rank: 23-2, No. 5
League finish: Tied for first in Detroit Catholic League Central
Coach: Mary Cicerone, 31st season (558-193) 
Championship history: Four MHSAA titles (most recent 1998), one runner-up finish.
Best wins: 49-38 over honorable mention Canton, 57-54 over No. 3 Farmington Hills Mercy, 41-27 over No. 9 Farmington Hills Harrison in District Semifinal, 56-48 and 66-40 over Class B honorable mention Dearborn Divine Child.
Players to watch: Brittany Gray, 5-11 jr. F (10.1 ppg, 4.5 rpg); Kara Holinski, 5-9 jr. G (10 ppg).
Outlook: The Mustangs have returned to the Semifinals for the first time since 1998 despite only one senior. Marian has been engaged in a tug of war with Catholic League rival Mercy all season, also losing twice to the Marlins, and that continues Friday. Cicerone is the sixth-winningest coach in MHSAA girls basketball history and leads one of the most consistently successful programs with only three sub-.500 finishes since taking over in 1983. Individuals' stats don’t stick out, but balance is a strength – six players average between six and 10 points per game.

Record/rank: 21-4, honorable mention
League finish: First in Kensington Lakes Activities Association South
Coach: Brian Samulski, ninth season (165-48)
Championship history: Has not played in an MHSAA Final. 
Best wins: 42-33 over honorable mention Holly in Regional Semifinal, 31-28, 31-29 and 48-34 (District Final) over Plymouth, 36-25 over Class B honorable mention Dearborn Divine Child.
Players to watch: Paige Aresco, 5-10 sr. F (14.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg); Taylor Hunley, 5-1 sr. C (10 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 1.4 bpg).
Outlook: Canton has lost only twice more since opening with defeats to Marian and Mercy, and defensively has been incredible – the Chiefs are giving up an average of only 28 points per game and grabbing 11.6 steals per. They are seeking their first championship game berth, but missed advancing back-to-back in 2009 and 2010 falling by a total of four points.

Record/rank: 25-1, No. 3
League finish: Tied for first in Detroit Catholic League Central
Coach: Gary Morris, 10th season (164-73) 
Championship history: Two MHSAA titles (most recent 1982), four runner-up finishes.
Best wins: 58-46 over No. 1 Detroit Martin Luther King in Regional Final, 73-60 over No. 2 Grosse Pointe South in Regional Semifinal, 55-54 and 40-38 over No. 5 Bloomfield Hills Marian, 37-33 over honorable mention Canton, 62-59 over Class B No. 2 Goodrich, 59-46 over Class B No. 8 Flint Powers Catholic.
Players to watch: Taylor Jones, 5-7 jr. G (12.5 ppg); Candice Leatherwood, 5-6 sr. G (10.3 ppg, 4.0 apg).
Outlook: Emerging from the most competitive Regional in any class in recent memory, Mercy looks like a strong favorite this weekend. That lone loss came to Marian, by four in overtime, and the Marlins have won 20 straight including beating both the No. 1 and 2-ranked teams by double digits last week. Balance is a strength of this team as well – nine players have scored 10 or more points in at least one game this winter.

Record/rank: 24-2, No. 4
League finish: First in Capital Area Activities Conference Blue 
Coach: David Jones, fifth season (79-36) 
Championship history: Has not played in an MHSAA Final. 
Best wins: 45-44 over No. 7 Richland Gull Lake in District Final, 36-32 over No. 6 Haslett in Regional Final, 56-44 over honorable mention Kalamazoo Central in Regional Semifinal.
Players to watch: Hannah Orwat, 5-8 sr. G (15 ppg); Lindsay Orwat, 5-8 sr. G (13.4 ppg); Cori Crocker, 6-3, jr. C (10.7 ppg, 11.5 rpg, 2.6 bpg).  
Outlook: The Comets came into this season with high expectations, then opened 2-2 losing to honorable mention DeWitt and No. 1 Detroit Martin Luther King in December (although Lindsay Orwat was injured for the DeWitt game). Grand Ledge has run off 22 straight wins since to advance past the Quarterfinals for the first time ever after falling to eventual champion Grand Haven in that round last season. Crocker, who has committed to play volleyball at the University of Michigan, is one of three 6-footers in the lineup.  

