By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Kayla Belles had a memorable freshman season this winter for the Ithaca girls basketball team. And her performance against Sanford-Meridian on March 4 is one she’ll never forget.
Belles, a 6-foot-3 center, grabbed 36 rebounds to go with 25 points and six blocked shots in the Yellowjackets’ 75-28 victory. Her rebounds tied for second-most grabbed in one game in MHSAA girls basketball history and most in a game since 1997.
She averaged 14.7 points and 13.3 rebounds per game during the regular season, per a Lansing State Journal report, and helped her team to its first District title since 2000. Ithaca finished 21-3, falling to eventual Class C semifinalist Saginaw Nouvel 69-66 in their Regional Semifinal.
Click the “Girls Basketball” heading below to see that sport’s record listings in full, and read on for more of this week’s record additions.
- A handful of names from Saline’s successful recent history were added to an already strong representation. Brad Guenther was included for his 21 doubles in 2009, 66 hits total that season and 13 career triples from 2007-09. Garrett Gordon and Korey Gainey both made the single-season triples list with seven apiece in 2011 and 2009, respectively, and Jordan Walker was added for his 20 times hit by pitch in 2001 and 40 total over a two-season career that ended that spring. Bobby Korecky, already listed for multiple hitting categories, was added with a 0.99 ERA in 1998 and 1.50 from 1995-98, and Joe Finnerty was added for a 1.34 ERA from 1998-2000. Eric Ichesco made the career batting average list hitting .461 from 1998-2001. Saline as a team was added for a number of single-season accomplishments as well, most notably its .403 average in 2009.
- Dennis Starkey earned his milestone 500th victory this season in leading Petoskey to a 16-6 finish. He started his varsity coaching career at Boyne City during the 1982-83 season, then coached three at Vanderbilt before starting his Petoskey tenure in 1986-87. He has a career record of 502-247.
- Dundee senior Aaron Anthony capped his high school career with a second entry for free throws made, following up his 150 as a junior with 156 (in 191 attempts – 82 percent success) this winter. The 6-foot-2 Anthony also averaged 20.9 points, six rebounds and 3.3 assists per game and scored the 1,000th point of his career.
- Wilson Nah Tah Wahsh achieved three record-book listings for 3-pointers, making 18 in a 74-20 win over Paradise Whitefish on Jan. 23 after making 15 in an 81-42 win over Burt Township Grand Marais on Jan. 13. Whitefish also made four in that second game, with 22 between the teams making the list for 3-pointers made by two teams combined. In both games, Nah Tah Wahsh had more 3-pointers than 2-point field goals. Justin Larson made nine of the 15 and eight of the 18 to lead the team in both games.
- Hailey Leidel scored 29 points in a 65-47 win for Brownstown-Woodhaven over Southgate Anderson on Jan. 23, including 15 free throws to make the single-game list in that category. She attempted 17 overall and made all 10 she took in scoring 14 points total during the second quarter.
- Detroit Cesar Chavez Academy quarterback Marcus Lester became the 11th in MHSAA history to throw for at least 500 yards in a game when he connected on 33 of 65 passes for 541 yards and two touchdowns in a 32-28 win over Dearborn Heights Star International on Sept. 26. The yardage and attempts both tied for fourth-most for one game.
- Flint Kearsley’s Shawn Larsen earned two entries with high-scoring first periods this season. He scored four goals in the first period against Grand Rapids Union/Ottawa Hills on Dec. 20, then four again in the first period against Fenton/Linden on Jan. 7. He also just missed the single-game scoring list, which has a minimum of eight goals; he had seven against Union/Ottawa Hills on Jan. 17.
- A pair of Reese standouts both were added for hitting 16 doubles last spring – Cassidy Reif and Carlee Selle. Selle, a sophomore this season, hit .475 for 2014, and senior Reif hit .431 in her final high school campaign last spring.
- Abby Krzywiecki smacked two home runs – including a grand slam – and a double to drive in eight of her team’s runs in Farmington Hills Mercy’s 14-4 victory over Livonia Ladywood on April 21. Her total tied for seventh-most RBI in one game.
PHOTO: Ithaca’s Kayla Belles prepares to make a move toward the basket during a game this season. (Click to see more at HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)
Owosso’s Macy Irelan earned 11 entries in the MHSAA record book over her three-year varsity career that came to a close last spring, most notably with her 1,157 strikeouts despite the 2020 season being canceled due to COVID-19.
Irelan’s career strikeouts were the second-most in the state since the pitching distance was lengthened three feet in 2011. She finished 31-7 last spring with a 1.43 ERA and 414 strikeouts in 229 2/3 innings in earning the Miss Softball Award for pitching.
She also hit .551 with 21 doubles last season, and her 55 career doubles over 117 games and three seasons made that category career list. She’s continuing her career at Kent State.
