West Bloomfield Makes Good on Preseason Goal with 1st Finals Win

By Paul Costanzo
Special for MHSAA.com

March 19, 2022

EAST LANSING – Apparently Sydney Hendrix holds a grudge.

The West Bloomfield junior has held onto the hurt from her team’s Regional Semifinal loss to Hartland in 2020, and on Saturday, she let it all out on the court.

Hendrix had 12 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Lakers to a 51-42 victory over the Eagles in the Division 1 Girls Basketball Final at the Breslin Center. 

“We lost to Hartland my freshman year, and I think I was crying for like three days straight,” Hendrix said. “I wanted it so bad, but we couldn’t pull out the win. I’ve been wanting my get-back for a minute now. I’m just so glad we got it.”

West Bloomfield/Hartland basketballThe title win was the first in program history for the Lakers, who last played in a Final in 1989. This year’s team set the goal of winning it all at the first practice, and after losing its opening game against Dexter, won 25 straight to accomplish that.

“I remember November 12, everybody coming together and saying they wanted the state championship,” West Bloomfield coach Darrin McAllister said. “So I knew at that time, our coaching staff, we had to do everything in our power to get us to this point. We bought into the ‘I believe’ mindset. We worked our tails off, and we got here to the Breslin and we did what we had to do.”

West Bloomfield never trailed in the game, and held Hartland at arm’s length throughout most of it. 

Indya Davis led the Lakers (25-1) with 17 points and 11 rebounds, while Summer Davis and Myonna Hooper each scored nine points for the Lakers.

“This game was very personal,” said Hooper, who was also on that 2020 team. “We took it upon ourselves to make sure everybody was in the position they needed to be, everybody was playing their role, everybody was executing, everybody was picking each other’s heads up when somebody was down. From Day 1, we’ve been talking about this, and we never let up.”

Amanda Roach scored 21 points for Hartland to lead all scorers. Emerson Sargeant had six points and nine rebounds for the Eagles (25-2).

Roach had half of Hartland’s field-goal makes in the game, as the Eagles struggled to make shots, finishing 16 of 64 from the field.

West Bloomfield/Hartland basketball“I think West Bloomfield had a lot to do with that, but on the other hand, we did have some good looks,” Hartland coach Don Palmer said. “Shots that we normally make, they didn’t go today. Sometimes, that just kind of feeds.”

West Bloomfield led by as many as 14 points in the second half. Roach tried to pull the Eagles back into the game, and nearly did in the fourth quarter. She hit a long 3-pointer to bring her team to within seven with four minutes to play and put some belief in the Hartland fans. 

The Eagles wouldn’t get any closer, though, until she hit another long 3 with 25 seconds to play that brought her team within six of the lead. But West Bloomfield was able to close the game out at the free throw line. 

“I personally thought we still had a chance with 30 seconds left,” Roach said. “We fight back every single game. I’m just proud of everybody.”

Each Hartland push was met with a response from the Lakers, and often it was the result of an offensive rebound, or two. Hendrix had seven on her own.

“She’s a beast,” Palmer said. “She is strong, she can finish, she’s got a little bit of a mid-range jumpshot. A lot of times when you have teams with ‘superstars’ those other kids get lost in the coverage, but I certainly picked (Hendrix) up on tape.”

Hartland also came into Saturday in search of its first Finals title after advancing beyond the Quarterfinal for the first time.

“Obviously, it feels great to be up here and play with all these girls that I started with,” Hartland senior Leah Lappin said. “Obviously, disappointing because we didn’t play our best. But it was good to play with these girls.”

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS (Top) West Bloomfield’s Indya Davis (24) turns toward the lane Saturday as Hartland’s Lauren Sollon (25) walls off the baseline. (Middle) The Lakers’ Myonna Hooper (4) prepares to make her move toward the hoop. (Below) Sydney Hendrix (5) pulls up for a shot over Sollon’s reach. (Click for more from Hockey Weekly Action Photos.)

JoBurg 3-Sport Great Capping Career Filled with All-State Honors, Team Trophies

By Tom Spencer
Special for MHSAA.com

April 5, 2024

It won’t be hard for Jayden Marlatt to remember opening day on the softball field from any of her four years at Johannesburg-Lewiston.

Northern Lower PeninsulaAs a freshman, she missed the opener due to needing to quarantine. Her sophomore and junior years started on the road because the Cardinals’ field was under construction.  

This season the Cardinals will open up — weather permitting — on their brand-new field, hosting Mio on Monday, April 8.  Marlatt is slated to be the starting pitcher again and add to her school record collection.

While Johannesburg-Lewiston is looking forward to playing on the new diamond, Marlatt and her teammates have high hopes of finishing the season almost 200 miles south. They’re looking to get back to Michigan State University – the site of the Division 4 Semifinals and Final.

The Cards have had their sites on that goal since they fell 4-2 to Mendon in last year’s Semifinal at Secchia Stadium. The loss ended a 30-4-1 campaign that saw the Cardinals play every game on the road for a second consecutive year, but come up only one victory short of a first championship game appearance.

The trip to East Lansing also came after the Cards won the program’s first District title since 2008 and advanced to the Semifinals for the first time since 1981.

“It has been a long two seasons on the road,” said eighth-year head coach Kim Marlatt, noting the team utilized a Little League field for practices during the stretch. “They’ve been putting in a lot of work in the offseason, so it is excited to get going.”

