Class B Preview: Challengers & Champion

March 14, 2018

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Three Class B semifinalists will journey to Calvin College’s Van Noord Arena this weekend seeking the first MHSAA Finals title in their programs’ histories.

But to celebrate the ultimate prize for the first time, those hopefuls must contend with the reigning champion and the winningest coach in Michigan girls basketball history.

Detroit Country Day and coach Frank Orlando loom large in Grand Rapids as an intriguing bracket prepares to unfold.

Class B Semifinals – Friday
Jackson Northwest (24-1) vs. Michigan Center (23-2), 5:30 p.m.
Detroit Country Day (20-4) vs. Kingsley (26-0), 7:30 p.m.

Class B Final – Saturday, 6:15 p.m.

Tickets cost $10 per pair of Semifinals and $10 per two-game Finals session (Class C and Class B). All Semifinals will be streamed live on and viewable on a pay-per-view basis. All four Finals will be broadcast live on Fox Sports Detroit and streamed live on and the FOX Sports Go! app. Free radio broadcasts of all weekend games will be available on

Below is a glance at all four semifinalists. Click on the name of the school to see that team’s full schedule and results from this season. (Statistics are through teams' Regional Finals.)

Record/rank: 21-4, No. 2 
League finish: Does not play in a league.
Coach: Frank Orlando, 37th season (777-117)
Championship history: 
Twelve MHSAA titles (most recent 2017), four runner-up finishes.  
Best wins: 58-41 over No. 5 Freeland in Quarterfinal, 65-59 over Class A No. 7 Flint Carman-Ainsworth, 66-58 over Midland Dow, 70-58 over Detroit Martin Luther King.
Players to watch: Kaela Webb, 5-7 sr. G (15.9 ppg, 3.6 apg, 3.7 spg); Adrian Folks, 6-0 jr. F (12.6 ppg, 6.0 rpg).
Outlook: Country Day is seeking its third title in four seasons led by Miss Basketball finalist Webb, a standout on last season’s team as well. Senior forward Maxine Moore (9.5 ppg, 5.3 rpg) and junior guard Jasmine Powell (10.5 ppg, 6.9 apg) also started the 2017 championship game and give the Yellowjackets a veteran presence – even as the team has only three seniors. Although not wins, losses to eventual semifinalists Detroit Edison, Ypsilanti Arbor Prep, Wayne Memorial and Saginaw Heritage surely provided preparation for this weekend. Junior guard Maddie Novak also averages 9.5 ppg.

Record/rank: 26-0, No. 1
League finish: First in Northwest Conference.
Coach: Matt Schelich, 20th season (335-116)
Championship history: Has never played in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 49-39 over honorable mention Muskegon Oakridge in Quarterfinal, 58-39 over Kalkaska in District Final, 70-66 and 61-45 over Class C No. 10 Maple City Glen Lake, 72-36 over Manton, 71-21 over Petoskey.
Players to watch: Brittany Bowman, 5-3 soph. G (11.5 ppg, 3.0 spg); Rebekah Crosby, 6-0 sr. C (9.8 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 1.4 bpg).
Outlook: Friday’s game will be Kingsley’s second Semifinal ever and first since 2008. All five starters average between 8-11 points per game and bring something important to the lineup. Senior Kelsie Bies (8.3 ppg) had 46 3-pointers entering the week, while junior Jacie King (10.1) also averaged three steals per contest and senior Jalynn Brumfield (9.7 ppg) has the team’s high scoring game this winter. Only two of the Stags’ games were decided by single digits this season – made more impressive as Manton and Petoskey were league champions.

Record/rank: 24-1, No. 3
League finish: First in Interstate 8 Athletic Conference.
Coach: Ryan Carroll, seventh season (123-40)
Championship history: Has never played in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 42-35 over No. 4 Hamilton in Quarterfinal, 48-43 over Fowlerville in Regional Final, 66-64 and 47-37 over Class A No. 6 Coldwater.
Players to watch: Sydney Shafer, 5-9 jr. G (17 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 4.0 apg, 4.0 spg); Ella Bontrager, 5-8 sr. G (11.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 4.0 apg).
Outlook: The Mounties have made the final week of the season for the first time after winning their fourth District and second league title over the last six seasons. Northwest emerged from an I8AC that produced three District champions and four teams with at least 16 wins this winter. It has won 22 straight since falling early to Battle Creek Harper Creek (16-7). Seven players contribute at least four points per game; sophomore forward Jozie Bontrager is another key contributor at 6.9 points and seven rebounds per contest.

