Lenawee Christian Earns Saturday Return

March 21, 2019

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

GRAND RAPIDS – When Division 1 Ann Arbor Pioneer made a last-second 3-pointer to force Adrian Lenawee Christian to overtime a little more than a month ago – and the Cougars still prevailed – junior Elizabeth Miller knew her team was on the way to another special finish this winter.

Only a season removed from the team’s first MHSAA girls basketball championship, there no doubt were recognizable signs.

“We really just played with heart in overtime and ended up winning, and that was a really big win for us,” Miller said. “That kinda motivated us to work really hard the rest of the season. I think that’s what pushed us to get here today.”

After winning Class D led by an all-state freshman and without a senior in the starting lineup, it may have seemed inevitable Lenawee Christian would return to Calvin College and the final day of this season.

The Cougars took the last step Thursday with a 57-36 Division 4 Semifinal win over Fowler, setting up Saturday’s 10 a.m. championship matchup with undefeated St. Ignace.

By looks of their scores this playoff run, Lenawee Christian (25-2) barely has been challenged – Thursday’s win was the sixth straight by at least 15 points since opening the tournament with an eight-point victory over Pittsford.

But it’s hardly been that easy, as the Cougars again prepped for this postseason with a slate of games against larger opponents, losing only to Division 3 top-10 teams Grass Lake and Michigan Center.  

“We know we have to work hard. We know what it takes … just do it as a team to get here,” Lenawee Christian junior Dani Salenbien said. “We know what it takes, and we know it’s not going to be easy.”

Thursday’s start certainly helped.

A year ago, the Cougars needed overtime to get past Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart by two points in their Semifinal. This time, Lenawee Christian built a double-digit lead in just under five minutes, and kept it in double digits for good beginning with a Miller 3-pointer nine seconds into the second quarter.

Salenbien, an all-state second-teamer a year ago, led with 25 points and eight rebounds. Her sophomore sister Bree – the Class D Player of the Year by The Associated Press last season – added 17 points, nine rebounds and four assists. Both made at least half their shots from the floor, and Dani missed making the MHSAA record book by two free throws, connecting on 13 of 16 attempts from the line.

“I just think the target on our back has been extremely big, and the expectations have been really high,” Cougars coach (and Bree and Dani’s father) Jamie Salenbien said. “But a credit to these kids for being as young as they are, being able to handle that night in, day in and out. It’s been amazing to see. Their faith and the support from the community has been amazing, and they’ve been able to handle that.”

Expectations were not as high this season for Fowler – but the Eagles put an impressive finishing touch on an inspiring comeback story with their first Semifinal appearance since 1999.

They play in the Central Michigan Athletic Conference – home of Division 3 top-ranked Pewamo-Westphalia and six-time Class D champ Portland St. Patrick among a host of contenders – and two years ago were down to just a varsity team.

Fowler’s lone team went 5-16 in 2016-17, improved to 10-12 a year ago and put together a solid run over the last three weeks to finish this season 17-8.

“When Coach (Nathan Goerge) broke the news that we were only going to have one team my sophomore year, it was kinda hard for me to take,” Eagles senior forward Alyssa Vandegriff said. “But ultimately I think it was a good decision because it helped everyone who was on that one team come together, and we got to know each other. The people who were on that team with us are on our team today. If we weren’t on the same team together my sophomore year, I don’t think we’d be as close as we were or play as well together.”

Junior guard Kalani Koenigsknecht and freshman guard Mia Riley both scored a team-high 10 points for Fowler. Sophomore Sarah Veale had eight points, five rebounds and three assists.

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS: (Top) Lenawee Christian’s Dani Salenbien directs the offense while Fowler’s Kalani Koenigsknecht defends. (Middle) The Eagles’ Josie Koenigsknecht defends against Salenbien.

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.