By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
We’re filled with anticipation as we begin the final week of this girls basketball regular season.
Most league titles have been determined – although some excellent deciding matchups do still remain. What’s more, every team has had three months to figure out what it does best – and we’re on the eve of seeing them make a final dash with everything on the line.
Countdown to Calvin is powered by MI Student Aid and based on results and schedules posted for each school on our site. To offer corrections or help us fill in missing scores, email me at [email protected].
Week in Review
The countdown of last week’s five most intriguing results:
1. Saginaw Heritage 59, Detroit Country Day 49 – Heritage is one of three undefeated teams left in Class A and reinforced it’s a serious contender by downing the reigning champ in Class B.
2. Marysville 53, St. Clair Shores Lakeview 44 – Although Lakeview lost its leading scorer to an injury two minutes in, Marysville handing the Huskies their first loss in this Macomb Area Conference Blue/Gold championship game remains significant.
3. Detroit Mumford 60, Detroit Renaissance 58 – Mumford downed Renaissance earlier this season to clinch first in their division of the Detroit Public School League, and this classic rematch gave the Mustangs the overall league tournament title.
4. Jackson Northwest 47, Coldwater 37 (OT) – The Interstate 8 Athletic Conference title very well may have been decided during overtime between these teams that are a combined 33-3 overall this winter.
5. Detroit Edison 88, St. Ignace 56 – In what looked like a possible matchup of the best in Class C, reigning champion Edison showed it’s still the team to beat (and with only a loss to Ypsilanti Arbor Prep, which beat Country Day this week).
With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each class making sparks:
Bloomfield Hills Marian (14-3) – Despite being swept by Dearborn Divine Child during the league season, Marian shared the Detroit Catholic League Central championship with Farmington Hills Mercy – and then finished off a run to the A-B tournament title with a 49-30 win over the Falcons on Sunday. The only other loss this season was by a point to Royal Oak (15-2).
DeWitt (17-1) – After falling to still-undefeated rival East Lansing by a point Dec. 5, the Panthers have quietly run off 15 straight wins and claimed the Capital Area Activities Conference Red championship. DeWitt and East Lansing could see each other again in a District Final at Owosso. Both games last season, including the Trojans’ District Final win, were decided by a point as well.
Freeland (16-2) – The Falcons have clinched another Tri-Valley Conference Central title, running their league winning streak to 40 straight games with Friday’s victory over Shepherd. Freeland also posted double-digit crossover wins against Birch Run and Hemlock teams that are a combined 29-5, with the only defeats to Class A powers Saginaw Heritage (17-0) and Bay City Western (14-3).
Hamilton (17-1) – The Hawkeyes followed up last year’s run to the Regional Finals by opening this winter with a four-point loss to Class A Jenison (14-4). Hamilton hasn’t lost again, claiming a share of the Ottawa-Kent Conference Green title with its 40-27 win over now-third place Zeeland East on Friday. The Hawkeyes also own a win against Comstock Park, the leader in the O-K Blue.
Centreville (18-1) – The Bulldogs have won 26 straight league games including their first 16 in the first year of the Southwest 10 Conference. The defeat came in overtime Dec. 1 against former league rival Bronson. The Bulldogs will be tested immediately in the District though, with Homer (16-2) first up next week.
New Lothrop (16-1) – Since falling to reigning Class C runner-up Pewamo-Westphalia in its opener, New Lothrop is undefeated and finished 10-0 in the Genesee Area Conference White. The Hornets also have a nice win over Birch Run and beat GAC Blue co-leader Byron by nine last week. The league title was the second straight after New Lothrop shared with Burton Bendle last season.
Fruitport Calvary Christian (16-3) – The Eagles got off to a middling start at 0-2 and then 4-3, but have won 12 straight and finished a perfect run through the Alliance League. Next they’ll go for a fifth straight District title and hope for more; two of the three losses came to Class C teams, and Muskegon Western Michigan Christian (16-2) also went on to win a league title.
Hillman (18-1) – The Tigers ran their North Star League winning streak to 46 straight in claiming the Big Dipper championship outright with a 51-38 victory over second-place Rogers City on Thursday. The lone defeat came against another small school power in Cedarville (13-3), by three on opening night – but Hillman does need to be cautious facing Rogers City (13-4) again in its first District game Feb. 28.
Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up:
Tuesday – Detroit Edison (15-1) at Saginaw Heritage (17-0) – Fresh off a win over the reigning Class B champion, Heritage will try to add another against last season’s Class C title winner.
Tuesday – Kingsley (19-0) at Maple City Glen Lake (17-1) – Glen Lake will try to avenge an earlier 16-point loss and share the Northwest Conference title.
Wednesday – St. Clair Shores Lakeview (18-1) at Utica Eisenhower (17-2) – A pair of MAC divisional champs get one last tune-up before the start of Districts.
Thursday – Sandusky (16-3) at Marlette (14-4) – The Greater Thumb Conference East title comes down to this meeting between co-leaders, and Marlette won the first by 17.
Thursday – Charlevoix (14-3) at Traverse City St. Francis (14-3) – These two are tied for first in the Lake Michigan Conference, and Charlevoix won their first meeting by two.
PHOTO: Saginaw Heritage held on to its perfect record with a big win last week over Bay City Western. (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.