Class D: Lakers Press On to Saturday
March 15, 2012
EAST LANSING – For three quarters Thursday, Waterford Our Lady struggled to find the gear that has allowed the Lakers to become Class D’s latest powerhouse program.
With 5 minutes, 32 seconds to play, everything clicked.
Champions do that kind of thing. And Our Lady will go for its third straight Saturday after surviving a good scare from Portland St. Patrick before advancing with a 54-44 win.
“I feel like all game we were trying to find our rhythm. It’s an intense atmosphere being here, and you don’t really know what to expect,” Our Lady senior Tori Duffey said. “Something just kinda came over us. … We knew we had to do it now. We’re talented enough that we can do that.”
The No.7 Lakers (22-4) will face either Crystal Falls Forest Park or Athens at 10 a.m. Saturday.
Our Lady never trailed against Portland St. Patrick. The Lakers pushed their lead to double figures three times.
But St. Patrick, which owns six MHSAA titles and has sat in the favorite spot plenty of times, pulled within three points of the lead – 34-31 – with a quarter to play.
The Shamrocks entered the postseason unranked at 19-6. But they were 12-1 over their last 13 games. And it seemed like St. Patrick’s first lead, if gained, might be able to stand until the final buzzer.
“I guess I didn’t feel like they were the favorites coming in. I thought if we played well and took care of business, I thought it would be a two or four-point ball game,” Portland St. Patrick coach Al Schrauben said. “The way we played the second half of the year, I was quite comfortable playing with anybody.”
But with 5:32 to play, and the Lakers lead just 38-34, everything fell back into place for Our Lady.
Thanks in large part to a suffocating defensive press, the Lakers took advantage of five St. Patrick turnovers over just more than two minutes – and pushed the lead to 49-34.
“Even if the shots aren’t going in, and we make a couple of mistakes, the thing about this group is they never hang their heads,” Our Lady coach Steve Robak said. “They continued to play on the defensive end, and eventually good things happen.”
Senior Carlee Cottrell scored a game-high 17 points and had five assists for Our Lady, and junior Ava Doetsch added 14 points and four assists. Junior Lexie Robak had eight points and nine rebounds.
Juniors Tori Goodrich and Courtney Dixon each scored seven points for St. Patrick, and senior Sidney Hill had seven rebounds.
“When we were 7-5, I didn’t think we’d even get a District title,” Shamrocks senior Stephanie Miros said. “I love the girls on this team. We’re great friends. So it’s a great memory.”
Click for the box score. Watch the game and both teams' postgame press conferences at MHSAA.tv.
PHOTO: Our Lady sophomore guard Anna Robb takes a shot Thursday. She scored four points. (Photo courtesy of Terry McNamara Photography.)
Lansing Catholic Closes Season With Memorable Victory Close to Home
By Paul Costanzo
Special for MHSAA.com
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.
“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.
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.”
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.