Performance: White Pigeon's Claycee West

January 16, 2020

Claycee West
White Pigeon senior – Basketball

The 5-foot-8 senior guard scored a school-record 41 points during a 58-39 win over Marcellus on Jan. 7, breaking her previous single-game school record of 38 points scored as a sophomore to earn the MHSAA “Performance of the Week.” West also became her school’s all-time leading scorer Dec. 17 against Bangor, breaking her coach Brooke McClure’s career points record of 1,224, and West is since up to 1,308 after eight games this winter.

For the season, West is averaging 21.3 points, 8.3 rebounds, 4.4 steals, 2.9 assists and a blocked shot per game. She has led White Pigeon to a 6-3 start after the Chiefs finished 8-13 in 2018-19 – after which West was named to The Associated Press’ Division 3 all-state team. She was an all-region selection as an outside and middle hitter in volleyball this fall, and a league, county and Regional champion as a track sprinter last spring. She also ran cross country during her sophomore year, when she was featured on Second Half for her multi-sport success. West will continue to play basketball after high school for Taylor (Ind.) University, which made the NAIA Division II national quarterfinals a year ago.

West fills her time outside athletics as well. She carries a 4.0 grade-point average and is tied for first academically in her graduating class – and will bring 32 college credits with her to Taylor. She also serves as her White Pigeon class president. West plans to study kinesiology at Taylor, in preparation for becoming a physical therapist.

Coach Brooke McClure said: “I have had the honor of coaching Claycee since she was a freshman. She has had a huge impact on our basketball program and not only that, but on me as a coach. Her work ethic and desire to become a better ball player has also inspired me to put more work into the game and become a better coach for her and her teammates. In small schools like White Pigeon, it is rare to have an athlete as dedicated and as hard-working, along with (having) tremendous athletic ability, to play for our school. She is so smooth and makes the game fun to watch.  Sometimes she still surprises me when she does a certain move or makes a difficult shot. … She is such a good example on how to be a great leader. Even when things haven't gone her way, she has adapted and overcome any adversities she has encountered. We are truly lucky to have her be a part of our basketball program and our community, and I am so proud of the young lady she has become.”

Performance Point: “In the third quarter, I just shot the 3 a ton, and I couldn't miss,” West said of her 41-point performance. “I was just on target that game. It was close the whole time, so it didn't really feel like I was doing that much. I didn't notice I had that many until I hit 39 at the end of the third quarter. ... Coming in freshman year even, this was my goal, to break the (career scoring) record. I had a solid sophomore year, and then junior year too, so I knew coming into my senior year that it was going to happen. And so I wasn't really stressing about it, because the chances of it not happening were almost at zero. So this year I'm more focused on getting the team better, getting the team ready for when I leave. I've had a couple of big games this season, but that wasn't the focus. Just to break these records and be leading my team at the same time, that's the best thing ever ... to be able to accomplish my goals and accomplish team goals at the same time.”

‘When I leave,’ what I hope to leave: “I want (my teammates) to take the game into their own hands. For a while, they didn't know how to do that. They're so young, and someone's gotta step up and lead. I have a pretty competitive nature, and I want that to stir in them that they can accomplish anything that they set their minds to. Because they're an athletic group; they can play ball, but someone's gotta be leading that. And that's what I'm trying to instill. ... I'm a pretty vocal leader. When I see something, I say it. When it's time to be intense in practice, I let them know that's the time to be (their) best. In sprints, I'm trying to be the first one, and (I'm) coaching everyone to do their best. And just really being intense on the court, during games, during practice, building myself and others to our fullest potential. I think this year, it's starting to click.”

Play them all: “I think it's just the fact that (playing multiple sports) keeps me from getting burnt out on a single sport, and playing volleyball makes me better at basketball, and basketball does the same (for volleyball) in different aspects. It makes me all-around such a better athlete and just makes me compete at a higher level, I think. ... I'm very sad that these next four years I won't be playing volleyball. Track's a little different – it's not my favorite thing. But if I could, I'd play both (basketball and volleyball).”

