Portage Central claimed the District 13 girls basketball championship Friday evening with a 54-47 home win against Kalamazoo Central. The Mustangs snapped K-Central’s five-year hold on the district title and picked up their first crown since 1995.
The game began with PC’s Sophie Bench and KC’s Morasha Wiggins trading buckets. They combined for the game’s first 16 points with Portage Central up 9-7 midway through the first. The turning point came in the final four minutes, as the Mustangs closed the quarter with an 11-2 run for a 20-9 lead.
The margin would stay around 11, give-or-take a basket, for nearly the entire game. PC held a 30-19 halftime advantage and 37-28 score at the end of the third.
The Maroon Giants made a push late in the fourth quarter, getting as close as four points. After a 12-6 run, KC found themselves behind 48-44 with 1:17 remaining. Ball control and solid free throw shooting from Portage Central prevented Kalamazoo Central from getting any closer. The Mustangs went 19-25 at the foul line compared to a 7-14 mark for the Maroon Giants.
“These girls deserve it,” said Portage Central head coach Rob Brown. “They have worked their butt off since last year when the season ended. The chemistry and camaraderie that they have, they deserve this.”
Bench finished with a team-high 18 points for PC. She and Annemarie Stacey (12 points) found success inside with the Giants missing Laila Vincent to injury and foul woes for their other post players. Wiggins led all players with 23 points for KC.
Kalamazoo Central finishes the season at 12-8 and graduates seniors Amyre Davis, Jayla Gill, Novia Rolland, and Cerica Finjap.
Portage Central improves to 16-4 and advances to Monday’s regional semifinal at Caledonia High School. They’ll meet DeWitt (21-2) in the second game around 7:30 p.m. ET. The other side of the bracket has Coldwater facing East Lansing.
Portage Central Scoring: Sophie Bench 18, Annemarie Stacey 12, Abby Long 11, Maizie Brown 7, Reagan Hoff 6
Kalamazoo Central Scoring: Morasha Wiggins 23, Jayla Gill 10, Novia Rolland 6, Alayla Walker 3, Onishka Serrano 2, Amyre Davis 2, Cerica Finjap 1
Video by Jeff Ryder