Class B

Record/rank: 21-5, honorable mention
League finish: Second in Capital Area Activities Conference Gold
Coach: Willis Whitmyer, 15th season (210-122)
Championship history: Has not played in an MHSAA Final.  
Best wins: 53-37 over No. 6 Ypsilanti Arbor Prep in Quarterfinal, 69-29 over No. 9 Olivet in District opener, 33-30, 45-23 (District Final) over honorable mention Jackson Northwest, 57-44 over Class A No. 6 Haslett, 43-38 over Class A No. 10 Southgate Anderson.
Players to watch: Allie Dittmer, 6-1 sr. C (14.6 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 1.6 bpg); Kathryn Mills, 5-11 sr. F (10 ppg, 4.8 rpg).
Outlook: This run has been a long time coming for the Greyhounds, who have won four District and three league titles over the last nine seasons but had never advanced to Finals weekend. Eaton Rapids has won all of its tournament games by at least 10 points and eight straight by double digits despite facing a tough road to Breslin. All five starters and a top sub are seniors.

Record/rank: 23-2, No. 8
League finish: First in Saginaw Valley Association South
Coach: Thom Staudacher, third season (52-22)
Championship history: Four MHSAA titles (most recent 2001), four runner-up finishes. 
Best wins: 51-31 over No. 4 Detroit Country Day in Quarterfinal, 58-51 over No. 2 Goodrich in Regional Final, 57-37 over honorable mention Frankenmuth in District Final, 65-22 over honorable mention Flat Rock, 54-26 over Class A No. 8 Midland.
Players to watch: Michela Coury, 6-2 sr. F (11.3 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 2.9 bpg), Ally Haran, 5-9 sr. G (12.2 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 4.1 apg, 4.4 spg), Sara Ruhstorfer, 5-5 sr. G (10.3 ppg, 2.9 spg).  
Outlook: The Chargers who made an unexpected run for a young team last season are much more seasoned coming into this weekend, and they reinforced that fact by eliminating two of the top four ranked teams over the last week. Three starters from last season’s championship game loss are among those leading the way. The only losses this winter were to Class A Quarterfinalist Farmington Hills Mercy and Class C Quarterfinalist Saginaw Nouvel.

Record/rank: 25-0, No. 1
League finish: First in O-K Gold
Coach: Jim DeBruyn, 25th season (439-131)
Championship history: Class B champion 1988, one runner-up finish.
Best wins: 34-31 and 44-38 (Regional Semifinal) over honorable mention Holland Christian, 40-36, 28-27 and 50-45 (Regional Final) over honorable mention Grand Rapids Catholic Central.
Players to watch: Cassidy Vredevoogd, 6-0 sr. C (9.4 ppg, 4.6 rpg), Renee Broekhuizen, 5-11 sr. F (8.7 ppg, 4.1 rpg).
Outlook: South Christian is hoping to put the crowning achievement on a five-year run that has seen the Sailors improve from 11 to 12 to 21 to 23 and now to 25 wins over the last five seasons. They’ve also won two league, three District and two Regional titles during that time and advanced to last season’s Semifinals. Vredevoogd, Broekhuizen and senior Morgan Torres all started during that run as well.