I love to compete: “I love to win. Just to compete ... I've been raised all my life to be competitive. I get it from my mom. She's a very competitive person. She's instilled it just throughout life. I strive to be the best in anything I can be in at all, whether that be in school, in sports or life in general. My mom really pushes me to be that person. She's my volleyball coach now, and at a young age she was my coach too. I don't know if it was just her doing that or her interaction with me. She just holds me to a high standard and doesn't let me slack, and I appreciate that. She's always been a big part of volleyball and basketball for me; both of my parents have. … Not being able to play volleyball (in college) will be hard. But not being able to play with her is going to be even harder.”

President West: “I started off doing student council in middle school. And just leading – I love to lead. I love to make sure everything is done right. … It keeps me busy. It keeps me doing something active. I get to learn everybody's names. I get to know everyone, be part of everyone's life. I just really like to be that influencer, I guess.”

– Geoff Kimmerly, Second Half editor

Past honorees

Jan. 10: Seth Lause, Livonia Stevenson hockey - Report
Dec. 5: Mareyohn Hrabowski, River Rouge football - Report
Nov. 28:
Kathryn Ackerman, Grand Haven swimming - Report
Nov. 21:
Emily Van Dyke, Southfield Christian volleyball - Report
Nov. 14:
Taylor Wegener, Ida volleyball - Report
Nov. 7:
Carter Solomon, Plymouth cross country - Report
Oct. 31: 
Jameson Goorman, Muskegon Western Michigan Christian soccer - Report
Oct. 24:
Austin Plotkin, Brimley cross country
- Report
Oct. 17:
Jack Spamer, Brighton cross country - Report
Oct. 10:
Kaylee Maat, Hudsonville volleyball - Report
Oct. 3:
Emily Paupore, Negaunee cross country - Report
Sept. 26: 
Josh Mason, South Lyon soccer - Report
Sept. 19: Ariel Chang, Utica Eisenhower golf - Report
Sept. 12: Jordyn Shipps, DeWitt swimming - Report

PHOTOS: (Top) White Pigeon's Claycee West prepares to shoot a free throw against Bangor. (Middle) West pulls up for a shot just inside the 3-point arc. (Photos courtesy of the White Pigeon athletic department.)

Hemlock, Rockford Follow 3-Point Success to 1st Titles, Record Book Fame

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

September 1, 2023

Hemlock and Rockford's drives to their first Girls Basketball Finals championships in March were paced in part by some of the strongest 3-point shooting in MHSAA history.

The Division 1 title-winning Rams connected on 243 3-pointers – third-most all-time – over 29 games in tying the single-season wins record while finishing 28-1. Grace Lyons, a senior this fall, made the single-season individual list with 70 3-pointers.

The Huskies won in Division 3 having connected on 229 3-pointers over 29 games, seventh-most in MHSAA history, on 678 attempts, which ranks 12th on that list. Chloe Watson made the single-season list with 75 3-pointers, and Regan Finkbeiner did as well connecting on 67.

Watson also made the career 3-pointers list with 224 and Finkbeiner with 194, and 2017 Hemlock graduate Samantha Krauss was added for 65 3-pointers as a junior in 2015-16 and 188 for her career. Additionally, past Hemlock standout Karli Herrington was added for her 317 rebounds in 2012-13, and Peyton Apsey was added for 144 steals in 2010-11.

Watson is continuing her career at Mid-Michigan College, and Finkbeiner is playing softball at Madonna. Herrington went on to play at Central Michigan and Northwood, Krauss played at Ferris State and Apsey played at Oakland.

Read on for more recent record book additions for girls basketball:

Girls Basketball

Hudsonville’s Maddie Petroelje joined the list of top 3-point shooters in MHSAA history as a junior in 2021-22, when she connected on 70 (in just 147 attempts) to make the single-season list. She graduated this spring 16th on the career list as well with 226 3-pointers in 512 attempts over 92 games and four seasons. She is continuing at Loyola (Ill.).

Byron Center’s Avery Zeinstra also finished her career among those top 3-point shooters. She also made the single-season list with 70 in 147 attempts as a freshman in 2018-19, and she capped her career in 2021-22 with 206 3-pointers (tied for 20th-most) in 502 attempts over four seasons and 80 career games. She is continuing at Grand Valley State.

