P-W Wins OT to Earn Historic Opportunity

March 21, 2019

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

GRAND RAPIDS – Pewamo-Westphalia has played in three MHSAA Girls Basketball Finals. Three more teams have ended seasons in the Semifinals. Four more teams on top of those reached Quarterfinals and were done.

Total, that’s 10 teams that had made the final week of the season before this one. And now the Pirates have earned another opportunity to celebrate for all of them.

P-W will play for its first championship thanks to a 37-33 overtime win over Ypsilanti Arbor Prep on Thursday that also set the record for the lowest-scoring Semifinal in MHSAA girls basketball history.

Despite scoring six or fewer points during the second, third and fourth quarters, the Pirates outscored Arbor Prep 7-3 in the extra period to reach their second Final in three seasons.

“We’ve been here so many times before, and it’s frustrating when you just miss it by such a short amount,” P-W junior guard Ellie Droste said. “So this year being able to make it to the Finals again, and hopefully we can come out with the win … at practice every single day we work for these moments. We work on defense, we work on offense, we work on pressure situations. And that’s what got us here.”

The Pirates (26-1) will take on Flint Hamady in Saturday’s 4 p.m. Division 3 championship game at Calvin College.

Droste and Hannah Spitzley were freshmen on the P-W team that fell 46-44 to Detroit Edison in the 2017 Class C Final. Rachel Huhn was a sophomore sub on that team and then played 20 minutes as a junior in last season’s Semifinal loss to the Pioneers.

But the program’s drive for this opportunity goes back much farther than the last few years. The 1983 and 1984 teams both lost in Class C Finals – the 1983 Pirates to Hamady.

Arbor Prep (19-7) was last season’s Class C runner-up and playing in its fifth straight Semifinal.

“I was a 10-year-old boy back in 1984, 85, watching Carol Bogard Rademacher take teams to Western Michigan back at that time and fall short with great teams and great kids that were extremely well-coached,” Pirates coach Steve Eklund said. “It’s that hurdle we just haven’t been able to get over. So I’m excited for these kids, I’m excited for our community, I’m excited for all of these girls basketball teams we’ve had over the last 30 years that have been there and just not gotten over the hurdle. It just burns inside of me to go get that win Saturday, and we’re going to do everything in our power to go get that win for all of the teams from the past.”

To earn the opportunity, P-W had to hop a few hurdles Thursday. Arbor Prep featured one of the top freshmen in the state in guard Mya Petticord and 2018 all-state honorable mention Mahri Petree. And both teams struggled to get the ball through the hoop – P-W made 33 percent of its shot from the floor and Arbor Prep checked in at 29 percent, and combined they connected on just 7-of-33 3-point shots.

The Pirates ended the first quarter up 14-7. Arbor Prep stormed back to make it 18-18 at the break. For the game, the score was tied five times and the lead changed seven.  

Droste scored to give P-W the first lead of overtime 28 seconds in, and she made two free throws to make the advantage 34-30 with 1:28 to play. Senior Karli Waddell came up with a huge 3-pointer for Arbor Prep to cut the lead to one with 33 seconds left on the clock. But Spitzley made 3-of-4 free-throw tries over the final 12 seconds, and Arbor Prep got off only one shot after Waddell’s 3-pointer.

“I think we lost to the state champion,” Arbor Prep coach Scott Stine said. “(I’m) disappointed we couldn’t score a few more points, questioning whether we should’ve been more aggressive defensively. That’s a coaching call … we’ll look at after today and decide if we should’ve been more aggressive, should’ve pushed the tempo.

“If you’d told me the score would be 34-30, I would’ve said it was 50/50 who would win the game. If you’d told me someone got to 50 points, I’d have said Arbor Prep would’ve won.”

Petticord led Arbor Prep with 14 points, and senior Kashyra Jackson had 10 and eight rebounds. Spitzley scored 16 to lead P-W, while Droste had 15 points and four assists. Junior Addison Bauer didn’t score a point and attempted just one shot, but grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds.

