Muskegon-Area Girls Hoops Builds Prestige

December 7, 2016

By Tom Kendra
Special for Second Half

Artrese Williams noticed something new at her basketball games last winter:

Big crowds.

Williams, now a senior leader and defensive stopper for the Muskegon Reeths-Puffer girls basketball team, was blown away by the student sections, noise and just overall increased interest in girls basketball last season as the evenly-matched trio of Reeths-Puffer, Muskegon High and Muskegon Mona Shores battled for supremacy in the Ottawa-Kent Conference Green.

“I love it when there’s a big crowd and the students are getting crazy,” said Williams. “That’s all the motivation I need.”

The Meijer Muskegon Area Sports Hall of Fame Classic took notice of the growing buzz surrounding the girls games along the lakeshore – driven by a spike in talent, particularly at the area’s larger schools – and this year for the first time will feature a girls varsity opening game at its one-day, three-game event Dec. 28 at Reeths-Puffer High School.

Reeths-Puffer will tip off at 5:30 p.m. against perennial power Muskegon Oakridge in a showcase that has become a Muskegon-area tradition over Christmas break. The event is in its 15th year.

“Our committee has noticed much more interest in girls hoops, no question about it,” said Mack, a longtime boys and girls basketball coach at Mona Shores, who has served as the Hall of Fame Classic director since its inception in 2002. “They have earned the right to be part of this event.”

Mack expects an outstanding girls game leading into a clash of Top 10 boys teams in Grand Rapids Christian and Holland West Ottawa, followed by the traditional boys finale of Muskegon against East Kentwood.

Williams can’t wait to get the crowd going as a senior on her home floor, where she leads a veteran team that includes fellow seniors Elysia Mattos (guard) and 6-foot twin towers Brooke Larabee and Delaney Bolles.

As juniors, those four helped the Rockets knock off Muskegon and Miss Basketball runner-up Mardrekia Cook (now at Michigan State) during the regular season but came up just short in three tough losses to OK Green champion Mona Shores, including a season-ending 47-38 defeat in the Class A District title game. Reeths-Puffer finished the season 15-6. 

“It doesn’t seem like anyone is really talking about us this year, but we have experience and I think our conditioning has been a lot better, plus we have the motivation,” said Williams, a speedy, 5-4 guard whose older sister Camaryia Williams and cousin Kalisa Williams also were standout players for the Rockets and now play at Muskegon Community College.

Mona Shores is the league favorite again with the return of Miss Basketball candidate Jordan Walker and junior Alyza Winston, while Muskegon also boasts a deep, experienced team. The sleeper along the lakeshore could be the O-K Red’s Grand Haven, which is only four years removed from back-to-back Class A championships.

“There’s just a really special group of girls players in the Muskegon area right now,” said ninth-year Reeths-Puffer coach Brandon Barry. “I think it’s great that was recognized.”

Reeths-Puffer’s matchup with Oakridge, which boasts a stellar backcourt in senior sharpshooter Hannah Reinhold and sophomore point guard Sophia Wiard, has special meaning for the veteran coach. Barry has taught at Oakridge since 1989 and in July was inducted into the Michigan High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame after his 25th year as the Oakridge baseball coach.

“I’ll cheer for them every other night,” Barry said of the Eagles, who have won 50 consecutive games in the West Michigan Conference under coach Terry DeJonge. “We have had some great games with them the past few years, and this should be another one.”

Tom Kendra worked 23 years at The Muskegon Chronicle, including five as assistant sports editor and the final six as sports editor through 2011. E-mail him at [email protected] with story ideas for Muskegon, Oceana, Mason, Lake, Oceola, Mecosta and Newaygo counties.

PHOTOS: (Top) Coach Brandon Barry and his Muskegon Reeths-Puffer girls basketball team get ready for introductions before an O-K Black conference game last year at Muskegon High School. (Middle) Artrese Williams (5) is one of four senior starters for the Muskegon Reeths-Puffer girls basketball team, which will play Muskegon Oakridge on Dec. 28 in the opening game of the 15th annual Muskegon Area Sports Hall of Fame Classic at Reeths-Puffer. (Photos by Tim Reilly.)

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.