Kent City Finds Shooting Touch to Reach 1st Final

By Perry A. Farrell
Special for

April 7, 2021

EAST LANSING – Kent City has overcome every obstacle this season, and Friday the undefeated Eagles will play Grass Lake for the Division 3 girls basketball championship after defeating Calumet 59-53 in a Semifinal on Wednesday at the Breslin Center.

Grass Lake (19-1) advanced to Friday’s championship game when Hemlock opted out of the tournament Wednesday morning. Both Kent City and Grass Lake will be playing in a Final for the first time.

The Eagles (21-0) opened up an 11-point lead to start the fourth quarter Wednesday and held on despite the Copper Kings getting to within 54-50.

Kent City had a balanced offensive attack with Jenna Harrison scoring 15 points, Madelyn Geers 14, Kenzie Bowers 13, and sister Lexie Bowers 10.

“We just had to take a deep breath and relax,’’ said Harrison. “We knew eventually the shots would start falling.’’

Elli Djerf led the Copper Kings (20-1) with 22 points.

“She kept us in the game; she played her heart out,’’ said Calumet coach Matt Laho. “We needed to have a couple more players go with her, but unfortunately that didn’t happen.

“We had some defensive breakdowns in the third quarter, some bad rotations. It’s easy to make shots when you’re wide open.’’

Kent City pressured Calumet from the start as both teams struggled offensively in the first quarter. Both teams were under 25-percent shooting over those first eight minutes as the teams managed just 14 points for a 7-7 tie.

2021 D3 Girls Basketball Semifinal - Kent CityGeers, who scored four points in the first quarter, picked up her second foul with 9.8 seconds left in the period. Calumet then went on an 8-3 run to start the second quarter, using a triple from Djerf to take a 15-10 lead and force Kent City coach Scott Carlson to call a timeout.

Consecutive 3-pointers from Lexie Bowers got the Eagles back to within two of the lead, 17-15, as the offenses heated up.

A 10-0 run including consecutive threes from Bowers gave the Eagles a 24-19 advantage. But Djerf scored the last three points of the quarter to get the Copper Kings to within 24-22 at halftime.

“We knew eventually we’d make shots,’’ said Carlson.

Strom and Djerf scored the first six points of the third quarter to give Calumet a 28-24 lead, but Kent City’s offense, led by Geers, responded with a 20-9 run to take a 44-37 lead on a triple and floater by Kenzie Bowers.

Harrison finished the frantic quarter with a triple to give Kent City a 49-41 lead heading into the final eight minutes.

When Geers scored to start the fourth quarter, the Eagles had their largest lead of the game, 51-41.

Up 11, 52-41, Kent City went to its delay game, forcing the Copper Kings to foul.

“We have enough ball-handlers to run clock for five minutes.’’ said Carlson. “They were tired, and playing defense that long wears you out.’’

Lexie Bowers led Kent City with 10 points while Marybeth Halonen had seven for the Copper Kings.

“We’re living the dream right now on the big stage,” Carlson said. “I think it’s a huge advantage for us having played today (while Grass Lake didn’t).’’

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS: (Top) Kent City's Jenna Harrison (4) makes her way around a Calumet defender Wednesday at Breslin Center. (Middle) Madelyn Geers (24) defends as Calumet's Jana Loukus looks for an opening. (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.)