High 5s: 3/20/12

March 20, 2012

Every Tuesday, Second Half honors 2-4 athletes and a team for its accomplishments.

Have a suggestion for a future High 5? Please offer it by e-mail to [email protected] Candidates often will have accomplished great things on the field of play -- but also will be recognized for less obvious contributions to their teams, schools or the mission of high school athletics.

Madison Ristovski

Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett senior


Ristovski led her team to within a win of the Class C championship. She had 15 points and seven assists in a Semifinal win over Concord on Thursday, then scored 42 points -- second-most in MHSAA girls championship game history -- although the Knights fell 61-57 to Morley-Stanwood in Saturday's Final. Earlier in the week, she was named this season's Miss Basketball as the state's top senior player. She was joined on the Knights this season by junior sister Haleigh and freshman sister Lola.

Up next: Ristovski received a scholarship offer from the Unversity of Michigan after her freshman year, and accepted it as a junior. She's hopes to study education, get her teaching certificate and go into school administration.

Before the game, a winning routine: "Every single game day I wear the same outfit to school. I always eat the same pre-game meal -- a cheeseburger and medium fries from McDonald's. I sit in the same spot on the same bus for every game. ... I have to play with curly hair. I can't play with straight hair. I'm very superstitious."

Favorite offensive move: "With my right hand, cross over to the middle and jumpshot."

I learned the most about basketball from: "My dad, Loren Ristovski. My dad first started coaching when I was about nine months old (he coached at Harper Woods for 10 years). That's when he first started taking me into the gym. I could sit up at nine months, and I would roll the ball back and forth with my dad in the gym. I just went to everthing, and I grew up in the gym with my dad."

My favorite player is: "Pistol" Pete Maravich.

Sister power: "I'm really competitive with them in practice. We always go against each other, and we always make sure to push each other the hardest we can. In the games, I'm really supportive of them, but also I tell them when they are doing something wrong. Haleigh is a really good defender, but she can shoot the lights out. Lola can dribble really well and (is strong) in transition. I'm better at going to the basket and finding open players."

Had to be a Wolverine: "When I was in fifth grade, U-M was the very first basketball camp I went to outside of the local rec place and the high school. It was a huge place, and I loved it. My dad and I walked out of Crisler Arena, and my dad looked around and said to me, 'This is where you'll play basketball.' And I was like, 'Are you crazy? Those girls are so big.' My dad said, 'Madison, I promise you'll play at U-M.' Ever since, that's where I wanted to go."

Shar'Rae Davis

Grand Haven senior


Davis, a point guard, scored 19 points -- including the winning lay-up with six seconds to play -- as Grand Haven completed an 18-point comeback to beat Grosse Pointe South 54-53 in Saturday's Class A Final at the Breslin Center. The 18-point comeback was the third-biggest in MHSAA girls basketball championship game history. The Buccaneers also beat reigning champion Inkster in their Semifinal. The MHSAA title was Grand Haven's first. The team lost only once this season, early to East Kentwood.

"I'm so happy we lost that game. It definitely gave us a shift back into our mindset that we need to work hard every game to get where we are now -- state champs."

Up next: Davis is remaining quiet at this point about who is recruiting her, but expects to play basketball at the college level. 

Staying relaxed before the game: "We definitely listen to music. You would think all us girls would get our heads into it, be super serious. But our team can't be serious. We're an outgoing team. Before (Friday's) game, we were dancing in the locker room. And we definitely have a team prayer thanking God for everything he does for us."

I learned the most about basketball from: "I would have to say my family, every single one. I can't even put it specifically. My dad (Terry Foster), my little brother (Terrence II), my mom (Cavina Foster). They've all just contributed in every way. I love them all."

My favorite player is: "Either Kobe (Bryant) or LeBron (James). Game-wise, they are just pretty amazing. How they're able to stay calm and collected in games, hit shots under pressure, all that type of thing. I try to resemble their games. They're pretty awesome players."

Alexis Huntey

Morley-Stanwood senior


Huntey, a 6-foot-1 center, had 27 points and 16 rebounds as Morley-Stanwood won its first MHSAA girls basketball championship by edging Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett 61-57 in Saturday's Class C Final. She also played a sizable role in Morley-Stanwood winning its second volleyball championship in the fall. She was named all-state this winter by The Associated Press and was a Miss Volleyball finalist in the fall. At that time she reported a 3.98 grade-point average.

