Breslin Bound: Girls C-D Semifinals Preview

March 13, 2013

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half

Flint Northern, from 1978-81 in Class A, is the only school in MHSAA history to win four straight Girls Basketball Finals championships. 

Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes can become the next to achieve that feat by claiming the Class D title this weekend.

The Lakers' pursuit will be one of the most followed storylines at Michigan State University's Breslin Center. Class C and D Semifinals are Thursday, with all four championships games Saturday.

Semifinals - Thursday
Class C
Manchester (25-1) vs. Riverview Gabriel Richard (16-7), 1 p.m. 
Saginaw Nouvel (24-2) vs. Houghton (23-2), 2:50 p.m. 

Class D
St. Ignace (25-0) vs Climax-Scotts (20-5), 6 p.m. 
Athens (22-3) vs Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes (20-4), 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

And now, a look at the Semifinalists in Class C and D. 

Class C

Record/rank: 23-2, tied for No. 7
League finish: First in Western Peninsula Athletic Conference
Coach: Julie Filpus, 14th season (307-34) 
Championship history: Class C champion (2005).
Best wins: 61-47 and 64-62 over Calumet, 76-41 and 58-42 (District Final) over L’Anse, 67-36 over Ishpeming (Regional Final), 56-47 over Shelby (Quarterfinal).
Players to watch: Elisa Jurmu, 5-8 jr. F (19.9 ppg, 5.4 rpg); Blaire Zenner, 5-10 sr. F (8.0 ppg, 7.3 rpg).
Outlook: Houghton has made at least the Regional round all 14 of Filpus’ seasons and won league titles every one of the last 13. Although the Gremlins didn’t see ranked teams this season, they did split against Class A Marquette, which finished 18-4. Jurmu received all-state special mention from The Associated Press on Wednesday and is one of four starters shooting better than 50 percent from the floor this winter.

Record/rank: 25-1, No. 3
League finish: First in Cascades Conference
Coach: Cori Kastel, seventh season (95-63)
Championship history: Has not played in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 57-42 over honorable mention Ypsilanti Arbor Prep (District Final), 58-51 over honorable mention Adrian Madison (Regional Final), 67-43 over No. 2 Niles Brandywine (Quarterfinal).
Players to watch: McKenna Erkfritz, 6-1 sr. F (14.8 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 1.8 bpg); Jessie Manders, 5-6 soph. G (9.6 ppg, 2.9 apg); Taylor Manders, 5-5 sr. G (14.4 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 3.2 apg, 3.0 spg).
Outlook: The Jackson area is generally strong for girls basketball, and Manchester emerged champion of a league that included six teams with at least 11 wins and four that won 15 or more games. Erkfritz earned all-state special mention and teams with Taylor Manders and guard Jesse Coltre as the team’s lone seniors – although all three start.

Record/rank: 16-7, unranked
League finish: Tied for first in Detroit Catholic League AA
Coach: William Jones, second season (36-11)
Championship history: Has not played in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 52-48 over Pontiac Notre Dame Prep, 47-44 (OT) over honorable mention Flint Hamady (Quarterfinal).
Player to watch: Ashley Henderson, 5-8 sr. G (16.2 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 3.8 apg, 2.6 spg).
Outlook: Gabriel Richard has reached the Quarterfinals both seasons under coach Jones, but Tuesday’s win over Hamady still had to be considered a bit of an upset considering Hamady’s championship history. Henderson has proven she can find the basket when it's needed most, scoring 30 in the Regional Final and 31 in the Quarterfinal.

Record/rank: 24-2, No. 4
League finish: Does not play in a league.
Coach: Kris Hengesbach, 12th season (252-54)
Championship history: Two MHSAA titles (2008), one runner-up finish.
Best wins: 47-45 over No. 1 Reese (Regional Semifinal), 55-34 over honorable mention Kent City (Regional Final), 60-50 and 57-48 (District Final) over No. 10 Saginaw Valley Lutheran, 58-47 over Class B No. 1 Freeland, 59-58 over Class B honorable mention Clare, 44-40 over Class B honorable mention Haslett, 51-22 over Class D No. 9 Waterford Our Lady.
Players to watch: Taylor Hengesbach, 5-10 G/F sr. (12.1 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 3.0 apg, 1.4 bpg); Rachel McInerny, 6-2 jr. C (14.9 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 1.4 bpg).
Outlook: Nouvel has beaten the top-ranked teams from two classes and the three-time reigning champion from a third. The Reese win avenged a 10-point loss from earlier this season, and Nouvel’s only other defeat came against No. 7 Carson City-Crystal. Taylor Hengesbach made the all-state team and McInerny earned honorable mention Wednesday as the leading scorers from a team that outscores its opponents on average 55-26. 

