Heritage Girls Pushing for Breslin Return

January 6, 2016

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Saginaw Heritage girls basketball coach Vonnie DeLong doesn’t start a senior this season and has three freshmen playing prominent roles.

But she also has three starters back from the lineup that made the Class A Semifinals a year ago – and the Hawks' sights are set on contending again this March.

Heritage is the Applebee’s Team of the Month for December thanks to a 6-0 start that included a key Saginaw Valley League North win over Midland and ended with a 39-29 victory over reigning Class B champion Detroit Country Day in the marquee game of the Motor City Roundball Classic.

The Hawks finished 22-4 last season and 16-5 in 2013-14, their first under DeLong, who was part of three MHSAA championship teams as a player at Carrollton from 1979-1982 and coached Saginaw Arthur Hill’s Class A runner-up team in 1998. Heritage improved to 7-0 on Tuesday with a 38-10 win over Mount Pleasant and has won 13 of its last 14 games dating to last season.

“The expectations from the kids’ perspective are very high,” DeLong said. “They want to win. They want to get back to the Breslin. With as many kids as we had coming back, and with what we added, it’s a realistic goal for them – but they know it's going to be hard to do.”

Heritage has beaten all of its opponents but one by at least 10 points, downing Flushing by only nine, 36-27, on opening night. Five of seven players who saw the floor in the Semifinal loss to DeWitt last season are back, including returning starters Jaela Richardson, Haley Brefka and Courtney McInerney. Richardson is a sophomore; Brefka and McInerney are juniors. Senior center Jenna Falkenberg and sophomore guard Jessi Bicknell both also played at Breslin last March.

But the lineup, while experienced, is paced in scoring by a pair of freshmen. Mallory McCartney and Moira Joiner lead the balanced offensive effort averaging 9.6 and 8.3 points per game, respectively, with Joiner adding 7.2 rebounds, 4.2 assists and three steals per game and McCartney grabbing 2.5 steals per contest. 

Richardson grabs 7.2 rebounds to go with 7.3 points per game, while Bicknell averages 6.4 points and 2.5 steals and McInerney grabs six rebounds per game.

The Hawks also are giving up only 23 points on average. No opponent has scored 30. Country Day's 29 points were their fewest since scoring 30 in a Quarterfinal loss to Flint Powers Catholic in 2013.

“Country Day is so good, and every year; they’ve just been phenomenal,” said DeLong, who also coached at Saginaw Valley State University and played at Notre Dame and Michigan. “For our kids to get a win like that, against such a good team, it’s huge. Especially for the young kids.”

Past Teams of the Month:
November: Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard volleyball Report
October: Benton Harbor football – Report

September: Mason and Okemos boys soccer – Report

PHOTOS: (Top) Heritage's Jessi Bicknell pushes the ball upcourt with Jaela Richardson calling for the pass. (Middle) Heritage got past Country Day, 39-29, to cap December. (Photos courtesy of Chris Bicknell.)

Jahfetson Makes History from 3-Point Range in Taking Baraga to 2023 Finals

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

April 23, 2024

Baraga’s Corina Jahfetson graduated in 2023 as one of the most accomplished 3-point shooters in MHSAA history and coming off one of the most impressive single seasons from beyond the arc.

Her 103 3-pointers as a senior over 29 games were the second-most for one season and included eight in a Quarterfinal win over Mackinaw City – the second-most in an MHSAA Quarterfinal, Semifinal or Final.

She finished with 236 3-pointers over 96 games and four seasons, ranking 12th on that career list, and Baraga finished the season as Division 4 runner-up. She’s continuing her career at Northern Michigan.

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

Girls Basketball

Alma junior Bailey Walkington earned her school’s first single-season individual record book entry for girls basketball in 2022-23. She made the steals list with 143 over 23 games.

Dalton DeBoer became the latest Midland Dow long-range shooting ace to make the records after she drained 70 of 206 3-point attempts over 24 games in 2022-23. DeBoer is a junior this school year.

