Talented Multiples Multiplying Success at Elk Rapids, Petoskey
By Tom Spencer
Special for MHSAA.com
March 4, 2022
Big North and Lake Michigan Conference girls basketball players have been suffering from double and triple vision the last couple of years.
It’s not a medical condition. There’s no need to see a doctor for treatment. Players, coaches, referees and announcers just need to focus on the numbers.
No more double vision is anticipated in the Lake Michigan Conference when Elk Rapids steps on the court next winter a third-straight league championship. But there will be triple vision in the Big North Conference though as Petoskey seeks a second-straight title. And, the double and triple vision may continue this spring on the soccer pitch.
The double vision caused by the Elks stems from numbers 4 and 5. The triple vision some suffer further north is the results of numbers 11, 20 and 23.
Twin seniors Monika and Mary Gregorski wore the 4 and 5, respectively, as Elk Rapids picked up its second-straight LMC championship this winter. The Big North champion, Petoskey, had junior triplets Grayson, Eva and Caroline sporting the 11, 20 and 23, respectively.
The soccer rosters this spring may make opponents believe they have vision problems. The twins and the triplets helped their squads make strong showings in the league and postseason last spring.
At one point this basketball season the Gregorskis and the Guys were playing together on the same court as the Elks slipped past the Northmen 41-39 at home.
“It was kind of cool that when Mary and I were on the court at the same time and they (Caroline, Eva and Grayson) were all on the court at the same time, half of the players on the court were twins or triplets,” said Monika Gregorski, who was the Elks’ 3-point specialist. “It was two different families but it made up half of the teams.”
Fans and opponents looking closely at the Elks on the court may be able to differentiate between the twins by their playing. Monika buried 24 3-point shots during the regular season. Mary is the defensive stalwart, earnings an all-conference honor last year with her tenacity.
“They are different players on the floor and different off the floor,” said Elks coach Mike Brown, who had the twins all four years on the varsity. “But they have their togetherness.
“Every shooting drill they’re attached at the hip,” he continued. “They’re both such good two-way players, and they do everything whether it’s rebounding or steals.”
Elk Rapids’ season ended Wednesday night with a loss to Traverse City St. Francis in a Division 3 District Semifinal. The Elks finished 18-3. They were 16-2 last year, falling to powerhouse Glen Lake in the District Final.
Petoskey saw its championship season end Monday night with a loss to league rival Traverse City West. The Guy triplets, who moved from Ohio to Petoskey at the start of the 2020-21 school year, played a huge role in the Northmen’s 14-7 season.
Petoskey coach Bryan Shaw benefitted from the triplets’ move north last season, along with then-senior sister Gabriella.
“It is something to have a transfer or two, but four is a whole different story,” the seventh-year coach said. “Coaching the triplets has been fun.
“As close as they are, they are all their own individual,” he continued. “They have fit right in with teammates, and while coaching we don't really see them as triplets but try to maximize the skill each brings to the game.”
Caroline contributed eight points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.4 blocks per game this season. Grayson added 5.5 points and four rebounds, while Eva averaged nearly three points and more than two rebounds per game.
“All of them are competitive and work hard,” Shaw said of the Guy triplets. “Carol is more of a perimeter player, handles the ball well and shoots it well.
“Grayson is more of the swing-type player from the baseline or wing, but can also post up,” he continued. “Eva is steady. … She handles it when we need her to, defends well and hits open shots.”
Eva is turning her attention to soccer as she prepares for another season as a midfielder for the Northmen. Caroline and Grayson may not play soccer, perhaps choosing to focus on offseason basketball opportunities and conditioning.
The triplets don’t play a high school fall sport, and all list basketball as their favorite.
“It’s a lot of fun because we have that bond and connection,” said Eva. “We have been playing together literally since birth. Like right when we picked up a basketball, we all wanted to play and pursue our dreams together.”
With the Guy triplets on the soccer pitch a year ago, the Northmen dropped a tough decision to TC West in their final regular-season game. A win would have given Petoskey the league title. The score was 0-0 at halftime.
“I have been fortunate to not only have had the opportunity to work with all the girls on the soccer field, but also in my economics courses,” said Zach Jonker, veteran Petoskey boys and girls soccer coach and teacher. “The leadership qualities they have developed in their athletic endeavors are also on display in the classroom.
“They each epitomize what it means to be a student-athlete,” Jonker continued. “Each of the sisters has a distinct positive personality, and collectively they have elevated both the culture of our program and the school climate.”
Elk Rapids girls soccer and boys tennis coach Andrea Krakow, like Brown, also had the pleasure of coaching the twins’ older sisters, Megan and Molly. Megan is the current JV girls basketball coach.
Krakow said she takes the same approach with the twins as she does with any soccer player.
“As far as coaching twins, I have coached them as I would any other players — as individuals,” she said. “Soccer and doubles tennis are both team sports, so all players need to work together.”
“They each have their own personality and are different in several ways, thus I treated them and coached them as individuals.”
Regardless of sport, the twins and triplets believe having siblings on the team is an advantage as they know their teammates’ games inside and out. They all indicate a special joy from playing with their sisters.
“It is really fun playing with her (Monica) because we have, I want to say, is twin telepathy,” Mary Gregorski said. “We always know where each other are on the court.”
Grayson Guy believes it boosts team chemistry.
“I feel like a lot of troubles on teams is chemistry,” she said. “With the three of us going in, we automatically have so much chemistry.
“We saw each other grow as players and as people,” she continued. “It is super nice to get on the court and see a familiar face.”
Caroline Guy points to personal and team growth over the past seasons coming from having triplets on the team.