Record/rank: 24-1, No. 3
League finish: First in Tri-Valley Conference Central
Coach: Justin Freeland, 12th season (218-56)
Championship history: Has not played in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 51-45 over honorable mention Bay City John Glenn in District Final, 66-32 over No. 5 Clare in Regional Semifinal, 44-32 over honorable mention Frankenmuth, 43-33 over Class C No. 10 Saginaw Nouvel.
Players to watch: Ellie Juengel, 5-8 jr. G (12.5 ppg, 5.1 rpg); Halee Nieman, 5-11 jr. F (12.9 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 3.3 spg); Hannah Heldt, 5-7 jr. G (10.9 ppg).
Outlook: After making both the Quarterfinals and Semifinals last season for the first time, Bullock Creek has done the same this winter while suffering its only loss against league co-runner-up Hemlock. Nieman, Juengel, Heldt and sophomore forward Alyssa Mudd all started last season when the Lancers fell in overtime to Flint Powers Catholic in the Semifinal. And they could take this Breslin run to three straight, with only two seniors and no starters graduating this spring.

PHOTO: Bullock Creek's Halee Nieman works to get around Flint Powers' Ally Haran (23) while the Lancers' Ellie Juengel (24) anticipates the play during the teams' 2013 Semifinal. 

Breslin Bound: 2022-23 Girls Report Week 10

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

February 6, 2023

Championship time is quickly approaching this girls basketball season.

MI Student Aid

We’re still three weeks out from the start of District play. But league contenders are clashing all over the state, with a handful of conferences finishing up their schedules this week and several favorites facing off soon with titles on the line. We make mention of a number of those below.

“Breslin Bound” is powered by MI Student Aid and based on results and schedules posted for each school at

Week in Review

The countdown of last week’s five most intriguing results:

1. West Bloomfield 59, Detroit Edison 49 Last season, West Bloomfield (15-2) became the first in-state team to defeat Edison (12-3) since 2018 – and the Lakers have become the only one to do so again this winter.

2. Maple City Glen Lake 51, Traverse City St. Francis 45 The Lakers (13-2) are up to No. 2 in Division 4 MPR, while St. Francis (12-2) sits No. 4 in Division 3.

3. Holt 55, DeWitt 53 The Rams (14-2) sit alone atop the Capital Area Activities Conference Blue after sending the Panthers (13-2) into second in a matchup of top Division 1 teams statewide.

4. Hancock 50, Calumet 47 The Bulldogs (13-1) maintained their one-game lead in the Western Peninsula Athletic Conference West with their second win this season over third-place Calumet (11-3). Both are among the top seven statewide in Division 3 MPR.

5. Detroit Edison 44, Farmington Hills Mercy 42 The Pioneers bounced back from the West Bloomfield loss with a pair of close wins, this one over Mercy (14-2) followed by a one-pointer over Grand Rapids Catholic Central on Saturday.

Watch List

With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each division making sparks:


Muskegon Reeths-Puffer (11-5) After a 2-4 start with those losses to top Division 1 and 2 teams statewide, Reeths-Puffer is 9-3 and tied for first in the Ottawa-Kent Conference Green with Muskegon after edging the Big Reds 56-52 on Friday. That avenged a 14-point loss to Muskegon on Jan. 6, and the Rockets have since gone on an eight-game winning streak. They also opened last week with a 42-39 victory over 11-win Ludington.

Maddie Bradford of Maple City Glen Lake contests a shot by Maggie Napont of Traverse City St. Francis during the Lakers' 51-45 win over the Gladiators last week.

Wayne Memorial (13-4) The Zebras further solidified their standing atop the Kensington Lakes Activities Association East standings with last week’s 75-57 win over second-place Belleville. That followed up a 44-41 win over the Tigers on Jan. 6, and total Wayne has won 12 straight since a 1-3 start that included two-point losses to Division 1 contenders Detroit Renaissance and Hudsonville and a third defeat to Illinois power Chicago Whitney Young.


Goodrich (14-1) The Martians are locked in another battle atop the Flint Metro League Stars with Lake Fenton and trail the Blue Devils by a game after a 50-44 loss Jan. 20. That’s Goodrich’s only defeat, and they’ll attempt to avenge it in the league finale Feb. 17. In the meantime, the Martians can continue their statewide push upward with 13-win Flushing coming up Wednesday and 15-win Ovid-Elsie next week as well.