Class D

Record/rank: 22-3, honorable mention
League finish: Second in Big 8 Conference
Coach: Calvin Quist, eighth season (145-50) 
Championship history: Class D runner-up 2012.
Best wins: 41-33 over No. 7 Mendon (District Semifinal), 68-42 over No. 10 Hillsdale Academy (Regional Final), 55-44 over Climax-Scotts, 48-47 over Class C honorable mention Concord.
Players to watch: Audrey Oswalt, 5-9 jr. F (9.5 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 2.8 spg); Chantel Davenport, 5-9 sr. F (9.5 ppg, 4.0 rpg).
Outlook: Few teams can boast such scoring balance, with sophomore guard Allison Fuller (10.2 ppg) and junior guard Allysha Beal (9.8 ppg) the leading scorers and joining Oswalt and Davenport to give the team four players who average double figures or close. It’s tough to see how Athens couldn't crack the top 10 with its losses only to Mendon, Concord and Homer – all teams the Class D reigning runner-up eventually split with this winter.

Record/rank: 20-5, unranked
League finish: First in Southern Central Athletic Association
Coach: Dana Perrin, third season (61-12)
Championship history: Class D runner-up 1986.
Best wins: 42-40 over No. 8 Gaylord St. Mary (Quarterfinal), 52-48 over Class C honorable mention Concord.
Players to watch: Destiny Froberg, 5-7 sr. F (13.2 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 4.4 apg, 2.7 spg); Fallon Froberg, 5-8 sr. C (11.8 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 2.4 spg).
Outlook: Climax-Scotts has won at least 20 games all three seasons under Perrin, and will play Thursday for its first championship game berth in nearly three decades. Five seniors of seven total fill the starting line-up. Guard Stephanie Cochran joins the Froberg twins scoring in double figures averaging 10.5 points per game with 54 3-pointers through her first 24 games this season.

Record/rank: 25-0, No. 1
League finish: First in Straits Area Conference
Coach: Dorene Ingalls, 14th season (289-57)
Championship history: Three MHSAA titles (most recently 2011), two runner-up finishes. 
Best wins: 70-54 over No. 3 Crystal Falls Forest Park (Quarterfinal), 74-68 over No. 6 Posen (Regional Final), 70-21, 78-16 and 67-23 (Regional Semifinal) over honorable mention Pickford, 53-38 over Class A honorable mention Petoskey, 55-41 over Class A honorable mention Brighton.
Players to watch: Kelley Wright, 5-10 jr. G (19.3 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 5.3 apg, 6.8 spg); Sarah Cullip, 5-11 sr. G (13.4 ppg); Abbey Ostman, 5-8 fr. F (10.8 ppg, 9.9 rpg).
Outlook: The Saints are making their fourth-straight trip to Breslin Center but first of this run in Class D after playing in Class C previously. Wright, Cullip and junior guard Emily Hinsman also started last season, and senior guard Morgan LaVake played the most minutes off the bench during the Semifinal. Wright was named all-state Tuesday.  

Record/rank: 20-4, No. 9
League finish: First in Detroit Catholic League East
Coach: Steve Robak, sixth season (126-27)
Championship history: Three MHSAA titles (most recently 2012). 
Best wins: 40-26 over No. 5 Lansing Christian (Regional Final), 28-24 (OT) over Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart (Quarterfinal), 45-25 over Riverview Gabriel Richard, 50-38 over Livonia Ladywood.
Players to watch: Ava Doetsch, 5-6 sr. G (14.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 2.7 apg, 2.8 spg); Lexie Robak, 5-9 sr. G (14.8 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 2.4 apg).
Outlook: The Lakers, and especially Doetsch and Lexie Robak, will attempt to add to an incredible run that’s included the last three Class D championships – and those two started on all three of those teams. Both were named to the all-state team this week and are dangerous from the perimeter – Robak had 67 3-pointers and Doetsch 37 heading into the week. Our Lady is 87-18 over their four seasons. 

PHOTO: Riverview Gabriel Richard celebrates its Class C Quarterfinal win over Flint Hamady on Tuesday. (Photo courtesy of Anna Fedor/Riverview Gabriel Richard.)

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

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June 28:
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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.)