Durand senior Jordyn Lawrence earned her school’s first girls basketball individual record book entry with 15 steals in her team’s 44-31 win over Flint Kearsley on Dec. 2, 2022. She’s continuing at Mid-Michigan College.

Leah French finished her Engadine career in 2023 with a series of game, season and career record book entries detailing her scoring and defensive skills. She earned single-game listings for 54 points and 19 free throws against St. Ignace on Feb. 6, 2023, and nine 3-pointers against Manistique that Jan. 9. She made the single-season list with 81 3-pointers, 177 free throws and 168 steals over 25 games as a senior. And she made the career lists with 171 3-pointers, 354 free throws and 405 steals over 85 games and four seasons. She’s continuing her career at Aquinas College.

Arieonna Ware earned Battle Creek Central's first girls basketball record book entry with 51 points in a Feb. 11, 2020, win over Portage Northern. She actually finished with a triple-double, adding 12 rebounds and 12 steals. Ware also was added for 47 points in a March 6, 2019, District game against Sturgis.

Mesick senior Kayla McCoy made the MHSAA record in 2022-23 as a junior, totaling 144 steals over 23 games. It was Mesick’s first individual entry in the girls basketball record book.

Coldwater’s Carlee Crabtree made a career-high 52 3-pointers during her senior season of 2019-20 on the way to making the MHSAA career list for long-distance shots with 163, in 469 attempts, over four seasons and 88 games total. She went on to play at Central Michigan and Hope College.

Battle Creek Pennfield’s Kaylee Glidden capped her three-year varsity career in 2023 among the most accurate free-throw shooters in MHSAA history – and also among top 3-point aces. She made 90.6 percent of her free-throw attempts as a senior, good for fifth-highest percentage all-time for one season, and her 84.4-percent success rate ranks fourth on the career list. She also made the single-season 3-pointers list with 67 that winter and the career list with 168. She continued at Kellogg Community College and has committed to Great Lakes Christian College.

Larissa Huffman made a pair of career lists upon completing her four-year varsity career in 2023 at Mackinaw City. She was added for 468 assists and 411 steals, both over 92 games, and she’s continuing her career at St. Norbert (Wis.). Additionally, Mackinaw City was added to the single-game field goals list as a team for making at least 39 in a game six times over the 2021-22 and 2022-23 seasons, with a high of 45.

Lansing Christian earned a listing on the team 3-pointers list when it sank 14 on 32 attempts against Webberville on Jan. 20, 2023. Seven players drained at least one of the long-distance shots.  

Grayling’s 66-49 win over Houghton Lake on Dec. 19 included one of the most impressive defensive performances of all-time as senior Makayla Watkins had 19 steals – tying for third-most in one game.

Brooklyn Columbia Central’s Zoandria Bamm grabbed 28 rebounds during a Feb. 14, 2023, game against Clinton to make the single-game list in that category and on the way to finishing her senior season with 380 rebounds over 25 games – tying for 13th most on that list. She’s playing at Jackson College.

Riley Abney became the first player to be listed for points scored in a quarter of a girls basketball game when she sank 21 of her 36 total during the fourth quarter of a 64-47 loss to Linden on Jan. 16. The Ortonville Brandon senior has committed to be a preferred walk-on at Oakland.

A pair of Paw Paw standouts earned single-game accomplishments within three days of each other in January. On Jan. 26 against Sturgis, junior AJ Rickli grabbed 31 rebounds, tied for seventh-most for one game. On Jan. 29 against Three Rivers, sophomore Stella Shaefer made the single-game assists list with 14.

Keira Maki joined the single-game points list on Feb. 22 when she scored 47 in Escanaba’s 64-49 win over Sault Ste. Marie. The senior will continue at Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

PHOTO Baraga’s Corina Jahfetson (22) brings the ball upcourt during the 2023 Division 4 Final against Glen Lake at Breslin Center.