EAST LANSING – Detroit Edison and Miss Basketball Award winner Ruby Whitehorn will try for the program’s first Division 2 title since 2019 after moving past Ludington on Friday 63-30 in a Semifinal at the Breslin Center.
The Pioneers (18-3) will face Grand Rapids West Catholic at 6:15 p.m. Saturday.
Edison was felled by the COVID-19 last season, so getting a chance to play at the Breslin meant a little more.
“I was a little nervous because I knew we hadn’t been here in a few years,’’ said coach Monique Brown. “I have a whole new team since the last time we were here. Devin (Hagemann), she has only played 10 games in the last two seasons. To be on the floor where her sister (DeeDee) plays at, I know she was a little nervous. We jumped out a little bit early, but we got a little antsy. We were able to settle down, and overplaying them we were able to pull away from them.’’
Whitehorn came out of the game with six minutes left having scored 18 points, pulled down 12 rebounds and handed out seven assists.
“The past few games I’ve learned to keep my attitude in check and trust my teammates,’’ said Whitehorn. “They have my back. It took me a little while not to get on myself when I wasn’t scoring. I realized that when I get an assist, I feel like I’m scoring. I love to rebound. That’s my big thing. It’s the most aggressive thing for me to do on the court. It’s fun to me. When you get a rebound, you look tough.
“Growing up, it was always a dream to play on Michigan State’s court. I thought since I committed somewhere else (Clemson), I thought I wouldn’t get that chance, but God has a way of making things work out.’’
Shouts of “overrated” by the Ludington student cheering section toward Whitehorn were unfounded.
Ludington (20-6) shot 53.8 percent from the field during the first half. But 17 turnovers were the reason they trailed by 13 at halftime despite Whitehorn scoring just four points over the first 16 minutes.
Edison’s quickness was disruptive, forcing the Orioles into bad decisions and 30 turnovers total for the game.
“We work on more defensive drills than anything,” said Brown. “We had a stretch where we’d play a game and not play for six or seven days or play a game and not play for 14 days. We’ve had a chance to get into a rhythm.’’
Whitehorn scored four points early in the third quarter, and Edison extended its lead to 39-21.
Edison eventually doubled the score (43-21) on a basket by Myan Cooksey.
“It wasn’t like I thought it would be,’’ Ludington’s Keelyn Laird said about going up against Whitehorn. “She can jump out of the gym. She’s a really, really good player.’’
Edison scored the first 10 points of the game, forcing Ludington coach Warren Stowe to call a timeout with 4:37 left in the first quarter.
“Tough game for us,’’ said Stowe. “We knew we were going to see an immense amount of pressure all night. We did. It’s like a leaky faucet. It’s what we try to do to teams on the west side of the state, put that type of pressure on them. It wears on you.’’
Oliva Lynn finally scored for the Orioles, after Hagemann had drained a triple, to make it 13-2.
Ludington shook off the jitters and got to within six, at 15-9 with 1:41 to go in the opening period, going inside against the Edison defense.
Ludington’s zone started to affect the Edison offense, and when RyAnn Rohrer scored four straight points the Orioles were within 17-14 with Whitehorn on the bench with two fouls a minute into in the second quarter. The 6-foot-3 Laird made her presence felt inside, scoring a rebound basket a minute later to make it a one-point game, 17-16.
Edison promptly went on a 13-1 spurt to take a 30-17 advantage, and led 32-19 at halftime.
Rohrer scored 11 points during the first half and led the Orioles with 15. Madisen Wardell added 10 points and four steals for the Pioneers.
PHOTOS (Top) Detroit Edison’s Ruby Whitehorn makes a move toward the hoop as Ludington's RyAnn Rohrer (5) defends Friday. (Middle) Madisen Wardell (15) gets up a shot during her team’s Division 2 Semifinal win. (Click for more from Hockey Weekly Action Photos.)
Championship time is quickly approaching this girls basketball season.
We’re still three weeks out from the start of District play. But league contenders are clashing all over the state, with a handful of conferences finishing up their schedules this week and several favorites facing off soon with titles on the line. We make mention of a number of those below.
Week in Review
The countdown of last week’s five most intriguing results:
1. West Bloomfield 59, Detroit Edison 49 Last season, West Bloomfield (15-2) became the first in-state team to defeat Edison (12-3) since 2018 – and the Lakers have become the only one to do so again this winter.
2. Maple City Glen Lake 51, Traverse City St. Francis 45 The Lakers (13-2) are up to No. 2 in Division 4 MPR, while St. Francis (12-2) sits No. 4 in Division 3.
3. Holt 55, DeWitt 53 The Rams (14-2) sit alone atop the Capital Area Activities Conference Blue after sending the Panthers (13-2) into second in a matchup of top Division 1 teams statewide.
4. Hancock 50, Calumet 47 The Bulldogs (13-1) maintained their one-game lead in the Western Peninsula Athletic Conference West with their second win this season over third-place Calumet (11-3). Both are among the top seven statewide in Division 3 MPR.
5. Detroit Edison 44, Farmington Hills Mercy 42 The Pioneers bounced back from the West Bloomfield loss with a pair of close wins, this one over Mercy (14-2) followed by a one-pointer over Grand Rapids Catholic Central on Saturday.
