Senior Sailors Find Way to Final

March 14, 2014

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

EAST LANSING – Both teams playing in the first MHSAA Class B Semifinal on Friday had learned valuable lessons from their trip to the Breslin Center – and Semifinal defeat – the year before.

But only one could move on to Saturday night’s championship game.

Midland Bullock Creek, with only two seniors, plans on using a few more helpful pointers from this season’s trip in 2014-15. But Grand Rapids South Christian, with seven seniors, will lay it all on the line this time after downing the Lancers 52-47.

The top-ranked Sailors will attempt to win their first MHSAA title since 1988 and finish a perfect 27-0 at 6 p.m. Saturday against Eaton Rapids.

“Coming into this with five seniors starting helped a lot with experience. Last year … I remember walking into this big building like, “Wow,” with all the nerves,” South Christian senior Cassidy Vredevoogd said.

“This has been a dream of mine since I was a little girl. Getting so close last year was unbelievable. Getting to the Finals now, it’s unreal.”

That’s not to say there weren’t some jitters among the Sailors at the start. But veteran calm won out by the end, a good thing considering one key stat that made it almost surprising that South Christian came away with the win.

The Sailors turned the ball over 33 times – after doing so only five in its Quarterfinal win over Parchment on Tuesday – but balanced that with a 44-25 rebounding advantage and by making 82 percent of their free-throw attempts. Bullock Creek made only 54 percent of those tries and watched their chances dissolve with a 4 for 21 performance from 3-point range.

The Lancers made only 2 of 10 trey tries during the fourth quarter as a one-point lead with 6 minutes left turned into the final deficit.

“Some were a little deeper than we normally would like to see, and that was a combination of their length and then fatigue a little bit,” Bullock Creek coach Justin Freeland said. “But I thought the best course the last 4-5 minutes was to encourage them. … And I truly believed we would hit the final two and go home and be playing (Saturday).”

Bullock Creek may have had a chance to create some space during the second quarter, if not for the key performance of Sailors sophomore sub Markaya Vander. She scored all 11 of her points plus grabbed four rebounds as South Christian’s first-quarter lead turned into only a three-point halftime deficit.

Morgan Torres scored as well to finish that second quarter for the Sailors, and finished tying for the team high with 11 points including seven during the second half. Twice she either tied the score or gave the Sailors a lead.

Vredevoogd added eight points and seven rebounds and senior forward Renee Broekhuizen had six points, eight rebound and three assists. Seniors scored 10 of the points during the Sailors’ closing 12-6 run.

“We have seven seniors who were all here last year, and that experience has been a key factor in our terrific season,” South Christian coach James De Bruyn said. “They set the tone with their leadership, and when crunch time came down they found a way. And they found it again tonight.”

Bullock Creek (24-2) should find itself with a similar opportunity next winter. Only two seniors graduate, and all five starters plus three top subs should return.

Junior center Halee Nieman led the Lancers on Friday with 18 points and seven steals. Junior guard Hannah Heldt added 16 points, five rebounds and five steals.

“It burns really badly, especially right now. Tonight’s going to be tough, but it only motivates us to work harder in the summer, harder in the postseason, harder in the regular season next season,” Heldt said. “We learn from these experiences. We learned from last year, and we did a lot of things better than last year. We definitely improved, and this is a motivator for next year for sure.”

Click for a full box score and video from the press conference.

PHOTOS: (Top) South Christian’s Jennifer DeBoer goes after a loose ball as multiple Bullock Creek players also pursue. (Middle) Bullock Creek’s Ellie Juengel launches a jumper over the Sailors’ Morgan Torres.

HIGHLIGHTS: (1) Midway through the first quarter, Bullock Creek's Halee Nieman scores on a putback of her own missed free throw against South Christian. (2) With 1:41 left in the fourth, South Christian's Dani Oeverman hits a big jump shot to give the Sailors a five-point lead.

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

By Geoff Kimmerly 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.