Hudsonville Earns Historic Win with Signature Skill

By Jason Schmitt
Special for

April 7, 2021

EAST LANSING – Hudsonville head coach Casey Glass is beyond the point where he’ll mince words — particularly when it comes to his team’s defensive play.

He knows how good his Eagles are.

“It’s not a secret anymore, but I think we’re one of the best defensive teams in the state of Michigan,” Glass said. “We’ve got kids that come out every day ready to play and D it up.”

That was the case for Glass and his team during their Division 1 Semifinal game against Midland Dow Wednesday at the Breslin Center in East Lansing. Hudsonville put on a defensive clinic, holding the Chargers scoreless for the first 6½ minutes of the fourth quarter and limiting them to just 14 second-half points during a 49-35 victory which catapulted the Eagles into the championship game, where they’ll face Detroit Renaissance.

“You get Alaina (Diaz) and Eva Joldersma on their two best players, and we really just tried to use a little bit of extra height and athleticism to shut down their two best players and I thought we did a really good job of that,” Glass said.

Dow’s top two scorers, Alexa Kolnitys and Jada Garner, came into the game averaging a combined 30.6 points per contest. But they were limited to just 14 against the Eagles.

“I feel like most of our game is (about) defense, and every day at practice we push ourselves to play defense,” said Diaz, who finished with eight points, seven rebounds and a pair of steals. “We play against each other and push each other to play harder.”

Hudsonville led by seven after one quarter and upped its lead to 17-8 moments into the second. But Dow went on a 10-0 run, fueled by a pair of 3-pointers by juniors Kennedy Caldwell and Abby Rey, a putback by Kolnitys and a pair of free throws by Rey, to take an 18-17 lead with 4:32 left in the first half.

Hudsonville/Midland Dow Division 1 Semifinal 2“We make our run in the second quarter, when we hit a few 3s and you get on a roll and take a lead. Then in the second half, we go 0-for-9 from beyond the 3-point line,” Dow coach Kyle Theisen said. “All year long, we’ve said that when we’re making shots, we can beat anybody, and when we’re missing shots, anybody can beat us. That’s what the second half was. We were missing shots. We got good looks at 3s and they didn’t go down for us.”

For the game, Dow shot just 12 for 46 from the field, including 4 for 15 from 3-point range.

“We don’t usually shoot that poorly,” Theisen continued. “We got the shots we wanted, but sometimes they just don’t go down. I absolutely loved the effort of our girls. I loved the all-out hustle on every play and never giving up.

“Diaz did a good job. We tried to get some switches on ball screens and she did a really good job of getting over the top or underneath on those ball screens. We were trying to attack some of their bigs with our guards, and she made it difficult. She’s a really good defender on the ball.

“When you have that much height protecting the rim on the help side, there were no easy points to be had.”

Rey led Dow with 13 points, including a pair of 3-pointers. Kolnitys had 10 points and 11 rebounds for the Chargers, who finished their season 22-1.

“Got to give (Midland Dow) credit, they’re well coached,” Glass said. “Those girls gave everything they had. Fortunately for us tonight, we had a little bit more in the tank.”

Hudsonville sophomore Maddie Petroelje led her team with 15 points. Junior Jaci Tubergen had seven points and a team-best 11 rebounds, while senior Emmalynn Costen added six points and 10 rebounds. The Eagles (22-1) will now take on Renaissance (13-4) in Friday’s Division 1 championship game, a first-time appearance in the finale for Hudsonville. The Phoenix defeated Wayne Memorial, 75-72, in Wednesday’s first Semifinal.

“Renaissance is a team that puts a lot of pressure on you,” Glass said. “We’re fortunate to have kids on our team that can handle that pressure. We’ll get back to Hudsonville, watch some film and get back to the drawing board and come up with a game plan for Friday.”

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS: (Top) Hudsonville's Alaina Diaz (23) makes her move as Dow's Jada Garner defends Wednesday at Breslin Center. (Middle) Diaz works to grab a loose ball while surrounded by Chargers.(Click for more from Hockey Weekly Action Photos.)

