Class B: Goodrich to Greatness

March 17, 2012

EAST LANSING – Flint Powers Catholic stood in the way for a long time. Then Detroit Country Day. Last season, Dearborn Divine Child stopped Goodrich one game short of its first championship chance.

So although the Martians talked early this season about remaining hungry despite their recent success, it’s hard to believe losing that drive was ever a possibility.

Goodrich was on the edge of elite then. But Saturday’s 60-53 win over Grand Rapids Catholic Central gave the Martians both their first MHSAA title and a final boost into that group of teams considered the state's best regardless of class.

It didn’t come easy. But it seemed nearly inevitable after the team advanced to the Quarterfinals in 2010 and the Semifinals a season ago.

“When we went into that huddle, Coach was speaking and we’re like, just hold your heads high. We’re fighting. We want this,” Goodrich senior Frankie Joubran said. “Because what it comes down to is who wants it more. I guess it showed."

Saturday’s Final was Goodrich’s first. The Martians, ranked No. 1 in Class B heading into the tournament, finished 28-0.

But just because Goodrich knocked off the reigning champion in the Semifinal, beating Grand Rapids Catholic (24-4) was anything but a formality.

Cougars seniors Shellis Hampton and Tiesha Stokes were in their third championship game in four seasons, and going for the 100th win of their four-year varsity careers. Stokes had 19 points and 11 rebounds Saturday and Hampton had 12 points and six assists.

After trailing by two at halftime, the Cougars led 40-39 with a quarter to play.

“We had a lot of things that didn’t go our way,” Goodrich coach Jason Gray said. “But eventually, we had that last run in us.”

Grand Rapids Catholic increased its lead to five with 5:32 to play. But the Martians finished on a 9-2 run thanks to scoring from four players over the final 2:07.

“We were pretty even on a lot of things, but a couple of possessions we missed some rebounds, and I think that killed us,” Grand Rapids Catholic coach Colleen Lamoreaux-Tate said. “It’s so back and forth, back and forth, and we needed to get some rebounds. It’s a one possession game all the time.”

Joubran led Goodrich with 16 points and junior guard Aketra Sevillian added 13.

Seven seniors will graduate from a team that finished 51-1 over the last two seasons. And the Martians also had a deeper inspiration to finish on top this season.

Longtime administrator Al Martus remains a legend in Goodrich and was close to both Gray and some of the team’s leaders. He began battling pancreatic cancer a year ago and died over the summer.

Photos of Goodrich’s state champions hang in the hallway outside the gym. So does a large picture of Martus. And next to that is a blank spot soon to be occupied by the team he provided with so much.

“It was weird, but we didn’t talk about it a lot as a team. But it was always there,” Gray said. “I don’t know if we kept quiet because we didn’t want to end up in the same situation or feel bad again.

“He was a great man, a great boss to me, and great mentor to the girls. And I know he’d be very proud of the effort they put forth this year.”

Click for the box score. Watch the game and both teams' postgame press conferences at 

PHOTOS: (Top) Goodrich celebrates its first MHSAA championship. (Photo courtesy of Terry McNamara Photography.)

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.