By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
We’re closing in quickly on that time of year when months of work will play out in girls basketball league championships and this winter – for the first time – seeding of the top two teams at the District level.
Much could be determined in league races this week – check out our “Can’t-Miss Contests” below, which include a sixth game because five just wasn’t enough to note all of the high-profile conference clashes that deserve mention.
We’re also less than two weeks from undertaking the seeding process in basketball for the first time – and need your help. The teams receiving those top-two spots in District brackets – for girls and boys – will do so based on success and strength of schedule, and it’s imperative for MHSAA.com to list all games played and correct scores for each. Know a score we don’t or realize a game is missing that should be added? Send corrections or missing scores to [email protected]. Every result affects multiples of others, and we thank you for your help in advance.
Week in Review
The countdown of last week’s five most intriguing results:
1. Detroit Cass Tech 68, Detroit Martin Luther King 43 – The Technicians clinched the Detroit Public School League East title outright by handing rival King its first loss.
2. Bloomfield Hills Marian 36, Farmington Hills Mercy 29 – The Mustangs moved into a first-place tie in the Detroit Catholic League Central by handing rival Mercy its first loss and after falling to the Marlins 46-34 on Jan. 7.
3. Midland Dow 52, Midland 33 – The Chargers avenged a 38-31 loss from Dec. 19 in a big way, handing the rival Chemics their first defeat.
4. Southfield Arts & Technology 59, Flint Carman-Ainsworth 47 – The Warriors’ tough schedule is paying off as they’ve won five of their last six games and handed Carman-Ainsworth its first loss.
5. Detroit Edison 54, Detroit Renaissance 52 – Edison moved to 12-0, but the Phoenix gave the Pioneers their closest in-state game in nearly two calendar years.
With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each division making sparks:
Battle Creek Lakeview (9-4) After winning 12 games both of the last two seasons, the Spartans are on pace to surpass that total by the end of the regular season. They also enjoy a slight lead in the Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference East after avenging their opening-night loss to Battle Creek Central (10-3) with a 35-33 win Friday. Lakeview’s only two losses since an 0-2 start are to teams with double-digit wins, Portage Central (10-2) and Battle Creek Harper Creek (11-2).
Detroit Cass Tech (12-1) As noted above, Cass Tech is a league champion again after sharing the PSL Midtown title with King last season. LaTonya Tate, a star on Cass Tech’s 1987 Class A championship team, has built the program into a contender again. Its only loss was to Davison on Dec. 29 at the Motor City Roundball Classic, and Cass Tech also picked up a strong 46-40 win over Southfield A&T on Jan. 25
Cadillac (12-0) A 42-40 win a week ago over McBain provided one of the few scares of the season for the Big North Conference-leading Vikings. They’ve run their league winning streak to 16 after closing last winter in the Division 2 Quarterfinals – pretty impressive only a season and a half removed from a 3-18 finish in 2017-18. Cadillac can clinch the league title – at least a share, or outright – Friday against Traverse City West.
Ludington (11-1) Since falling big to Muskegon Reeths-Puffer (12-2) in its season opener, Ludington is unbeaten and nearly unchallenged with only two of those wins by single digits and those two games both against Division 1 schools. The Orioles hold a one-game lead on Muskegon Western Michigan Christian in the Lakes 8 Athletic Conference standings after sharing the title with the Warriors a year ago.
Pewamo-Westphalia (10-2) The reigning Division 3 champion had high expectations for this season and rightly so, bringing back most of its firepower from a year ago. The Pirates have celebrated two seniors scoring their 1,000th career points this winter and an early win over Southfield A&T. The losses were pretty strong too – to Grass Lake (12-1) and Division 1 East Lansing (12-1). P-W could meet Grass Lake again in a Semifinal at Breslin.
Ypsilanti Arbor Prep (12-4) After falling to P-W in overtime in a Division 3 Semifinal last season, the Gators are sticking to a winning gameplan. They’ve played 12 of 16 games against teams with winning records and seven games against teams with double-digit wins. They beat two of those 10-win teams over the last two weeks – Royal Oak Shrine Catholic and Jackson Northwest – and their three in-state losses were to Division 1 Ann Arbor Huron (12-2) and Brighton (11-1) and Division 2 Harper Woods Chandler Park (7-6).
Camden-Frontier (13-1) Even with just one loss, Camden-Frontier probably was considered just a notch below undefeated Pittsford heading into last week’s matchup – plus Pittsford had beaten C-F at least 17 times in a row (which is as far back as MHSAA.com data goes). But the Redskins came away with a 54-34 win and moved into a first-place tie with the Wildcats in the Southern Central Athletic Association East. They meet again Feb. 17.
Deckerville (10-3) The Eagles entered one of the biggest small-school games in the state last week battling history as well as an unbeaten opponent – and owned the night. Deckerville avenged a 41-28 loss to Kingston from Dec. 16, handing the Cardinals their first loss this season and first league loss since 2013-14. The win also put Deckerville into a first-place tie with Kingston in the North Central Thumb League Stars.
Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up:
Tuesday – Macomb Dakota (13-1) at Grosse Pointe South (10-3) – Dakota leads the Macomb Area Conference Red with two more wins than South, but South handed Dakota its only loss, 49-46, on Jan. 17.
Tuesday – Michigan Center (10-3) at Grass Lake (12-1) – Grass Lake won the first meeting 51-46 on Dec. 18 and can edge closer toward the Cascades Conference title with a regular-season sweep.
Thursday – Brooklyn Columbia Central (12-1) at Ida (12-2) – This could nearly decide the Lenawee County Athletic Association title as BCC looks to hold off Ida for the second straight season and won the first matchup 44-36 on Jan. 7.
Thursday – St. Ignace (10-1) at Sault Ste. Marie (11-1) – The Blue Devils are hoping to take back a share of first place in the Straits Area Conference after losing it to the Saints in a 40-37 nail-biter Dec. 20.
Friday – DeWitt (11-2) at East Lansing (12-1) – The Trojans lead the Capital Area Activities Conference Blue by a game over DeWitt thanks to a 62-38 win over the Panthers on Dec. 20.
Friday – Fremont (9-4) at Big Rapids (12-1) – Fremont’s 39-33 win in the first meeting Dec. 20 was Big Rapids’ only loss, and remains the reason Big Rapids trails only Fremont in the Central State Activities Association Gold.
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PHOTO: Deckerville handed Kingston its first loss of the season last week, and first league loss since 2013-14. (Photo by Jackie Salowitz.)
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:
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.