Hackett Catholic won a wild defensive duel on their home court Friday evening, defeating Kalamazoo Christian 24-23 for the district 67 title.
After trailing the entire game, the Irish finally got ahead with 48.9 seconds remaining as sophomore Maddie Coffman drained two free throws. Savannah Madden stole the ball away for Hackett with 30 seconds left, followed by a timeout.
The inbound barely got in before the five count and got tipped, but it ended up being a Comet foul. Coffman missed the front end of the one-and-one, but Madden got the offensive rebound, setting up two guaranteed shots for Sydney Preston with 9.9 seconds left.
Preston surprisingly missed both shots, but got the rebound and raced toward center court to drain time. Kalamazoo Christian poked the ball away from her, setting up a open drive to the basket for Carmen Katje in the final moments. However, Katje missed and Preston got the board to seal the win.
Prior to the final minute, Kalamazoo Christian held the lead almost the entire game. The Comets had a 6-2 advantage after the first quarter and a 13-7 halftime lead, the biggest deficit of the night.
The Irish tied the game for the first time just before the end of the third quarter at 15-15, but went back behind until Coffman’s free throws late. Free throw woes hurt the Comets in their efforts to close out, as they were 5-14 from the line. Hackett finished 8-17. Preston led all players with 16 points.
Katje was next with eight for K-Christian. It was a heartbreaking end for her final varsity game, as she will graduate in the spring along with Madelyn Batts and Jill Rozeveld. Kalamazoo Christian finishes the season at 14-8.
Hackett improves to 15-8 and is into the regional round for the second consecutive season. The same four teams advanced as last year, setting up a regional semifinal rematch against unbeaten Schoolcraft (22-0). The other regional game has Bronson (17-6) against Niles Brandywine (22-2).
The Eagles pounded Hackett 51-24 in last season’s regional, although the Irish lost Preston to injury in the prior game. This season, Schoolcraft topped the Irish 41-28 in January and 57-39 in February. You can listen to Tuesday’s game live via JoeInsider.com with a 6 p.m. tip-off from Bridgman High School.
Video by Cole Harrison
HACKETT SCORING: Sydney Preston 16, Maddie Coffman 6, Grace Gordon 2.
K-CHRISTIAN SCORING: Carmen Katje 8, Elise VanSparrentak 6, Carley Broekuizen 3, Madelyn Batts 2, Sydney Duong 2, Nyla de Jong 2.