Breslin Bound: Girls Report Post-Break
January 8, 2013
By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Many of the girls basketball teams impressing us most this season are those we're used to watching march to the Breslin Center every winter.
But others are popping back on the radar in a big way for the first time in a few years – and this week's list includes a few of those as well.
The following 10 teams were among those most impressive while school was out these last few weeks. Records and scores are based on those submitted to the MHSAA.com Score Center.
1. Muskegon Oakridge (11-0) – Oakridge now has won 24 straight regular-season games including a pair at this season’s Oakridge Holiday Tournament, an event it did not win a year ago.
2. Southfield-Lathrup (7-0) – The Chargers have been expected to dominate, and they’re making good on that forecast. Their only close game was still a 51-45 win over a solid Ypsilanti Arbor team.
3. Flat Rock (8-0) – The Rams showed signs of this ability going 16-7 last season. A 47-44 win over a strong Eaton Rapids team is among those most impressive so far this winter.
4. Center Line (6-0) – After opening last season 3-0 and finishing with just four wins total, the Panthers have won all of their games this winter by at least 20 points.
5. Goodrich (7-1) – On one hand, Goodrich lost for the first time since the end of the 2010-11 season. On the other, that loss came to Twinsburg, Ohio, meaning the Martians still haven’t lost to an in-state team in more than a year – and beat Class A power East Lansing the day before that defeat.
6. Grosse Pointe South (6-0) – It’s been hard not to mention this reigning Class A Semifinalist yet. And 15 and eight-point wins on back-to-back days over Livonia Ladywood and Brownstown Woodhaven made it even tougher to wait any longer.
7. Freeland (6-0) – Michigan State recruit Tori Jankoska and her teammates are favorites to make another run at Class B after reaching the Semifinals last season. A one-point win over Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett should build some momentum for that effort.
8. Calumet (6-1) – This volleyball school is showing some skills on the basketball court as well and is already halfway to last season’s win total. On Thursday, Calumet handed L’Anse its first loss this winter.
9. Saginaw Valley Lutheran (5-1) – The Chargers have been elite for a few seasons now, and can add a 69-40 win over much larger Saginaw Arthur Hill to recent accomplishments. Their only loss this season was to Freeland on opening night.
10. Saginaw Nouvel (6-1) – The frequently-powerful Panthers are off to another nice run. They bounced back from that lone loss, to undefeated Reese, with a 46-44 win over Dearborn Divine Child.
PHOTO: Grosse Pointe South's Aliezza Brown looks for an open teammate while being guarded by multiple Brownstown-Woodhaven players during a win at the end of December. (Click to see more at HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)
Lansing Catholic Closes Season With Memorable Victory Close to Home
By Paul Costanzo
Special for MHSAA.com
March 18, 2023
EAST LANSING – The Lansing Catholic girls basketball team took a short drive to end a long wait.
Playing just three miles from their high school, the Cougars defeated Frankenmuth 43-29 Saturday at the Breslin Center to win the MHSAA Division 2 Final. It was the first Finals title for the program since 1995.
“It felt like homecourt advantage a little bit,” Lansing Catholic senior guard Hannah Pricco said. “Our bus trip wasn’t super long. It just kind of felt like we were coming to our own court.”
The Cougars treated it that way, dominating from the beginning of the matchup in their first Finals trip since that 1995 title. They scored the game’s first 11 points and never looked back.
“This is, as you can imagine, extremely surreal,” Lansing Catholic coach Kacee Reid said. “You’re going through literally every emotion on the bench, especially in a game like that. Frankenmuth is making such a great comeback, and we knew they were going to fight to the end. To go through the anger and sadness and happiness, and now it’s over and we’ve won it. It’s just been a rollercoaster of emotions, and I can’t describe the pride I have in these girls.”
It was the second meeting between the two teams, with Lansing Catholic taking the first 74-42 on Feb. 2. But Reid wasn’t going to let her team come in overconfident.
“They didn’t get here by accident,” Reid said. “They’re in the state championship because they’re playing their best ball of the year. We played them a month and a half ago. … We’re a totally different team, and we knew they were a totally different team. We knew they had been playing some really good basketball, and it didn’t matter at all what that first outcome was. We knew this was going to be a battle.”
Lansing Catholic (24-5) never trailed, and led by as many as 17 points in the third quarter. Leah Richards led the Cougars with 16 points and nine rebounds, while Anna Richards had 14 points. Gabby Halliwill added seven.
The Cougars were spurred by their defense throughout, holding Frankenmuth to 9 of 36 shooting from the field and forcing 13 turnovers.
“For us, defensively, we had to switch it up,” Reid said. “We had to keep switching up between man and zone. They were making adjustments and we couldn’t really sit in one thing for too long; they got comfortable. That’s a credit to their coaching staff always making adjustments. We had to continue to switch things up defensively and try to hopefully make their shooters second-guess their shot, or maybe not know where we were coming from.”
Frankenmuth (25-3) didn’t go away, despite trailing by double digits for the majority of the game.
That was helped by Lansing Catholic shooting 1 of 11 from the field in the third quarter, and going scoreless for the final 5:26 of the frame.
The Eagles cut the lead to seven with 2:45 to play on a steal and layup from Clare Conzelmann, but never got closer.
“There was always belief no matter what detriment we got ourselves in,” Frankenmuth senior Lexi Boyke said. “I wouldn’t want to choose any other girls to play with and be in with at that point. I think we fought back and really prided ourselves on, ‘We can still do it.’ We didn’t stop fighting until the end.”
Lansing Catholic always figured Frankenmuth would make a run to get into the game, but was ready when it came.
“We knew they were going to make runs, we knew we weren’t going to hold them to seven points the whole game,” Anna Richards said. “We knew in the third quarter they were going to score, so we just had to stay composed, work the ball around on offense to get the good shots that we wanted.”
Boyke, who scored Frankenmuth’s first 10 points and was its only scorer well into the third quarter, finished with 16. She also reached 1,000 career points in the game, and had six rebounds, while Izzy Bernthal had seven.
Frankenmuth was making its first Finals appearance since winning the Class C title in 1996, one year after Lansing Catholic.
“That’s a really good Lansing Catholic team, and you’ve seen that from their postseason run and beating an undefeated West Catholic team, and tonight finishing their season off with a state championship. So, congratulations to them,” Frankenmuth coach Joe Jacobs said. “I’m super proud of our kids. They didn’t quit tonight. They could have. … Fun experience, one that we want to treasure forever, but the motivation to come back again is here after tonight’s loss.”
PHOTOS (Top) Lansing Catholic celebrates its Division 2 championship Saturday night at Breslin Center. (Middle) The Cougars’ Anna Richards (10) attempts to get a shot up over Frankenmuth’s Lexi Boyke. (Below) Tessa Roe (12) works to get past Clare Conzelmann and to the basket.