Country Day Claims Senior-Dominated Semi

March 16, 2018

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

GRAND RAPIDS – The eras come and go as standouts cycle through coach Frank Orlando’s Detroit Country Day program.

Win or lose Saturday, another will close as all-staters Kaela Webb and Maxine Moore play their final high school game attempting to lead the Yellowjackets to a third Class B championship over the last four seasons.

They earned that opportunity with a 70-54 win over previously undefeated Kingsley in the second Class B Semifinal on Friday at Van Noord Arena.

“It’s truly a blessing. Me and her have been together since sixth, seventh grade, and we always talked about winning state titles,” Moore said. “Our sophomore year was heartbreaking (a Semifinal loss to Grand Rapids South Christian). But it was a goal of ours coming in here to work hard every day, go hard especially on defense – we know defense is the key to winning championships – and I’m just really excited and blessed to go out there tomorrow and compete.”

Reigning title winner Country Day will take on Jackson Northwest in the 6:15 p.m. championship game at Calvin College.

It was a Semifinal full of seniors. Although Country Day’s are only Webb, Moore and Destini Lewis, Webb has started all four years of her high school career and Moore is a four-year varsity player and three-year starter.

Kingsley, meanwhile, saw six seniors finish their careers with their only defeat this season after leading the team to its second Semifinal ever and first since 2008.

“As a senior, it’s just an amazing feeling to get here and be part of such an amazing team,” Stags senior Lindsey Boyajian said. “The seniors this year, we came together and we were just like a family. The whole team was a family. It was so exciting. To end my season, as a senior, to make it to Calvin, it was just great.”

The game was nearly a draw through a quarter, with Country Day (22-4) leading only 14-12 heading into the second. But the Yellowjackets broke out for a 29-16 advantage over the next eight minutes – the eventual difference as the teams played to a near-deadlock over the final two quarters as well.

The most telling stats dealt with turnovers – and their results. Kingsley gave away the ball 22 times, compared to 12 for Country Day. And Country Day scored 33 points off those turnovers, while Kingsley managed just six off their takeaways.

Although the teams shot nearly identical percentages from the floor, and Kingsley outrebounded the Yellowjackets by three, the Stags (26-1) made only 1 of 12 tries from 3-point range – negating something else that usually is a strength.

“We got beat at our own game,” Kingsley coach Matt Schelich said. “Thirty-three to six off turnovers, that’s our ammo. But we ran into a team that’s got incredible size and speed, and as a team there’s not a lot of weak spots out there.”

Junior Maddie Novak scored a game-high 20 points for Country Day, while Webb had 15 points, eight assists and four steals. Moore added 11 points and seven rebounds and junior Adrian Folks had 10 points.

Webb finished with four fouls but managed to play 31 minutes, second on her team.

“I’ve been here and I know how it gets when the crowd gets into it. … I knew we had to stick together,” Webb said. “What was more important was stopping them from scoring, and me fouling was going to help them score. I had to just lock down mentally with that.”

Brumfield had 14 points for Kingsley despite seeing only 12 minutes of action because of foul trouble as well. Senior Rebekah Crosby had 12 points and seven rebounds and sophomore Brittany Bowman had 11 points.

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS: (Top) Country Day’s Kaela Webb pushes the ball up the floor Friday while Lacey Benton (10) keeps pace. (Middle) Kingsley’s Jacie King drives toward an opening with Jasmine Power defending.

Hemlock, Rockford Follow 3-Point Success to 1st Titles, Record Book Fame

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

September 1, 2023

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:

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.