Class B Preview: Challengers & Champion
Class B Preview: Challengers & Champion
Girls Basketball
Posted Wednesday, March 14, 2018

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Three Class B semifinalists will journey to Calvin College’s Van Noord Arena this weekend seeking the first MHSAA Finals title in their programs’ histories.

But to celebrate the ultimate prize for the first time, those hopefuls must contend with the reigning champion and the winningest coach in Michigan girls basketball history.

Detroit Country Day and coach Frank Orlando loom large in Grand Rapids as an intriguing bracket prepares to unfold.

Class B Semifinals – Friday
Jackson Northwest (24-1) vs. Michigan Center (23-2), 5:30 p.m.
Detroit Country Day (20-4) vs. Kingsley (26-0), 7:30 p.m.

Class B Final – Saturday, 6:15 p.m.

Tickets cost $10 per pair of Semifinals and $10 per two-game Finals session (Class C and Class B). All Semifinals will be streamed live on MHSAA.tv and viewable on a pay-per-view basis. All four Finals will be broadcast live on Fox Sports Detroit and streamed live on FoxSportsDetroit.com and the FOX Sports Go! app. Free radio broadcasts of all weekend games will be available on MHSAANetwork.com.

Below is a glance at all four semifinalists. Click on the name of the school to see that team’s full schedule and results from this season. (Statistics are through teams' Regional Finals.)

DETROIT COUNTRY DAY
Record/rank: 21-4, No. 2 
League finish: Does not play in a league.
Coach: Frank Orlando, 37th season (777-117)
Championship history: 
Twelve MHSAA titles (most recent 2017), four runner-up finishes.  
Best wins: 58-41 over No. 5 Freeland in Quarterfinal, 65-59 over Class A No. 7 Flint Carman-Ainsworth, 66-58 over Midland Dow, 70-58 over Detroit Martin Luther King.
Players to watch: Kaela Webb, 5-7 sr. G (15.9 ppg, 3.6 apg, 3.7 spg); Adrian Folks, 6-0 jr. F (12.6 ppg, 6.0 rpg).
Outlook: Country Day is seeking its third title in four seasons led by Miss Basketball finalist Webb, a standout on last season’s team as well. Senior forward Maxine Moore (9.5 ppg, 5.3 rpg) and junior guard Jasmine Powell (10.5 ppg, 6.9 apg) also started the 2017 championship game and give the Yellowjackets a veteran presence – even as the team has only three seniors. Although not wins, losses to eventual semifinalists Detroit Edison, Ypsilanti Arbor Prep, Wayne Memorial and Saginaw Heritage surely provided preparation for this weekend. Junior guard Maddie Novak also averages 9.5 ppg.

KINGSLEY
Record/rank: 26-0, No. 1
League finish: First in Northwest Conference.
Coach: Matt Schelich, 20th season (335-116)
Championship history: Has never played in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 49-39 over honorable mention Muskegon Oakridge in Quarterfinal, 58-39 over Kalkaska in District Final, 70-66 and 61-45 over Class C No. 10 Maple City Glen Lake, 72-36 over Manton, 71-21 over Petoskey.
Players to watch: Brittany Bowman, 5-3 soph. G (11.5 ppg, 3.0 spg); Rebekah Crosby, 6-0 sr. C (9.8 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 1.4 bpg).
Outlook: Friday’s game will be Kingsley’s second Semifinal ever and first since 2008. All five starters average between 8-11 points per game and bring something important to the lineup. Senior Kelsie Bies (8.3 ppg) had 46 3-pointers entering the week, while junior Jacie King (10.1) also averaged three steals per contest and senior Jalynn Brumfield (9.7 ppg) has the team’s high scoring game this winter. Only two of the Stags’ games were decided by single digits this season – made more impressive as Manton and Petoskey were league champions.

JACKSON NORTHWEST
Record/rank: 24-1, No. 3
League finish: First in Interstate 8 Athletic Conference.
Coach: Ryan Carroll, seventh season (123-40)
Championship history: Has never played in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 42-35 over No. 4 Hamilton in Quarterfinal, 48-43 over Fowlerville in Regional Final, 66-64 and 47-37 over Class A No. 6 Coldwater.
Players to watch: Sydney Shafer, 5-9 jr. G (17 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 4.0 apg, 4.0 spg); Ella Bontrager, 5-8 sr. G (11.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 4.0 apg).
Outlook: The Mounties have made the final week of the season for the first time after winning their fourth District and second league title over the last six seasons. Northwest emerged from an I8AC that produced three District champions and four teams with at least 16 wins this winter. It has won 22 straight since falling early to Battle Creek Harper Creek (16-7). Seven players contribute at least four points per game; sophomore forward Jozie Bontrager is another key contributor at 6.9 points and seven rebounds per contest.

MICHIGAN CENTER
Record/rank: 23-2, unranked
League finish: First in Cascades Conference.
Coach: Joe Lusk, sixth season (100-39)
Championship history: Class C runner-up 2003 and 2005.
Best wins: 63-49 over Harper Woods Chandler Park in Quarterfinal, 49-36 over No. 8 New Boston Huron in Regional Final, 57-41 over Dearborn Henry Ford in Regional Semifinal, 49-39 over Onsted in District Final.
Players to watch: Masyn Shannon, 5-7 sr. G/F; Alize’ Tripp, 5-6 soph. G. (Statistics not submitted.)
Outlook: Michigan Center was a District champ in Class C a year ago, but has continued to rise in Class B and with a roster featuring three seniors with eight underclassmen. The Cardinals have won 18 straight, and only one victory this season has been by fewer than 10 points. After a rare down season in 2015-16 at 6-15, Michigan Center is a combined 43-6 over the last two.

PHOTO: Jackson Northwest's Sydney Shafer drives hard to the basket during Tuesday's Quarterfinal win over Hamilton. (Photo courtesy of JTV.)


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