Breslin Bound: Girls Report Week 11
February 17, 2015
By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Only 10 undefeated teams remain with two weeks to play before the start of the MHSAA Girls Basketball Tournament on March 2.
None of those 10 is mentioned below. Instead, these are some of the teams in each class that impressed last week and appear to be getting hot – just in time to be dangerous for those perfect so far.
Fraser (11-4) – The Ramblers equaled last season’s win total with a 43-28 win over Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse last week; although Fraser fell to nonconference Macomb Dakota on Friday, it continues to lead the Macomb Area Conference Blue with a perfect record in league games.
Plymouth (14-2) – After finishing second last season to eventual Class A runner-up Canton, Plymouth went undefeated in-league this winter to win the Kensington Lakes Activities Association South. The Wildcats have won 13 straight, dating to their last loss Dec. 9.
Richland Gull Lake (11-5) – Four losses in five games from mid-December to January knocked down Gull Lake’s record a bit, but the Blue Devils have a chance to avenge the final loss of that run (and the last time it lost this winter) in Friday’s rematch against Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference East leader Kalamazoo Central. Gull Lake fell to Central only 47-43 on Jan. 16.
Southfield (15-2) – The Bluejays have gone from seventh in their former Blue division of the Oakland Activities Association to first in the Gold with a chance to clinch a share of the league title tonight. Its losses are to league leaders that each have only one loss – Southfield-Lathrup and Dearborn Heights Robichaud.
Benton Harbor (13-5) – Tigers would need some help to catch Class A Stevensville Lakeshore atop the SMAC West; they play Lakeshore on Friday after losing 71-69 in their first meeting, but trail the frontrunner by two wins. Benton Harbor is riding high regardless, with six straight victories including an impressive pair last week: 90-79 over SMAC East leader Kalamazoo Central and 62-59 to avenge an earlier loss to St. Joseph.
Brooklyn Columbia Central (14-3) – The Golden Eagles came back from a 69-45 loss to Blissfield on Jan. 19 to beat the Royals 51-42 on Feb. 5 and take back a share of first place in the Lenawee County Athletic Association. Columbia Central finished second to Blissfield last season, but can guarantee at least a share of the title by beating Hudson on Thursday.
Jackson Northwest (13-3) – The Mounties entered this first season of the Interstate 8 Athletic Conference as a reigning league champion, having finished ahead of eventual Class B winner Eaton Rapids in their former conference last season. Northwest’s only league loss this winter was to Marshall, its opponent this Friday.
Muskegon Oakridge (16-3) – The Eagles might be fourth-best in Muskegon, but they’re first in the West Michigan Conference and the best among Class B teams in their immediate area. The three losses were to other Muskegon area teams, but Mona Shores, Muskegon High and Reeths-Puffer are all Class A.
Carson City-Crystal (15-2) – The Eagles beat reigning Class D champion Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart 48-38 on Friday for a season sweep of the Irish and to clinch at least a share of the Mid-State Activities Conference title. Carson City-Crystal’s losses came over a week in January, by one to Morley Stanwood and seven to Saginaw Nouvel.
Concord (15-2) – Second-place Homer and third-place Reading are among three opponents left on Concord’s schedule, but the Yellow Jackets are undefeated in the Big 8 Conference leading Homer by two wins and Reading by three.
Hancock (11-5) – The Bulldogs sit in the middle of the five-team Western Peninsula Athletic Conference but have come on strong over the last month. Hancock is 8-2 over its last 10 games and gets a shot next week at avenging an earlier loss to league leader Houghton.
Harbor Beach (11-5) – The Pirates are cruising at fourth in the Greater Thumb Conference East, but it’s been a season of swings – and Harbor Beach is back on top of a wave. It started 5-0, then lost four of five, and now has won five of its last six – with the defeat by a point in overtime to league leader Sandusky.
Burton St. Thomas More (10-1) – The Crusaders are dominating the Inner State Athletic Conference for the fourth straight season and are again undefeated in league play with the lone loss to a homeschoolers team during the first week.
Mendon (9-8) – The Hornets trail Class C Bronson and White Pigeon in the Berrien-Cass-St. Joseph East standings. But they’ve won six of their last eight after a tough start, avenging earlier losses against both in the process, including last week’s 41-38 overtime win over Bronson.
Three Oaks River Valley (9-7) – We’ve highlighted Red Arrow Conference leaders St. Joseph Lake Michigan Catholic and Michigan Lutheran already this winter, but third-place River Valley also deserves some recognition. The Mustangs have won eight of their last 11 and equaled last season’s win total in defeating Watervliet Grace Christian 34-29 last week.
Wyoming Tri-unity Christian (9-5) – While the school’s boys team is having a rare down season, the girls have bounced back from a midseason lull to win four of their last six after winning six games total a season ago.
PHOTO: Carson City-Crystal finished a season sweep last week of league rival Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart. (Click for more from 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.