Seniors Come Up Big Again as Arbor Prep Clinches 1st Title since 2016

By Paul Costanzo
Special for

March 19, 2022

EAST LANSING – Kent City never lost hope Saturday that it could come back and knock off Ypsilanti Arbor Prep in the Division 3 Girls Basketball Final. 

With less than a minute to play, the Eagles’ hope turned into a legitimate chance to do just that, as they had the ball and trailed by just four.

But Kari Woods took it all away.

The Arbor Prep senior guard stole a pass near midcourt and raced for a layup to extend her team’s lead to six points with 30 seconds to play, ending Kent City’s last, best chance, and sealing what ended up a 54-50 win for the Gators.

“I knew the game was tight, and we had been practicing up the line, all day, every day, every practice,” Woods said. “I knew I was there. I saw it and went for it.”

It was the second title for Arbor Prep, which also won in 2016 before finishing as runner-up each of the next two years. 

Arbor Prep/Kent City basketballThis was the Gators’ first trip back to the season’s final day since 2018, and they made sure to make the most of it.

“It’s difficult to get here,” Arbor Prep coach Scott Stine said. “Six years ago, we won on March 19, 2016, the same day. Six years ago, you would have never told me it was going to take six years to get another one. It is difficult. COVID has played a part in that. For our kids coming back, we just have to keep getting better. They know what it takes.”

That group learned from a small but vital senior class that included Woods, Texas A&M-bound Mya Petticord and forward Jazmin Chupp.

“(Kent City) is a great program,” Stine said. “They’re going to be back here again next year. Our goal for the rest of the girls in that locker room is to get good enough to improve enough that we can play them again next year. But I’m just happy. The seniors, all three of these girls at some point made plays to put us where we’re at. Mya, offensively, did what we know she’s capable of. Jazmin made some plays on both ends of the court. Kari Woods made arguably the most important defensive play of the game when she blew up that handoff and took it for a layup. That was a huge play. That’s what she does. Proud of all three of these girls.”

Petticord led the Gators (25-2) with 27 points. She had 20 points at halftime after connecting on seven of her first nine shots, and each of her first three 3-point attempts. 

“It was really all about my focus,” Petticord said. “My nerves didn’t get the best of me today. Knowing this was my last high school basketball game, I just had to end it off with a lot of focus. Knowing it was my state championship game for the team – yeah, I was just focused.”

Woods added nine points and four steals, including the big one at the end. She played airtight defense all game against dangerous Kent City guard Lexie Bowers, who finished with nine points and nine rebounds. Bowers came into the Final averaging 17 points per game. Stine credited Woods, calling her the best perimeter defender in the state.

Arbor Prep/Kent City basketball“I think they play really tight, so (Bowers) had a hard time getting herself open off of that,” Kent City coach Aleah Holcomb said. 

Arbor Prep’s tight defense frustrated Kent City (26-1) throughout the game, and the team that averages 26 3-point attempts per game could get off only 11 on Saturday. The Gators also forced 15 turnovers.

“I thought we had a difficult time handling their pressure,” Holcomb said. “They really made it difficult for us to get into our offense.”

Arbor Prep led by as many as 11 points late in the second quarter, and held at least a two-possession lead for nearly the entire second half.

But the Eagles never let the Gators fully get away, and cut the lead to as few as three when Madelyn Geers, who totaled a team-high 27 points, scored with 2:15 to play.

They never got the ball with a chance to tie or take the lead, however.

It was the second-straight runner-up finish for Kent City, which lost 52-50 against Grass Lake in last year’s Final.

“It’s frustrating, but I think we worked our butts off this season,” Kent City senior Taryn Preston said. “Obviously God got us here for a reason. I think he’s gifted every single person on the team, and we worked hard to get the best that we can out of our abilities. That’s just something that’s really, really cool to see as a member of the team. So, yeah, it’s frustrating at times, but I know that we worked our butts off to get here.”

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS (Top) Arbor Prep’s Karianna Woods (3) drives with Kent City’s Lexie Bowers defending. (Middle) The Gators’ Mya Petticord (1) prepares to make her next move. (Below) Stacy Utomi (24) defends against Bowers. (Click for more from Hockey Weekly Action Photos.)

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.