“My players made adjustments. Defensively after the first quarter, I thought they were extremely solid,” Stine said. “I thought we made things tough on them, just the same way they made things tough on us.”

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS: (Top) Pewamo-Westphalia’s Ellie Droste makes a move toward the basket during Thursday’s second Division 3 Semifinal. (Middle) Arbor Prep’s Alaya Mack seeks an opening.

JoBurg 3-Sport Great Capping Career Filled with All-State Honors, Team Trophies

By Tom Spencer
Special for MHSAA.com

April 5, 2024

It won’t be hard for Jayden Marlatt to remember opening day on the softball field from any of her four years at Johannesburg-Lewiston.

Northern Lower PeninsulaAs a freshman, she missed the opener due to needing to quarantine. Her sophomore and junior years started on the road because the Cardinals’ field was under construction.  

This season the Cardinals will open up — weather permitting — on their brand-new field, hosting Mio on Monday, April 8.  Marlatt is slated to be the starting pitcher again and add to her school record collection.

While Johannesburg-Lewiston is looking forward to playing on the new diamond, Marlatt and her teammates have high hopes of finishing the season almost 200 miles south. They’re looking to get back to Michigan State University – the site of the Division 4 Semifinals and Final.

The Cards have had their sites on that goal since they fell 4-2 to Mendon in last year’s Semifinal at Secchia Stadium. The loss ended a 30-4-1 campaign that saw the Cardinals play every game on the road for a second consecutive year, but come up only one victory short of a first championship game appearance.

The trip to East Lansing also came after the Cards won the program’s first District title since 2008 and advanced to the Semifinals for the first time since 1981.

“It has been a long two seasons on the road,” said eighth-year head coach Kim Marlatt, noting the team utilized a Little League field for practices during the stretch. “They’ve been putting in a lot of work in the offseason, so it is excited to get going.”

Cardinals’ 1,000-point scorer Marlatt sets up for a free throw attempt. The new field isn’t the only new things this spring. The Cardinals will have a junior varsity team for the first time during the Marlatt’s tenure. The JV squad is coached by Ryan Marlatt, who has been serving the program the past eight years as assistant coach. He also has been the head girls basketball coach at JoBurg the past two seasons.

The Marlatt coaches are the proud parents of Jayden, who continues to garner recognition as perhaps the greatest athlete in Johannesburg-Lewiston’s history. 

The three-sport star had a huge hand in all that JoBurg accomplished last season leading the team in batting average (.670), home runs (13) and runs batted in (61). As the team’s ace pitcher, she collected 249 strikeouts and compiled a 1.32 ERA.

“Jayden has put in the hard work,” Kim pointed out.  “She is a very humble athlete. ‘She doesn’t like to talk about herself. She likes to compete, and she likes to be on the top of her game for her teammates.”

Jayden has been named all-conference and all-state in softball, basketball and volleyball nearly every season over her four years at JoBurg. She’s led her teams to Ski Valley Conference, District and Regional titles along the way.

She’s also been named Player of the Year by multiple publications. And she’s a front runner to be voted the Most Valuable Player of the Ski Valley Conference in softball. Earlier this year, league coaches voted her the MVP for both basketball and volleyball.  

“The Ski Valley never used to vote on an MVP,” Ryan Marlatt said. “Hopefully she can add the triple crown and get softball this year.”

Jayden Marlatt, who has played all three sports all four years, acknowledged softball is perhaps her most treasured, and she’ll continue in that sport at Ferris State. Her career total of more than 500 strikeouts, and her 14 home runs last season, are both JoBurg school records. "I like them all but probably softball,” she confirmed when asked to name her favorite sport.

She averaged 12 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists and four steals per game this winter helping the Cards basketball team to a conference runner-up finish. She was key to JoBurg's ability to put a 12-game winning streak together, and she topped the 1,000-point career mark along the way.