With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each division making sparks:
Muskegon Reeths-Puffer (11-5) After a 2-4 start with those losses to top Division 1 and 2 teams statewide, Reeths-Puffer is 9-3 and tied for first in the Ottawa-Kent Conference Green with Muskegon after edging the Big Reds 56-52 on Friday. That avenged a 14-point loss to Muskegon on Jan. 6, and the Rockets have since gone on an eight-game winning streak. They also opened last week with a 42-39 victory over 11-win Ludington.
Wayne Memorial (13-4) The Zebras further solidified their standing atop the Kensington Lakes Activities Association East standings with last week’s 75-57 win over second-place Belleville. That followed up a 44-41 win over the Tigers on Jan. 6, and total Wayne has won 12 straight since a 1-3 start that included two-point losses to Division 1 contenders Detroit Renaissance and Hudsonville and a third defeat to Illinois power Chicago Whitney Young.
Goodrich (14-1) The Martians are locked in another battle atop the Flint Metro League Stars with Lake Fenton and trail the Blue Devils by a game after a 50-44 loss Jan. 20. That’s Goodrich’s only defeat, and they’ll attempt to avenge it in the league finale Feb. 17. In the meantime, the Martians can continue their statewide push upward with 13-win Flushing coming up Wednesday and 15-win Ovid-Elsie next week as well.
Redford Westfield Prep (11-6) The Warriors take on many of the state’s best, evidenced by their No. 8 MPR despite six losses. Westfield has won seven of its last eight games, the lone defeat during that streak 55-53 to still-undefeated Flint Carman-Ainsworth on Jan. 16 – and with perhaps its most notable instate win of the season 46-45 in double overtime Jan. 12 over reigning Division 3 champion Ypsilanti Arbor Prep.
McBain (13-4) The Highland Conference race could go down to the finish, especially after McBain avenged its earlier 17-point loss to second-place Evart with a 51-35 win last week. McBain also has a six-point loss to league leader Lake City from Jan. 20, but can avenge that in the regular-season finale Feb. 23. The Ramblers additionally have a pair of victories over 12-win Beal City and a solid early loss to still-undefeated Division 2 Escanaba.
Ovid-Elsie (15-2) The Marauders haven’t slowed down a bit after last season’s 21-2 finish with league and District titles, the latter in Division 2. This season in Division 3, Ovid-Elsie is up to No. 6 in MPR with a 14-game winning streak since suffering its lone losses early to Pewamo-Westphalia (10-5) and Dansville (15-1). The Marauders handed Mackinaw City its first defeat Saturday, 59-55 on a neutral court, and also has a victory over 14-win Ithaca plus a two-game lead in the Mid-Michigan Activities Conference.
Fowler (11-6) Coming off back-to-back Division 4 championships, Fowler put together a schedule featuring solid-to-strong teams from Divisions 1-4 and sit No. 3 in Division 4 MPR. The losses have come to Midland Dow, Haslett, Lansing Catholic, Kent City and league rivals Dansville and Portland St. Patrick, and the Eagles avenged the Shamrocks defeat 51-44 last week. Fowler will need help to catch Dansville in the Central Michigan Athletic Conference, down two games from the league leader, but will try to get one back from the Aggies on Feb. 14.
Norway (16-1) The Knights are leading the large-school division of the Skyline Central Conference with the likely deciding matchup coming at Bark River-Harris next week. Norway has lost only to Niagara (Wis.), by five two weeks ago, and handed Carney-Nadeau (13-2) one of its losses among other strong work – and after ending last season’s 11-10 run with a 15-point District loss to the Wolves.
Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up:
Tuesday – Coldwater (15-1) at Jackson Northwest (15-1) – The Mounties lead Coldwater by a win in the Interstate 8 Athletic Conference thanks to a 50-46 win in their first meeting Jan. 10.
Tuesday – Utica Ford (14-1) at Grosse Pointe North (13-2) – North has clinched a share of the Macomb Area Conference Red title heading into tonight’s league finale, while Ford won by a large margin in the MAC White.
Thursday – Houghton (13-1) at Hancock (13-1) – As noted above, Hancock leads the West-PAC West by a game – but will face second-place Houghton twice over the next two weeks.
Friday – Standish-Sterling (15-1) at Hemlock (13-3) – Hemlock owns the lead in the Tri-Valley Conference West 10-1 thanks to a 62-31 doubling up in the first meeting Jan. 6. But that remains the Panthers’ lone loss, and they’ve since handed TVC 10-2 co-leader Saginaw Valley Lutheran one of its two defeats.
Friday – Saline (15-2) at Temperance Bedford (16-1) – Saline is first and Bedford second in the Southeastern Conference Red thanks to Saline’s 41-22 win in their first meeting Jan. 27.
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PHOTOS (Top) A trio of Fowler defenders surround a Bath player driving to the basket during a 49-27 win earlier this season; they meet again Thursday. (Middle) Maddie Bradford of Maple City Glen Lake contests a shot by Maggie Napont of Traverse City St. Francis during the Lakers' 51-45 win over the Gladiators last week. (Top photo by Click by Christine McCallister. Middle photo by Rick Sack/TC Rick Photo.)