Breslin Bound: Girls Districts in Review

March 5, 2013

By Geoff Kimmerly
Special to Second Half

The most-used coach cliche' this time of year revolves around the difficulty for a team to beat an opponent a third time in the playoffs after sweeping said opponent during the regular season. 

But those words of wisdom played out in more than a few cases during girls basketball Districts last week. 

See below for four champs from each class whose performances were particularly notable, including a handful that beat opponents after being swept by them earlier this winter. Records are based on results submitted for each team through the MHSAA Score Center

Class A

Canton (16-6) – Defense has been the name of the game lately for the Chiefs, who have given up exactly 23 points in each of their last three. Although the first was a regular-season finale loss to Waterford Kettering, the most recent was a 29-23 District final win over also 16-6 Northville.

Detroit Martin Luther King (20-0) – The Crusaders navigated one of the toughest District brackets in Class A to remain undefeated, beating Detroit Public School League runner-up Detroit Cass Tech 46-35 and then in the final Detroit Pershing, 66-38. King had beaten Cass Tech in the PSL Final only two weeks before.

Grand Ledge (19-4) – Much was expected of the resurgent Comets heading into this winter, but powerhouse East Lansing still stood in the way and swept them during the regular season. But Grand Ledge got a big one back, beating the Trojans 51-49 in the District final.

Saginaw Heritage (14-8) – The Hawks 53-44 District final win over Midland Dow might’ve been their best postseason victory in close to a decade. Heritage finished second in the Saginaw Valley Association North this season, but Dow finished first and was 21-0 entering the game.

Class B

Flint Powers Catholic (17-6) – The Chargers are back after finishing below .500 and falling in their District opener last season. Five of their six losses this winter were to Class A teams – the sixth coming to Class B Livonia Ladywood in their opener – and Powers is on a 14-1 streak.

Jackson Northwest (17-6) – The most impressive win of last week’s District run was the first, 47-38 in the opener over Eaton Rapids. The Greyhounds finished 18-3 and had beaten Northwest by 14 and 29 points this season in winning the Capital Area Activities Conference Gold – while Northwest finished third in that league.

River Rouge (14-6) – The Panthers won their District games by 30, 20 and then five points, respectively. The best win certainly came in the championship game, 57-52 over Dearborn Divine Child, an MHSAA Semifinalist last season.

Stevensville-Lakeshore (15-7) – The Lancers added another step to their success of 2011-12, this time winning a District title and doing so by beating a strong Benton Harbor team 60-59 in the championship game. Benton Harbor beat Lakeshore by 14 and 18 during the regular season.

Class C

Carson City-Crystal (20-2) – The Eagles last lost on Dec. 20, to Central Michigan Athletic Conference co-champion Portland St. Patrick. But Carson City-Crystal eliminated the other winner of that league title, Pewamo-Westphalia, 35-29 in last week’s District final. P-W finished 18-5.

Ishpeming (16-6) – The Hematites and Negaunee tied for the Mid-Peninsula Athletic Conference championship, but Ishpeming earned some final bragging rights last week by beating Negaunee, at Negaunee, 45-41 to claim the District title.

Michigan Center (15-8) – The Cardinals finished only fourth in a strong Cascades Conference, but beat third-place Grass Lake in the District semifinal before downing Concord 41-36 for the championship. Concord, which finished 18-4, beat Michigan Center by four early this season and made the MHSAA Semifinals in 2012.

Shelby (19-3) – The West Michigan Conference champion is two wins better than last season and continued to roll through some close games last week – a 41-39 win over Holton in the District semifinal and a 55-47 win over Hart in the championship game.

Class D

Fulton-Middleton (12-9) – The Pirates finished sixth in the always-strong Central Michigan Athletic Conference. But they beat co-champion – and 2012 Class D Semifinalist – Portland St. Patrick in the District final, 58-54 in triple overtime. Before that, Fulton beat CMAC fourth-place Fowler 53-45.

Pickford (15-6) – The Panthers shared the Eastern UP Athletic Conference championship with DeTour this season, and added another championship by edging Rudyard 28-24 in the District final. Pickford fell in last season’s District final to Brimley, which it beat during last week’s semifinals.

Powers North Central (15-8) – The Jets closed the regular season with two losses and were swept this season by Skyline Conference rival Bark River-Harris. But North Central got one back in their third and final meeting of the winter, beating the Broncos 70-68 in their District final.

Waterford Our Lady (17-4) – The reigning three-time MHSAA champion also lost its final two regular season games. But the Lakers escaped a close District final against Bloomfield Hills Roeper, winning 44-40, to continue their pursuit of a fourth-straight title. 

PHOTOS: Gaylord players celebrate last week's Class A District championship. The Blue Devils (14-9) edged Traverse City West 31-26 in overtime and now will face reigning Class A champion Grand Haven. (Photo courtesy of the Gaylord Herald Times

Hemlock, Rockford Follow 3-Point Success to 1st Titles, Record Book Fame

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

September 1, 2023

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:

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.