Pittsford Sets Pace to Reach 1st Final
March 19, 2015
By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
EAST LANSING – Pittsford coach Chris Hodos said he’s never lied to his team about its chances in a game, and sophomore Jaycie Burger backs up that claim.
This season, he’s told his Wildcats they should win every one. And so far, he’s been right – with the most important result left to predict.
Hodos said win big Thursday, and undefeated Pittsford responded, advancing to its first MHSAA championship game with a 57-26 Semifinal win over Waterford Our Lady in a Class D Semifinal at the Breslin Center.
The Wildcats – who had never advanced past Regionals before this season – will face St. Ignace in Saturday’s 10 a.m. championship game.
“I think for me, it’s going to feel like, I don’t want to say the same as every game. It’s going to be more intense, more straightforward,” Burger said. “(But) we all need to play the same way we’ve been playing all year.”
And that’s been at a record-setting pace.
Pittsford (26-0) has been the only undefeated team left in Class D since midseason, and Thursday it became easy rather quickly to see why. The Wildcats led by 11 at the end of the first quarter – and by the end of the fourth added a 19th game in 26 in which they’d held the opponent to fewer than 30 points.
Sophomore Maddie Clark also announced herself loudly on the statewide stage. The nearly 5-foot-10 forward dominated, with 26 points – including 18 of her team’s first 24 – and 15 rebounds.
“She’s strong. Nothing bothers her,” Hodos said. “She takes all the contact, and she works hard in the weight room for me, just like every other girl on my team.”
Pittsford had an edge statistically in a variety of areas, but did outrebound Our Lady 59-35. Senior 5-5 guard Emily Poling grabbed eight rebounds, and Burger added seven to go with 10 points.
The Lakers as a program have much more experience at this stage of the tournament, with three championships and a runner-up finish from 2010-13. But this team also was gaining Finals weekend experience with a number of younger players, and was far less expected to reach Breslin – Our Lady finished 12-13 this winter and didn’t have a senior starter.
“The experience was still great. It’s always exciting any time you get the chance to get here,” Our Lady coach Steve Robak said. “I’m very proud of everything we did to get here this year. Most schools would never get an opportunity to get this.
“We were hoping to keep our little run going, one more game at least, but the experience was wonderful. I know they’re going to have great memories about getting to this point.”
Freshman guard Tiffany Senerius had 10 points and three steals for the Lakers, and junior guard Alex Troy added six points and 10 rebounds.
Seven of eight players who saw the floor most Thursday should return next season. And the Lakers finished 2014-15 on a 9-4 run.
“We’re returning all five starters, and I think we can do really good things next year,” Troy said, “now that we’ve gotten into our groove at the end of the season.”
Click for the full box score.
PHOTOS: (Top) Pittsford’s Morgan Dominique wins a loose ball during Thursday’s first Class D Semifinal. (Middle) Maddie Clark (10) and Our Lady’s Alex Troy contend for possession below the Wildcats’ basket.
Performance of the Week: Hemlock's Regan Finkbeiner
March 24, 2023
Regan Finkbeiner ♦ Hemlock
Senior ♦ Basketball
The 5-foot-6 guard capped her high school career at Breslin Center over the weekend with team highs of 24 points and four steals in Thursday’s 57-26 Division 3 Semifinal win over Hart and the team-leading 19 points and four assists in the 59-43 win over Blissfield on Saturday that clinched the Huskies their first MHSAA Finals championship in girls basketball.
Finkbeiner played all but four minutes of 64 total over the two games, and she made a combined 15 of her 27 shots from the floor and 9 of 10 free throw attempts, plus four 3-pointers in the Final. She had entered the season’s final week averaging 17.1 points, 3.5 assists and 4.8 steals per game and in February became the program’s all-time leading scorer breaking the previous record of 1,302. A standout in multiple sports, she’s committed to continue playing softball after high school at Madonna University. Her basketball team finished 26-3 this winter.
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PHOTO Hemlock's Regan Finkbeiner drives to the basket during her team's Semifinal win over Hart. (Photos courtesy of the Hemlock girls basketball program.)