By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
The 2017-18 season is barely a week old, and we already have plenty to talk about – in addition to a new name for our weekly girls basketball report.
Each Monday, we’ll update you on five results from the previous week that made the biggest headlines. We’ll introduce two teams in each class that should be on your radar as you look ahead to league races and even farther down the road to the start of the MHSAA tournament at the end of February. We’ll also give you five games of note coming up over the next seven days, and why you should check them out.
So let the countdown to this season’s Finals weekend at Calvin College begin. These reports are based on results and schedules posted for each school at MHSAA.com – to offer corrections, email me at [email protected]. Countdown to Calvin is powered by MI Student Aid.
Week in Review
The countdown of last week’s five most intriguing results:
1. Wayne Memorial 73, Detroit Country Day 70 – Opening with a win over the reigning Class B champion? Wayne will take it after going 17-5 a year ago and with title aspirations in Class A.
2. Ypsilanti Arbor Prep 48, Clarkston 45 – This edging of a 17-6 Class A team from a year ago stuck out most from an impressive three-win week by the reigning Class B runner-up Gators, who are back in Class C this winter.
3. East Lansing 42, Marshall 32 – The Trojans started by handing Marshall only its fourth regular-season loss since the start of 2015; Marshall, a Class B semifinalist last season, also fell to Williamston to end the week.
4. Walled Lake Western 56, Southfield Arts & Technology 51 – Walled Lake Western hopes to build on last year’s District title and got a good sign with this opening win over a Southfield A&T team that made the Class A Semifinals last winter.
5. Flint Carman-Ainsworth 59, Flushing 38 – There’s no question Flushing graduated major talent last spring, but this still counts for the Cavaliers as a win over the reigning Class A champion.
With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each class making sparks:
Flint Carman-Ainsworth (3-0) – As noted above, Carman-Ainsworth opened with a win over the reigning Class A champ Raiders, who ended the Cavaliers’ season in last year’s District Final. Carman-Ainsworth last week also downed Swartz Creek by 24 on Friday and then Southfield A&T by 20 a day later, lending confidence to high hopes coming off last year’s 18-4 run.
Roseville (3-0) – A two-point win over Center Line in the middle of last week was the only test, but Roseville has now won 16 of its last 17 going back to last January. The Panthers were 16-6 last season after starting 1-4.
Lansing Catholic (2-0) – The Cougars have finished either a win or two below .500 the last two seasons, but could be on the move if last week was an indication. Lansing Catholic opened with a 12-point win over Perry and followed with a 42-pointer over Olivet; those two opponents were a combined 28-15 last winter, and Olivet was a league champ.
Reed City (1-0) – After going 0-21 in 2014-15, Reed City has finished just a game under .500 the last two seasons. Could this be the winter the Coyotes take another big step? Last week’s 37-35 win over Leroy Pine River was just one victory, but the Bucks were 22-3 last season and beat Reed City by 17 to start that campaign.
Manton (2-1) – Yes, Manton took a loss during opening week, but to a Class A Marquette team that won 20 games last season. In the meantime, the Rangers (14-8 a year ago) beat two other Class A teams in Mount Pleasant and Petoskey and after falling to Petoskey a year ago.
Pewamo-Westphalia (2-0) – How to the Pirates come back from falling in last season’s Class C championship game by a basket? They open with a 23-point win over New Lothrop (17-5 last winter) and then another 23-pointer over Class A Detroit Renaissance (16-5 a year ago).
Brethren (2-0) – Mariah Pringle scored 42 of her team’s 71 points in wins over Buckley and Pentwater last week. The 39-34 win over the Falcons avenged one of few losses a season ago as Brethren went 18-5.
Walkerville (2-0) – The Wildcats have actually won six of their last eight going back to last season, when they finished 9-13. They opened last week by beating Class C Ravenna by nine and then Big Rapids Crossroads by 33 after falling to Crossroads a year ago.
Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up:
Tuesday – DeWitt (2-0) at East Lansing (2-0) – These two will be in the same league for the first time next season, and this has been one of the Lansing area’s top nonleague games annually for years. DeWitt won in December by a point last winter, and East Lansing avenged with a one-point win in the District Final.
Tuesday – Midland (0-1) at Saginaw Heritage (0-0) – Heritage was last season’s Saginaw Valley League North co-champion thanks in part to a pair of wins over third-place Midland.
Friday – Buchanan (0-0) at Niles Brandywine (1-1) – Buchanan was last season’s Berrien-Cass-St. Joseph Red co-champion at 16-4 overall, and Brandywine finished third before winning a District and ending up 19-5.
Friday – Houghton (1-0) at Negaunee (2-0) – After Houghton won their early-December 2016 matchup 48-46, these teams went on to finish a combined 38-8 and both won District titles.
Friday – Utica Ford (1-1) at Grosse Pointe North (1-0) – Utica Ford won 20 games last season and a league title, while Grosse Pointe North won a District title and nearly upset Bloomfield Hills Marian in the Regional.
PHOTO: Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart, a Class D semifinalist last season, opened this winter with a 76-14 win over Vestaburg on Friday. (Click for more from HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)
Hemlock and Rockford's drives to their first Girls Basketball Finals championships in March were paced in part by some of the strongest 3-point shooting in MHSAA history.
The Division 1 title-winning Rams connected on 243 3-pointers – third-most all-time – over 29 games in tying the single-season wins record while finishing 28-1. Grace Lyons, a senior this fall, made the single-season individual list with 70 3-pointers.