See below for more recent additions to the softball record book:
Unionville-Sebewaing’s dominating run to the 2021 Division 4 championship was filled with seven record book-worthy highlights, including many near the top of all-time lists. In going 40-3, the Patriots tied their season record for wins for the second time. Their 502 runs scored ranked third all-time, with their 493 hits tied for ninth, their 114 doubles second, their 49 home runs also tied for ninth, their 431 RBI also second and their 503 strikeouts thrown ranking third. Senior Brynn Polega completed her career with 13 record book entries despite her junior season being canceled because of COVID-19; she added listings for 71 runs, 79 hits, a third-best 28 doubles, 11 homers, 70 RBI, four perfect games pitching and 365 strikeouts, among others. Then-junior Laci Harris made lists with 77 runs, 83 hits, 22 doubles, 14 homers and 78 RBI, while then-junior Macy Reinhardt was added for 78 runs and then-freshman Gabriella Crumm was added for 16 doubles. Polega, Harris and Reinhardt also posted entries for single-game accomplishments. Polega is playing at Northwood and Harris at Madonna.
Big Rapids set a school record for wins in 2021 in finishing 34-7, a run which included a number of accomplishments that reached the record book. The Cardinals scored 439 runs – tied for 12th on that list – and also as a team were added for 428 hits, 82 doubles and 363 RBI, which tied for 10th all-time. Marissa Warren made the individual hits list with 71, while Hanna Smith earned an entry with 20 doubles and Rylie Haist followed with 19. Josie Cornell was added with 40 walks drawn. Warren, Smith and Haist were added for single-game accomplishments as well, as was Madison Affer from a 2019 game. Haist, Smith and Cornell are seniors this school year, and Warren is a junior. Smith has signed with Ferris State.
A pair of Bad Axe standouts earned record book entries in 2021 with their work at the plate. Haley Newland made the single-season doubles list with 19, and Brooke Messing was added for seven RBI in a game that saw her hit a grand slam and three-run homer. Newland graduated last spring and Messing is a senior this school year.
Montrose then-freshman Lainey Cannon made two record book lists with her performance April 25 against Montrose. She hit three home runs to make the single-game list in that category, and also made the single-game RBI list with eight.
Capac then-sophomore Madalyn Roberson made the record book three times with her performance May 9 against Brown City. She hit two home runs in back-to-back at bats, both during the fifth inning, and also drove in six runs for the game.
Spring Lake standouts now fill the record book after the addition of 55 individual and 23 team entries dating back to the 2000 season. Among listings ranking highest in their respective categories were Madelyn Nelson’s 81 runs in 2018, which tied for seventh all-time; Nelson’s 250 career runs from 2015-18) that rank seventh and Lauren Hellman’s 249 career runs also from 2015-18 that rank eighth on that list; Nelson’s 84 hits in 2018 that are tied for 12th-most all-time and her 264 career hits that rank 11th, Leah Vaughan’s 26 doubles in 2019 that rank seventh, Evie Lorimer’s 16 triples in 2011 that are tied for eighth and her 37 career triples from 2010-12 that are ranked fourth, Vaughan’s 23 career times being hit by pitch from 2016-19 which rank second, and Lorimer’s 92 stolen bases in 2012 that rank second (with all 92 coming consecutively to tie for fifth on that list) and 183 career steals that rank 11th. As a team, Spring Lake in 2017 ranked seventh all-time with 501 hits over 42 games, fourth with 109 doubles and eighth with 34 triples. The 2018 team ranks 11th with 441 runs scored over 41 games, 10th with 497 hits and tied for ninth with 100 doubles. Valerie Alter, Linsey Paggeot, Jenna Core, Molly Poole, Alicia Mumby, Leah Anton, Ann Marie Galloway and Rachael Adams also earned individual entries. Nelson went on to play at Grand Valley State, Vaughan plays at Aquinas College, Lorimer played at Central Michigan, Alter played at Jacksonville University (Fla.), Poole plays at Cornerstone University and Mumby played at Lansing Community College. Core plays volleyball at Hope College.
Freeland’s offense earned five record book entries during the team’s 26-12 season in 2022, including for 412 runs scored, 442 hits, 78 doubles, 336 RBI and a .400 team batting average. Three individuals also earned entries – sophomore Addie Steffen for a 20-game hitting streak and seven RBI in a game, junior Evelynn Rybicki for six RBI in a game and freshman Brynn Jaime for getting hit by a pitch twice in the same inning.
Chloe Parker hit .604 last spring and made the records with 20 doubles over 33 games for Niles Brandywine. She’s a junior this school year.
A series of record book entries were added for past and present Zeeland West standouts. Carly Sleeman was added for 73 runs, 75 hits, 27 doubles and 12 home runs in 2021 as a sophomore, while Lily Brower was added for 72 runs, 17 triples and 11 homers, plus 38 doubles and 29 triples over a four-year varsity career. Sleeman’s 27 doubles are tied for fifth-most in one season, and Brower’s 17 triples are tied for fourth on that list. Haley Hoogenraad was added for 70 hits and 17 doubles as a junior in 2015, 19 doubles as a senior, and 49 doubles and 24 triples over her four-year career from 2013-16. Kenzie Siersma was added for 17 doubles in 2017 and 54 over her career from 2016-19, while Courtney Sleeman made the season home runs list with 15 in 2015 and Sarah VanValkenburg made the career RBI list with 152 from 2014-17. Emily Brands was added for hitting consecutive home runs in the same inning, May 7 against Reese; she graduated this spring. Hoogenraad went on to play at University of Michigan, Courtney Sleeman played at Western Michigan, Siersma plays at West Virginia Tech, Brower played last season at Kalamazoo Valley Community College, and Carly Sleeman has signed with Central Michigan.
PHOTO Owosso’s Macy Irelan unloads a pitch during the 2021 Division 2 Final.