EAST LANSING – Hugs and huge smiles dominated Goodrich’s side of the Breslin Center floor Friday night after a moment the Martians have worked for since losing in the Quarterfinals two seasons ago.
Avenging a loss to the reigning Class B champion made that moment a little bit sweeter.
Goodrich missed its first MHSAA Final last season by losing in double overtime to Dearborn Divine Child, which then went on to win the title. This time, the Martians will get their first shot ever at a championship, thanks to a 68-53 victory over Divine Child in Friday’s second B Semifinal.
“They always say revenge is nice. And I must say it was nice,” Goodrich senior Frankie Joubran said. “We came out with our heads straight on and we were ready to go.”
Top-ranked Goodrich (27-0) will face No. 10 Grand Rapids Catholic Central (24-3) at 6 p.m. Saturday in the final championship game of this girls basketball season.
The Martians have won at least 20 games in nine of coach Jason Gray’s 13 seasons, including the last three. But it was a 64-49 Quarterfinal loss to Detroit Country Day in 2010 that made Gray realize his program was ready to make a run at Breslin.
“Apparently I’m not really good at judging these sorts of things. I always don’t think we’re very good,” Gray said. “(But) when we got to the Country Day game two years ago, we had a lead early. We’re in the game at halftime. Down five in the fourth quarter. And then I recognized that I guess we’re as good as some of these top teams in the state. I guess that was the beginning of it.
“From that point on, we’ve been rolling pretty good. … That’s how you judge yourself, against those sorts of teams.”
Of course, include No. 6 Divine Child in that category as well. The Falcons (24-3) remained within two of the lead as late as 1:13 to go in the third quarter. But an 11-2 run over the first half of the fourth gave Goodrich some breathing room it didn’t relinquish.
“This is certainly a different feeling than last year. In my mind, we’re a great team that lost to another great team,” Divine Child coach Mary Laney said. “They definitely deserved this win. We turned the ball over one too many times and didn’t box out enough. It wasn’t a case of effort, hard work or heart. These girls wanted it just as bad. It came down to a few fundamentals that didn’t go our way.”
Although Goodrich outrebounded Divine Child only 36-34, the Martians grabbed 19 off the offensive glass – and scored 15 second-chance points to the Falcons’ seven. Goodrich also turned 24 Divine Child turnovers into 37 points.
“I think they had a lot more intensity. They were up in our faces more,” Divine Child senior guard Rosanna Reynolds said, comparing this Goodrich team to last season's squad. “They were just all over the ball.”
Junior guard Taylor Gleason led Goodrich with 18 points and five steals. Senior guard Destiny Stephens had 13 points, Joubran had 12 and junior guard Aketra Sullivan added 10. Senior forward Cara Miller had 17 points and eight rebounds for the Falcons, and Reynolds had 13 points.
PHOTO: Goodrich freshman Tania Davis drives between Divine Child defenders Friday. (Photo courtesy of Hockey Weekly Action Photos.)
STAMBAUGH — Danica Shamion has enjoyed plenty of success in track & field throughout her high school athletic career.
The West Iron County senior is also quite successful in basketball.
Shamion joined the 1,000-point club here Jan. 23 while scoring 34 in a 63-60 loss to Norway.
“That really felt good,” she said after last week’s 93-41 win over Bessemer on Senior Night. “I’m glad I was able to do that at home. Although, it would have been even better had we won that game.”
The Wykons scored five in double digits against the Speedgirls, led by senior Siena Stine with 20 points. Junior center Sidney Storti added 17 points, and Shamion finished with 16 points and 17 assists.
“Sidney is a real asset to our team,” Shamion said. “I can see the floor pretty well, and the other girls are doing a pretty good job getting open. This was our last home game. It definitely meant something to us.”
Shamion, an All-Upper Peninsula Division 1-3 first-team selection a year ago, twisted her ankle in a season-opening 47-40 triumph over Iron Mountain and missed the next three games.
West Iron was 1-3 going into the holiday break before getting back on track with a 42-28 victory over Kingsford on Jan. 2. That enabled the Wykons to improve to 4-3 before dropping six of their next seven games.
West Iron, which was 5-9 after dropping a 73-55 decision at Negaunee, had won four in a row prior to Thursday’s 46-44 loss at Calumet. But the Wykons bounced back with a 51-49 win over Ishpeming Westwood on Tuesday to get back to .500 at 10-10.
“We were trying to forge our identity and weren’t hitting our shots (earlier in the season),” Shamion said. “Although, we’ve been playing better defense lately. We’re pretty good one-on-one and usually play man-to-man. We try to run the floor and score in transition.
“Negaunee is probably the best team we’ve seen this year, although Ishpeming and Houghton are also very good and Calumet and Westwood are tough,” she added.
In track & field, Shamion set U.P. Division 2 Finals record in the 200-meter dash (26.34 seconds) and 400 (57.18) last season. She also won the 100 (12.79) and placed second in high jump at 4 feet, 10 inches. She is a three-time Finals champion in all three sprint races.
Shamion also made the all-U.P. Volleyball Dream Team in the fall.
She will continue on the track at Central Michigan University after she graduates from West Iron this spring.
“I didn’t know much about their program, but I was interested in what they had to offer,” she said. “The girls on the team are nice, which is part of the reason why I chose Central. It’s a relief to have that decided.”
John Vrancic has covered high school sports in the Upper Peninsula since joining the Escanaba Daily Press staff in 1985. He is known most prominently across the peninsula for his extensive coverage of cross country and track & field that frequently appears in newspapers from the Wisconsin border to Lake Huron. He received the James Trethewey Award for Distinguished Service in 2015 from the Upper Peninsula Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association.
PHOTOS (Top) West Iron’s Danica Shamion (24) blocks a shot during her team’s game at Ishpeming on Jan. 15. (Middle) Shamion maintains possession of the ball. (Photos by Cara Kamps.)