The Huskies won in Division 3 having connected on 229 3-pointers over 29 games, seventh-most in MHSAA history, on 678 attempts, which ranks 12th on that list. Chloe Watson made the single-season list with 75 3-pointers, and Regan Finkbeiner did as well connecting on 67.
Watson also made the career 3-pointers list with 224 and Finkbeiner with 194, and 2017 Hemlock graduate Samantha Krauss was added for 65 3-pointers as a junior in 2015-16 and 188 for her career. Additionally, past Hemlock standout Karli Herrington was added for her 317 rebounds in 2012-13, and Peyton Apsey was added for 144 steals in 2010-11.
Watson is continuing her career at Mid-Michigan College, and Finkbeiner is playing softball at Madonna. Herrington went on to play at Central Michigan and Northwood, Krauss played at Ferris State and Apsey played at Oakland.
Read on for more recent record book additions for girls basketball:
Hudsonville’s Maddie Petroelje joined the list of top 3-point shooters in MHSAA history as a junior in 2021-22, when she connected on 70 (in just 147 attempts) to make the single-season list. She graduated this spring 16th on the career list as well with 226 3-pointers in 512 attempts over 92 games and four seasons. She is continuing at Loyola (Ill.).
Byron Center’s Avery Zeinstra also finished her career among those top 3-point shooters. She also made the single-season list with 70 in 147 attempts as a freshman in 2018-19, and she capped her career in 2021-22 with 206 3-pointers (tied for 20th-most) in 502 attempts over four seasons and 80 career games. She is continuing at Grand Valley State.
Hannah Thompson was best known for her soccer scoring at Schoolcraft. But she’s made a second MHSAA record book for her 15 steals in a Jan. 28, 2022, basketball win over Galesburg-Augusta. She’s continuing her soccer career at Eastern Michigan.
Baraga’s run to the Division 4 Semifinals in 2022 received big boosts from Corina Jahfetson’s 3-point shooting and Reide Osterman’s defense. Jahfetson was added to the record book with 66 3-pointers over 25 games, including nine in a game against Carney Nadeau – when Baraga as a team made the record book with 14 3-pointers total. Osterman made the record book with 153 steals. Jahfetson graduated this spring, and Osterman is playing at Northern Michigan.
Grand Rapids West Michigan Aviation Academy’s Audrey Mileski had one of the busiest games at the free throw line in MHSAA history Dec. 14, 2021. She made 23 free throws – third-most in a single game – against Wyoming Kelloggsville. Mileski graduated this spring.
Sophia Bussell had set Monroe’s single-game 3-pointers record of eight as a freshman two seasons ago, and she bettered it last Dec. 13 by tying for the 10th-most in MHSAA history. She made 10-pointers including the game-winner of a 58-56 victory over Ypsilanti Lincoln. A little less than 10 months earlier, Adrian Lenawee Christian then-senior Kylie Summer also made 10, on 17 attempts, during a 57-34 win over Lansing Christian on Feb. 24, 2022.
Lydia Meredith enjoyed a memorable senior season for Portland St. Patrick in 2021-22, finishing her four-year varsity career with 453 steals over just 80 games. She also was added for drilling 17 free throws in 22 attempts against Fowler. She plays now at Saginaw Valley State.
Gabby Piepho got off to a fast start at Howell as a freshman last season, and at a record-setting pace at the free-throw line. She made 93 of 107 attempts over 25 games, for an .869 percentage that made the single-season list. That included a string of 47 straight free throws that ranks as the second-longest in MHSAA history. As a team, Howell tied for sixth all-time with 301 free throws over 25 games, on 439 attempts.
Kent City’s Lexie Bowers reached the single-season 3-pointers list for the second time last season, connecting on 72 of 233 tries over 26 games (after making 77 as a junior), and finished her four-season varsity career 16th on that 3-pointers list with 225 in 693 attempts over 99 games. She’s continuing her career at Northwood. Kent City as a team also reached the single-season 3-pointers made and attempted lists again, ranking fourth with 753 attempts and tying for eighth all-time by connecting on 202.
Posen then-junior Faith Cousins earned a par of record book entries during 2021-22 for assists. Her 16 in a District Final win on March 4, 2022, remain tied for fifth-most in one game, and she finished with 165 over 22 games for the season. She’s set to begin her softball career at Alma College.
Niles Brandywine went over 20 wins again this past season, finishing 21-3, and again the 3-pointer was a key tool in that pursuit. Brandywine made the record book with back-to-back games of 13 3-pointers to close the regular season, and finished with 175 3-pointers in 592 attempts over 23 games (with one won by forfeit).
Greenville’s Megan Leslie averaged more than two 3-pointers a game during her four-season varsity career, making the record list with 153 total over 76 games through graduation this spring. She’s continuing her career at Alma College.
Successful 3-point shooting played a major role in Saline finishing 21-4 with league and District titles last winter. The Hornets attempted 704 3-pointers – ninth-most all-time for one season – and connected on 191, which is 12th on that list. They made a season-high 14 against Ypsilanti Lincoln on Nov. 29 to make the single-game list.
Marcellus senior Brooklyn VanTilburg enjoyed a big finish to her high school career last winter, making the record book with 16 blocked shots in a game against Centreville and 135 blocks total for the season. She’ll continue at Kalamazoo Valley Community College.
Kennedy Gustafson made headlines last winter as a sophomore and earned a pair of record listings for her rebounding. She grabbed 26 in a March 3 District Final win over Muskegon Western Michigan Christian, and she finished with 376 rebounds over 25 games for the season.
PHOTO Hemlock's Regan Finkbeiner, left, follows through on a free throw attempt during last season's Division 3 Final, and Rockford's Grace Lyons launches the game-winning 3-pointer in Division 1.