Nouvel Sets Stage for Photo Finish

March 14, 2013

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

EAST LANSING – A photo at the Hengesbach home shows Saginaw Nouvel coach Kris and her then-seventh grade daughter Taylor hugging after the Panthers’ first MHSAA girls basketball championship, in 2007.

They’re hoping to take the same picture Saturday, but this time with mom and daughter celebrating as champions together.

Nouvel earned that opportunity Thursday with a 44-32 Semifinal win over Houghton at Michigan State University’s Breslin Center. The Panthers will play in their fourth championship game under Hengesbach and for their first title since also repeating in 2008.

“Sometimes we drive separately to practice,” Taylor Hengesbach joked about being coached by her mom. “But no, I wouldn’t ask for anything else. It’s the best experience you can have.”

“Like Taylor said, it’s surreal,” Kris Hengesbach added. “I pinch myself every day that we get to share this journey together that we’ve always talked about. It’s pretty cool.”

At that, and in typical mother-daughter fashion, Taylor told her wet-eyed mom to stop before she too broke into tears.

No doubt, Kris Hengesbach could recognize she had this kind of team on the way. The No. 4 Panthers will face No. 3 Manchester at 4 p.m. Saturday for the championship.

And Taylor's had a good idea what it would take as well.

“I remember that (2007) team being so energetic and confident,” she said. “The school was so supportive, and we couldn't have done it without those aspects. The team chemistry and the student section, and everyone being involved.”

Nouvel student cheerers traveled en masse Thursday to see the Panthers jump to an 11-0 lead over the first five minutes. Houghton played Nouvel nearly even the rest of the way, but could get only within seven of the lead.

The No. 7 Gremlins (23-3) nearly pulled closer, just missing stealing the inbounds pass after junior Elisa Jurmu’s basket with 1:34 to play made the score 40-32. Instead, Houghton didn't score again.

Junior center Rachel McInerney had 16 points, 17 rebounds and five blocks to lead the Panthers (25-2), and Hengesbach added 13 points.

Jurmu and senior guard Alexa Johnson led Houghton with 11 points each, but the Gremlins as a whole had a tough time getting established against the 6-2 McInerney in the post. Houghton was outrebounded 44-31 and shot only 20 percent from the floor while often being forced to attack from outside.

“It goes back to shooting. We missed shots we've hit throughout the season. Maybe they blocked a couple, maybe they got into our minds a little bit,” Houghton coach Julie Filpus said.

“The part that frustrated us is we feel good about our inside-outside attack. But their length affected our inside attack, and we had to rely on our perimeter (shooting). When shots don’t fall, we’re going to be in trouble.”

Nouvel has now beaten three top-10 teams during the tournament, in addition to Class B No. 1 Freeland and reigning Class D champion Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes during the regular season.

“With my experience as a coach and going through all of this, to me the key is you've got to have team leadership, and we have it. Talent obviously, and chemistry,” Kris Hengesbach said. “You can’t rely on one person every single night. We've got threats on the floor at every position, and everyone steps up every single game.

“I told them to just soak it up. It’s a special time, and they’re a special team.”

Click for the full box score. 

PHOTOS: (Top) Saginaw Nouvel's Taylor Hengesbach (44) drives around a Houghton defender during Thursday's Class C Semifinal. (Middle) Houghton's Alexa Johnson (13) looks for an open teammate. (Photos by 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.