Heritage Earns 'A' with Championship Effort

By Paul Costanzo
Special for MHSAA.com

March 17, 2018

GRAND RAPIDS – Nothing could wipe the smiles off the faces of the Saginaw Heritage players and fans Saturday – not even a trophy to the head.

“Did you see our fans today? They’ve been out in full force all weekend long,” Heritage coach Vonnie DeLong said. “We’ve got a kid that’s been probably at every game and just split his head open on the trophy in the celebration, like he’s bleeding, our trainer is having to tend to him right now – I don’t know if he needs stitches or what. But, he’s got a smile on his face. He’s loving it.”

There was plenty to love for the Hawks at Van Noord Arena as they rolled to a 57-36 win in the MHSAA Class A championship game against East Lansing.

It was the first MHSAA title since 2002 for the Hawks (27-1), who were making their third appearance in the championship game.

“It’s just been a tremendous run,” DeLong said. “These kids have just gotten better every day, and I think that today we played a lot better than we did (in the Semifinal). I don’t think we played great (in the Semifinal), but I think today they came out with some resolve and they really wanted this state title today, and I think they played like it.”

Heritage used a balanced offense and dominant efforts on the glass and at the defensive end of the floor to hand East Lansing its first and only loss of the season.

The Trojans (26-1) shot 10 of 43 (23.3 percent) from the field as they struggled to figure out Heritage’s 2-3 zone defense, often having to settle for 3-pointers, which accounted for 22 of their 43 field goal attempts.

“They were moving on the flight of the ball, which is really good in the 2-3 defense,” said East Lansing senior and 2018 Miss Basketball winner Jaida Hampton, who finished with six points. “They got to where we were on the passes, and they were not allowing (passes into) the middle of the zone. It was open, but when you got there, they were tipping it, so they were just moving really, really well.”

East Lansing was held scoreless for a span of 7 minutes, 40 seconds during the first and second quarters, which allowed Heritage to initially put some space between the two teams. The Hawks took a 13-point lead into the break, and while East Lansing was able to get within nine in the second half, it couldn’t score consistently enough to fully mount a comeback.

It was the third time this season Heritage had broken out the zone defense, according to DeLong, who said she wanted to counteract East Lansing’s speed.

“I thought they were pretty quick for us, and we’ve traditionally played a lot of zone, but this year we played almost all man,” DeLong said. “I thought in our zone, it just gives us a different look, and it’s a struggle, I think – you might have seen that today with East Lansing – it was probably a little bit of a struggle for them to attack it.”

On the other end, Heritage had four players in double figures, and the one starter who wasn’t was Moira Joiner, the leading scorer during the season. She added six assists and nine rebounds to her four points.

Senior Madison Camp led the way with 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Shine Strickland-Gills had 12 points and 12 rebounds, Jessica Bicknell had 12 points and Mallory McCartney had 10 points.

A good chunk of those points followed offensive rebounds, as the Hawks had 15, compared to 14 defensive rebounds for the Trojans. Heritage had a 43-23 rebounding edge overall.

“We are a team that doesn’t have a lot of size; it’s a necessity for us to box out to win games,” East Lansing coach Rob Smith said. “Tonight, we were victimized 43 times on the boards to only our 23. You’re not going to win too many basketball games in that situation. I gotta say, the Strickland kid there, she was just really, really good tonight. She was very, very tough down low, and we just didn’t have an answer for her.”

The secret for Strickland-Gills’ performance was a simple one – work hard.

“I don’t really expect it, I just kind of come out and I go hard,” Strickland-Gills said. “Most people would say I’m a defensive player, and that’s what I like to do; it’s effort. That’s all it takes to get 12 rebounds is effort. I know my teammates will get me to score, so I don’t really worry about that. My thing is just to play defense.”

Aaliyah Nye led East Lansing and all scorers with 18 points, all coming on 3-pointers as she was 6 of 10 from behind the arc. No other Trojan scored more than Hampton’s six. 

“I’m so proud to be the coach of this fine program, and most importantly these wonderful ladies that are sitting next to me and the other 11 that are in the locker room right now,” Smith said. “I know they’re disappointed with the outcome today, but the body of work is truly amazing.”

Click for the full box score.

PHOTO: (Top) Saginaw Heritage celebrates Saturday after clinching the Class A championship at Van Noord Arena. (Middle) Heritage's Shine Stickland-Gills (32) battles East Lansing's Amelia McNutt for the ball. 

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.