“It definitely made us connect a lot more over the years – especially this last year,” she said. “Our connection together — and everyone around us on our team — has definitely grown.
“Getting that closer relationship really helps us both inside and outside the sport.”
Elk Rapids and Petoskey are slated to meet on the Northmen’s soccer field April 7. The Elks won 2-0 at home last spring.
Tom Spencer is a longtime MHSAA-registered basketball and soccer official, and former softball and baseball official, and he also has coached in the northern Lower Peninsula area. He previously has written for the Saginaw News, Bay County Sports Page and Midland Daily News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org with story ideas for Manistee, Wexford, Missaukee, Roscommon, Ogemaw, Iosco, Alcona, Oscoda, Crawford, Kalkaska, Grand Traverse, Benzie, Leelanau, Antrim, Otsego, Montmorency, Alpena, Presque Isle, Cheboygan, Charlevoix and Emmet counties.
PHOTOS (1) From left, Grayson, Eva and Caroline Guy with Petoskey girls basketball coach Bryan Shaw. (2) From left, Monika Gregorski, Elks soccer and tennis coach Andrea Krakow, Megan and Mary Gregorski. (3) Monika and Mary chat with Elk Rapids basketball coach Mike Brown. (4) From left, Caroline, Eva and Grayson Guy exit the bus for a basketball game at Traverse City West. (Photos by Tom Spencer.)
Lansing Catholic Closes Season With Memorable Victory Close to Home
By Paul Costanzo
Special for MHSAA.com
March 18, 2023
EAST LANSING – The Lansing Catholic girls basketball team took a short drive to end a long wait.
Playing just three miles from their high school, the Cougars defeated Frankenmuth 43-29 Saturday at the Breslin Center to win the MHSAA Division 2 Final. It was the first Finals title for the program since 1995.
“It felt like homecourt advantage a little bit,” Lansing Catholic senior guard Hannah Pricco said. “Our bus trip wasn’t super long. It just kind of felt like we were coming to our own court.”
The Cougars treated it that way, dominating from the beginning of the matchup in their first Finals trip since that 1995 title. They scored the game’s first 11 points and never looked back.
“This is, as you can imagine, extremely surreal,” Lansing Catholic coach Kacee Reid said. “You’re going through literally every emotion on the bench, especially in a game like that. Frankenmuth is making such a great comeback, and we knew they were going to fight to the end. To go through the anger and sadness and happiness, and now it’s over and we’ve won it. It’s just been a rollercoaster of emotions, and I can’t describe the pride I have in these girls.”
It was the second meeting between the two teams, with Lansing Catholic taking the first 74-42 on Feb. 2. But Reid wasn’t going to let her team come in overconfident.
“They didn’t get here by accident,” Reid said. “They’re in the state championship because they’re playing their best ball of the year. We played them a month and a half ago. … We’re a totally different team, and we knew they were a totally different team. We knew they had been playing some really good basketball, and it didn’t matter at all what that first outcome was. We knew this was going to be a battle.”
Lansing Catholic (24-5) never trailed, and led by as many as 17 points in the third quarter. Leah Richards led the Cougars with 16 points and nine rebounds, while Anna Richards had 14 points. Gabby Halliwill added seven.
The Cougars were spurred by their defense throughout, holding Frankenmuth to 9 of 36 shooting from the field and forcing 13 turnovers.
“For us, defensively, we had to switch it up,” Reid said. “We had to keep switching up between man and zone. They were making adjustments and we couldn’t really sit in one thing for too long; they got comfortable. That’s a credit to their coaching staff always making adjustments. We had to continue to switch things up defensively and try to hopefully make their shooters second-guess their shot, or maybe not know where we were coming from.”
Frankenmuth (25-3) didn’t go away, despite trailing by double digits for the majority of the game.
That was helped by Lansing Catholic shooting 1 of 11 from the field in the third quarter, and going scoreless for the final 5:26 of the frame.
The Eagles cut the lead to seven with 2:45 to play on a steal and layup from Clare Conzelmann, but never got closer.
“There was always belief no matter what detriment we got ourselves in,” Frankenmuth senior Lexi Boyke said. “I wouldn’t want to choose any other girls to play with and be in with at that point. I think we fought back and really prided ourselves on, ‘We can still do it.’ We didn’t stop fighting until the end.”
Lansing Catholic always figured Frankenmuth would make a run to get into the game, but was ready when it came.
“We knew they were going to make runs, we knew we weren’t going to hold them to seven points the whole game,” Anna Richards said. “We knew in the third quarter they were going to score, so we just had to stay composed, work the ball around on offense to get the good shots that we wanted.”
Boyke, who scored Frankenmuth’s first 10 points and was its only scorer well into the third quarter, finished with 16. She also reached 1,000 career points in the game, and had six rebounds, while Izzy Bernthal had seven.
Frankenmuth was making its first Finals appearance since winning the Class C title in 1996, one year after Lansing Catholic.
“That’s a really good Lansing Catholic team, and you’ve seen that from their postseason run and beating an undefeated West Catholic team, and tonight finishing their season off with a state championship. So, congratulations to them,” Frankenmuth coach Joe Jacobs said. “I’m super proud of our kids. They didn’t quit tonight. They could have. … Fun experience, one that we want to treasure forever, but the motivation to come back again is here after tonight’s loss.”
PHOTOS (Top) Lansing Catholic celebrates its Division 2 championship Saturday night at Breslin Center. (Middle) The Cougars’ Anna Richards (10) attempts to get a shot up over Frankenmuth’s Lexi Boyke. (Below) Tessa Roe (12) works to get past Clare Conzelmann and to the basket.