Breslin Bound: Girls A-B Semis Preview
Breslin Bound: Girls A-B Semis Preview
Girls Basketball
Posted Thursday, March 14, 2013

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

There are more unranked than top-ranked teams playing in this weekend's MHSAA Class A and B Semifinals at Michigan State University's Breslin Center.

Dexter and Midland Bullock Creek didn't receive a vote in The Associated Press' polls heading into the offseason. But they're still alive, unlike the number one teams in their respective classes.  

That said, returning champions Grand Haven in Class A and Goodrich in Class B both are back hoping to repeat – and potentially as slight favorites again,.See below for this weekend's schedule, broadcast information and a quick look at all eight teams. 

Semifinals - Friday
Class A
Westland John Glenn (24-1) vs Grand Haven (26-0), 1 p.m. 
Grosse Pointe South (24-1) vs Dexter (23-3), 2:50 p.m. 

Class B
Midland Bullock Creek (23-3) vs Flint Powers Catholic (20-6), 6 p.m. 
Goodrich (23-3) vs Grand Rapids South Christian (24-1), 7:50 p.m.

Finals - Saturday
Class A - Noon
Class B - 6 pm
Class C - 4 pm 
Class D - 10 am 

Tickets cost $8 per pair of Semifinals and $10 per two-game Finals session. All Semifinals will be streamed live on MHSAA.tv and available on a pay-per-view basis for $3.95 per day, $6.95 for the weekend or $9.95 for all girls and boys Semifinals over the next two weekends. All four Finals will be broadcast live on Fox Sports Detroit. Free radio broadcasts of all weekend games will be available on MHSAANetwork.com.

Class A

DEXTER
Record/rank: 23-3, unranked
League finish: First in Southeastern Conference
Coach: Mike Bavineau, 17th season (240-142)
Championship history: Has not played in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 36-24 over Ann Arbor Huron (District Final), 37-34 over honorable mention Farmington Hills Harrison (Regional Final), 34-33 over Saginaw Heritage (Quarterfinal), 47-35 over Class C No. 3 Manchester.
Players to watch: Riley McDonald, 5-7 sr. G (7.7 ppg, 4.9 rpg); Emma Kill, 6-2 sr. F (7.0 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 2.2 spg).
Outlook: Dexter got over a major obstacle by beating Huron in the District Final after being swept by Huron during the regular season. That earned the Dreadnaughts their first District title since 2004, and they’ve gone on to win their first Regional since 1998. Balance has been key; four players average between seven and eight points per game, and three more average between four and six ppg.

GRAND HAVEN
Record/rank: 26-0, No. 3
League finish: First in O-K Red
Coach: Katie Kowalczyk-Fulmer, 15th season (247-109)
Championship history: Class A champion 2012.
Best wins: 43-35 over honorable mention Grand Ledge (Quarterfinal), 45-39 over Class B honorable mention Grand Rapids Catholic Central.
Players to watch: Abby Cole, 6-5 sr. C (13.6 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 8.3 bpg, 2.5 apg); Hannah Wilkerson, 5-9 sr. G (10.6 ppg, 2.2 apg).
Outlook: Cole was a star on last season’s championship team, and Wilkerson was a key sub. But they are the only two on this team that played in the 2012 Final – which makes this run even more impressive. Unlike last winter, Grand Haven comes into the final week undefeated. Cole, who will play volleyball at the University of Michigan this fall, finished third in the Miss Basketball voting earlier this week.

GROSSE POINTE SOUTH
Record/rank: 24-1, No. 2
League finish: First in Macomb Area Conference Red
Coach: Kevin Richards, sixth season (108-32)
Championship history: Class A runner-up 2012.
Best wins: 49-41 over honorable mention Brownstown-Woodhaven, 54-52, 57-52 and 59-48 (Regional Final) over honorable mention Macomb Dakota, 53-33 and 56-42 over honorable mention Utica Ford, 63-58 over No. 9 Bloomfield Hills Marian (Quarterfinal).
Players to watch: Cierra Rice, 5-8 soph. G (13.4 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 2.0 spg); Claire DeBoer, 6-1 sr. F (12.6 ppg, 9.7 rpg, 3.5 apg, 3.0 spg).
Outlook: South hasn’t lost since falling to Chicago Whitney Young in its first game this season and is 47-5 over the last two. Rice, DeBoer and senior guard Christy Flom all started in last season’s championship game, and sophomore guard Aliezza Brown got significant minutes. Brown averages 8.4 points and two assists per game off the bench this winter.

