EAST LANSING – Hugs and huge smiles dominated Goodrich’s side of the Breslin Center floor Friday night after a moment the Martians have worked for since losing in the Quarterfinals two seasons ago.
Avenging a loss to the reigning Class B champion made that moment a little bit sweeter.
Goodrich missed its first MHSAA Final last season by losing in double overtime to Dearborn Divine Child, which then went on to win the title. This time, the Martians will get their first shot ever at a championship, thanks to a 68-53 victory over Divine Child in Friday’s second B Semifinal.
“They always say revenge is nice. And I must say it was nice,” Goodrich senior Frankie Joubran said. “We came out with our heads straight on and we were ready to go.”
Top-ranked Goodrich (27-0) will face No. 10 Grand Rapids Catholic Central (24-3) at 6 p.m. Saturday in the final championship game of this girls basketball season.
The Martians have won at least 20 games in nine of coach Jason Gray’s 13 seasons, including the last three. But it was a 64-49 Quarterfinal loss to Detroit Country Day in 2010 that made Gray realize his program was ready to make a run at Breslin.
“Apparently I’m not really good at judging these sorts of things. I always don’t think we’re very good,” Gray said. “(But) when we got to the Country Day game two years ago, we had a lead early. We’re in the game at halftime. Down five in the fourth quarter. And then I recognized that I guess we’re as good as some of these top teams in the state. I guess that was the beginning of it.
“From that point on, we’ve been rolling pretty good. … That’s how you judge yourself, against those sorts of teams.”
Of course, include No. 6 Divine Child in that category as well. The Falcons (24-3) remained within two of the lead as late as 1:13 to go in the third quarter. But an 11-2 run over the first half of the fourth gave Goodrich some breathing room it didn’t relinquish.
“This is certainly a different feeling than last year. In my mind, we’re a great team that lost to another great team,” Divine Child coach Mary Laney said. “They definitely deserved this win. We turned the ball over one too many times and didn’t box out enough. It wasn’t a case of effort, hard work or heart. These girls wanted it just as bad. It came down to a few fundamentals that didn’t go our way.”
Although Goodrich outrebounded Divine Child only 36-34, the Martians grabbed 19 off the offensive glass – and scored 15 second-chance points to the Falcons’ seven. Goodrich also turned 24 Divine Child turnovers into 37 points.
“I think they had a lot more intensity. They were up in our faces more,” Divine Child senior guard Rosanna Reynolds said, comparing this Goodrich team to last season's squad. “They were just all over the ball.”
Junior guard Taylor Gleason led Goodrich with 18 points and five steals. Senior guard Destiny Stephens had 13 points, Joubran had 12 and junior guard Aketra Sullivan added 10. Senior forward Cara Miller had 17 points and eight rebounds for the Falcons, and Reynolds had 13 points.
PHOTO: Goodrich freshman Tania Davis drives between Divine Child defenders Friday. (Photo courtesy of Hockey Weekly Action Photos.)