Up next: Huntey has signed to play volleyball this fall at George Washington University. She's continuing a Division I college legacy in her family -- her father and Morley-Stanwood athletic director Clark Huntey played baseball at Central Michigan.

Basketball vs. volleyball championship: "There's definitely a comparable feeling to it. But it's so different. In basketball there are more nerves. Bigger gyms. It's (Michigan) State. I was really excited."

I learned the most about basketball from: "I would have to say Coach (Bob) Raven. I've looked up to him since I was this tall, and I was a water girl. I've always been so excited just to play for him."

Pre-game prep: "We stretch and then we pray as a team. Bailey (Cairnduff) leads it."

My favorite move is: "I fake up to the left, and the go back to the left."

James Counsman

Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett junior


Counsman, a left win, had a goal and an assist in University Liggett's Division 3 Semifinal win over Chelsea on March 9, then scored his team's first two goals in its 3-0 win over Houghton in the next day's championship game. The MHSAA title was University Liggett's first in hockey since 1990. Counsman also plays lacrosse.

"I've never won anything of this caliber. It's great. I love it. We've done so much. ... Every guy has worked as hard as he can to make this happen. I'm glad we achieved our goal."

Up next: Counsman is just a junior, but hopes to play college hockey, perhaps at the Division III level, and would like to take a shot at playing juniors as well. At this point, he's considering a major in business.

I've learned the most about hockey from: "(Liggett coach) Robb McIntyre. He's coached me all throughout my growing up. He's been an awesome coach. I've learned everything from him."

I look up to: "Definitely my dad (Rich Counsman). He played college sports (football and baseball at Kalamazoo College), and he's just a great guy. I love him."

Before every game: "I gotta get in my jump ropes. I like to get in a nice long run, not too much stretching, and I gotta have a grape jelly peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. That's what we do. I like Smuckers, Jiff peanut butter. There's a process to making these sandwiches. Every guy makes them before games. Individually wrapped, cut diagonally, grape jelly."

Goodrich Girls Basketball

The Martians finished 28-0 in winning the Class B championship, their first MHSAA title. Goodrich beat a number of ranked teams in Class A, B and C this season, including No. 3 Detroit Country Day, No. 6 Dearborn Divine Child and No. 10 Grand Rapids Catholic Central in the final three rounds, respectively, of the Class B tournament. Divine Child was the reigning Class B champion. Among others to fall to the Martians this season were Class A Semifinalist Inkster and Class C runner-up University Liggett.

Hockey Players Transferring Winter Puck Skills to Spring Golf Swings

By Tom Lang
Special for MHSAA.com

May 26, 2023

When the Michigan seasons shift from winter to spring, some high school golf teams are a little more eager than others for the hockey season to officially end.

This is especially true for the school golf programs in Brighton, Hartland and Muskegon Mona Shores – examples of boys teams that love having hockey players transition from the indoor frozen ice to play golf outdoors on the lush green grass.

“I would take a golf team full of hockey players any day,” said Hartland golf coach Nathan Oake. “I love them.”

We can tell, because his program is full of them.

Hartland and Brighton each have eight hockey players on their 16-golfer varsity and JV rosters.

Mona Shores has three hockey players this year, but usually has more. In 2023 it’s Oliver MacDonald (all-state honorable mention in hockey), Nathan McNarland and Nicholas Taylor, who was voted Division 1 all-state golf last spring, then leading his team to fifth place at the MHSAA Lower Peninsula Division 1 Final.

Hartland’s Ian Kastamo (16) takes a faceoff against Brighton this winter. Brighton golfer Winston Lerch was also Division 1 all-state last year in golf and an assistant captain on the hockey team this winter that finished Division 1 runner-up to Detroit Catholic Central. Here in 2023, he shot a 65 to open the season at Oakland University for medalist and has committed to Grand Valley State for golf with his 72-stroke average.

