Unranked Eaton Rapids Ends on Top in B

March 15, 2014

By Tom Kendra
Special to Second Half

EAST LANSING - Dittmer was the difference.

Grand Rapids South Christian came into Saturday's MHSAA Class B championship game ranked No. 1 and with a 26-game winning streak. But the Sailors had never faced an inside force like 6-foot-1 senior post player Allie Dittmer of Eaton Rapids.

"We tried our best to stop her," said South Christian coach Jim De Bruyn, "but she was just a horse in there."

Dittmer dominated the interior, scoring 26 points on 9 of 15 shooting and grabbing 13 rebounds to lead unheralded Eaton Rapids to its first-ever MHSAA girls basketball title in a convincing 51-38 upset of South Christian in Saturday's finale at the Breslin Center.

The Greyhounds (23-5) came into the MHSAA tournament as an honorable mention in the final Associated Press regular-season poll, but relied on five senior starters to knock off No. 6 Ypsilanti Arbor Prep in the Quarterfinals, No. 8 Flint Powers in Friday's Semifinal and then top-ranked South Christian in Saturday's Final.

"I told the girls before the game that we don't need to be perfect, we just need to be us," said 15th-year Eaton Rapids coach Willis Whitmyer. "I'm not the smartest guy here, but I'm smart enough to know when I have a good inside player. Everyone on this team has heard it 1,000 times from me: 'Get the ball inside to Allie.'"

Dittmer, who will play next year at Hillsdale College, scored two points in the first quarter as both teams struggled out of the gate. The quarter ended in a 7-7 tie.

But Dittmer came alive with nine points in the second quarter as the Greyhounds inched ahead to a 19-16 halftime lead, and it appeared that the second half would be a down-to-the-wire fight.

However, buoyed by a raucous, maroon-clad crowd chanting "We are, E.R.!," Eaton Rapids used its zone defense to stymie the Sailors' comeback attempt.

While the defense was doing its part, Dittmer got back to work on the block, scoring five points in the third quarter and then tallying 10 in the fourth (despite picking up her fourth foul with 4:35 remaining and having to sit for stretches) as the Greyhounds pulled away.

"I’ve got to give credit to my teammates; they worked it around and made it easy on me," said Dittmer, who garnered honorable mention status on the Associated Press Class B all-state team announced this week. "This win means so much to all of us.”

As Dittmer began to demand more and more attention from the Sailors, it began to open up shooting opportunities and driving lanes for the Eaton Rapids guards.

The Greyhounds were 18 of 26 from the free-throw line, compared to just 3 of 6 for South Christian. Senior guard Kathryn Mills was the only other Eaton Rapids player in double figures scoring with 11 points, including a game-clinching 3-pointer right in front of her school's delirious student section with 1:35 remaining that gave the Greyhounds an insurmountable 48-37 lead.

"It was about time, was the way I looked at it," said Mills, one of those five senior starters. "I had a rough start, but that's the way a lot of our games went this year. We got more open looks at the end because the other team is focused on stopping Allie."

South Christian 5-11 senior Renee Broekhuizen, who battled Dittmer inside all night, was the lone Sailors player in double figures, with 13 points. Broekhuizen buried back-to-back 3-pointers to pull her team to within 37-33 with 5:15 remaining in the game, but the Sailors were outscored 14-5 the rest of the way.

Dittmer scored four points during the final run, and senior guard Meghan Dassance scored five of her six during that stretch.

"She's a great player, and she has a strong body," Broekhuizen said of Dittmer. "We never gave up, we were relentless and we refused to lose. But it just wasn't our night."

South Christian (26-1) lost for the first time since last year's Semifinals at the Breslin. It was the Sailors' third appearance in a girls basketball title game, as they won the 1988 Class B championship and finished as the 1980 Class C runners-up.

Cassidy Vredevoogd blocked five shots and added six points and five rebounds for South Christian. Morgan Torres had a team-high six rebounds, and Broekhuizen added three steals.

"It's not what we planned on, but here we are," said De Bruyn, who has won 441 games in 25 years as South Christian's coach. "We struggled against their zone and couldn't seem to get many good, open shots."

The Sailors connected on just 15 of 46 shots (32.6 percent), were not able to get to the free-throw line much and were out rebounded 34-24.

Five points from Emily Reinecke and six rebounds and five assists from Bailey Baker also boosted Eaton Rapids, which placed second in the Capital Area Activities Conference Gold.

But Whitmyer felt another force during Saturday's game, especially in the second half, which he felt made a big difference in turning things in his team's favor.

"I thought our fans were unbelievable," said Whitmyer, whose team won all eight of its tournament games by at least 10 points. "I looked out there, and I thought we owned the Breslin. Our support system throughout the school and the community was really something else, and that makes this even more special."

Click for the full box score and video from the press conference.

PHOTOS: (Top) Eaton Rapids' Meghan Dassance works to get past South Christian's Renee Broekhuizen in the Class B Final. (Middle) Greyhounds guard Kathryn Mills launches a shot in front of her team's bench Saturday.

HIGHLIGHTS: (1) Allie Dittmer led all scorers with 26 points and all rebounders with 13. Here she scores on a putback just before halftime to give Eaton Rapids a 19-16 lead. (2) Renee Broekhuizen led South Christian in scoring with 13. Here's a 3-pointer she hit early in the game.

St. George's Senior Season Filled with Historic Trip, Sizzling 3-Point Shooting

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com 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.