D1 Preview: Powers Ready to Prevail

March 21, 2019

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

This weekend’s Division 1 girls basketball bracket is filled with stars and storylines.

All four semifinalists have won at least 20 games, and none has lost more than four. Last season’s Class A champ is back, as is another semifinalist and a semifinalist from two years ago – while the fourth team is playing this late for the first time.

Two semifinalists feature Miss Basketball Award finalists. All four teams have at least one player who earned all-state recognition last season.

Division 1 Semifinals  Friday
Saginaw Heritage (23-2) vs. Wayne Memorial (24-2), Noon
Southfield Arts & Technology (23-1) vs. Muskegon (21-4), 2 p.m.

Division 1 Final – Saturday, 12:15 p.m.

Tickets cost $10 per pair of Semifinals and $10 per two-game Finals session (Divisions 4 and 1). All Semifinals will be streamed live on MHSAA.tv and viewable on a pay-per-view basis. All four Finals will be broadcast live on Fox Sports Detroit and streamed live on FoxSportsDetroit.com and the FOX Sports app. Free radio broadcasts of all weekend games will be available on MHSAANetwork.com.

Below is a glance at all four semifinalists. Click on the name of the school to see that team’s full schedule and results from this season. (Statistics are through teams' Regional Finals.)

21-4, No. 10
League finish: First in Ottawa-Kent Conference Black
Coach: Rodney Walker, fifth season (72-20)
Championship history: Has not played in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 53-51 over No. 5 DeWitt in Quarterfinal, 67-46 over East Kentwood in Regional Semifinal, 52-47 over honorable mention Grand Haven in District Quarterfinal, 55-50 over Division 3 No. 8 Kent City.
Players to watch: Alyza Winston, 5-6 sr. G (24.5 ppg, 39 3-pointers, 3.2 apg, 3.3 spg); Brianna Alexander, 5-2 sr. G (8.7 ppg, 2.6 spg, 2.5 apg).
Outlook: Muskegon reached the Quarterfinals last season for the first time and now will play in its first Semifinal. Winston was a Miss Basketball Award finalist and will continue her career at Michigan State, and the lineup is bolstered by three more contributors averaging at least 6.8 ppg. Four seniors and a junior start and have led the team to 17 straight wins on the court, with the East Kentwood victory avenging a season-opening loss.

23-2, No. 3
League finish: Second in Saginaw Valley League Red 
Coach: Vonnie DeLong, sixth season (130-16)
Championship history: Class A champion 2018 & 2002, runner-up 2001.
Best wins: 49-34 over No. 4 Midland Dow in Regional Final, 55-53 over No. 7 East Lansing, 45-43 over No. 1 Southfield Arts & Technology, 65-52 over Division 2 No. 9 Harper Woods Chandler Park, 51-31 over Division 2 No. 7 Freeland.
Players to watch: Moira Joiner, 5-9 sr. G (18.8 ppg, 40 3-pointers, 3.2 apg); Shine Strickland-Gills, 6-1 sr. F (12.8 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 1.3 bpg).
Outlook: Last season’s Class A champion returns to Van Noord with Joiner, Strickland-Gills and senior guard Mallory McCartney (10.5 ppg, 40 3-pointers, 3.1 apg) again leading the way. Joiner was a Miss Basketball Award finalist and also will play next at MSU, while Strickland-Gills was a star of last season’s championship game and will continue at Central Michigan. She and McCartney earned all-state honorable mentions last season while Joiner was the Class A Player of the Year. McCartney will continue her career at Ferris State.

