Edison Ends 2023-24 Winter Season Back at Breslin, Back on Top

By Dean Holzwarth
Special for MHSAA.com

March 23, 2024

EAST LANSING – Detroit Edison wanted the opportunity to gain redemption in its return to Michigan State University’s Breslin Center.

The Pioneers needed stout defense during the final quarter Saturday to accomplish that goal.

Edison held Ann Arbor Father Gabriel Richard to only three fourth-quarter points on its way to a 41-33 win in Saturday’s Division 2 title game.

The Pioneers (23-3) won the program’s fifth Finals championship over the last 10 years and handed the Irish their only loss of the season.

The Pioneers’ Myana Cooksey, left, drives the lane.“We set a goal, and that was to go back here and win,” said Edison coach Monique Brown, whose team lost in a Regional Final last year after winning Division 2 in 2022.

“I gave them a theme this year, and it was leadership. We had six seniors, and they bought into everything we were doing. To see them fight through adversity at the end of the game was great. We made a run, and we fought through. We wanted to be smiling at the end of the year, and we are.”

Edison led 22-17 at the half and still maintained a slight edge going into the fourth quarter when Myana Cooksey dropped in a short baseline jumper to make it 34-30.

The Irish trimmed Edison’s lead to one (34-33) when Cora Williams scored inside and converted the and-one with 4:49 left.

But the Pioneers held the Irish scoreless the rest of the game.

“There was a little squabble that happened, and I think it woke us up and gave us a kickstart,” Brown said. “I told them it wasn’t a boxing match, it was a basketball game and we had to score the ball and play good defense.

“We do so many defensive drills, and we started something the last two weeks where we play defense for a whole minute. If you want to win you have to play defense and make sure they don’t get good shots.”

Senior Isis Johnson-Musah led the Pioneers with 16 points and five rebounds, while Cooksey finished with nine points and six boards.

“To come in here in my first year and help them win their fifth (championship) means a lot,” Johnson-Musah said. “We were just trying to play good defense and not foul (in the fourth quarter). And no 3-pointers because we saw what they did (Friday night). We tried to not let that happen.”

Edison’s Devin Hagemann, left, considers her options with FGR’s Vanessa Rodriguez guarding her. FGR (28-1) was seeking a perfect season and the program’s first Finals win since 1993 in Class D. The Irish advanced to Saturday on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer in Friday’s Semifinal against Grand Rapids West Catholic.

However, a tough shooting night this time proved to be the Irish’s downfall as they were 12 of 38 from the field and 1 of 12 from beyond the 3-point arc. FGR also was just 8 of 14 from the free throw line.

“Sometimes you don’t have that rhythm, and it was just one of those days,” Irish coach Tim Cain said. “Our shot wasn’t falling, and when they went to four guards it got us out of our comfort zone defensively. We thought we could dominate down low, but we got into foul trouble. They played well, and Isis made a lot of plays.

“The special part of the season is the players and the relationships. We won a lot of games, and I will miss my seniors.”

Junior Charlotte Miller, who made the game-winning shot Friday, led FGR with 12 points and five rebounds.

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS (Top) Detroit Edison’s Isis Johnson-Musah gets to the basket Saturday with FGR’s Bethie Benz (12) defending. (Middle) The Pioneers’ Myana Cooksey, left, drives the lane. (Below) Edison’s Devin Hagemann, left, considers her options with FGR’s Vanessa Rodriguez guarding her. (Photos by Hockey Weekly Action Photos.)

JoBurg 3-Sport Great Capping Career Filled with All-State Honors, Team Trophies

By Tom Spencer
Special for MHSAA.com

April 5, 2024

It won’t be hard for Jayden Marlatt to remember opening day on the softball field from any of her four years at Johannesburg-Lewiston.

Northern Lower PeninsulaAs a freshman, she missed the opener due to needing to quarantine. Her sophomore and junior years started on the road because the Cardinals’ field was under construction.  

This season the Cardinals will open up — weather permitting — on their brand-new field, hosting Mio on Monday, April 8.  Marlatt is slated to be the starting pitcher again and add to her school record collection.

While Johannesburg-Lewiston is looking forward to playing on the new diamond, Marlatt and her teammates have high hopes of finishing the season almost 200 miles south. They’re looking to get back to Michigan State University – the site of the Division 4 Semifinals and Final.

The Cards have had their sites on that goal since they fell 4-2 to Mendon in last year’s Semifinal at Secchia Stadium. The loss ended a 30-4-1 campaign that saw the Cardinals play every game on the road for a second consecutive year, but come up only one victory short of a first championship game appearance.

The trip to East Lansing also came after the Cards won the program’s first District title since 2008 and advanced to the Semifinals for the first time since 1981.

“It has been a long two seasons on the road,” said eighth-year head coach Kim Marlatt, noting the team utilized a Little League field for practices during the stretch. “They’ve been putting in a lot of work in the offseason, so it is excited to get going.”

Cardinals’ 1,000-point scorer Marlatt sets up for a free throw attempt. The new field isn’t the only new things this spring. The Cardinals will have a junior varsity team for the first time during the Marlatt’s tenure. The JV squad is coached by Ryan Marlatt, who has been serving the program the past eight years as assistant coach. He also has been the head girls basketball coach at JoBurg the past two seasons.

The Marlatt coaches are the proud parents of Jayden, who continues to garner recognition as perhaps the greatest athlete in Johannesburg-Lewiston’s history. 

