West Bloomfield/Marian basketball

D1 Preview: New Finalists Assured, 1st-Time Champion Guaranteed

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Girls Basketball

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March 16, 2022

We will have a first-time MHSAA Division 1 girls basketball champion this weekend.

That simple statement alone should generate plenty of excitement for Friday’s Semifinals and Saturday’s championship game.

West Bloomfield finished runner-up in Class A in 1989. Rockford, Wayne Memorial and Hartland have never played in the Final, and at least one is guaranteed to do so.

DIVISION 1 Semifinals – Friday
West Bloomfield (23-1) vs. Rockford (23-2), noon
Hartland (24-1) vs. Wayne Memorial (23-2), 2 p.m.
FINAL – Saturday – 12:15 p.m.

Tickets for this weekend’s games are $12 for both Semifinals and Finals and are available via the Breslin Center ticket office. All Semifinals will be broadcast and viewable with subscription to MHSAA.tv, and all four Finals will air live Saturday on Bally Sports Detroit’s primary channel as well as on the BSD website and app. Audio broadcasts of all Semifinals and Finals will be available free of charge from the MHSAA Network.

Here’s a look at the four Division 1 semifinals (with rankings by MPR and statistics through Regional Finals):

HARTLAND
Record/rank: 24-1, No. 4
League finish: First in Kensington Lakes Activities Association West and overall
Coach: Don Palmer, 13th season (254-13)
Championship history: Has never played in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 56-51 (OT) over No. 2 Midland Dow in Quarterfinal, 48-46 over No. 20 Clarkston in Regional Final, 45-36 (District Final), 63-48 and 48-36 over No. 10 Howell, 60-49 over No. 18 Grand Blanc.
Players to watch: Leah Lappin, 5-9 sr. G (9.3 ppg, 36 3-pointers); Lauren Sollom, 6-2 sr. F (9.1 ppg, 6.8 rpg); Amanda Roach, 5-7 sr. G (8.8 ppg, 3.3 apg).
Outlook: The Eagles are making their first trip to the Semifinals after reaching the Quarterfinals for the fourth time over the last eight seasons. Despite the first-time appearance coming up, this lineup is experienced and also balanced – five seniors start, and Gracey Metz adds another 8.3 points and 2.9 assists per game to the mix as no player averages double-digit scoring. The lone loss came Jan. 11 to Howell and was avenged twice. Palmer, who formerly coached more than 30 years at Milford, is up to a combined 1,024 girls and boys varsity wins and entered this season seventh on the girls coaching victories list.

ROCKFORD
Record/rank: 23-2, No. 9
League finish: First in Ottawa-Kent Conference Red
Coach:
Brad Wilson, fifth season (80-31)
Championship history: Has never appeared in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins:
54-43 over No. 14 East Lansing in Quarterfinal, 54-32 over No. 1 Hudsonville in Regional Final, 66-29 over Muskegon Mona Shores in Regional Semifinal, 55-43 over No. 15 Byron Center, 50-46 over Division 2 No. 8 Grand Rapids West Catholic. 
Players to watch: Grace Lyons, 5-6 soph. G (11.8 ppg, 49 3-pointers); Alyssa Wypych, 5-9 jr. G (10.9 ppg, 35 3-pointers); Gabrielle Irwin, 5-9 sr. G (8.6 ppg, 2.9 apg).
Outlook: After losing to Hudsonville by 14 and 10 during the regular season, Rockford avenged those lone defeats on the way to its second Regional title (first since 2010) and now first trip to the Semifinals. The Rams have allowed only five opponents to break 45 points this season (Hudsonville twice) and one of those six games went to overtime. Irwin earned an all-state honorable mention last season.  

WAYNE MEMORIAL
Record/rank: 23-2, No. 16
League finish: First in KLAA East
Coach:
Jarvis Mitchell, eighth season (136-47)
Championship history: Has never appeared in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins:
44-33 over Riverview in Quarterfinal, 40-36 over Brighton in Regional Final, 55-33 over Northville in Regional Semifinal, 61-44 over Detroit Renaissance.
Players to watch: Davai Matthews, 6-3 sr. F/C; Mayla Ham, 5-11 jr. G/F; Colleena Bryant, 5-7 fr. G. (Statistics not submitted.)
Outlook: The Zebras are back at the Semifinals for the fourth-straight season (not counting COVID-shortened 2020). Ham, Matthews and junior Paris Bass all started in last season’s Semifinal appearance as well. Matthews is the only senior starter and one of only two on the team, and she’s a difference maker who will continue next season at Long Beach State.

WEST BLOOMFIELD
Record/rank: 23-1, No. 6
League finish: First in Oakland Activities Association Red
Coach: 
Darrin McAllister, first season (23-1)
Championship history: Class A runner-up 1989
Best wins:
59-31 over No. 12 Grosse Pointe North in Regional Final, 72-42 over No. 3 Farmington Hills Mercy in Regional Semifinal, 46-35 over No. 13 Bloomfield Hills Marian in District Final, 73-47 and 80-65 over No. 20 Clarkston, 68-55 over No. 19 South Lyon East, 65-62 over Division 2 No. 1 Detroit Edison.
Players to watch: Summer Davis, 5-9 soph. G (14.5 ppg, 35 3-pointers, 3.6 apg, 3.3 spg); Indya Davis, 5-0 soph. G/F (14.3 ppg, 32 3-pointers, 6.3 rpg, 3.3 spg); Sydney Hendrix, 5-11 jr. F (10.9 ppg, 6.3 rpg).
Outlook: West Bloomfield is making its first trip to the Semifinals since 2003, and it might be just the start for a team getting significant contributions from sophomores and juniors. The Lakers’ win over Edison was Edison’s first in-state loss since 2017-18, and West Bloomfield’s only defeat came in its season opener to No. 7 Dexter. Hendrix and Indya Davis both earned all-state honorable mentions last season. Senior guard Myonna Hooper is another key contributor averaging 11.2 points and three assists per game, and senior center Zaneiya Batiste grabs a team-high eight rebounds per contest.

PHOTO West Bloomfield’s Summer Davis (23) works to get past a Marian defender during their District Final matchup. (Photo by Douglas Bargerstock.)