P-W Earns Shot to Add to Title Collection

March 16, 2017

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

EAST LANSING – Pewamo-Westphalia is enjoying a championship-caliber school year.

And now the Pirates girls basketball team wants its piece of MHSAA title success.

P-W can claim its third Finals title of 2016-17 on Saturday, thanks to the hoops team's 64-51 win over Maple City Glen Lake in Thursday’s second Class C Semifinal.

The Pirates girls can join the football and boys cross country teams as champions when they take on Detroit Edison Public School Academy in the 4 p.m. championship game. The Semifinal was P-W’s first since 2002, and the title game appearance will be the program’s first since finishing Class C runners-up in 1983 and 1984 – making it seem like all of this recent winning might be contagious.

“I think it’s just the community. Our community is so supportive, as you can see at any game and any championships – our community is there,” said P-W senior guard Brenna Wirth, herself a main cog on the school’s girls track & field Division 3 title winner in 2015. “I think we feed off that, and it keeps us going.

“I’ve been playing basketball for several years now, longer than I’ve been running, and basketball is really important to me and the community.”

How much it means to Wirth and her teammates came out especially over Thursday’s final 19 minutes.

Glen Lake (23-4) entered the regular season unranked but had already eliminated No. 2 Traverse City St. Francis and No. 7 St. Ignace before taking the floor against the No. 6 Pirates. The Lakers didn’t waste time going after another giant, taking as much as a nine-point lead into the final three minutes of the first half.

“Throughout the season, we tend to say the same thing over and over – you never win the game in the first four minutes,” P-W coach Steve Eklund said. “They were outhustling us; I’d say for the first 8 to 10 minutes they were outhustling us. Sometimes you have to adjust to your opponent. I think it took us a little time tonight to settle into the environment.”

“Obviously we had to fight back every little run they had,” junior forward Emily Spitzley added. “We just had in our minds to keep fighting. It’s just about confidence.”

If the all-state second-teamer was lacking any, she found it as the comeback began.

Spitzley scored 20 of her game-high 24 points and grabbed eight of her 12 rebounds – and also blocked three shots – as the Pirates forced a 22-point swing.

P-W (24-2) closed the second quarter on an 8-0 run to get within 25-24 of Glen Lake by halftime. The Pirates then opened the third quarter on a 7-0 run to take a six-point lead.

Glen Lake got the advantage back twice with just under four minutes left in the third quarter, and after the Pirates rebuilt an eight-point lead got the deficit down to one again with 6:33 to play. But another P-W 8-0 run over the next three minutes finally put the game out of reach.

“We’ve had a lot of games where we had slow starts, but we’ve worked hard on coming out (strong) in the third quarter,” Glen Lake coach Jason Bradford said. “We just came out kinda slow on our heels and got away from what we usually do – pushing the ball, kicking it out. We were spinning our heels a little bit, and we got a little shell-shocked when the score started going the other way.”

Wirth added 13 points, and junior forward Kate Hengesbach added nine points, 12 rebounds and six steals off the bench in 20 minutes of play.

Junior guard Allie Bonzelet led three Lakers scoring in double figures with 14 points, and junior forward Jennifer LaCross had 13 and seven rebounds. Senior guard Kelly Bunek added 11 points and senior forward Sarah Carney finished her career grabbing nine rebounds.

P-W fans had about a 30-minute drive to fill their side of the Breslin stands Thursday, but Glen Lake had nearly as many fans – including three spectator bus loads – make a nearly four-hour trek.

“It’s just great to be able to put our name out there and show people all the hard work we’ve been putting in,” Carney said. “To just see the community come out and support us … it’s very rewarding to see the support we have.”

Click for the full box score.

The Girls Basketball Finals are presented by Sparrow Health System. 

PHOTOS: (Top) P-W’s Emily Spitzley drives to the basket during Thursday’s Class C Semifinal win. (Middle) Glen Lake’s Savannah Peplinski (24) works to get past the Pirates’ Ellie Droste.

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

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com 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.