23-1, No. 1
League finish: First in Oakland Activities Association Red
Coach: Michele Marshall, 24th season (417-133)
Championship history: Has not played in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 67-36 over No. 9 Grosse Pointe North in Regional Final, 57-25 over Detroit Mumford in District Final, 50-30 and 60-47 over Royal Oak.
Players to watch: Alexis Johnson, 5-10 sr. F (19.2 ppg, 8.4 rpg); Cheyenne McEvans, 5-10 jr. G (17.1 ppg, 11.9 rpg, 3.5 apg, 3.5 spg).
Outlook: Southfield A&T will play in the Semifinals for the second time in three seasons and three years as a school (made up of the former Southfield High and Southfield-Lathrup). Johnson – who will continue her career at Marshall University – made the all-state first team last season and McEvans earned an honorable mention, and senior guard Soleil Barnes (11.4 ppg) adds another double-digit scoring boost. The Warriors’ lone loss came by two to Heritage on Dec. 8, and they could meet again Saturday.

24-2, No. 6
League finish: First in Kensington Lakes Activities Association East and overall 
Coach: Jarvis Mitchell, fifth season (79-37)
Championship history: Has not played in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 50-28 over Temperance Bedford in Quarterfinal, 53-35 over Ann Arbor Pioneer in Regional Final, 61-48 over Brighton, 61-33 over Division 2 No. 6 Williamston.
Players to watch: Jeanae Terry, 5-10 sr. G (20.3 ppg, 51 3-pointers, 7.0 rpg, 8.0 apg, 3.2 spg, 1.8 bpg); Sammiyah Hoskin, 5-8 sr. G (12.5 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 3.8 spg).
Outlook: Wayne graduated a Miss Basketball finalist off last season’s Semifinals team, but brings back the other four starters and top sub from the most successful team in program history. Terry earned an all-state honorable mention last winter and will continue at Illinois. Both of Wayne’s losses were to Division 2 power Detroit Edison. Senior forward Jayah Hicks adds 10.2 points, 7.4 rebounds, 4.2 steals and 3.4 assists per game, and total seven players average at least 6.8 ppg.

PHOTO: Southfield’s Alexis Johnson is defended by a pair of St. Clair Shores Lakeview players during Tuesday’s Quarterfinal. (Photo courtesy of C&G Newspapers.)

Title IX at 50: Ruby Whitehorn's Story

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

October 4, 2022

We finish our “Title IX at 50” this week highlighting the latest Detroit Edison basketball star – who will no doubt continue to dazzle now that she’s moved on to the college ranks.

Ruby Whitehorn became the fourth-straight Miss Basketball Award winner from Edison last winter on the way to leading the Pioneers to the Division 2 championship. The 6-foot guard also was a contributor off the bench as a freshman when Edison won the Division 2 title in 2019, and the Pioneers were 23-0 in 2020 when that season was ended due to COVID-19.

Edison was 80-4 total over her four seasons on varsity. Whitehorn is continuing her career at Clemson University.

"It means everything to me, but it’s because of everyone who got me to this point – my coaches and teammates and (everyone else).

"They’ve just helped me along the way, and it feels good to give back to them."

The MHSAA will conclude its yearlong celebration of Title IX with this weekend’s 25th Women in Sports Leadership Conference in Lansing. The event remains the first, largest and longest-running of its kind in the country.

This year’s conference is themed “Power of the Past – Force of the Future” and is again sold out, as Crowne Plaza Lansing West will be filled Sunday and Monday mostly by Michigan high school female student-athletes but also administrators, coaches, officials, trainers and others who contribute to school sports.

Second Half's weekly Title IX Celebration posts are sponsored by Michigan Army National Guard.

