Class D: Athens Finds a Way

March 15, 2012

EAST LANSING – Athens has strung together six straight District titles, but always fell just a bit short of reaching the Finals at Breslin Center.

For a few reasons, this wasn’t supposed to be the season the Indians took that next step.

They graduated 11 players last spring. Add in the necessary blend-in of an exchange student, two sophomores and a freshman who play significant roles.

But coach Calvin Quist might’ve found a championship combination – of at least a historical one.

Athens downed Crystal Falls Forest Park 61-48 in Thursday’s second Class D Semifinal and will play in its first MHSAA championship game Saturday morning.

“It means everything in the world. Just to be part of a great tradition,” Athens junior Leia Fuller said. “It’s unexplainable. Going this far, you really don’t know what it feels like. You just want to go the further step, just want to go more and more.”

Athens (21-5) will take on No. 7 and two-time reigning champion Waterford Our Lady (22-4) at 10 a.m. Saturday.

Don’t expect the Indians to be intimidated.

No player measures taller than 5-foot-8, but the Indians proved again that doesn’t matter much if they don’t let opponents get the ball up the floor.

Relying on a stifling defensive press, Athens had 19 steals and took advantage of 23 total Forest Park turnovers. Trojans sophomore Alexis Gussert was outstanding – hitting 14 of 24 shots for 34 points, to go along with 12 rebounds, five blocks and three steals – but the rest of her teammates combined to shoot only 20 percent from the floor.

“I’m speechless. We had a pretty good game plan, and these young ladies executed it well,” Quist said. “This is the deepest team I’ve had in all the (seven) years I’ve coached. I have nine players and any of the nine could start. And that too was part of our plan, because we didn’t think they had much depth. So our plan was to get the ball and go.”

The Indians outscored Forest Park 19-5 in the second quarter to take a 35-15 lead into halftime and cap what Quist called one of the team’s best first halves this winter.

But the second half saw the Trojans (21-6) make a courageous comeback.

Keyed by Gussert’s offensive punch – she hit one of her 3-pointers from just in front of her team’s bench – Crystal Falls cut the deficit to eight, 56-48, with 42 seconds to play. But the Trojans couldn’t come all the way back.

“You’ve gotta keep it up, get it into your head that you can do this,” Forest Park senior Audrey Sholander said. “Being a senior, you don’t want to give up that game. You don’t want to come out with a loss. But regardless, we just knew what we had to do.

“We’ve had close games all season long. We know how to get back in the game, know we have to work hard. In the end, they just outplayed us. So it was a tough loss, but we tried our hardest.”

Sophomore Payton Wood led Athens with 13 points and eight rebounds, and sophomore Leo Plaisir added 10 points. Nine players scored for the Indians, and seven had at least five points.

“We pass it around. We know our game and we know what shots we can take,” Wood said. “That teamwork seems to have gotten us through this game.”

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

PHOTO: Athens freshman Allison Fuller looks for an open teammate Thursday. (Photo courtesy of Hockey Weekly Action Photos)

Jahfetson Makes History from 3-Point Range in Taking Baraga to 2023 Finals

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

April 23, 2024

Baraga’s Corina Jahfetson graduated in 2023 as one of the most accomplished 3-point shooters in MHSAA history and coming off one of the most impressive single seasons from beyond the arc.

Her 103 3-pointers as a senior over 29 games were the second-most for one season and included eight in a Quarterfinal win over Mackinaw City – the second-most in an MHSAA Quarterfinal, Semifinal or Final.

She finished with 236 3-pointers over 96 games and four seasons, ranking 12th on that career list, and Baraga finished the season as Division 4 runner-up. She’s continuing her career at Northern Michigan.

See below for more recent additions to the MHSAA girls basketball record book, and click the heading to view the record book in full.

Girls Basketball

Alma junior Bailey Walkington earned her school’s first single-season individual record book entry for girls basketball in 2022-23. She made the steals list with 143 over 23 games.

