Newaygo Finds Way Past Country Day, Back to Finals

By Dean Holzwarth
Special for

April 7, 2021

GRAND RAPIDS – To make a long story short, the Newaygo girls basketball team is headed to the MHSAA Finals for the first time in almost 40 years.

The Lions leaned on the Long sisters to earn their spot after pulling away in the fourth quarter to knock off Detroit Country Day 55-39 in Wednesday’s first Division 2 Semifinal at Van Andel Arena.

Senior Jaylee Long and junior Jaxi Long combined for 23 points, eight assists, seven steals and six rebounds to help lift Newaygo to the victory. The Lions were led by junior Emmerson Goodin, who had 15 points and nine rebounds.

Newaygo (21-1) will play Portland in Friday’s 5:30 p.m. Final at Breslin Center.

“I love playing with my sister, especially because this is my last year, and so playing with her and going to the state championship game is pretty amazing,” said Jaylee Long, who recorded 11 points, five assists and four steals. 

“I’m going to miss playing with her, and I will try to convince her to go to Cornerstone with me, but it is definitely going to be fun for our last game.”

Jaylee Long said a majority of the players on the team have played together since third and fourth grade.

“We’ve all played together since we were younger.” she said. “We played together on AYBT teams and just all the way up. It’s been fun.”

Newaygo hasn’t been to the Finals since 1985, when it won the second of back-to-back Class C championships.

“It’s really a cool experience, and it is really a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” said Jaxi Long, who added 12 points. “It’s not like you get to come here every year, and I really love this team. This is a great team, and we love to hang out with each other.”

Jaylee Long is one of three seniors along with Anna Brummel and Lily Ruehmeier, who both hit shots in the second half.

“This is definitely the way to go out,” Jaylee Long said. “I’m really happy about this opportunity since last year we weren’t able to finish. It’s been kind of crazy, but to see our community come out to support us has been pretty amazing. They love us and want us to do well, and hopefully we can finish it off and get it.”

The Lions needed a fourth-quarter surge to stave off the youthful Yellowjackets (15-3), whose roster was primarily made up of freshmen and sophomores.

Detroit Country Day scored the first four points of the fourth quarter to pull within one (39-38); however, Newaygo went on a 16-0 run and held the Yellowjackets scoreless for more than six minutes.

“It was just a championship moment,” Lions coach Nate Thomasma said. “Someone makes a run on you, and how are you going to respond? They responded, and they tightened up defensively and we hit some big shots.

“That’s what you have to do in this tournament, because there’s always highs and lows. You have to keep playing hard, and we got the job done. Hopefully we can do that one more game, and I’m just really proud of these girls.”

Detroit Country Day was unable to withstand the Lions’ run and struggled to score throughout the fourth quarter.

The Yellowjackets were 0 for 7 from 3-point range in the final quarter and a dismal 4-22 (18 percent) from beyond the arc for the game. 

“They took us out of what we wanted to do,” first-year Country Day coach Jerica Williams said. “We are a three-point shooting team and we didn’t get off that many in the first half, and they took us out of our identity. They are a tough team top to bottom.”

Freshman Emma Arico led Country Day with a team-high 18 points. Chelsea Abulu, the Yellowjackets’ lone senior, grabbed 15 offensive rebounds and finished with 18 total. She also had four blocked shots.

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS: (Top) Detroit Country Day's Victoria Miller (0) works to wall off Newaygo's attack during Thursday's Division 2 Semifinal at Van Andel Arena. (Middle) Newaygo's Jaylee Long pushes the pace during Thursday's win. (Click for more from Hockey Weekly Action Photos.)

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.