By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
The most exciting basketball played at Van Noord Arena this weekend could feature a foursome of Class C powerhouses.
All four semifinalists making the trip to Calvin College in Grand Rapids played in Semifinals last season as well. Today’s first game features a rematch of last season’s Class C championship game – which Detroit Edison won 46-44 over Pewamo-Westphalia.
The second game features two more tournament veterans, Maple City Glen Lake and Ypsilanti Arbor Prep. The Gators finished runner-up in Class B last season and are the only team to beat Edison this winter.
Class C Semifinals – Thursday
Detroit Edison (22-1) vs. Pewamo-Westphalia (25-0), noon
Ypsilanti Arbor Prep (20-5) vs. Maple City Glen Lake (23-2), 2 p.m.
Class C Final – Saturday, 4 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 MHSAA.tv and viewable on a pay-per-view basis. All four Finals will be broadcast live on Fox Sports Detroit and streamed live on FoxSportsDetroit.com and the FOX Sports Go! app. Free radio broadcasts of all weekend games will be available on MHSAANetwork.com.
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.)
DETROIT EDISON PUBLIC SCHOOL ACADEMY
Record/rank: 22-1, No. 7
League finish: Does not play in a league.
Coach: Monique Brown, seventh season (101-36)
Championship history: Class C champion 2017.
Best wins: 88-56 over No. 2 (tie) St. Ignace, 57-55 (OT) over Class A No. 3 Saginaw Heritage, 71-69 and 64-50 over Class A No. 10 Wayne Memorial, 66-40 over Class A No. 5 Ann Arbor Huron, 62-46 over Class B No. 2 Detroit Country Day.
Players to watch: Rickea Jackson, 6-3 jr. G (22.3 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 1.5 bpg); Gabrielle Elliott, 5-10 soph. G (16.4 ppg, 4.0 rpg).
Outlook: Despite its relatively low final regular-season ranking in Class C, Edison is considered by many to be the top team in Michigan regardless of Class. Nearly all of its in-state wins during the regular season were against Class A or B teams, including as well a 70-42 defeat of annual power Detroit Martin Luther King. Jackson likely will be a Miss Basketball candidate next season; Elliott could be the same in 2020. Nine of 12 players are underclassmen, and freshman Damiya Hagemann is another intriguing talent averaging 9.1 points and 8.4 assists per game.
MAPLE CITY GLEN LAKE
Record/rank: 23-2, No. 10
League finish: Second in Northwest Conference.
Coach: Jason Bradford, 10th season (155-54)
Championship history: Class D champion 1978, runner-up 1979.
Best wins: 60-56 over No. 2 (tie) St. Ignace in Quarterfinal, 66-35 over Charlevoix in Regional Final, 52-47 (District Semifinal) and 60-49 over Traverse City St. Francis, 55-48 over Manton in District Final, 53-36 and 48-40 over Benzie Central.
Players to watch: Savannah Peplinski, 5-8 sr. G (15.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 3.0 apg, 3.9 spg); Jennifer LaCross, 5-8 sr. F (11.6 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 3.1 spg).
Outlook: Glen Lake is back in the Semifinals for the second straight season, its only losses this time to Class B semifinalist and Northwest Conference rival Kingsley. Peplinski, LaCross, junior center Kaitlyn Schaub (9.0 ppg, 5.9 rpg) and senior forward Allie Bonzelet (10.2 ppg) also started last season. Glen Lake beat league champions in St. Francis (17-4), Manton (18-4) and St. Ignace (23-2) during the tournament, while Charlevoix (19-5) and Houghton Lake (15-8) rounded out a tough postseason slate that should have the team plenty prepared for this weekend.
Record/rank: 25-0, No. 1
League finish: First in Central Michigan Athletic Conference.
Coach: Steve Eklund, ninth season (180-34)
Championship history: Three runner-up finishes (most recent 2017).
Best wins: 45-30 over Kent City in Quarterfinal, 45-29 over Hemlock in Regional Final, 48-33 (Regional Semifinal), 44-20 and 53-19 over Laingsburg, 59-36 over honorable mention New Lothrop, 64-41 over Detroit Renaissance.
Players to watch: Emily Spitzley, 5-10 sr. G (17 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 65 3-pointers); Hannah Spitzley, 5-10 soph. F (10.5 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 3.1 spg).
Outlook: After falling by a basket to Edison in last season’s Final, P-W has been all but unstoppable beating opponents by an average of 40 points and with only Springport (18-5) in the District Final coming closer than 15. Laingsburg’s only losses this season in going 20-3 were to the Pirates. Kent City (22-4), Hemlock (21-4) and New Lothrop (20-3) all were league champions, and Class A Renassiance (16-8) was runner-up in the Detroit Public School League tournament. P-W makes 40 percent of its 3-point attempts; sophomore guard Ellie Droste (9.5 ppg) is another of six players with at least 15 makes from beyond the arc.
YPSILANTI ARBOR PREP
Record/rank: 20-5, honorable mention
League finish: Does not play in a league.
Coach: Scott Stine, first season (20-5)
Championship history: Class C champion 2016, Class B runner-up 2017.
Best wins: 61-55 over No. 2 Schoolcraft in Quarterfinal, 54-49 over No. 1 Detroit Edison, 66-65 over Class B No. 2 Detroit Country Day, 48-45 over Clarkston, 60-39 over Goodrich.
Players to watch: Lasha Petree, 6-0 sr. G (20.2 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 5.4 spg, 42 3-pointers, Mahri Petree, 5-11 jr. G (10.8 ppg, 5.7 rpg).
Outlook: In addition to being the only team to hand Edison a loss this season, the Gators faced a schedule of nearly all Class A and B opponents. Class A Clarkston (18-5) and Class B Goodrich (20-5) were league champs, and Arbor Prep also avenged an earlier loss to another Class B league champ in Harper Woods Chandler Park (17-7). Lasha Petree was a Miss Basketball finalist this season and scores more than 40 percent of her team’s points, on average. Junior forward Kashyra Jackson is another contributor, averaging 6.1 points and 4.9 rebounds per game with a team second-best 16 3-pointers.
PHOTO: Detroit Edison's Rickea Jackson works for an open shot surrounded by Pewamo-Westphalia defenders during last season's Class C Final.
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