Madison 3-Sporter Wall Soars in Every Season

January 25, 2019

By Doug Donnelly
Special for Second Half

ADRIAN – How good of a senior year is Kaiya Wall having?

In the fall, Wall again earned all-state honors after leading Adrian Madison to 47 victories, conference and District championships, and she signed a letter of intent to play Division I volleyball after high school.

This winter, her Madison basketball team is 8-0, ranked among the state’s 10 best Division 3 teams by The Associated Press and sitting atop the Tri-County Conference.

What’s more amazing is her best might still be yet to come. Wall figures to be an anchor on a Madison girls track squad that has won 87 consecutive Tri-County Conference dual meets and could be an MHSAA title contender this spring.

“I don’t know if she has a ‘best’ sport,” said Madison track coach Josh Powers. “She is pretty darn good at all three she is playing.”

Wall is one of those rare athletes who can jump from sport to sport without skipping a beat. In the summer, she would split time between summer basketball and travel volleyball.

She is the third-leading scorer on Madison’s undefeated basketball team heading into tonight’s TCC clash with Ottawa Lake Whiteford. She also is one of top defenders on a suffocating Trojans defense giving up just 24.3 points per game. Three of Madison’s last four opponents have been held to 20 or fewer points.

Wall missed basketball season last year due to an injury, but her return this year has solidified the Trojans on the court.

“Kaiya has made a tremendous impact on our team this season,” Madison basketball coach Rick McNeil said. “She is very quick and has become an outstanding defender.”

Wall also has improved on the offensive end. McNeil said that has been the biggest difference for her.

“She has developed her ball handling skills, and we are able to move her to the guard position where she is a match-up problem for many teams because of her height and speed,” McNeil said. “She is an excellent passer and has the ability to hit the perimeter shot.”

Playing volleyball in college was far from a slam dunk decision. She also was recruited for track.

“I struggled deciding between track and volleyball,” Wall said. “I’ve gone on visits for both. I knew I wanted to play something in college. When I fell in love with that campus, I just decided I wanted to play volleyball.”

Wall was the Lenawee County volleyball player of the year as a junior and has earned second-team all-state honors three years running. She finished her career just shy of 2,000 kills and signed to play collegiately at Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi.

During her career she played in 545 sets, compiling 1,986 kills, 933 digs and 280 blocks – strong numbers for a girl who didn’t play competitive volleyball until seventh grade and only after friends talked her into it.

“I was terrible,” she said. “I was this tall, skinny girl, and they were like, ‘OK, you can play.’”

Her friends made a smart choice. Wall blossomed into a 5-foot-11 outside hitter.

“When I first met Kaiya, she was very raw with so much natural athleticism,” said Kathy Albers, now the head coach at Ypsilanti Lincoln who at one time coached Wall in travel volleyball. “She just needed to be taught and for someone to believe in her – but push her. After her first year of club with us, the talent was so apparent.

“She improved so much faster than most. Her height plus her jumping ability makes her tough at the net, and her quickness makes up for everything else.”

At Madison, Wall played for Dawn Opsal for her first three years and Kelsey Cortright this past season. Cortright stepped into the Madison job and saw first-hand Wall’s athleticism and leadership ability.

“Most importantly, she puts her team before herself,” Cortright said. “She is selfless and encouraging to all those around her, making her a role model for others both on and off the court. Outside of her abilities as a team leader, her athletic ability is remarkable.”

Jackson State coaches noticed that ability before ever seeing her in person. They found out about her by viewing a highlight video she had posted online. They reached out, and she went to Mississippi for a visit and fell in love with the campus and volleyball program.

Another criteria that helped her choose Jackson State was its academics. Wall has a 3.93 grade-point average and ranks 12th in her senior class at Madison.

“I plan on going into pre-med,” she said. “I want to be a trauma surgeon. They have a very good program.”

Had she not become enamored with the volleyball program, she might have been a track signee.

Wall won the Division 3 Finals 100-meter hurdles title as a freshman. As a sophomore she helped Madison win the team championship by finishing second in the high jump. Last year she was ninth in the high jump, second in the 100 hurdles and on the runner-up 1,600 relay team as the Trojans placed seventh as a team.

