Future Teammates Crow, Kamin to Face Off 1 Last Time

By John Vrancic
Special for MHSAA.com

March 22, 2021

GLADSTONE — During the past four years, Escanaba’s Nicole Kamin and Gladstone’s Megan Crow have been teammates on the basketball court – except for high school games.

The senior standouts have played on the same travel team since eighth grade and will be teammates at Grand Valley State University next season.

They will be on opposing teams one more time tonight when Escanaba visits Gladstone for a Division 2 District opener at 7 p.m.

“I’d be very happy with that,” Crow said of facing off against Kamin, after Gladstone’s recent 57-40 loss to the Eskymos. “This would be our last time playing against each other. I think it’d be kind of fun.”

This will be the third meeting between the teams this season. The Eskymos also won 64-63 at home Feb. 15.

“When we’re shooting free throws, we sometimes throw a little jab in there,” said Kamin. “We have fun, although we get pretty intense when we have to. Once Meg gets the ball inside, there’s no stopping her. I’m not one who should be guarding a post player, but I have to do it. I try to keep the ball from getting to her. This will be the last time we play as opponents, which will be a relief because we won't have to play against each other anymore.”

Crow is aware of the challenges Kamin provides for opposing teams.

Escanaba/Gladstone girls basketball 2"I don’t guard Nicole, but once she gets past the free throw line, you need help right away,” she said. “She’s hard to defend. Her penetration makes it very challenging.”

Both joined the 1,000-point club recently. Kamin scored her 1,000th career point in this season’s first meeting between the teams, and Crow reached a thousand in a 59-36 triumph over Manistique at home March 11.

Kamin usually plays guard, but was the team's center in a 60-47 victory at Bark River-Harris on Friday. She averages 24 points and nine rebounds a game and figures to be more of a forward at Grand Valley.

Crow recorded a triple-double (16 points, 18 rebounds and 12 blocked shots) in the Braves' 43-24 regular season-ending victory at Marquette on Wednesday.

She expects to be a post player for the Lakers.

"That will be very exciting," said Crow. "Nicole makes good passes, and I make good kick-outs. Playing at the post would give me more freedom. I would be able to post up more and drive to the basket."

Kamin, like Crow, knows she has some work to do prior to her collegiate career.

"I'm more of a driver," she said. "I need to work on my shooting a little."

Kamin scored 21 points in Thursday's 71-27 rout of Kingsford, then often distributed the ball and hit 14 at BR-H.

Esky finished its regular season at 10-4 and Gladstone is 8-5 going into the postseason.

Both like to go to the Northern Lights YMCA in Escanaba and play ball with other girls.

"I also like to work out at home and go to the shooting range in my spare time," said Crow.

Kamin played on two Division 2 championship softball teams at Escanaba before last season was cancelled due to COVID-19. She was a back-up pitcher to current University of Wisconsin hurler Gabi Salo, but figures to play first base for the Eskymos this spring.

John Vrancic has covered high school sports in the Upper Peninsula since joining the Escanaba Daily Press staff in 1985. He is known most prominently across the peninsula for his extensive coverage of cross country and track & field that frequently appears in newspapers from the Wisconsin border to Lake Huron. He received the James Trethewey Award for Distinguished Service in 2015 from the Upper Peninsula Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association.

PHOTOS: (Top) Gladstone’s Megan Crow and Escanaba’s Nicole Kamin both have been standouts in the Great Northern Conference and will be teammates at the collegiate level. (Middle) Kamin and Crow face off last season. (Photos courtesy of the Escanaba Daily Press.)

Lansing Catholic Closes Season With Memorable Victory Close to Home

By Paul Costanzo
Special for MHSAA.com

March 18, 2023

EAST LANSING – The Lansing Catholic girls basketball team took a short drive to end a long wait.

Playing just three miles from their high school, the Cougars defeated Frankenmuth 43-29 Saturday at the Breslin Center to win the MHSAA Division 2 Final. It was the first Finals title for the program since 1995.

