Breslin Bound: Girls Report Post-Break

January 8, 2014

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

If the first month of this MHSAA girls basketball season is an indication, this winter's march to the Class A championship game could be one of the most entertaining we've seen over the last decade. 

That's the clearest observation from games played during the holiday break, which included a number of Class A contenders shining against top competition. 

Below are 10 teams gathered from all four classes that stuck out over the last two weeks. (Records are based on results reported to the MHSAA Score Center.)

1. Detroit Martin Luther King (6-1, Class A) – The Crusaders appear to be the team to beat again in Class A, thanks in part to a nine-point win over contender Grand Ledge at the Motor City Roundball Classic; the only loss was to Kettering Fairmont from Ohio.

2. Flint Powers Catholic (8-1, Class B) – A 33-point win over strong Flat Rock at the Roundball Classic was further proof the Chargers will be in the mix in March; the only loss was to talented Farmington Hills Mercy.

3. Waterford Kettering (5-0, Class A) – The Captains had a strong December overall, finishing with a 10-point win over Freeland and a 28-pointer over Detroit Renaissance both at the Roundball Classic.

4. Muskegon Mona Shores (5-1, Class A) – After winning nine games last season, Mona Shores is more than halfway there thanks in part to a 45-41 win over reigning Class A champion Grand Haven.

5. Grand Haven (6-1, Class A) – Stars graduate and the Buccaneers keep plugging along (aside from the loss to Mona Shores), with six wins to open the season including a three-pointer over Kent City and a one-pointer over Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central to win the Davenport Invitational.

6. Eben Junction Superior Central (7-1, Class D) – The Cougars didn’t lose last season until the Regional Semifinal, and have lost this season to only Class C Ishpeming after already beating the Hematites on opening night.

7. Williamston (4-1, Class B) – Since opening with a three-point loss to Lansing Everett, the Hornets are undefeated after picking up break wins over Frankenmuth by six and Oak Park by 17.

8. Newberry (4-2, Class C) – The Indians are more than halfway to equaling last season’s win total of seven, with their most recent loss (to Brimley) by only a bucket.

9. Gobles (6-0, Class C) – The Tigers are becoming a girls basketball power to go along with their football prowess, putting together another big start after making their District Final a year ago.

10. Northville (6-0, Class A) – The Mustangs have followed a 16-win season with six more victories including the championship at their holiday tournament thanks to a two-point win over solid Dexter. 

PHOTO: Detroit Martin Luther King is playing again like a Class A favorite with a 6-1 start against tough competition. (Photo courtesy of the Detroit Public School League.)

Lansing Catholic Closes Season With Memorable Victory Close to Home

By Paul Costanzo
Special for

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.

The Cougars’ Anna Richards (10) attempts to get a shot up over Frankenmuth’s Lexi Boyke.“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.

Tessa Roe (12) works to get past Clare Conzelmann and to the basket.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.”

Click for the full box score.

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.