Redford Westfield Prep (11-6) The Warriors take on many of the state’s best, evidenced by their No. 8 MPR despite six losses. Westfield has won seven of its last eight games, the lone defeat during that streak 55-53 to still-undefeated Flint Carman-Ainsworth on Jan. 16 – and with perhaps its most notable instate win of the season 46-45 in double overtime Jan. 12 over reigning Division 3 champion Ypsilanti Arbor Prep.


McBain (13-4) The Highland Conference race could go down to the finish, especially after McBain avenged its earlier 17-point loss to second-place Evart with a 51-35 win last week. McBain also has a six-point loss to league leader Lake City from Jan. 20, but can avenge that in the regular-season finale Feb. 23. The Ramblers additionally have a pair of victories over 12-win Beal City and a solid early loss to still-undefeated Division 2 Escanaba.

Ovid-Elsie (15-2) The Marauders haven’t slowed down a bit after last season’s 21-2 finish with league and District titles, the latter in Division 2. This season in Division 3, Ovid-Elsie is up to No. 6 in MPR with a 14-game winning streak since suffering its lone losses early to Pewamo-Westphalia (10-5) and Dansville (15-1). The Marauders handed Mackinaw City its first defeat Saturday, 59-55 on a neutral court, and also has a victory over 14-win Ithaca plus a two-game lead in the Mid-Michigan Activities Conference.


Fowler (11-6) Coming off back-to-back Division 4 championships, Fowler put together a schedule featuring solid-to-strong teams from Divisions 1-4 and sit No. 3 in Division 4 MPR. The losses have come to Midland Dow, Haslett, Lansing Catholic, Kent City and league rivals Dansville and Portland St. Patrick, and the Eagles avenged the Shamrocks defeat 51-44 last week. Fowler will need help to catch Dansville in the Central Michigan Athletic Conference, down two games from the league leader, but will try to get one back from the Aggies on Feb. 14.

Norway (16-1) The Knights are leading the large-school division of the Skyline Central Conference with the likely deciding matchup coming at Bark River-Harris next week. Norway has lost only to Niagara (Wis.), by five two weeks ago, and handed Carney-Nadeau (13-2) one of its losses among other strong work – and after ending last season’s 11-10 run with a 15-point District loss to the Wolves.

Can’t-Miss Contests

Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up: 

Tuesday – Coldwater (15-1) at Jackson Northwest (15-1) – The Mounties lead Coldwater by a win in the Interstate 8 Athletic Conference thanks to a 50-46 win in their first meeting Jan. 10.

Tuesday – Utica Ford (14-1) at Grosse Pointe North (13-2) – North has clinched a share of the Macomb Area Conference Red title heading into tonight’s league finale, while Ford won by a large margin in the MAC White.

Thursday – Houghton (13-1) at Hancock (13-1) – As noted above, Hancock leads the West-PAC West by a game – but will face second-place Houghton twice over the next two weeks.

Friday – Standish-Sterling (15-1) at Hemlock (13-3) – Hemlock owns the lead in the Tri-Valley Conference West 10-1 thanks to a 62-31 doubling up in the first meeting Jan. 6. But that remains the Panthers’ lone loss, and they’ve since handed TVC 10-2 co-leader Saginaw Valley Lutheran one of its two defeats.

Friday – Saline (15-2) at Temperance Bedford (16-1) – Saline is first and Bedford second in the Southeastern Conference Red thanks to Saline’s 41-22 win in their first meeting Jan. 27.'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 and find more information on Facebook and Twitter @mistudentaid.

PHOTOS (Top) A trio of Fowler defenders surround a Bath player driving to the basket during a 49-27 win earlier this season; they meet again Thursday. (Middle) Maddie Bradford of Maple City Glen Lake contests a shot by Maggie Napont of Traverse City St. Francis during the Lakers' 51-45 win over the Gladiators last week. (Top photo by Click by Christine McCallister. Middle photo by Rick Sack/TC Rick Photo.)