Also a standout in the fall, Marlatt prepares to connect during volleyball season.Her outstanding senior year on the basketball court and this spring’s possibilities nearly vanished as the volleyball season ended.

She suffered what looked to be a serious lower-leg injury in the final game of the JoBurg volleyball season. “She finished in the emergency room,” Kim Marlatt said.  

Diagnosed a high ankle sprain, it was an aggravation to an injury from her junior year in basketball. She wasn’t quite at 100 percent on the basketball court this season until the holiday break. She’s starting the softball season healthy, though.

Before the injury, Jayden led the Cards to their third volleyball conference championship over the last four years. After becoming JoBurg's all-time kills leader during her junior season, and with many of her teammates from her first three seasons graduating, Jayden had to fill a variety of roles while anchoring the offense from her outside hitter spot.

She ended up leading the team in both kills with 421 and digs, with 431, in her final season on the volleyball court. And she is listed among MHSAA’s all-time leaders in kills for a single match and career.

It’s more than Marlatt’s stats that stand out for Kristine Peppin, the school’s volleyball coach the past 15 years.

“It is not about the size of the school or the size of the player, it’s the heart that they have inside,” she proclaimed. “This girl would be a successful player on whatever team she was on. 

“Yes we’re a small school, small town,” she continued. “That kind of leadership and heart and drive to be the best is what’s given her that success.”

Marlatt’s work ethic is second to none, Peppin noted. She never saw Jayden give less than a “1,000” percent in practice or games in her career. 

Marlatt celebrates a trophy win during last season’s Semifinals softball run with parents (and coaches) Kim and Ryan Marlatt.“She’s a super hard worker and extremely modest for the kind of skill she possesses and the success she’s had,” Peppin said. “Her teammates think it’s amazing to be on her team.”

Marlatt’s volleyball skills caught the eye of at least one of her conference opponents’ coaches back in junior high. Ron Stremlow was performing one of his many coaching duties for Fife Lake Forest Area when he first saw Jayden on the volleyball court.

“I could tell then this girl was somebody special,” said Stremlow, who became one of the winningest coaches in state volleyball history with the Warriors. “When she got in high school, it just took off.

“She puts the time into it, and she works hard,” Stremlow continued. “Kids like that get what they deserve – they work for it.”

Stremlow, now retired, also acknowledged he’s enjoyed being able to watch the hard-throwing Marlatt on the softball field the last couple of seasons as Forest Area hosted the Cardinals consecutively due to JoBurg’s lack of a home field.

It’s something he’ll have to travel to do this year though, as JoBurg is scheduled to host the Warriors on April 15.

The Cardinals also will host a Regional on their new field June 8. The winners of District play at Rogers City, Harbor Springs, St. Ignace and Gaylord St. Mary will participate.

To play in the Regional, the Cards will have to emerge from the Rogers City District featuring the host Hurons, Atlanta, Hillman, Onaway, and Posen.

Tom SpencerTom Spencer is a longtime MHSAA-registered basketball and soccer official, and former softball and baseball official, and he also has coached in the northern Lower Peninsula area. He previously has written for the Saginaw News, Bay County Sports Page and Midland Daily News. He can be reached at [email protected] with story ideas for Manistee, Wexford, Missaukee, Roscommon, Ogemaw, Iosco, Alcona, Oscoda, Crawford, Kalkaska, Grand Traverse, Benzie, Leelanau, Antrim, Otsego, Montmorency, Alpena, Presque Isle, Cheboygan, Charlevoix and Emmet counties.

PHOTOS (Top) Johannesburg-Lewiston’s Jayden Marlatt drives a pitch during softball season. (2) Cardinals’ 1,000-point scorer Marlatt sets up for a free throw attempt. (3) Also a standout in the fall, Marlatt prepares to connect during volleyball season. (4) Marlatt celebrates a trophy win during last season’s Semifinals softball run with parents (and coaches) Kim and Ryan Marlatt. (Action shots by Dylan Jespersen/Petoskey News-Review; family photo by Breya Domke.)