Every Tuesday, Second Half honors 2-4 athletes and a team for its accomplishments during the current season.
Have a suggestion for a future High 5? Please offer your suggestions by e-mail to Geoff@mhsaa.com. Candidates often will have accomplished great things on the field of play -- but also will be recognized for other less obvious contributions to their teams, schools or the mission of high school athletics as a whole.
Ference, only a 14-year-old freshman, came into the Feb. 4 Canton Invitational at least somewhat under the radar – and left as a favorite to win the MHSAA Division 1 individual championship next month. Ference won the Division 1 competition at Canton with an all-around score for 37.925. Earlier this season, according to a Birmingham Observer & Eccentric report, Ference set Northville’s school bars record with a 9.8.
The Mustangs finish the regular season with a meet tonight at Livonia Churchill and their league championship meet Saturday.
“I love my team, and I want to do well for them. I am motivated by positive encouragement and winning.”
Up next: Ference obviously has a few years to decide what she’ll pursue after high school. But she does hope to continue competing. “I am very determined and ambitious, but my final destination has yet to be determined,” she said. “Gymnastics will always be a part of my life, and hopefully a part of my career.”
I learned the most about gymnastics from: “My high school coach is Erin McWatt, and my main club coach, from Michigan Elite Gymnastics Academy, is Kim Tanskanen. I have been taught by the most talented and dedicated coaches, and I appreciate their love and dedication. They taught me to work hard, and success will follow. They taught me dedication and hard work pays off.”
Hass, a 6-foot-5 point guard, is averaging 30.9 points per game this season and has scored 2,241 total during his four-year high school varsity career. His points total is 10th-best in MHSAA history and just 600 shy of the record set by Mio's Jay Smith from 1976-79. He's also averaging 8.5 rebounds and six assists per game. Pellston is 14-1 and ranked No. 3 in Class D, with a chance to avenge its only loss Wednesday in a rematch with No. 1 Bellaire. Hass has signed with Bucknell.
"I try to get as many assists as I can now. But for my team to be successful, I need to score. We have very talented ball players on this team. But that's one of my roles."
Up next: "One thing I was looking at college for wasn't just the next four years of life, but the rest of my life. If I don't go to the next (basketball) level after college, I'll have an education that will allow me to get an outstanding job anywhere. I'm going into either mechanical engineering or business management."
I learned the most about basketball from: "Definitely my father (Cliff, also his high school coach). He's always pushing me to be better than who I am. I think a lot of kids who are good when they're young, they're just told how good they are. My dad always kept pushing me to work on this, work on other things. ... He always keeps pushing me to be better than I am right now."
I look up to: "I've always wanted to be like Jesus Christ. He'd be my main one, then my dad and my sister (Stephanie, who formerly held the MHSAA girls basketball record for career points).
Just because Shelby moved down into Division 4 for wrestling this season doesn’t meant its road to the MHSAA Finals got easier. Case in point: last week’s District matchup against Hesperia, which had reached the Quarterfinals 11 straight seasons.
But thanks to the Tigers 36-26 win, it won’t be 12. Shelby, ranked No. 4 entering the postseason, got past a major obstacle in downing the No. 3 Panthers, who also had reached the Division 4 championship match three of the last five seasons.
Shelby is seeking its first MHSAA team championship since 1972, but long has been considered a power in the southwestern corner of the state. The Tigers advanced to the Division 3 Quarterfinals in 2009 and lost in Regional Finals the last two seasons and in 2007 – twice by just two points during that time.
Shelby is the only ranked team at its Regional on Wednesday at Blanchard Montabella. The Tigers will face Traverse City St. Francis, and with a win either Sanford-Meridian or Leroy Pine River in the Regional Final.
The Tigers also advanced nine wrestlers from Saturday’ individual District at Hesperia: Junior Nick Bantien (119, fourth place), sophomore David Guerra (125, third), senior Jordan White (135, second), senior Trevor Dezwaan (140, second), senior Houston Jones (145, fourth), senior Dillon Sibley (152, fourth), senior Mason Courtright (171, first), junior Dillion Ankney (215, first) and junior Austin Felt (103, first).