Terwilliger Shines in Leading Irish

March 13, 2014

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

EAST LANSING – Marine City Cardinal Mooney knew about point guard Sara Hansen, the Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart’s only senior. It had a plan for 6-foot-3 sophomore center Averi Gamble, and it worked well at the start of Thursday’s Class D Semifinal.

But Cardinals’ coach Susan Everhart admitted after that Irish junior guard Riley Terwilliger was not on her team’s radar before their trip to the Breslin Center.

She showed up in a hurry.

Terwilliger, who averaged a respectable 9.3 points per game entering the week, scored 19 and grabbed 10 rebounds and led the key run as Sacred Heart broke away for a 54-42 win and its first MHSAA Final berth since finishing Class D runner-up in 2008.

“I felt I needed to step up at some point in the game, and they were focused a lot on Sara and Averi,” Terwilliger said. “I just did what I had to do.”

Sacred Heart will face either Crystal Falls Forest Park or Athens in Saturday’s 10 a.m. Final. The Irish (21-5) have played only in that one championship game, and as such are seeking their first title.

But they’ve played in plenty of big games this winter, including against a few of the top teams in Class C. And coach Damon Brown could tell that experience paid off in one of the best wins in program history.

Sacred Heart trailed much of the first quarter and half of the second as Cardinal Mooney zoned to give Gamble double coverage and attacked the Irish with its trio of senior standouts. 

But when Terwilliger caught fire, it swung everything in the Irish’s favor – including the Cardinals’ defense that had focused so much attention on the post.

She had 11 points, a rebound and a steal as Sacred Heart closed the first half on a 15-5 run to take a 27-20 lead into the break.

“We know going into games that Sara is number on one people’s scouting reports and Averi is number two. They often forget about Riley, but she finds a way to get open in zones,” Brown said. “She’s the ultimate utility player, and that’s what we need in order to be successful.”

She did so during the second half in part by opening things up for Gamble and Hansen. Gamble had eight of her 10 points after the break, and Hansen had eight of her 16 points during the last three minutes of the game.

Hansen hit a 3-pointer with 2:55 left to push Sacred Heart’s lead from four to seven points, and Terwilliger then made it nine after a steal and layup to effectively put the game away.

“We thought we had a great gameplan … and we got away from it,” Cardinal Mooney coach Susan Everhart said. “They got a little physical at times for us, and that’s where they got a jump on us.”

Whereas Sacred Heart has just one senior in Hansen, Cardinal Mooney followed a strong class of six to its first Semifinals since 2009.  Guard Katie Theut had 19 points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots, and center Madison Southers added 13 points and 14 rebounds.

The Cardinals finished 19-6.

“Our girls made it however many years ago, and the guys made it four years ago, so it means a lot to me to be part of the program and get here,” Theut said. “I couldn’t ask to do it with a better group of girls. They’re all my best friends, and sharing this moment with them means the world to me.”

Hansen exited the game during the final minute, and appeared to take pause when the final buzzer sounded before she rushed into Terwilliger to celebrate the moment.

“The last 30 seconds, you just want to get it over. It’s my first State Finals ever, and it’s just really special,” Hansen said. “It’s kinda fun (being the only senior). Everybody looks up to you and stuff, but I don’t look at it as being the only senior. I’m really good friends with everyone, and it’s just really fun. They play really hard for me, and I play really hard for them.”

Click for a complete box score and video of the press conference.

PHOTOS: (Top) Sacred Heart's Riley Terwilliger tries to drive around Cardinal Mooney's Madison Stouthers. (Middle) Megan Engish (10) puts up a shot over the Cardinals' Lauren Higgins.

HIGHLIGHTS: (1) Sara Hansen of Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart cans a 3-pointer at the first-quarter buzzer. Sacred Heart went on to beat Cardinal Mooney 52-42 in the Class D Semifinal. (2) Cardinal Mooney hits its own trey to end the third quarter. Katie Theut beats the buzzer to cut the Irish lead to 36-33. 

Hemlock, Rockford Follow 3-Point Success to 1st Titles, Record Book Fame

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

September 1, 2023

Hemlock and Rockford's drives to their first Girls Basketball Finals championships in March were paced in part by some of the strongest 3-point shooting in MHSAA history.

The Division 1 title-winning Rams connected on 243 3-pointers – third-most all-time – over 29 games in tying the single-season wins record while finishing 28-1. Grace Lyons, a senior this fall, made the single-season individual list with 70 3-pointers.

The Huskies won in Division 3 having connected on 229 3-pointers over 29 games, seventh-most in MHSAA history, on 678 attempts, which ranks 12th on that list. Chloe Watson made the single-season list with 75 3-pointers, and Regan Finkbeiner did as well connecting on 67.

Watson also made the career 3-pointers list with 224 and Finkbeiner with 194, and 2017 Hemlock graduate Samantha Krauss was added for 65 3-pointers as a junior in 2015-16 and 188 for her career. Additionally, past Hemlock standout Karli Herrington was added for her 317 rebounds in 2012-13, and Peyton Apsey was added for 144 steals in 2010-11.