Powers, who will be inducted into the Michigan Interscholastic Track Coaches Association Hall of Fame next week in Lansing, said Wall is determined.

“She takes advice and works on it,” he said. “I am, and I think she is, expecting her best track season yet.”

Doug Donnelly has served as a sports and news reporter and city editor over 25 years, writing for the Daily Chief-Union in Upper Sandusky, Ohio from 1992-1995, the Monroe Evening News from 1995-2012 and the Adrian Daily Telegram since 2013. He's also written a book on high school basketball in Monroe County and compiles record books for various schools in southeast Michigan. E-mail him at [email protected] with story ideas for Jackson, Washtenaw, Hillsdale, Lenawee and Monroe counties.

PHOTOS: (Top) Adrian Madison’s Kaiya Wall works to deflect a shot this season against Clinton. (Middle) Wall serves during a Division 3 Volleyball Semifinal in 2016.

St. George's Senior Season Filled with Historic Trip, Sizzling 3-Point Shooting

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

May 21, 2024

Delaney St. George helped Kingston reach its first MHSAA Girls Basketball Final this winter – and along the way finished her high school career among the most prolific 3-point shooters in state history.

The four-year varsity senior made 87 3-pointers this season for the Division 4 runner-up Cardinals, good to tie for 10th on the single-season list after she made 93 as a junior to rank fourth all-time.

She finished her Kingston career with 290 3-pointers in 793 attempts over 94 games – good for second on the career 3-pointers list.

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

Girls Basketball

Hemlock’s 18-6 run this season was fueled in part by more successful 3-point shooting. The Huskies made single-season lists with 170 3-pointers and 552 attempts, and also for making 14 3-pointers Jan. 5 against St. Louis.

Senior Mia McLaughlin made nine of 15 3-point shots for Frankenmuth in a Feb. 6 win over Birch Run as the Eagles made the team record book list with 15 3-pointers total. They also were added for 14 3-pointers in a Feb. 20 win over Bay City John Glenn. McLaughlin will continue her career at Ferris State.

McBain sophomore Peyton Grant scored all 27 of her points Jan. 17 against Houghton Lake on nine 3-pointers to make the single-game list in that category.

Seniors Autumn Tremblay and Ceara LeBlanc earned Brimley’s first girls basketball record book listings this season. Both made single-game lists in a Feb. 27 win over Harbor Springs Harbor Light Christian – Tremblay scored 21 points during the first quarter and LeBlanc had 16 steals for the game – and LeBlanc also was added for 141 steals total over 25 games this past winter.

Reed City’s run at the Central State Activities Association title this winter was fueled in part by 3-point shooting. The Coyotes finished one game out of first, but made the records with 517 3-point attempts over 24 games – and just missed the made 3-pointers list connecting on 143.

Howell sophomore Gabrielle Piepho added her third record book listing over her first two seasons this winter making 89.2 percent of her free throw attempts to rank eighth on that single-season list. Howell as a team also made the 3-point attempts list with 536 over 25 games, and also just missed the 3-pointers made list with 146.

Saline finished the 2023-24 season among the all-time leading 3-point shooters again, this time with 192 – 14th-most for one season – in 587 attempts over 24 games. Sophomore Keira Roehm led the way with 78 3-pointers, tying for 21st on that list.

Junior Tamerah Peterson led Sterling Heights Parkway Christian to a District title this season, providing a record-setting defensive boost in addition to her offensive skills. She finished with 173 steals – eighth-most for one season – over 21 games.

Niles Brandywine reached Breslin Center this season with another stellar distance shooting display, making the record book with both 186 3-pointers and 610 attempts from beyond the arc in finishing Division 3 runner-up.

Alie Bisballe capped her career at Lake City this winter by helping her team reach the Division 3 Semifinal at Breslin Center – and by reaching the MHSAA girls basketball record book in two categories. The 6-foot-4 post player made the lists with 329 rebounds and 188 blocked shots, both in 28 games as Lake City finished 25-3. She will continue her career at Wisconsin.

Ironwood junior Hanna Vaughn will enter her final season next winter already on the career 3-pointers list. She’s made 155 3-pointers over her first three seasons and 70 games on varsity.

PHOTO Kingston’s Delaney St. George (10) pulls up for a shot during the Division 4 Final against Ishpeming.