Hannah Thompson was best known for her soccer scoring at Schoolcraft. But she’s made a second MHSAA record book for her 15 steals in a Jan. 28, 2022, basketball win over Galesburg-Augusta. She’s continuing her soccer career at Eastern Michigan.

Baraga’s run to the Division 4 Semifinals in 2022 received big boosts from Corina Jahfetson’s 3-point shooting and Reide Osterman’s defense. Jahfetson was added to the record book with 66 3-pointers over 25 games, including nine in a game against Carney Nadeau – when Baraga as a team made the record book with 14 3-pointers total. Osterman made the record book with 153 steals. Jahfetson graduated this spring, and Osterman is playing at Northern Michigan.

Grand Rapids West Michigan Aviation Academy’s Audrey Mileski had one of the busiest games at the free throw line in MHSAA history Dec. 14, 2021. She made 23 free throws – third-most in a single game – against Wyoming Kelloggsville. Mileski graduated this spring.

Sophia Bussell had set Monroe’s single-game 3-pointers record of eight as a freshman two seasons ago, and she bettered it last Dec. 13 by tying for the 10th-most in MHSAA history. She made 10-pointers including the game-winner of a 58-56 victory over Ypsilanti Lincoln. A little less than 10 months earlier, Adrian Lenawee Christian then-senior Kylie Summer also made 10, on 17 attempts, during a 57-34 win over Lansing Christian on Feb. 24, 2022.

Lydia Meredith enjoyed a memorable senior season for Portland St. Patrick in 2021-22, finishing her four-year varsity career with 453 steals over just 80 games. She also was added for drilling 17 free throws in 22 attempts against Fowler. She plays now at Saginaw Valley State.

Gabby Piepho got off to a fast start at Howell as a freshman last season, and at a record-setting pace at the free-throw line. She made 93 of 107 attempts over 25 games, for an .869 percentage that made the single-season list. That included a string of 47 straight free throws that ranks as the second-longest in MHSAA history. As a team, Howell tied for sixth all-time with 301 free throws over 25 games, on 439 attempts.

Kent City’s Lexie Bowers reached the single-season 3-pointers list for the second time last season, connecting on 72 of 233 tries over 26 games (after making 77 as a junior), and finished her four-season varsity career 16th on that 3-pointers list with 225 in 693 attempts over 99 games. She’s continuing her career at Northwood. Kent City as a team also reached the single-season 3-pointers made and attempted lists again, ranking fourth with 753 attempts and tying for eighth all-time by connecting on 202.

Posen then-junior Faith Cousins earned a par of record book entries during 2021-22 for assists. Her 16 in a District Final win on March 4, 2022, remain tied for fifth-most in one game, and she finished with 165 over 22 games for the season. She’s set to begin her softball career at Alma College.

Niles Brandywine went over 20 wins again this past season, finishing 21-3, and again the 3-pointer was a key tool in that pursuit. Brandywine made the record book with back-to-back games of 13 3-pointers to close the regular season, and finished with 175 3-pointers in 592 attempts over 23 games (with one won by forfeit).

Greenville’s Megan Leslie averaged more than two 3-pointers a game during her four-season varsity career, making the record list with 153 total over 76 games through graduation this spring. She’s continuing her career at Alma College.

Successful 3-point shooting played a major role in Saline finishing 21-4 with league and District titles last winter. The Hornets attempted 704 3-pointers – ninth-most all-time for one season – and connected on 191, which is 12th on that list. They made a season-high 14 against Ypsilanti Lincoln on Nov. 29 to make the single-game list.

Marcellus senior Brooklyn VanTilburg enjoyed a big finish to her high school career last winter, making the record book with 16 blocked shots in a game against Centreville and 135 blocks total for the season. She’ll continue at Kalamazoo Valley Community College.

Kennedy Gustafson made headlines last winter as a sophomore and earned a pair of record listings for her rebounding. She grabbed 26 in a March 3 District Final win over Muskegon Western Michigan Christian, and she finished with 376 rebounds over 25 games for the season.

PHOTO Hemlock's Regan Finkbeiner, left, follows through on a free throw attempt during last season's Division 3 Final, and Rockford's Grace Lyons launches the game-winning 3-pointer in Division 1.