Cardinals’ 1,000-point scorer Marlatt sets up for a free throw attempt. The new field isn’t the only new things this spring. The Cardinals will have a junior varsity team for the first time during the Marlatt’s tenure. The JV squad is coached by Ryan Marlatt, who has been serving the program the past eight years as assistant coach. He also has been the head girls basketball coach at JoBurg the past two seasons.

The Marlatt coaches are the proud parents of Jayden, who continues to garner recognition as perhaps the greatest athlete in Johannesburg-Lewiston’s history. 

The three-sport star had a huge hand in all that JoBurg accomplished last season leading the team in batting average (.670), home runs (13) and runs batted in (61). As the team’s ace pitcher, she collected 249 strikeouts and compiled a 1.32 ERA.

“Jayden has put in the hard work,” Kim pointed out.  “She is a very humble athlete. ‘She doesn’t like to talk about herself. She likes to compete, and she likes to be on the top of her game for her teammates.”

Jayden has been named all-conference and all-state in softball, basketball and volleyball nearly every season over her four years at JoBurg. She’s led her teams to Ski Valley Conference, District and Regional titles along the way.

She’s also been named Player of the Year by multiple publications. And she’s a front runner to be voted the Most Valuable Player of the Ski Valley Conference in softball. Earlier this year, league coaches voted her the MVP for both basketball and volleyball.  

“The Ski Valley never used to vote on an MVP,” Ryan Marlatt said. “Hopefully she can add the triple crown and get softball this year.”

Jayden Marlatt, who has played all three sports all four years, acknowledged softball is perhaps her most treasured, and she’ll continue in that sport at Ferris State. Her career total of more than 500 strikeouts, and her 14 home runs last season, are both JoBurg school records. "I like them all but probably softball,” she confirmed when asked to name her favorite sport.

She averaged 12 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists and four steals per game this winter helping the Cards basketball team to a conference runner-up finish. She was key to JoBurg's ability to put a 12-game winning streak together, and she topped the 1,000-point career mark along the way.

Also a standout in the fall, Marlatt prepares to connect during volleyball season.Her outstanding senior year on the basketball court and this spring’s possibilities nearly vanished as the volleyball season ended.

She suffered what looked to be a serious lower-leg injury in the final game of the JoBurg volleyball season. “She finished in the emergency room,” Kim Marlatt said.  

Diagnosed a high ankle sprain, it was an aggravation to an injury from her junior year in basketball. She wasn’t quite at 100 percent on the basketball court this season until the holiday break. She’s starting the softball season healthy, though.

Before the injury, Jayden led the Cards to their third volleyball conference championship over the last four years. After becoming JoBurg's all-time kills leader during her junior season, and with many of her teammates from her first three seasons graduating, Jayden had to fill a variety of roles while anchoring the offense from her outside hitter spot.

She ended up leading the team in both kills with 421 and digs, with 431, in her final season on the volleyball court. And she is listed among MHSAA’s all-time leaders in kills for a single match and career.

It’s more than Marlatt’s stats that stand out for Kristine Peppin, the school’s volleyball coach the past 15 years.

“It is not about the size of the school or the size of the player, it’s the heart that they have inside,” she proclaimed. “This girl would be a successful player on whatever team she was on. 

“Yes we’re a small school, small town,” she continued. “That kind of leadership and heart and drive to be the best is what’s given her that success.”

Marlatt’s work ethic is second to none, Peppin noted. She never saw Jayden give less than a “1,000” percent in practice or games in her career. 

Marlatt celebrates a trophy win during last season’s Semifinals softball run with parents (and coaches) Kim and Ryan Marlatt.“She’s a super hard worker and extremely modest for the kind of skill she possesses and the success she’s had,” Peppin said. “Her teammates think it’s amazing to be on her team.”

Marlatt’s volleyball skills caught the eye of at least one of her conference opponents’ coaches back in junior high. Ron Stremlow was performing one of his many coaching duties for Fife Lake Forest Area when he first saw Jayden on the volleyball court.

“I could tell then this girl was somebody special,” said Stremlow, who became one of the winningest coaches in state volleyball history with the Warriors. “When she got in high school, it just took off.

“She puts the time into it, and she works hard,” Stremlow continued. “Kids like that get what they deserve – they work for it.”

Stremlow, now retired, also acknowledged he’s enjoyed being able to watch the hard-throwing Marlatt on the softball field the last couple of seasons as Forest Area hosted the Cardinals consecutively due to JoBurg’s lack of a home field.

It’s something he’ll have to travel to do this year though, as JoBurg is scheduled to host the Warriors on April 15.

The Cardinals also will host a Regional on their new field June 8. The winners of District play at Rogers City, Harbor Springs, St. Ignace and Gaylord St. Mary will participate.

To play in the Regional, the Cards will have to emerge from the Rogers City District featuring the host Hurons, Atlanta, Hillman, Onaway, and Posen.

Tom SpencerTom 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 [email protected] 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 (Top) Johannesburg-Lewiston’s Jayden Marlatt drives a pitch during softball season. (2) Cardinals’ 1,000-point scorer Marlatt sets up for a free throw attempt. (3) Also a standout in the fall, Marlatt prepares to connect during volleyball season. (4) Marlatt celebrates a trophy win during last season’s Semifinals softball run with parents (and coaches) Kim and Ryan Marlatt. (Action shots by Dylan Jespersen/Petoskey News-Review; family photo by Breya Domke.)