Performance of the Week: Hemlock's Regan Finkbeiner

March 24, 2023

Regan FinkbeinerRegan Finkbeiner ♦ Hemlock
Senior ♦ Basketball

The 5-foot-6 guard capped her high school career at Breslin Center over the weekend with team highs of 24 points and four steals in Thursday’s 57-26 Division 3 Semifinal win over Hart and the team-leading 19 points and four assists in the 59-43 win over Blissfield on Saturday that clinched the Huskies their first MHSAA Finals championship in girls basketball.

Finkbeiner played all but four minutes of 64 total over the two games, and she made a combined 15 of her 27 shots from the floor and 9 of 10 free throw attempts, plus four 3-pointers in the Final. She had entered the season’s final week averaging 17.1 points, 3.5 assists and 4.8 steals per game and in February became the program’s all-time leading scorer breaking the previous record of 1,302. A standout in multiple sports, she’s committed to continue playing softball after high school at Madonna University. Her basketball team finished 26-3 this winter.

@mhsaasports 🏀POW: Regan Finkbeiner #performanceoftheweek #basketball #champion #congrats #huskies #hemlock #letsgo #moana #MHSAA #highschoolsports #tiktalk #interview #TikTok#mistudentaid #fyp ♬ Beat Automotivo Tan Tan Tan Viral - WZ Beat

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MI Student Aid's "Performance of the Week" features are powered by MI Student Aid, a part of the Office of Postsecondary Financial Planning located within the Michigan Department of Treasury. MI Student Aid encourages students to pursue postsecondary education by providing access to student financial resources and information. MI Student Aid administers the state’s 529 college savings programs (MET/MESP), as well as scholarship and grant programs that help make college Accessible, Affordable and Attainable for you. Connect with MI Student Aid at and find more information on Facebook and Twitter @mistudentaid.

2022-23 Honorees

March 16: Alaina Yaney, Grand Ledge gymnastics - Report
March 9:
Braeden Davis, Dundee wrestling - Report
March 2:
Gabriel Sanchez-Burks, Ann Arbor Pioneer swimming - Report
Feb. 23:
Grace Sobczak, Marquette swimming - Report
Feb. 16:
Kaitlynn Demers, Gibraltar Carlson competitive cheer - Report
Feb. 9:
Indya Davis, West Bloomfield basketball - Report
Feb. 2:
Braydon Sorenson, Onekama skiing - Report
Jan. 26:
Shayne Hruska, Iron Mountain wrestling - Report
Jan. 19:
Kayla Tafanelli, Warren Woods-Tower bowling - Report
Dec. 20:
Brenden Paden, Riverview Gabriel Richard hockey - Report
Dec. 16:
Tuff Scott, Holton bowling - Report
Dec. 9:
Macey Fegan, Standish-Sterling basketball - Report
Dec. 2:
Treyton Siegert, Gladwin football - Report
Nov. 24:
Lily Witte, Dexter diving - Report
Nov. 17:
Navea Gauthier, Shelby volleyball - Report
Nov. 10:
Derek Huisman, Holland Christian soccer - Report
Nov. 3:
Thomas Westphal, New Baltimore Anchor Bay cross country - Report
Oct. 27:
Justin Wickey, Colon football - Report
Oct. 20:
Owen DeMuth, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood tennis - Report
Oct. 13:
Mia Melendez, Ann Arbor Greenhills golf - Report
Oct. 6:
Shawn Foster, Grand Ledge football - Report
Sept. 30:
Hannah Smith, Temperance Bedford swimming - Report
Sept. 22:
Helen Sachs, Holland West Ottawa cross country - Report
Sept. 15:
Nina Horning, Lake Orion volleyball - Report
Sept 8:
Arturo Romero, Muskegon Oakridge soccer - Report
Sept. 1:
Austin King, Midland Dow tennis - Report
Aug. 25:
Olivia Hemmila, Troy Athens golf - Report

PHOTO Hemlock's Regan Finkbeiner drives to the basket during her team's Semifinal win over Hart. (Photos courtesy of the Hemlock girls basketball program.)