Of the St. Joseph and Kalamazoo County schools in Class C competition Wednesday night, Constantine, Kalamazoo Christian, Hackett and Schoolcraft all survived to earn spots in Friday’s district championship games.
Kalamazoo Christian 43, Bangor 36
For the second district game in a row, Kalamazoo Christian didn’t let their shooting woes from the floor and free throw line end their season. Strong defensive efforts and rebounding allowed the Comets to defeat Bangor Wednesday night, 43-36, at Hackett’s Harve Freeman Gym.
“We have won the last two games because we are playing hard,” said Comets coach Kelly Allen, “We are getting on the floor, we are digging for rebounds… we are just struggling to shoot right now.”
Those struggles were especially evident from the free throw line, as the Comets went 11-30 (36.6%).
“We have been shooting 20-30+ free throws a day at practice,” said Allen, “we just need to get over that mental hurdle in games.”
Ironically, after falling behind 5-0 to start the game, Christian used their opportunities at the charity stripe in the first quarter to start chipping away at the Vikings lead with their first four points coming from the line. It wasn’t until the 4:28 mark of the first quarter when junior Sydney Duong made the first bucket from the floor for the Comets. Duong kept the Comets in the game with 7 first quarter points as Christian rallied to tie the game at 12 heading into the second quarter.
It was the Comets defense that opened up the lead in the second, as they held the Vikings to only 2 buckets from the floor for 5 points.
“Sydney did a great job defensively, and she always does that” said Allen, “she worked hard to shut down their point guard.”
Bangor tried throwing multiple zone looks at the Comets to try to throw them out of rhythm, but Christian was able to score 10 points to head into halftime up 22-17.
The Vikings came out of the locker room and were able to close the gap to 1 (22-21) just 90 seconds into the second half, but that was the closest they would get, as Christian went on a 9-1 run to open the lead back up heading into the last minute of the third quarter.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Christian jumped out to an 11 point lead and never looked back. Despite their 4-12 shooting from the line in the final quarter, the Comets were able to slow the game down and pull out the 43-36 victory to send them to Friday night’s district final against Hackett.
“I’m happy that these girls get to play in district finals Friday night,” Allen stated, “It’s been a while since we’ve done that.”
Carly Broekhuizen 11
Sydney Duong 9
Audrey Batts 8
Carmen Katje 6
Madelyn Batts 6
Nyla DeJong 3
Epiphany Parker 16
Keeona McGee 9
Madison McGuire 5
Elizabeth Jackson 4
Maritza Barajas 2
Hackett 58, Bloomingdale 41
Wednesday night’s Hackett versus Bloomingdale matchup only featured three seniors on the court between the two teams. Fortunately for the Irish, Hackett seniors Sydney Preston and Savannah Madden were ready to put their team on their proverbial backs as they led the Irish to a 58-41 victory over the Cardinals.
Hackett jumped out to a 10-3 lead just three minutes into the game and never looked back. Behind Preston’s 10 first quarter points (of a game high 22), the Irish outscored the Cardinals 15-9 heading into the second quarter.
“Sydney, again, was our “go-to” tonight,” Hackett coach Maureen Brown said after the game, “she did a great job working inside and outside.”
A strong defensive effort from the Irish in the second quarter held the Cardinals to only one bucket from the floor and two free throws from Katrise Hudson to extend their lead to 23-13 heading into the locker room at halftime.
“Annie Housler did a great job tonight on defense,” said Brown, “she was able to keep Harrison (Bloomingdale freshman Kallie Harrison) at bay for a while in the first half.”
In the third, Madden helped build the Irish lead with two timely three pointers while helping to helping to shut down the Cardinals defensively.
“That’s the best game she’s played all year,” Brown exclaimed about Madden,”Both ends of the floor she worked really hard.”
But Bloomingdale didn’t give up in the fourth, as Hudson and Harrison scored 11 of their teams’ 14 points, but the Hackett defense was just too much for the young Cardinals.
“They have a great future ahead of them. She (Bloomingdale coach Kirsten Allison) is building a great program” said Brown.
