Sophomores Shine in 'Slugfest' as Frankenmuth Reaches 1st Final Since 1996
By Tom Kendra
Special for MHSAA.com
March 17, 2023
EAST LANSING – Frankenmuth scored only 37 points Friday, but it was enough to win a defensive slugfest.
And, at least for coach Joe Jacobs, it was a thing of beauty.
“The game was exactly what we wanted,” said Jacobs after his team held on for a 37-30 win over Goodrich in Friday’s first Division 2 Semifinal at the Breslin Center.
“We wanted a slugfest. We’re a very good defensive team, and our emphasis tonight was always knowing where their shooters were.”
Frankenmuth sophomore guard Clare Conzelmann was the star on both ends of the court, using her length to get into the passing lanes and disrupt the Goodrich shooters, then converting two traditional three-point plays during the final 3:27 en route to a game-high 15 points.
Conzelmann’s stellar play helped the Eagles soar into the Finals for the first time since 1996. Frankenmuth, 25-2 and champion of the Tri-Valley Conference 8, advanced to Saturday’s 6:15 p.m. championship game against the Grand Rapids West Catholic vs. Lansing Catholic winner.
Conzelmann said she benefitted from Goodrich focusing its defense on shutting down junior guard Mia McLaughlin (Ferris State commit) and 6-foot-1 senior Lexi Boyke (Central Michigan signee).
“A lot of their focus was on Mia and Lexi,” said Conzelmann, one of three sophomore starters for Frankenmuth. “They wanted to try and make other players score. Today, my shots went in, which was great. Sometimes they don’t.”
Frankenmuth led 6-4 after the first quarter, then scored five quick points to open the second quarter on a bucket by Boyke and a 3-pointer by McLaughlin.
But the story of the first half, and the whole game for that matter, was the Eagles’ stifling 2-3 matchup zone defense.
Goodrich (24-4), which is one of the state’s best 3-point shooting teams and scored 60 or more points in three of its first five tournament games, went a stretch of 8 minutes and 5 seconds in the first half without scoring a point. The Martians, who shot 26 percent from the floor for the game and just 4-of-13 from behind the arc, had a similar scoreless stretch of 5 minutes and 35 seconds to open the fourth quarter.
Goodrich coach Jason Gray, in his 24th year, said Frankenmuth’s defense was the best they faced all season.
“Their guards are long and they were getting their hands out and throwing us off,” said Gray, who led the Martians to back-to-back Class B titles in 2012 and 2013.
“We weren’t able to get inside and kick it out, like we like to do. We hung around, but we were never able to take the lead, which might have changed things.”
Goodrich junior Alexis Kosmowski certainly did her part, scoring a team-high 14 points as the Martians stayed within striking distance, trailing by just three points, 22-19, entering the fourth quarter.
That was when a pair of sophomores stepped up for Frankenmuth.
In addition to Conzelmann’s two traditional three-point plays, sophomore forward Izzy Bernthal added a crucial mid-range jumper and then an offensive rebound and putback in the final minute to seal the win. Bernthal finished with six points and a game-high eight rebounds.
Goodrich senior Riley Place, who entered the game with 77 3-pointers, was held to just one on Saturday and six points. Her younger sister, sophomore Ella Place, also scored six points.
The Semifinal win was especially sweet for Boyke, who missed all of last season after injuring her knee in the opening game. She contributed six points and five rebounds, and was happy to be playing instead of watching from the bench.
“It feels good to be on the court with my teammates,” said Boyke. “Yes, I am very thankful for the opportunity.”
PHOTOS (Top) Frankenmuth's Clare Conzelmann (2) brings the ball upcourt with Goodrich's Kayla Hairston (12) providing pressure. (Middle) Goodrich's Kalen Williams (3) and Alexis Kosmowski (11) and Frankenmuth's Lexi Boyke (33) and Izzy Bernthal (4) work for position as they await a rebound.
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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March 16: Alaina Yaney, Grand Ledge gymnastics - Report
March 9: Braeden Davis, Dundee wrestling - Report
March 2: Gabriel Sanchez-Burks, Ann Arbor Pioneer swimming - Report
Feb. 23: Grace Sobczak, Marquette swimming - Report
Feb. 16: Kaitlynn Demers, Gibraltar Carlson competitive cheer - Report
Feb. 9: Indya Davis, West Bloomfield basketball - Report
Feb. 2: Braydon Sorenson, Onekama skiing - Report
Jan. 26: Shayne Hruska, Iron Mountain wrestling - Report
Jan. 19: Kayla Tafanelli, Warren Woods-Tower bowling - Report
Dec. 20: Brenden Paden, Riverview Gabriel Richard hockey - Report
Dec. 16: Tuff Scott, Holton bowling - Report
Dec. 9: Macey Fegan, Standish-Sterling basketball - Report
Dec. 2: Treyton Siegert, Gladwin football - Report
Nov. 24: Lily Witte, Dexter diving - Report
Nov. 17: Navea Gauthier, Shelby volleyball - Report
Nov. 10: Derek Huisman, Holland Christian soccer - Report
Nov. 3: Thomas Westphal, New Baltimore Anchor Bay cross country - Report
Oct. 27: Justin Wickey, Colon football - Report
Oct. 20: Owen DeMuth, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood tennis - Report
Oct. 13: Mia Melendez, Ann Arbor Greenhills golf - Report
Oct. 6: Shawn Foster, Grand Ledge football - Report
Sept. 30: Hannah Smith, Temperance Bedford swimming - Report
Sept. 22: Helen Sachs, Holland West Ottawa cross country - Report
Sept. 15: Nina Horning, Lake Orion volleyball - Report
Sept 8: Arturo Romero, Muskegon Oakridge soccer - Report
Sept. 1: Austin King, Midland Dow tennis - Report
Aug. 25: Olivia Hemmila, Troy Athens golf - Report
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.)