Joining Lerch in the Bulldogs boys golf program are hockey players like Levi Pennala, winner of hockey’s Wall Award sponsored by State Champs as the top high school goalie. Pennala – who recently shot 72 at the Kensington Lakes Activities Association championship tournament, his career low for high school golf – finished in the top 30 last year at the LPD1 Final. Then early this spring when he was away at a high-level junior hockey tournament, freshman hockey player Adam Forcier stepped in and shot a school record 18-hole round for a freshman at 73. Jacob Daavetilla also works into the starting lineup at times.

Forcier tied the record of Davis Codd – who, as a pro hockey player on leave from the Saginaw Spirit OHL hockey team when COVID-19 shut down the league, won the LPD1 Final in 2021 for Brighton.

Brighton golf coach Jimmy Dewling said Codd was one of the earliest to prove to others you can play both hockey and golf and excel. In fact, that June in 2021, Codd went to an NHL scouting camp in Pennsylvania before the Golf Finals, drove overnight back to Forest Akers to play the two championship rounds, won the title, then immediately returned to Pennsylvania to resume the hockey camp.

“On our team, we believe, and TBone (Codd) was a perfect example of it, if there’s any time you have the opportunity to be competitive, it is going to make you a more well-rounded competitor and therefore better at your particular sport,” Dewling said.

“We like hockey players. In the winter, they have to think to where the puck is going, be smart enough to react, and understand how that emotion is going to carry over from one play to the next. When it’s your shift you have to forget about the last shift, or take something from the last shift and put it into the next shift, to have consistent play.

“It’s the same on the golf course,” Dewling continued. “It’s one hole to the next, one shot at a time, being tough, and that’s only going to come from competition reps. We love the athletic ability more so than anything; the toughness and competitiveness all year.”

In addition to Lerch and Pennala starting on varsity golf, they are joined by traditional golfers Matt Doyle, Riley Morton and Andrew Daily, who is committed to Wayne State and finished LPD1 runner-up last spring.

Mona Shores’ Nicholas Taylor fires an iron shot. Going into the 2023 golf postseason, Brighton is ranked No. 2 in Division 1. The Bulldogs have won the Next Tee Invite at Oakland Hills, the North Star Invite at Plum Hollow and the KLAA Conference Championship – earning Brighton’s first conference title since 2007. The Bulldogs also were runners-up at The Meadows Invite at Grand Valley State University. The team is averaging 297 for 18 holes.

Oake admitted this is a rebuilding year for Hartland’s golf program. The varsity lineup has only two returning players with varsity golf experience – Keller King and Brady Betteley.

“So, we opted to keep a group of tough competitors with a solid combination of speed and strength – and who are not concerned about the cold conditions that we play in,” Oake quipped.

Five others rotate into the Eagles’ golf starting lineup with King and Betteley: Isaac Frantti is an all-state hockey defensemen playing his first season of golf but shot a career-low 79 at American Dunes recently. He just signed a United State Premier Hockey League tender to play in Connecticut next year. Ian Kastamo scored the winning goal in Hartland’s Division 2 hockey championship victory in 2022, and LJ Sabala is a varsity hockey player as well.

Then there are two non-hockey freshmen getting shots to start occasionally – Dallas Korponic, who finished third at his weight at the Individual Wrestling Finals, and Michael Maurin. Five more sophomores and juniors are hockey players on the JV golf team.

We hope to be competitive with (Brighton) again soon, but they have the talent to make a big splash this year,” Oake said. “I also play golf at the same club as many Brighton players, so I see them quite a bit and we are friendly. When the Brighton team walked by our team on a recent Monday and all said hello to me and our guys, one of my players looked at me and said that this was the biggest difference between hockey and golf. In hockey, the small talk would be (traded) for the ice, and it would not be very nice out there.

“Either way, I believe both sports are filled with fierce competitors and respect, but when the game is over a handshake and a golf hat tip are offered to the victor.”

This story was updated and reposted with permission of MIGolfJournal.com.

PHOTOS (Top) Brighton takes a team photo after finishing third at last season’s LPD1 Final, and all five golfers are back this season including hockey players Levi Pennala (second from left) and Winston Lerch (second from right.) (Middle) Hartland’s Ian Kastamo (16) takes a faceoff against Brighton this winter. (Below) Mona Shores’ Nicholas Taylor fires an iron shot. (Photos courtesy of High School Sports Scene, Sapshots Photography and Mona Shores’ athletic department, respectively.)