“It felt like homecourt advantage a little bit,” Lansing Catholic senior guard Hannah Pricco said. “Our bus trip wasn’t super long. It just kind of felt like we were coming to our own court.”

The Cougars treated it that way, dominating from the beginning of the matchup in their first Finals trip since that 1995 title. They scored the game’s first 11 points and never looked back.

The Cougars’ Anna Richards (10) attempts to get a shot up over Frankenmuth’s Lexi Boyke.“This is, as you can imagine, extremely surreal,” Lansing Catholic coach Kacee Reid said. “You’re going through literally every emotion on the bench, especially in a game like that. Frankenmuth is making such a great comeback, and we knew they were going to fight to the end. To go through the anger and sadness and happiness, and now it’s over and we’ve won it. It’s just been a rollercoaster of emotions, and I can’t describe the pride I have in these girls.”

It was the second meeting between the two teams, with Lansing Catholic taking the first 74-42 on Feb. 2. But Reid wasn’t going to let her team come in overconfident.

“They didn’t get here by accident,” Reid said. “They’re in the state championship because they’re playing their best ball of the year. We played them a month and a half ago. … We’re a totally different team, and we knew they were a totally different team. We knew they had been playing some really good basketball, and it didn’t matter at all what that first outcome was. We knew this was going to be a battle.”

Lansing Catholic (24-5) never trailed, and led by as many as 17 points in the third quarter. Leah Richards led the Cougars with 16 points and nine rebounds, while Anna Richards had 14 points. Gabby Halliwill added seven.

The Cougars were spurred by their defense throughout, holding Frankenmuth to 9 of 36 shooting from the field and forcing 13 turnovers.

“For us, defensively, we had to switch it up,” Reid said. “We had to keep switching up between man and zone. They were making adjustments and we couldn’t really sit in one thing for too long; they got comfortable. That’s a credit to their coaching staff always making adjustments. We had to continue to switch things up defensively and try to hopefully make their shooters second-guess their shot, or maybe not know where we were coming from.”

Frankenmuth (25-3) didn’t go away, despite trailing by double digits for the majority of the game. 

That was helped by Lansing Catholic shooting 1 of 11 from the field in the third quarter, and going scoreless for the final 5:26 of the frame.

Tessa Roe (12) works to get past Clare Conzelmann and to the basket.The Eagles cut the lead to seven with 2:45 to play on a steal and layup from Clare Conzelmann, but never got closer.

“There was always belief no matter what detriment we got ourselves in,” Frankenmuth senior Lexi Boyke said. “I wouldn’t want to choose any other girls to play with and be in with at that point. I think we fought back and really prided ourselves on, ‘We can still do it.’ We didn’t stop fighting until the end.”

Lansing Catholic always figured Frankenmuth would make a run to get into the game, but was ready when it came.

“We knew they were going to make runs, we knew we weren’t going to hold them to seven points the whole game,” Anna Richards said. “We knew in the third quarter they were going to score, so we just had to stay composed, work the ball around on offense to get the good shots that we wanted.”

Boyke, who scored Frankenmuth’s first 10 points and was its only scorer well into the third quarter, finished with 16. She also reached 1,000 career points in the game, and had six rebounds, while Izzy Bernthal had seven.

Frankenmuth was making its first Finals appearance since winning the Class C title in 1996, one year after Lansing Catholic. 

“That’s a really good Lansing Catholic team, and you’ve seen that from their postseason run and beating an undefeated West Catholic team, and tonight finishing their season off with a state championship. So, congratulations to them,” Frankenmuth coach Joe Jacobs said. “I’m super proud of our kids. They didn’t quit tonight. They could have. … Fun experience, one that we want to treasure forever, but the motivation to come back again is here after tonight’s loss.”

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS (Top) Lansing Catholic celebrates its Division 2 championship Saturday night at Breslin Center. (Middle) The Cougars’ Anna Richards (10) attempts to get a shot up over Frankenmuth’s Lexi Boyke. (Below) Tessa Roe (12) works to get past Clare Conzelmann and to the basket.