Watson is continuing her career at Mid-Michigan College, and Finkbeiner is playing softball at Madonna. Herrington went on to play at Central Michigan and Northwood, Krauss played at Ferris State and Apsey played at Oakland.

Read on for more recent record book additions for girls basketball:

Girls Basketball

Hudsonville’s Maddie Petroelje joined the list of top 3-point shooters in MHSAA history as a junior in 2021-22, when she connected on 70 (in just 147 attempts) to make the single-season list. She graduated this spring 16th on the career list as well with 226 3-pointers in 512 attempts over 92 games and four seasons. She is continuing at Loyola (Ill.).

Byron Center’s Avery Zeinstra also finished her career among those top 3-point shooters. She also made the single-season list with 70 in 147 attempts as a freshman in 2018-19, and she capped her career in 2021-22 with 206 3-pointers (tied for 20th-most) in 502 attempts over four seasons and 80 career games. She is continuing at Grand Valley State.

Hannah Thompson was best known for her soccer scoring at Schoolcraft. But she’s made a second MHSAA record book for her 15 steals in a Jan. 28, 2022, basketball win over Galesburg-Augusta. She’s continuing her soccer career at Eastern Michigan.

Baraga’s run to the Division 4 Semifinals in 2022 received big boosts from Corina Jahfetson’s 3-point shooting and Reide Osterman’s defense. Jahfetson was added to the record book with 66 3-pointers over 25 games, including nine in a game against Carney Nadeau – when Baraga as a team made the record book with 14 3-pointers total. Osterman made the record book with 153 steals. Jahfetson graduated this spring, and Osterman is playing at Northern Michigan.

Grand Rapids West Michigan Aviation Academy’s Audrey Mileski had one of the busiest games at the free throw line in MHSAA history Dec. 14, 2021. She made 23 free throws – third-most in a single game – against Wyoming Kelloggsville. Mileski graduated this spring.

Sophia Bussell had set Monroe’s single-game 3-pointers record of eight as a freshman two seasons ago, and she bettered it last Dec. 13 by tying for the 10th-most in MHSAA history. She made 10-pointers including the game-winner of a 58-56 victory over Ypsilanti Lincoln. A little less than 10 months earlier, Adrian Lenawee Christian then-senior Kylie Summer also made 10, on 17 attempts, during a 57-34 win over Lansing Christian on Feb. 24, 2022.

Lydia Meredith enjoyed a memorable senior season for Portland St. Patrick in 2021-22, finishing her four-year varsity career with 453 steals over just 80 games. She also was added for drilling 17 free throws in 22 attempts against Fowler. She plays now at Saginaw Valley State.

Gabby Piepho got off to a fast start at Howell as a freshman last season, and at a record-setting pace at the free-throw line. She made 93 of 107 attempts over 25 games, for an .869 percentage that made the single-season list. That included a string of 47 straight free throws that ranks as the second-longest in MHSAA history. As a team, Howell tied for sixth all-time with 301 free throws over 25 games, on 439 attempts.

Kent City’s Lexie Bowers reached the single-season 3-pointers list for the second time last season, connecting on 72 of 233 tries over 26 games (after making 77 as a junior), and finished her four-season varsity career 16th on that 3-pointers list with 225 in 693 attempts over 99 games. She’s continuing her career at Northwood. Kent City as a team also reached the single-season 3-pointers made and attempted lists again, ranking fourth with 753 attempts and tying for eighth all-time by connecting on 202.

Posen then-junior Faith Cousins earned a par of record book entries during 2021-22 for assists. Her 16 in a District Final win on March 4, 2022, remain tied for fifth-most in one game, and she finished with 165 over 22 games for the season. She’s set to begin her softball career at Alma College.

Niles Brandywine went over 20 wins again this past season, finishing 21-3, and again the 3-pointer was a key tool in that pursuit. Brandywine made the record book with back-to-back games of 13 3-pointers to close the regular season, and finished with 175 3-pointers in 592 attempts over 23 games (with one won by forfeit).

Greenville’s Megan Leslie averaged more than two 3-pointers a game during her four-season varsity career, making the record list with 153 total over 76 games through graduation this spring. She’s continuing her career at Alma College.

Successful 3-point shooting played a major role in Saline finishing 21-4 with league and District titles last winter. The Hornets attempted 704 3-pointers – ninth-most all-time for one season – and connected on 191, which is 12th on that list. They made a season-high 14 against Ypsilanti Lincoln on Nov. 29 to make the single-game list.

Marcellus senior Brooklyn VanTilburg enjoyed a big finish to her high school career last winter, making the record book with 16 blocked shots in a game against Centreville and 135 blocks total for the season. She’ll continue at Kalamazoo Valley Community College.

Kennedy Gustafson made headlines last winter as a sophomore and earned a pair of record listings for her rebounding. She grabbed 26 in a March 3 District Final win over Muskegon Western Michigan Christian, and she finished with 376 rebounds over 25 games for the season.

PHOTO Hemlock's Regan Finkbeiner, left, follows through on a free throw attempt during last season's Division 3 Final, and Rockford's Grace Lyons launches the game-winning 3-pointer in Division 1.