WESTLAND JOHN GLENN
Record/rank: 24-1, tied for No. 6
League finish: First in Kensington Lakes Activities Association (Kensington and overall)
Coach: Eric Kovatch, second season (44-4)
Championship history: Has not played in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 55-50 over No. 1 Detroit Martin Luther King (Quarterfinal), 55-47 over No. 8 Inkster (District Semifinal), 47-32 over honorable mention Brownstown-Woodhaven (Regional Final), 57-56 over honorable mention Novi, 71-44 over honorable mention Brighton, 57-40 over Class B honorable mention Flint Powers Catholic.
Players to watch: Raven Bankston, 5-7 sr. F (18 ppg); Raine Bankston, 5-7 sr. G (12 ppg).
Outlook: The Rockets have eliminated two teams that entered the postseason undefeated – and despite their impressive season so far, Tuesday’s win over King was a statement maker. Despite the slight upset, no one should be surprised: John Glenn is undefeated in this state this season as well, with its only loss to Toledo (Ohio) Rogers. Four players average in double figures, with senior guard Sha’Keya Graves averaging 11 points as a starter and junior Kaira Barnes scoring 12 per game off the bench. 

Class B

FLINT POWERS CATHOLIC
Record/rank: 20-6, honorable mention
League finish:  Second in Saginaw Valley Association South
Coach: Thom Staudacher, second season (28-19)
Championship history: Four MHSAA titles (most recently 2001), three runner-up finishes.
Best wins: 61-53 over  No. 1 Freeland (Regional Semifinal), 50-30 over No. 6 Detroit Country Day (Quarterfinal), 44-35 over Saginaw Heritage, 64-41 over Class C honorable mention Flint Hamady.
Players to watch: Kim Berry, 5-11 sr. F (13.9 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 2.3 spg); Michela Coury, 6-1 jr. F (10.5 ppg, 14.3 rpg, 4.9 bpg), Ally Haran, 5-9 jr. G (10.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 4.0 spg, 5.0 apg).
Outlook: The last two weeks make it difficult to remember Powers began this season 3-5. The Chargers have been mostly unstoppable during an 11-game winning streak that has included eliminating the top-ranked team in Class B. It’s an incredible turnaround as well off last season’s 8-13 finish – and should continue with Berry and starting guard Darbie Barkman the only seniors.

GOODRICH
Record/rank: 23-3, No. 3
League finish: First in Genesee Area Conference Red
Coach: Jason Gray, 14th season (291-41)
Championship history: Class B champion 2012.
Best wins: 49-42 over honorable mention Haslett (Regional Semifinal), 58-57 over Class A No. 4 East Lansing.
Players to watch: Taylor Gleason, 5-9 sr. G (21.6 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 4.1 apg, 5.0 spg); Tania Davis, 5-4 soph. G (17.6 ppg, 4.0 apg, 3.2 spg).
Outlook: Goodrich runs four guards around 6-2 sophomore center Isabella O’Brien (1.1 blocks per game), and has two of the most explosive in Class B in Miss Basketball runner-up Gleason and Davis. Gleason has signed with Illinois for next season, and she and Davis have stepped  their games up even more to fill in for senior guard Aketra Sevillian – a Penn State signee – who has missed the season with an injury. Goodrich’s losses were nearly as impressive as its wins – to No. 1 Freeland by four, Class A honorable mention Ann Arbor Huron by two and Ohio power Twinsburg.

GRAND RAPIDS SOUTH CHRISTIAN
Record/rank: 24-1, tied for No. 7
League finish: First in O-K Gold
Coach: Jim DeBruyn, 24th season (415-130)
Championship history: Class B champion 1988, one runner-up finish.
Best wins: 40-39, 53-39 and 46-33 (Regional Semifinal) over honorable mention Grand Rapids Catholic Central, 53-29 over Marshall (Quarterfinal), 58-44 and 46-35 (District Semifinal) over Wayland.
Players to watch: Angelique Gaddy, 5-4 sr. G (10.3 ppg, 3.5 apg, 2.8 spg); Cassidy Vredevoogd, jr. F (11.2 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 1.8 bpg).
Outlook: South Christian began taking steps toward this run last season, when it nearly doubled its wins from 2010-11 to go 21-4. The Sailors’ only loss came midseason to Wayland, and they’ve avenged it twice. South Christian has won its tournament games by an average of 24 points per.

MIDLAND BULLOCK CREEK
Record/rank: 23-3, unranked
League finish: Second in Tri-Valley Conference Central
Coach: Justin Freeland, 11th season (195-55)
Championship history: Has not played in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 49-42 over No. 2 Ludington (Regional Semifinal), 57-56 over honorable mention Clare (Quarterfinal).
Players to watch: Ellie Juengel, 5-8 soph. G (13.4 ppg, 4.2 apg); Halee Nieman, 5-10 soph. F (12.8 ppg, 3.0 spg); Kendra Shankel, 5-8 sr. F (10.5 ppg).
Outlook: Bullock Creek has put together outstanding seasons under Freeland, but made everything fall into place this winter for its first trip to Breslin in his 11 seasons. And the next may not be far off, as the two leading scorers are sophomores and only one senior starts. The Lancers’ losses came twice to No. 1 Freeland and once to Hemlock – which Bullock Creek then beat by 28 in the rematch. 

PHOTO: Grosse Pointe South's Gretchen Shirar (20) works for a shot during a 49-41 win over Brownstown-Woodhaven in December. (Click to see more at HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)


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