Tri-unity Ends Historic Run in Quarters

March 16, 2016

By Dean Holzwarth
Special for Second Half

WYOMING – When the month of March rolls around at Wyoming Tri-unity Christian High School, it’s traditionally been a time for the community to rally around the boys basketball team for a lengthy postseason run.

The boys team has been a perennial state powerhouse in Class D for the past 20 years, winning four MHSAA Finals (1996, 2002, 2006, 2011) and earning four runner-up finishes.  

This season, however, the girls basketball program enjoyed similar success with its own jaunt through the Class D tournament. 

The Defenders won their first MHSAA Regional title last week with a 58-46 win over Climax-Scotts, upping their winning streak to 13 games after an 8-4 start. Tri-unity’s historic campaign ended Tuesday night with a disappointing 71-30 loss to unbeaten Pittsford in a MHSAA Class D Quarterfinal.

"Our goal was to do this,” Tri-unity coach Bryan Sinner said. “This is my third year, and our goal coming in was to bring some respect to the girls’ side of the program and that’s what we’re doing. The boys are going on a run, and we’re on a run, and it’s been fantastic for the school, especially for these girls now.”

The Defenders finished with a 21-5 overall record, and the banner season was something they knew was possible at the start of the season.

“I knew we could go far as long as we worked together,” said senior guard Sarah Buffum, a four-year varsity player who averaged a team-high 17.5 points per game.

“We had the talent, but we just had to come together as a team. We knew we could do it, and winning Regionals was so special, especially since it was the first time in school history. It meant a lot.”

Tri-unity’s other senior, center Marissa Stevenson, said it was thrilling to become the first team to reach the Quarterfinals.

“It was exciting to be noticed and make history for our school,” she said. “I think we were all in a lot of shock when we won, but throughout the season we learned our team chemistry, and our defense really picked up in this tournament. I had so much confidence in our team.”

Said Sinner: “They felt pretty special after that win, and they worked extremely hard for it. It’s a true blessing that we were able to do that, and the support from our fans and community has been fantastic. It’s gone back and forth between the girls and the boys, and it’s really great for our small school.”

The Defenders received a wealth of encouragement from the boys during their journey.

“The boys were supporting us along the way, and that was exciting to see,” Stevenson said. “It was nice to have their support behind us, and we give them our support, too.”

Tri-unity’s squad consisted of only 10 players: six juniors and a pair of sophomores joined the lone seniors.

After enduring two one-point losses on buzzer-beaters early in the season, as well as double-digit losses to Fruitport Calvary Christian and Grand Rapids Covenant Christian, the Defenders began to find their groove.

They gained confidence with each victory and built momentum for the postseason.

“The middle of the season we started coming together and playing as a team,” Sinner said. “I could see some special things happening. There was this determination and this commitment to going out there and leaving it all on the floor. You could see it in their eyes.”

Junior guard Cierra Smith provided a spark for Tri-unity, as did 6-foot sophomore Elasia Craig, who averaged 12 rebounds a game and set a school record for blocked shots with 82.

A demanding schedule, which included games against Class A, B and C squads, also factored into the Defenders’ success.

“Playing those schools helped us prepare and get ready for these months,” Sinner said. “I don’t think we’ve done that in the past, but we’re trying to do that now. I would rather take my lumps during the season in order to prepare us for this time in the season.”

The future of the girls program remains bright with the graduation of only Buffum and Stevenson. An experienced core will be back and a group of younger players are waiting in the wings.

“I have five freshmen playing now, and seven eighth-graders and 13 seventh-graders who are coming to these games and seeing the excitement,” Sinner said. “Hopefully it keeps growing this way.”

Dean Holzwarth covered primarily high school sports for the Grand Rapids Press and MLive for 16 years and more recently served as sports editor of the Ionia Sentinel and as a sports photojournalist for WZZM. Contact him at [email protected] with story ideas for Allegan, Kent and Ottawa counties.

PHOTOS: (Top) Sarah Buffum drives during Tuesday’s Quarterfinal loss to Pittsford. (Middle) Marissa Stevenson (42) works to get to the basket Tuesday. (Below) Elasia Craig provides plenty of hope for the future after setting a school record for blocked shots. (Photos by Chris Duzan.)

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.