Veteran Frankfort girls basketball coach Tim Reznich will have a couple of true superstars on his bench this winter.
They don’t have MHSAA eligibility remaining, but they should really help the Panthers. They’ve used up their college eligibility as well.
They are Lindsey (Pettit) Banktson, a 2008 graduate of Portland High School and all-state forward, and Presley (Hudson) Kreski, a 2014 product of Wayland High School and all-state guard. And, they are now serving as assistant coaches for Frankfort.
Banktson has been on Reznich’s bench 10 years, and Kreski is headed for her first at Frankfort. Kreski has been on women’s basketball coaching staffs at Western Michigan University and Central Michigan University since her playing days.
“I have always felt very fortunate in my situation at Frankfort,” Reznich said. “I have felt like we have always been able to provide our players with the resources and opportunities to excel at basketball, if that is what they wanted to do.
“When Lindsey came those resources increased, and now adding Presley to the mix just brings everything over the top,” he continued. “Our players are already starting to realize it.”
Kreski, who will be teaching health and physical education at Frankfort, and Banktson, now a physician assistant with Crystal Lake Clinic, are excited to work together and with Reznich this winter as he begins his 22nd season at the helm of the Panthers.
“I’ve loved coaching with Rez the past 10 seasons and am just as excited for season number 11,” said Banktson, who went on to play basketball and softball at Ferris State University. “Every year, the night before our first day of practice, is always like Christmas Eve for me.
“I can’t sleep and I can’t wait for my alarm to go off to head to the gym to start our 2-a-days,” she continued. “I am so grateful to coach with Rez and learn from him.”
Kreske too is eager to work with Rez after getting involved with the Panthers in summer ball.
After Wayland, Kreski went on to an illustrious playing career Central Michigan where she won the NCAA 3-point contest in 2019. She also played with the Seattle Storm of the WNBA before playing professionally overseas in Poland.
“I am really excited to be at Frankfort and helping the team out,” Kreski said. “The girls work really hard and want to get better.
“Tim is a great coach, and I am looking forward to working with him and sharing my knowledge of the game as well as learning from him.”
Frankfort is coming off a District championship in 2022 and a District title loss to eventual Division 4 champion Glen Lake in 2023.
Reznich says the Panthers have already noted keys to success just by being around Kreski and Banktson. Reznich, who guided Frankfort to back-to-back Class D championships in 2005 and 2006, admits he may have softened up a bit on his players over the years. Conditioning will be a top priority this year.
“They (Kreski and Banktson) have the first-hand experience of the benefits of pushing yourself hard and not cutting corners,” Reznich said. “Our players will be in the best shape of their lives when those two are finished with them.”
And Banktson is happy to pass on her high school experience to the Panthers. She graduated in 2008 as the Lansing State Journal’s “Female Prep Athlete of the Year” after shining in three sports and leading Portland to the season’s final weekend in two.
“As a player, high school athletics taught me a lot about hard work and dedication,” she said. “High school sports taught me that you have to put in the extra work if you want to be great.
“You have to be in the gym getting extra shots outside of practice, you have to be at the field getting extra reps on the weekends,” she continued. “If you work hard and give everything you’ve got to develop your game, you will be successful.”
Kreski recalls fondly her high school days working hard and having fun with her friends and teammates, along with making deep runs in the tournament.
“High school sports is the truest form of competition,” Kreski said. “It starts with a community who supports everyone from a young age and involves all the friends and family you grew up with.
“High school sports help guide young people into leaders, teaching them how to work hard and be disciplined.”
Kreski led CMU to Sweet 16 her junior year. She is the all-time leading scorer at CMU (2,309) and career assist leader (643). Central won the Mid-American Conference three times during her days with the Chippewas. She married Gage Kreski after that chapter of her career was done.
Banktson met her husband Max Banktson at Ferris State, where he played football. They moved to Frankfort, where Max was born and raised. They have a 3-year-old son named Briggs and a 6-month old daughter named Landyn.
Both Reznich and Banktson express respect and appreciation for their coaching together. They’ve been on the same page with game plans and scouting reports, and they expect it will continued with Kreski aboard.
“Rez and I really work well together,” Banktson said. “He has always respected me as a player and coach and has given me so much autonomy with our teams.
“He is always open to my input when it comes to running certain drills in practice, putting in new offenses, or adding defensive schemes,” she continued. “He trusts me to handle our subbing during games.”
“I have always appreciated Lindsey’s perspective on what the girls are doing on the court,” he said. “It is going to be a lot of fun and exciting to add Presley’s ideas.
“We have always treated the regular season as practice for the tournament, making adjustments and tweaking things,” he continued. “I can’t wait to see the end product this year.”
Banktson was a three-sport, four-year varsity player at Portland earning a combined 12 varsity letters in basketball, softball and volleyball. She helped the Raiders win league, District and Regional titles. Her teams reached MHSAA Semifinals for softball twice and basketball once.
It doesn’t take much to get her back in game mode.
“I can still remember the feeling of adrenaline getting ready in the locker room with my teammates, running out to our warm up music, and battling on the court each game,” she said. “I am thankful for my teammates who, when on the court, were so unselfish. We just wanted to win.”
She hopes to continue to instill greatness in the Panthers.
“I always tell the girls, ‘We were tough’ — not just physically but mentally,” she said. “We had a type of swagger – we played like we knew the bullseyes were on our back, and every game we had to fight to stay at the top.
“We took pride in wearing that Portland Raider jersey,” she continued. “I just want to instill that same mental toughness and swagger into my girls here at Frankfort.”
Having a pair of women who played now coaching and serving as mentors is beneficial on a personal level as well.
“I feel like I can relate to players on a personal level,” Banktson said. “I always try to be a good role model for them and someone they can come to with anything.
“I’m their biggest cheerleader but also not afraid to hold them accountable and help steer them down the right paths of life.”
And Banktson has learned how she might have coached herself.
“I would push myself to continue to work on my right hand, because everyone in the gym knows I’m a lefty,” she said with a smile.
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PHOTOS (Top) Lindsey Banktson plays at Portland in 2008 and stands for a celebratory photo with Frankfort’s District champion last season. Presley Kreski plays for Wayland in 2014 and more recently served on Central Michigan's coaching staff. (Middle) Kreski directs the offense during her time at CMU. (Below) The Banktson family: From left, Landyn, Max, Lindsey and Briggs. (Photos of Banktson courtesy of Lindsey Banktson. CMU photo courtesy of CMU sports information. Wayland photo courtesy of Joel Bissell, MLive.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.