The three-sport star had a huge hand in all that JoBurg accomplished last season leading the team in batting average (.670), home runs (13) and runs batted in (61). As the team’s ace pitcher, she collected 249 strikeouts and compiled a 1.32 ERA.

“Jayden has put in the hard work,” Kim pointed out.  “She is a very humble athlete. ‘She doesn’t like to talk about herself. She likes to compete, and she likes to be on the top of her game for her teammates.”

Jayden has been named all-conference and all-state in softball, basketball and volleyball nearly every season over her four years at JoBurg. She’s led her teams to Ski Valley Conference, District and Regional titles along the way.

She’s also been named Player of the Year by multiple publications. And she’s a front runner to be voted the Most Valuable Player of the Ski Valley Conference in softball. Earlier this year, league coaches voted her the MVP for both basketball and volleyball.  

“The Ski Valley never used to vote on an MVP,” Ryan Marlatt said. “Hopefully she can add the triple crown and get softball this year.”

Jayden Marlatt, who has played all three sports all four years, acknowledged softball is perhaps her most treasured, and she’ll continue in that sport at Ferris State. Her career total of more than 500 strikeouts, and her 14 home runs last season, are both JoBurg school records. "I like them all but probably softball,” she confirmed when asked to name her favorite sport.

She averaged 12 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists and four steals per game this winter helping the Cards basketball team to a conference runner-up finish. She was key to JoBurg's ability to put a 12-game winning streak together, and she topped the 1,000-point career mark along the way.

Also a standout in the fall, Marlatt prepares to connect during volleyball season.Her outstanding senior year on the basketball court and this spring’s possibilities nearly vanished as the volleyball season ended.

She suffered what looked to be a serious lower-leg injury in the final game of the JoBurg volleyball season. “She finished in the emergency room,” Kim Marlatt said.  

Diagnosed a high ankle sprain, it was an aggravation to an injury from her junior year in basketball. She wasn’t quite at 100 percent on the basketball court this season until the holiday break. She’s starting the softball season healthy, though.

Before the injury, Jayden led the Cards to their third volleyball conference championship over the last four years. After becoming JoBurg's all-time kills leader during her junior season, and with many of her teammates from her first three seasons graduating, Jayden had to fill a variety of roles while anchoring the offense from her outside hitter spot.

She ended up leading the team in both kills with 421 and digs, with 431, in her final season on the volleyball court. And she is listed among MHSAA’s all-time leaders in kills for a single match and career.

It’s more than Marlatt’s stats that stand out for Kristine Peppin, the school’s volleyball coach the past 15 years.

“It is not about the size of the school or the size of the player, it’s the heart that they have inside,” she proclaimed. “This girl would be a successful player on whatever team she was on. 

“Yes we’re a small school, small town,” she continued. “That kind of leadership and heart and drive to be the best is what’s given her that success.”

Marlatt’s work ethic is second to none, Peppin noted. She never saw Jayden give less than a “1,000” percent in practice or games in her career. 

Marlatt celebrates a trophy win during last season’s Semifinals softball run with parents (and coaches) Kim and Ryan Marlatt.“She’s a super hard worker and extremely modest for the kind of skill she possesses and the success she’s had,” Peppin said. “Her teammates think it’s amazing to be on her team.”

Marlatt’s volleyball skills caught the eye of at least one of her conference opponents’ coaches back in junior high. Ron Stremlow was performing one of his many coaching duties for Fife Lake Forest Area when he first saw Jayden on the volleyball court.

“I could tell then this girl was somebody special,” said Stremlow, who became one of the winningest coaches in state volleyball history with the Warriors. “When she got in high school, it just took off.

“She puts the time into it, and she works hard,” Stremlow continued. “Kids like that get what they deserve – they work for it.”

Stremlow, now retired, also acknowledged he’s enjoyed being able to watch the hard-throwing Marlatt on the softball field the last couple of seasons as Forest Area hosted the Cardinals consecutively due to JoBurg’s lack of a home field.

It’s something he’ll have to travel to do this year though, as JoBurg is scheduled to host the Warriors on April 15.

The Cardinals also will host a Regional on their new field June 8. The winners of District play at Rogers City, Harbor Springs, St. Ignace and Gaylord St. Mary will participate.

To play in the Regional, the Cards will have to emerge from the Rogers City District featuring the host Hurons, Atlanta, Hillman, Onaway, and Posen.

Tom SpencerTom Spencer is a longtime MHSAA-registered basketball and soccer official, and former softball and baseball official, and he also has coached in the northern Lower Peninsula area. He previously has written for the Saginaw News, Bay County Sports Page and Midland Daily News. He can be reached at [email protected] with story ideas for Manistee, Wexford, Missaukee, Roscommon, Ogemaw, Iosco, Alcona, Oscoda, Crawford, Kalkaska, Grand Traverse, Benzie, Leelanau, Antrim, Otsego, Montmorency, Alpena, Presque Isle, Cheboygan, Charlevoix and Emmet counties.

PHOTOS (Top) Johannesburg-Lewiston’s Jayden Marlatt drives a pitch during softball season. (2) Cardinals’ 1,000-point scorer Marlatt sets up for a free throw attempt. (3) Also a standout in the fall, Marlatt prepares to connect during volleyball season. (4) Marlatt celebrates a trophy win during last season’s Semifinals softball run with parents (and coaches) Kim and Ryan Marlatt. (Action shots by Dylan Jespersen/Petoskey News-Review; family photo by Breya Domke.)