Round three between Centreville and White Pigeon was another tight battle Wednesday evening in the District 80 semifinal at Centreville. After splitting the regular season meetings, the Bulldogs won the postseason rubber match 63-57, setting up a big championship showdown Friday with Schoolcraft.
Centreville found themselves in an unfamiliar spot early as the Chiefs had an 8-0 lead midway through the first quarter. The Bulldogs finally tied the game midway through the second and went into halftime with a narrow 31-28 advantage. Joanna Larsen was dominant down low with 16 points in the first half, including 11 in the second quarter.
The Bulldogs quickly grew their lead to 11 in the third, but White Pigeon was able to climb out of that hole. Three pointers from Claycee West, Rainie Atherton, and Lauren Dressler kept the Chiefs offense rolling while Larsen’s post play and Olivia Deeds from distance racked up points for Centreville. The score was 47-43 Bulldogs after three, much higher octane than their 48-44 and 43-30 finals in the prior meetings.
White Pigeon started the fourth quarter with an 8-0 run for a 51-47 lead with 5:30 left. The Bulldogs answered with back-to-back Deeds triples to reclaim the lead midway through the fourth. The Chiefs twice got back within one, including at 56-55 after a West three with 2:25 to go. That would be as close as White Pigeon would get.
Larsen had the next two buckets for a five-point lead. Atherton made two free throws with a minute left to get WP back within three at 60-57, but Larsen struck again and they were able to drain the clock from there.
“Our girls played inspired and selfless basketball today with a lot of heart,” said Centrville head coach Jill Peterson. “We had a gambling game plan on defense and White Pigeon hit shots when they needed to but we were fortunate to make the final run.”
Larsen scored the final seven points for Centreville and finished with 33 total points and 15 rebounds. Deeds had 22 points, including all six Bulldog three-pointers. Centreville won the rebounding battle 37-24.
White Pigeon sank nine three pointers with 16 total by Atherton, 15 from West, and 13 by Dressler. West joins Reyna Fielis, Ryleigh Bigelow, Hannah Freedline, and Melissa Hayden as the graduating seniors for the Chiefs, who close at 15-5. West also graduates as WP’s all-time leading scorer between both girls and boys hoops with more than 1400.
Centreville improves to 21-1 on the season with a chance to defend their district title on their home floor, where they haven’t lost on since January 29, 2016.
“I’m proud of this team and their efforts and encouragement tonight,” added Peterson. “White Pigeon had a great season and they should be proud of what they accomplished this year.”
Friday’s district final will be likely Centreville’s toughest task yet as they host Schoolcraft (19-2), who destroyed Marcellus 57-8 in the adjacent semifinal. You can listen to Friday’s championship live via JoeInsider.com with a 7 p.m. ET tip.
Joanna Larsen 33 points, 15 rebounds, 2 steals
Olivia Deeds 22 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 1 block
Kenleigh West-Wing 4 points, 2 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 steals
Faith Edwards 2 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist
Paige Walton 1 point, 2 rebounds
Amy Carpenter 1 point, 2 rebounds
Asia Pratel 1 assist
Isabel Stauffer 1 rebound
Free Throws: 13-24
Three Pointers: 6
White Pigeon statistics
Rainie Atherton 16 points, 1 rebound, 2 assists
Claycee West 15 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals
Lauren Dressler 13 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block
Melissa Hayden 7 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal
Reyna Fielis 6 points, 5 steals, 2 rebounds, 3 assists
Ashley Delarye 1 assist
Hannah Freedling 1 steal, 1 rebound
Free Throws: 8-11
Three Pointers: 9