Hamady Holds On in Semifinal Return

March 19, 2015

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor 

EAST LANSING – For the first time in what seemed like a long time, Flint Hamady coach Keith Smith brought a group of players to the Breslin Center on Thursday who had never played in an MHSAA Semifinal. 

But this season’s Hawks had heard from past standouts who contributed to the team’s back-to-back Class C championships in 2009 in 2010.  And the advice they received boiled down to a few clear points: 

This is what to expect at Michigan State. This is how to play when the spotlight is brightest. Make sure to box out. And most importantly, listen and do whatever Coach Smith tells you, no matter how excitable he might be in the huddle.

He said Thursday to calm down. He told his players to be patient, even as Ypsilanti Arbor Prep was cutting a 16-point lead to two. Smith knew that his team, composed, would be just fine. 

And he was right. The No. 5 Hawks did hold off No. 3 Arbor Prep, 50-46, and will play Saturday for their fourth MHSAA title.

"I love it. It shows me he wants it as well as we do," Hamady senior center Aaliah Hill said her coach's energy. "Everything he does with his composure and his reaction, we're with it too.

"He knows what it takes to get here, and we're just going to keep on listening to him and trusting him."

Hamady (26-1) will face Calumet (23-2) in the Final at 4 p.m. Calumet was unranked at the start of the postseason and will make its first championship game appearance.

But as noted, this also will be the first championship game for a talented Hamady group that fell in its Regional last season and the Quarterfinals in 2013. 

On Thursday, the Hawks came out aggressively in pursuit of returning to the Final.

They led by 10 two minutes into the second quarter and pushed the advantage to 16 points with two minutes to play in the second quarter. 

But with the game rolling so smoothly, Hamady began to rush – and Arbor Prep went on a 16-3 run, creating havoc with its defensive press and taking advantage of six Hawks turnovers over an eight-minute period.

“That pressure is something different. I never thought I could see the day when someone would bring the same type of heat we bring,” Smith said. “We lost our composure a little bit.” 

Which is what Arbor Prep coach Rod Wells said put his team down by so much during the first half. The Gators (22-4), in their fourth year with a program, won Regional titles this season and last and played ranked teams from Class A and B this winter – but didn’t seem to find their groove until the third quarter. 

“We didn’t play with a lot of intensity in the first half, got beat on the offensive boards, and just didn’t move our feet very well,” Wells said. “We just kinda got caught up in the moment in the first half, just didn’t have the energy for whatever reason. By the time we made adjustments and got energized, we used a lot of energy to come back.” 

As Arbor Prep’s energy ran low, Hamady’s rhythm returned. The Hawks played the Gators just about even over the final seven minutes – good enough to hold on for the four-point win.

Hill led three on her team in double-digit scoring with 16 points to go with 13 rebounds. Sophomore guard Krystal Rice added 11 points and 10 rebounds, and Terry had 14 points. 

Junior guard Nastassja Chambers scored 14 points to lead Arbor Prep. Senior guard Payton Sims added eight points and four rebounds.

Hamady’s last two teams did break 20 wins – with 22 in 2012-13 and 23 last season – despite not reaching the final weekend either year. This team raised its level this winter even without senior guard Raasheedah Harris, the team’s third-leading scorer and second-leading rebounder who was injured midseason. 

The Hawks suffered their lone loss on the court, to Class B semifinalist Detroit Country Day, soon after Harris was hurt. But “that’s when we woke up,” Smith said.

“This is something the girls can go on and take on the rest of their lives,” he added. “When they get a chance to play at a place like the Breslin Center, and the seniors hear from girls who come back from our championship teams, they hear their experiences and they want the experience as well. 

“And now they have it.”

Click for the full box score and video of the press conference.

PHOTO: (Top) Flint Hamady's Aaliah Hill pulls down a rebound during Thursday's Class C Semifinal. (Middle) Arbor Prep's Rohzane Wells brings the ball upcourt.

St. George's Senior Season Filled with Historic Trip, Sizzling 3-Point Shooting

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

May 21, 2024

Delaney St. George helped Kingston reach its first MHSAA Girls Basketball Final this winter – and along the way finished her high school career among the most prolific 3-point shooters in state history.

The four-year varsity senior made 87 3-pointers this season for the Division 4 runner-up Cardinals, good to tie for 10th on the single-season list after she made 93 as a junior to rank fourth all-time.

She finished her Kingston career with 290 3-pointers in 793 attempts over 94 games – good for second on the career 3-pointers list.

See below for more recent additions to the MHSAA girls basketball record book, and click on the heading to see the record book in full.

Girls Basketball

Hemlock’s 18-6 run this season was fueled in part by more successful 3-point shooting. The Huskies made single-season lists with 170 3-pointers and 552 attempts, and also for making 14 3-pointers Jan. 5 against St. Louis.

Senior Mia McLaughlin made nine of 15 3-point shots for Frankenmuth in a Feb. 6 win over Birch Run as the Eagles made the team record book list with 15 3-pointers total. They also were added for 14 3-pointers in a Feb. 20 win over Bay City John Glenn. McLaughlin will continue her career at Ferris State.

McBain sophomore Peyton Grant scored all 27 of her points Jan. 17 against Houghton Lake on nine 3-pointers to make the single-game list in that category.

Seniors Autumn Tremblay and Ceara LeBlanc earned Brimley’s first girls basketball record book listings this season. Both made single-game lists in a Feb. 27 win over Harbor Springs Harbor Light Christian – Tremblay scored 21 points during the first quarter and LeBlanc had 16 steals for the game – and LeBlanc also was added for 141 steals total over 25 games this past winter.

Reed City’s run at the Central State Activities Association title this winter was fueled in part by 3-point shooting. The Coyotes finished one game out of first, but made the records with 517 3-point attempts over 24 games – and just missed the made 3-pointers list connecting on 143.

Howell sophomore Gabrielle Piepho added her third record book listing over her first two seasons this winter making 89.2 percent of her free throw attempts to rank eighth on that single-season list. Howell as a team also made the 3-point attempts list with 536 over 25 games, and also just missed the 3-pointers made list with 146.

Saline finished the 2023-24 season among the all-time leading 3-point shooters again, this time with 192 – 14th-most for one season – in 587 attempts over 24 games. Sophomore Keira Roehm led the way with 78 3-pointers, tying for 21st on that list.

Junior Tamerah Peterson led Sterling Heights Parkway Christian to a District title this season, providing a record-setting defensive boost in addition to her offensive skills. She finished with 173 steals – eighth-most for one season – over 21 games.

Niles Brandywine reached Breslin Center this season with another stellar distance shooting display, making the record book with both 186 3-pointers and 610 attempts from beyond the arc in finishing Division 3 runner-up.

Alie Bisballe capped her career at Lake City this winter by helping her team reach the Division 3 Semifinal at Breslin Center – and by reaching the MHSAA girls basketball record book in two categories. The 6-foot-4 post player made the lists with 329 rebounds and 188 blocked shots, both in 28 games as Lake City finished 25-3. She will continue her career at Wisconsin.

Ironwood junior Hanna Vaughn will enter her final season next winter already on the career 3-pointers list. She’s made 155 3-pointers over her first three seasons and 70 games on varsity.

PHOTO Kingston’s Delaney St. George (10) pulls up for a shot during the Division 4 Final against Ishpeming.