Hot-Shooting Country Day Wins for Coach O

By Paul Costanzo
Special for

March 18, 2017

EAST LANSING – As the final seconds of his 12th MHSAA title run at Detroit Country Day ticked away, legendary coach Frank Orlando was serenaded as his school's student section chanted: “We love Coach O.”

Orlando acknowledged the fans, wiped away some tears, and moments later accepted the Class B girls basketball championship trophy along with a group of girls that were extra special to him. And after their 59-48 win against Ypsilanti Arbor Prep at the Breslin Center, they made it very clear that he’s extra special to them as well.

“This season, I really wasn’t thinking about the loss (in the 2016 Semifinals); for me personally, I was playing for Coach O,” Country Day senior Destiny Pitts said. “During the offseason last year after we lost, Coach O had a stroke, so it just kind of hit me hard. This season, I’ve been playing for him, and just knowing how important it is for him. Coming into this, we just had extreme confidence because we just knew we wanted to take the state championship back to Country Day for the fans and our community.”

Country Day’s 12th title came two years after No. 11, which was won with many of the same players as the latest triumph. That one came as a bit of a surprise to Orlando – this one brought out plenty of emotion.

“When we won it when they were sophomores and freshmen, I was excited and I was very happy – I was kind of surprised,” said Orlando, who opened the press conference by stating he planned to come back in 2017-18 for his 37th season at Country Day and 51st overall. “This year, it was more emotional because they’re leaving me now. I like that they’re going, don’t get me wrong, but it’s kind of sad for me.”

Country Day’s shooting effort was the opposite of sad, as the Yellowjackets hit 22 of 34 (64.7 percent) shots from the field, including 7 of 12 (58.3 percent) from 3-point range. Pitts led the way with 17 points and 10 rebounds, while Tylar Bennett had 15 points on 7 of 8 shooting, and Kaela Webb had 13 points and nine assists.

“I think we did that by moving the ball,” Pitts said. “We weren’t forcing shots, we would just keep swinging the ball until we found the open person, and I think each individual player on the team did extremely well sharing the ball, and when they were open they shot it.”

The Yellowjackets (26-1) led for most of the game, moving ahead late in the first quarter and never relinquishing the advantage. They jumped out to a 27-15 halftime lead, holding Arbor Prep to 5 of 24 (20.8 percent) shooting during the opening 16 minutes.

“I thought Country Day played a real good game,” Arbor Prep coach Rod Wells said. “They made a lot of shots, and first half we didn’t make shots, and it was just hard to make up that gap. I’m truly proud of my girls, my girls brought effort, but sometimes the ball just doesn’t fall that way.”

Arbor Prep (27-1), which won the Class C title a year ago, pushed back in the second half, but every time it looked to get momentum and cut into the Country Day lead, the Yellowjackets had an immediate answer.

Ro’zhane Wells hit a pair of 3s on back-to-back possessions, but Country Day responded with a jumper from Webb the first time and a 3 from Pitts after the second. A Lasha Petree 3-pointer cut the Country Day lead to 11 early in the fourth quarter, but Maxine Moore’s putback halted the momentum. Another Pitts’ 3 on Country Day’s next possession pushed the lead back to 16 with less than six minutes to play.

Arbor Prep cut the lead to nine twice with less than three minutes to play, Country Day responded with a pair of press-breaking layups from Bennett, the second sparking a 9-1 run that put the game away for good. Webb assisted on all but one of those baskets during the run, the other being a 3-pointer she drained from straightaway.

“We played a lot better in the second half,” Rod Wells said. “It took us a while to adjust to the zone. Country Day played us man in the beginning, then they went to the matchup zone and they gave us some problems until halftime. But I’m really proud of my girls, three losses in two seasons. We beat the Class A state champs and the Class C state champs; we just didn’t beat the Class B.”

Petree led Arbor Prep with 15 points and six rebounds, while Wells had 14 points. Adrienne Anderson added seven points and five assists for the Gators, who were making their third straight trip to Breslin and had won 36 straight games.

“I think it’s been a phenomenal run,” Anderson, a senior, said. “I think we’ve pushed each other the whole time, and we’ve had a lot of fun. I love these girls to death. Even after we leave we’re still going to be close, because these are my sisters. Every day in practice we worked hard. I feel like everybody left everything they could’ve done on the court. Country Day just made shots.”

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS: (Top) Detroit Country Day’s Maxine Moore (44) battles Arbor Prep’s Lasha Petree for a loose ball during the Class B Final. (Middle) Yellowjackets Kaela Webb (left) and Destiny Pitts celebrate the program’s latest title with coach Frank Orlando. 

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

By Geoff Kimmerly 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.