Dalton DeBoer became the latest Midland Dow long-range shooting ace to make the records after she drained 70 of 206 3-point attempts over 24 games in 2022-23. DeBoer is a junior this school year.

Durand senior Jordyn Lawrence earned her school’s first girls basketball individual record book entry with 15 steals in her team’s 44-31 win over Flint Kearsley on Dec. 2, 2022. She’s continuing at Mid-Michigan College.

Leah French finished her Engadine career in 2023 with a series of game, season and career record book entries detailing her scoring and defensive skills. She earned single-game listings for 54 points and 19 free throws against St. Ignace on Feb. 6, 2023, and nine 3-pointers against Manistique that Jan. 9. She made the single-season list with 81 3-pointers, 177 free throws and 168 steals over 25 games as a senior. And she made the career lists with 171 3-pointers, 354 free throws and 405 steals over 85 games and four seasons. She’s continuing her career at Aquinas College.

Arieonna Ware earned Battle Creek Central's first girls basketball record book entry with 51 points in a Feb. 11, 2020, win over Portage Northern. She actually finished with a triple-double, adding 12 rebounds and 12 steals. Ware also was added for 47 points in a March 6, 2019, District game against Sturgis.

Mesick senior Kayla McCoy made the MHSAA record in 2022-23 as a junior, totaling 144 steals over 23 games. It was Mesick’s first individual entry in the girls basketball record book.

Coldwater’s Carlee Crabtree made a career-high 52 3-pointers during her senior season of 2019-20 on the way to making the MHSAA career list for long-distance shots with 163, in 469 attempts, over four seasons and 88 games total. She went on to play at Central Michigan and Hope College.

Battle Creek Pennfield’s Kaylee Glidden capped her three-year varsity career in 2023 among the most accurate free-throw shooters in MHSAA history – and also among top 3-point aces. She made 90.6 percent of her free-throw attempts as a senior, good for fifth-highest percentage all-time for one season, and her 84.4-percent success rate ranks fourth on the career list. She also made the single-season 3-pointers list with 67 that winter and the career list with 168. She continued at Kellogg Community College and has committed to Great Lakes Christian College.

Larissa Huffman made a pair of career lists upon completing her four-year varsity career in 2023 at Mackinaw City. She was added for 468 assists and 411 steals, both over 92 games, and she’s continuing her career at St. Norbert (Wis.). Additionally, Mackinaw City was added to the single-game field goals list as a team for making at least 39 in a game six times over the 2021-22 and 2022-23 seasons, with a high of 45.

Lansing Christian earned a listing on the team 3-pointers list when it sank 14 on 32 attempts against Webberville on Jan. 20, 2023. Seven players drained at least one of the long-distance shots.  

Grayling’s 66-49 win over Houghton Lake on Dec. 19 included one of the most impressive defensive performances of all-time as senior Makayla Watkins had 19 steals – tying for third-most in one game.

Brooklyn Columbia Central’s Zoandria Bamm grabbed 28 rebounds during a Feb. 14, 2023, game against Clinton to make the single-game list in that category and on the way to finishing her senior season with 380 rebounds over 25 games – tying for 13th most on that list. She’s playing at Jackson College.

Riley Abney became the first player to be listed for points scored in a quarter of a girls basketball game when she sank 21 of her 36 total during the fourth quarter of a 64-47 loss to Linden on Jan. 16. The Ortonville Brandon senior has committed to be a preferred walk-on at Oakland.

A pair of Paw Paw standouts earned single-game accomplishments within three days of each other in January. On Jan. 26 against Sturgis, junior AJ Rickli grabbed 31 rebounds, tied for seventh-most for one game. On Jan. 29 against Three Rivers, sophomore Stella Shaefer made the single-game assists list with 14.

Keira Maki joined the single-game points list on Feb. 22 when she scored 47 in Escanaba’s 64-49 win over Sault Ste. Marie. The senior will continue at Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

PHOTO Baraga’s Corina Jahfetson (22) brings the ball upcourt during the 2023 Division 4 Final against Glen Lake at Breslin Center.