Previous Title IX at 50 Spotlights

Sept. 27: Eliana Bommarito's Story - Read
Sept. 20:
Anna Tracey's Story - Read
Sept. 13:
Lola Korpi's Story - Read
Sept. 6:
Meah Bajt's Story - Read
Aug. 30: 
Morgan Brunner's Story - Read
Aug. 23:
Ava Brizard's Story - Read
Aug. 16:
Paige Miller's Story - Read
Aug. 9:
Gracie Olsen's Story - Read
Aug. 2:
Maddy Stern's Story - Read
July 26:
Reese Miller's Story - Read
July 19:
Macy Irelan's Story - Read
July 12:
Bridget Boczar's Story - Read
July 5:
Ella Boose's Story - Read
June 28:
Kaila Jackson's Story - Read
June 23: 
We Celebrate Our Past, We Look Forward to Our Future - Read
June 21: Assistant Directors Have Been Difference Makers - Read
June 14: 
Girls Lacrosse Finals Officials Set Empowering Example - Read
June 7: 
From Gymnastics to Wrestling, Girls Opportunities Continue to Grow - Read
May 31: 
Mumford Sprinter's Magnificent 2006 Final Remains Unmatched - Read

May 24: Scane, Whiteside Alone on 400-Goal, 500-Point Girls Lacrosse Lists - Read
May 17: Over 8 Days in 1988, Pair of Champs Set No. 1 Singles Standard - Read
May 10: 
Portage Central's Tarpley Scores as State's Superstar, U.S. Soccer Hero - Read
May 3: 
Prychitko 'Legend In Her Own Time,' Legend for All Time - Read
April 26: 
Braddock vs. Verdun Still Striding Among All-Time Sprint Matchups - Read
April 19: 
Holmes' Strikeout Record Rarely Approached, May Be Unbreakable - Read
April 12: 
Anticipation High as 45,000 Girls Return to Spring Sports - Read
April 5: 
Regina's Laffey Retiring as Definition of Legendary - Read
March 29: 
Edison's Whitehorn named 2022 Miss Basketball - Read
March 22: 
Carney-Nadeau Sets Girls Hoops Standard with 78-Win Streak - Read
March 15: 
Binder Among Voices Telling Our Story on MHSAA Network - Read
March 8: 
28 Years, Thousands of Cheers - Read
March 1: 
Kearsley Rolls On Among Girls Bowling's Early Successes - Read
Feb. 22: Marquette Ties Record for Swim & Dive Finals Success - Read
Feb. 15: Jaeger's 2004 Winter Run Created Lasting Connection - Read
Feb. 8: Marian's Cicerone to Finish Among All-Time Elite - Read
Feb. 1: WISL Award Honors Builders of State's Girls Sports Tradition - Read
Jan. 25: Decades Later, Edwards' Legend Continues to Grow - Read
Jan. 18: Iron Mountain Completes Championship Climb - Read
Jan. 11: Harrold's Achievement Heralds Growth of Girls Wrestling - Read
Dec. 20: Competitive Cheer Gives Michigan Plenty to Cheer About - Read
Dec. 14: 
Evelyn's Game Had Plenty of Magic - Read
Dec. 7: 
Council Term Ends, But Leinaar Leaves Lasting Impact - Read
Nov. 30: 
Basketball Season Ready to Add to Rich Tradition - Read
Nov. 23: 
Marysville Builds Winning Streak Yet to be Challenged - Read
Nov. 16: Wroubel Has Championed Girls School Sports from Their Start - Read
Nov. 9: Pioneer's Joyce Legendary in Michigan, National Swim History - Read
Nov. 2: Royal Oak's Finch Leading Way on Football Field - Read
Oct. 26: Coach Clegg Sets Championship Standard at Grand Blanc - Read
Oct. 19: Rockford Girls Set Pace, Hundreds After Have Continued to Chase - Read
Oct. 12: 
Bedford Volleyball Pioneer Continues Blazing Record-Setting Trail - Read
Oct. 5: 
Warner Paved Way to Legend Status with Record Rounds - Read
Sept. 28: Taylor Kennedy Gymnasts Earn Fame as 1st Champions - Read
Sept. 21: 
Portage Northern Star Byington Becomes Play-by-Play Pioneer - Read
Sept. 14: 
Guerra/Groat Legacy Continues to Serve St. Philip Well - Read
Sept. 7: 
Best-Ever Conversation Must Include Leland's Glass - Read
Aug. 31: We Will Celebrate Many Who Paved the Way - Read