By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
The Pewamo-Westphalia girls basketball team this past winter won its first MHSAA Finals championship, in Division 3, based in part on record book-caliber 3-point shooting.
The Pirates finished 14th all-time with 183 3-pointers and also made the attempts list with 533 over 28 games. Ellie Droste, Rachel Huhn and Hannah Spitzley all had at least 42 3-pointers as the team finished 27-1.
A trio of other long-distance shooters also recently were added to the girls basketball record book – see more on those achievers below, plus recent additions in wrestling as well. Click the headings to see those record books in full.
Comstock’s Daisy Ansel capped her career this winter as one of the top long-distance shooters in MHSAA history. She made 78 more 3-pointers as a senior to finish her four-season career with 261 in 721 attempts (36 percent) over 86 games. She also was added to the records for scoring 45 points in a game twice, and just missed the career free-throw shooting list finishing with a career success rate of 79.9 percent. As a team, Comstock was added for 162 3-pointers, 524 attempts, and a 71.2 free-throw shooting percentage in finishing 17-5. Ansel will continue her career at Grand Valley State University.
Westland Universal Learning Academy junior Zahraa Cherkaoui added to her 2017 entry for 47 points in a game with 49 in a Feb. 5 69-42 win over Warren Michigan Math & Science Academy. She made 15 two-point field goals, five 3-pointers and 4-of-5 free-throw attempts.
Birch Run’s Sarah Miller has made a significant imprint in the record book through her junior season, with 140 steals as a sophomore in 2017-18 and then three entries for free-throw shooting this past winter. Miller’s 21 free throws against Carrollton on Feb. 2 tied for fourth most for one game, and her 17 in 17 attempts Dec. 18 against Alma are tied for fifth-most consecutive in one game. Her 176 free throws total (in 218 attempts) were 13th most for one season.
Rogers City’s Taylor Fleming was a three-sport standout over the last four years, and will continue in volleyball at Lake Superior State University. She left her mark in basketball with a pair of record book entries, for 28 rebounds in a game Dec. 27 against Posen and for 355 rebounds over 19 games total this winter. Her aunt Ashley Fleming also was added to the records for grabbing 1,194 rebounds from 2001-04 – that total ranking ninth all-time. She went on to play at Ferris State University.
Midland Dow’s run to the Division 1 Regional Finals was keyed by a pair of sharp-shooting guards finishing their high school careers. Molly Davis made 68 3-pointers this past season and Maizie Taylor connected on 65, including 11 in a Feb. 20 game against Flint Powers Catholic. Davis finished her four-season varsity career with 174 3-pointers and will continue at Central Michigan University, and Taylor will play at Northwood University. As a team, Midland Dow made 222 of 616 3-point attempts in finishing 23-2. The Chargers had 15 3-pointers twice – against Powers and also Dec. 11 against Howell – and the 222 for the season rank fourth all-time.
Clinton’s Noah Comar finished his two-time championship career this winter with a record of 219-8 and 151 pins over those 227 matches. Those career falls rank 16th all-time, and he also made the single-season list with 46 over 60 matches as a junior. Comar won the Division 4 championship at 125 this past winter and at 112 as a sophomore, and was 125 runner-up as a junior and 112 runner-up as a freshman. He will continue at University of Michigan.
Petoskey grad Kegan Arthur also was added for winning more than 200 matches during his career, which concluded in 2010. Arthur finished 201-31 with a career-high 54 victories as a senior, when he finished Division 2 runner-up at 135 pounds. He also came in fifth at 130 as a junior and was a four-time Finals qualifier. He went on to compete at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
Gaylord junior Chayse LaJoie added an Individual Finals runner-up finish this past winter at 125 to championships previously won at 103 and 112, and made the MHSAA records with 16 technical falls in finishing 48-2.
Kyle Schaaf capped his Clare career this winter with a four-season varsity record of 194-23, with highs of 52 wins as both a sophomore and a junior. He finished fifth in Division 3 at 125 pounds as a senior and was a four-time Finals placer – he also was 119 runner-up as a junior, third at 119 as a sophomore and eighth at 112 as a freshman.
Mattawan sophomore Anthony Williamson opened his Individual District competition at 152 pounds this winter with a pin in just four seconds – edging two others by a second for the fastest fall at that weight in MHSAA history. Williamson went on to win his bracket and eventually take sixth place at his weight at the Division 2 Finals.
PHOTO: P-W’s Rachel Huhn fires a 3-point attempt during last season’s Division 3 championship game win over Flint Hamady.
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.