Rising Centreville Focused on Next Step

By Wes Morgan
Special for MHSAA.com

December 7, 2017

Perhaps the most obvious sign that the Centreville girls varsity basketball program had made a complete turnaround was the fact that it won a handful of games last winter that it shouldn’t have.

The Bulldogs also won a boatload of games decisively. After starting the year with a loss to Constantine, head coach Jill Peterson’s program rattled off 19 consecutive victories and won a Berrien-Cassopolis-St. Joseph Blue championship on its way to a 19-2 final record.

Under Peterson’s guidance, the Bulldogs went from a 4-15 squad her first season in 2013-14 to last year’s unprecedented run that included a No. 3 state ranking in The Associated Press Class C poll. In between were 13-10 (2014-15) and 14-7 (2015-16) seasons.

“We played Athens and we were down four with four seconds [left] and hit a couple free throws, stole the inbound and tied it, went into overtime and won,” Peterson recalled. “That shows a lot in terms of your resiliency as a team and just experience.”

Still, the program’s first District championship eluded it once again with a loss to Schoolcraft in the Final. It was the fourth straight year the Eagles ended Centreville’s season. This might have been the year the Bulldogs got revenge, but the District draws have been shuffled a bit, and the two schools will compete in different Districts in 2018.

Centreville returns eight players this season with varsity experience, and they “get along better than any team I’ve coached,” Peterson explained. After a short stint in the BCS, the Bulldogs are now members of the first-year Southwest 10 Conference.

The senior class consists of senior guard/forward Carly Todd, who averaged 4.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 2.6 steals per contest last year, Kayla Gest, a guard who registered 5.6 points, 2.5 rebounds and was a 28-percent 3-point shooter as a junior, guard Carlee Odom, who posted 6.7 points and 3.2 rebounds per outing, Brittany Morris, who averaged 3.1 points and 4.9 rebounds, and Morgan Walton, who is in her first year on the varsity team.

After making the all-BCS team as a freshman, sophomore forward Joanna Larsen is back and looking to retain the momentum from her rookie campaign that resulted in 7.7 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game. Fellow all-conference selection Samara Schlabach, who was also named an all-state honorable mention following her sophomore season last year, produced 9.3 points and six rebounds per game.

Those players, combined with juniors MaKenzi Troyer (guard), Abby Nighswonger (guard) Whitney Morris (guard) and Molly Kirby (forward), and sophomores Olivia Deeds (guard) and Kenleigh West-Wing (guard), have made Centreville’s practices just as competitive as their games so far.

Centreville is 1-1, dropping an overtime battle on the road against a talented Bronson squad.

“They push each other more than any team I’ve coached,” Peterson said. “That really speaks volumes for the progress we’ve made over the last four years — not just what the coaching staff is doing but what the players have put in and what they’re bringing to the table.”

The Bulldogs are set up this year inside and on the perimeter. Schlabach is a matchup nightmare in the paint on top of boasting a reliable jumper, and Larsen is equally tough to stop down low. The two come together defensively to all but shut down the lane and limit opponents’ second opportunities by clearing the boards.

Todd has accepted every challenge thrown at her over the years, including a post assignment as an undersized underclassman. Now she’s a big threat with the ball in her hands as a slashing guard with a good outside shot. Odom also has an eye and the ability to carve through defenses as the team’s floor leader. She’s another scoring concern for opponents, but her most important role will be feeding the post.

As a senior, Todd now realizes she has an even bigger responsibility to help mold the team’s attitude on a daily basis.

“What I’ve noticed is when it’s one of those days when I don’t really feel like talking, it’s like, ‘Come on, Carly, you’ve got to put on that mask like you’re in a good mood,’” she said. “If the leaders are in a bad mood, everybody else could be in a bad mood. I just have to be conscious of it.”

What might be the most crucial aspect of this team is the players’ complete disregard for winning streaks and rankings.

“Honestly, it didn’t even hit me that we were winning that many games or that we were ranked in the state,” Odom said. “I didn’t think about it much and still worked hard. But it was cool winning all those games.”

Wes Morgan has reported for the Kalamazoo Gazette, ESPN and ESPNChicago.com, 247Sports and Blue & Gold Illustrated over the last 12 years and is the publisher of JoeInsider.com. He can be reached at [email protected] with story ideas for Berrien, Cass, St. Joseph and Branch counties.

Centreville team photo courtesy of JoeInsider.com.

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.