Marian Finishes Familiar Foe to Advance

March 14, 2014

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

EAST LANSING – As all-girls schools located 7.2 miles apart in the Detroit suburbs, Bloomfield Hills Marian and Farmington Hills Mercy have plenty in common.

And then there’s the basketball rivalry they took up a level this winter.

They had a combined tie score of 149-149 over their first three games entering Friday’s Class A Semifinal at the Breslin Center. They split regular-season meetings, and hence, the Detroit Catholic League Central championship. Mercy won their third matchup, in the Catholic League Tournament final, but by just a point. The Marlins were ranked No. 3 at the end of the regular season, and the Mustangs were No. 5.

Those similarities are easy to point out. But it might’ve been even easier to measure how badly Marian wanted to move on to Saturday’s championship game while simultaneously ending its rival’s season.

“After that loss … we just picked each other up. From that moment on, every sprint we ran was to get back at Mercy,” Marian senior forward Laura Bruton said. “We knew we were going to meet them later on, in this game, and it just means everything. It’s been our dream to get here too, but just beating Mercy here is so much more important to us as a team than basically being here, in my opinion.”

Marian (24-2) will be in East Lansing one more day and with one more celebration in mind, thanks to a 67-55 defeat of Mercy in their fourth and final meeting of 2013-14. The Mustangs will face Canton in the noon Saturday Final. 

As closely as Marian and Mercy had played each other this season – and with many of these same players over the last few – there wasn’t much left to surprise.

And that meant the Mustangs were plenty prepared for the multiple Mercy press defenses that had slowed them down, especially in their most recent meeting.

That also allowed Marian coach Mary Cicerone to predict to her team a 15-point win Friday if it found a way to break the Marlins’ pressure.

Close enough.

“We kept saying, ‘Here is comes,’ and it came,” Cicerone said. “We panicked a little bit, somebody traveled, somebody threw the ball away. We took a timeout and got organized. Mercy made runs; we made our runs back.”

Marian did lead the final 26 minutes of the game – although that and the final score were not good indicators of the closeness of the game until the Mustangs took control for good with a 13-4 final run beginning midway through the fourth quarter.

And it certainly hurt Mercy’s effort when senior starting guard Allie Grocyca left with an injury after playing only 11 minutes, and senior Candice Leatherwood was slowed by a knee injury as well.

“I said to the kids, we got behind early and it seemed like we were trying to dig ourselves out of the hole, climb back over the mountain,” Mercy coach Gary Morris said. “Every time we’d get close, something else would happen.”

Junior guard Kara Holinski scored a game-high 20 points to go with five rebounds and four assists for Marian. Junior forward Brittany Gray added 14 points and nine rebounds, and freshman guard Samantha Thomas scored 13 points.

Junior guard Taylor Jones scored 15 points to lead Mercy (25-2), and Leatherwood scored 14 including the 1,000th of her four-year varsity career. Senior Tyler Parlor came off the bench with eight points and 11 rebounds

“I told my assistants I thought I’d be retired before we ever got back here,” said Cicerone, who has totaled 559 wins over 31 seasons and last led the Mustangs to an MHSAA title in 1998. “But this junior group came in, and you just can’t boot them out of the gym. … They just work and work and work. We knew we had something.”

“We’ve been definitely looking forward to this game for a long time,” Holinski added. “Not in our wildest dreams did we think we’d be able to play Mercy again after the Catholic League loss. Coming into (this) game, we were so focused, so determined to beat them. We love each other so much, and we wanted to do it for each other.”

Click for a full box score.

PHOTOS: (Top) Marian guard Samantha Thomas works to get by Mercy’s Candice Leatherwood on Friday. (Middle) Marian’s Laura Bruton brings the ball upcourt surrounded by teammates and Mercy’s Taylor Jones. 

HIGHLIGHTS: (1) Mercy tightens things up against Marian in the third quarter when Sierra LaGrande cans a 3-pointer and Taylor Jones follows with a steal and a layup. (2) Kara Holinski scores on a putback after Marian beats Mercy's pressure to start a 9-3 run midway through the third quarter.

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.