With the win, the Irish move onto the district final against arch-rival Kalamazoo Christian, who advanced with a 43-36 victory over Bangor earlier in the evening.
“We know each other so well, it is really going to just come down to just playing well against our rival,” stated Brown, “I’ll provide a little motiviation, but I expect it to be a really good game.”
Hackett Catholic Prep
Sydney Preston 22
Savannah Madden 15
Annie Housler 7
Maddie Coffman 6
Natalie Toweson 5
Sofia Cronen 2
Bianca Cronen – 1
Katrise Hudson 15
Kallie Harrison 14
Liza Hutchins 6
Alexis Cripps 6
Bronson 33, Centreville 32
Bronson did what no other varsity girls basketball team on Centreville’s schedule this year could do — beat the Bulldogs. After topping Centreville in overtime in the second game of the season, the Vikings edged the Bulldogs again Wednesday, 33-32, this time in the Class C district semifinals.
With four lead changes in the final minute, it was Bronson’s Kiana Mayer who had delivered the winning blow with a 3-pointer with 20 seconds remaining. As a result, the Vikings improved to 16-6 and will take on Union City Friday in the championship at Bronson. Centreville ends another wildly successful season at 20-2.
“For the second year in a row with only two losses, they once again came at one location — Constantine last year, and Bronson this year,” Centreville coach Jill Peterson said. “Bronson came into the game with great defensive intensity and threw off our offensive rhythm. Down the stretch, we hit some big shots to take the lead but weren’t able to get one last stop.
“The girls played hard and I’m proud of their efforts this season. It’s never fun to end a tournament run, especially with such a great group of girls, but they can hold their heads high and know they have done great things for this program. Our seniors will be missed, and we wish them the best with whatever they pursue after school.”
Joanna Larsen scored with 28 seconds to play to give Centreville a 32-30 lead, but it was only eight seconds later that Bronson would answer with the game-winning shot by Mayer, who led her team with 11 points.
Larsen led Centreville with 12 points and eight rebounds. Carlee Odom had five points, Brittany Morris and Whitney Morris each registered four, Samara Schlabach had three, and MaKenzi Troyer and Molly Kirby each added two. Morris was also responsible for seven rebounds, while Odom led with three assists.
Union City 58, Mendon 39
Union City topped the Hornets in the other semifinal game at Bronson to set up a championship game Friday night against Bronson. No statistical information was reported by either team.
Schoolcraft 66, Decatur 19
With a 25-point lead at halftime, Schoolcraft went on to cruise to a semifinal victory over Decatur Wednesday night at Marcellus.
Lydia Goble hit four 3-pointers en route to 25 points for the Eagles, who will take on Constantine Friday in the district championship game.
Lydia Goble 25
Kennedy Leighton 10 (2 threes)
Gabi Saxman 10
Brenna Walther 6 (2 threes)
Olivia Ingle 6
Anna Schuppel 5
Chloe Outman 4
Regan Rose 9 (2 threes)
Allison Warkentien 2
Kyla Smith 2
Airamey Thomas 2
Alexanna Copeland 2
Jordan Christensen 2.
Constantine 41, Lawton 31
Hannah Outlaw led Constantine with 13 points and Lexi Dull had 10 for the Falcons in the semifinal victory at Marcellus.
“Our goal was to get to a district championship and we did that,” Constantine coach Rachel Schlosser said. “I’m proud of the girls for playing together and accomplishing something that was important to us. We came out aggressive and our defense caused a lot of problems, especially in the early, third quarter. Offensively we made a couple mistakes and definitely turned it over too much. But, overall I was impressed with our execution.
“We have to do a lot of prep for Friday. Schoolcraft is tough, but, I’m up for the challenge and I know the girls are as well.”
Mackenzi Dobosiewicz 8 points, 7 boards and 3 steals
Cassie McNamara 5 points, 2 steals and 6 boards
Hannah Outlaw 13 points 6 boards and 2 steals
Lexi Dull added 10 points
Hannah Ley had 5 points and 7 boards
Photos by Brett Beier