Record/rank: 23-2, unranked
League finish: First in Cascades Conference.
Coach: Joe Lusk, sixth season (100-39)
Championship history: Class C runner-up 2003 and 2005.
Best wins: 63-49 over Harper Woods Chandler Park in Quarterfinal, 49-36 over No. 8 New Boston Huron in Regional Final, 57-41 over Dearborn Henry Ford in Regional Semifinal, 49-39 over Onsted in District Final.
Players to watch: Masyn Shannon, 5-7 sr. G/F; Alize’ Tripp, 5-6 soph. G. (Statistics not submitted.)
Outlook: Michigan Center was a District champ in Class C a year ago, but has continued to rise in Class B and with a roster featuring three seniors with eight underclassmen. The Cardinals have won 18 straight, and only one victory this season has been by fewer than 10 points. After a rare down season in 2015-16 at 6-15, Michigan Center is a combined 43-6 over the last two.

PHOTO: Jackson Northwest's Sydney Shafer drives hard to the basket during Tuesday's Quarterfinal win over Hamilton. (Photo courtesy of JTV.)

Teams of the Month: Hart Girls & Boys Basketball

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

March 23, 2023

Few communities in Michigan this winter celebrated as many sizable basketball achievements as small-town Hart.

The 2,000-resident Oceana County seat, about seven miles off the Lake Michigan shore and sitting about 20 miles south of Ludington and 30 north of Muskegon, celebrated accomplishments by both its girls and boys basketball teams that carried statewide significance – and made choosing either over the other’s impossible.

The Hart girls and boys basketball teams are the MHSAA/Applebee’s “Teams of the Month” for February, and this announcement is coming toward the end of March as both just kept winning and adding to their season-long lists of feats.

The Pirates girls made the first major headline when they defeated second-place Mason County Central 51-32 on Feb. 10 to clinch the outright West Michigan Conference Rivers championship. The Hart girls had also won the formerly one-division WMC in 2021-22, and this year’s run ran their league winning streak to 31 games.

Then the boys took their turn, clinching a share of the Rivers championship Feb. 17 with a 67-51 win over North Muskegon and then the title outright by defeating Mason County Central 63-45 on Feb. 23. This league title received some statewide buzz as it was the Hart boys’ first since 1963.

A week later, Hart’s boys finished a 22-0 regular season – becoming the only boys team, and joined by only three girls teams – to go 22-0 this first season that MHSAA member schools were allowed to play 22 games instead of the previous longtime maximum of 20.

The Hart boys then drew into one of the strongest Districts in the state in any division, with the Division 2 group at Big Rapids including four league champions. The Pirates opened with a win over the host Cardinals – winners of the Central State Activities Association – before ending their season at 23-1 with a loss to Big North Conference co-champ Cadillac in the District Final.

The Pirates girls, meanwhile, had clinched their Division 3 District with a third win over Mason County Central, and then won a Regional by edging two-time reigning Finals runner-up Kent City 37-34 – in the process also avenging Hart’s first loss of this season, from Dec. 20. The Regional title was the Hart girls' first since 1992.

Next up was 23-1 Buchanan – and Hart made its biggest statewide splash by handing the Bucks a 45-41 Quarterfinal defeat that sent the Pirates to the MHSAA Girls Basketball Semifinals for the first time.

Hart would end up falling to eventual champion Hemlock 57-26 at Breslin Center, finishing the season 24-4.

“I said it the other day: We’re kinda overlooked. Last year we had a really good team, probably one injury away from another run like this,” said Hart girls basketball coach Travis Rosema during the press conference after the Semifinal. “It started with people investing into the girls. Now that players like Aspen (Boutell) and Abbey (Hicks) have made this run, I saw so many young faces. … We left this morning, the elementary school was packed, and every kid had a sign. It’s a positive impact (and) it’s going to be a lot moving forward.”

The Pirates girls were keyed by Hicks, a junior, sophomore Addi Hovey and Boutell, one of three senior starters.

The boys were paced by senior Parker Hovey, who went over 1,000 points for his career and will continue at Hope College.

Past Teams of the Month, 2022-23

January: Taylor Trillium Academy bowling - Report
Byron Center hockey - Report
Martin football - Report
Gladwin volleyball - Report
Negaunee girls tennis - Report

(PHOTOS by Kara Raeth/CatchMark SportsNet.)