Tag Archives: High School Basketball

Top 35 Girls Basketball Players We Saw This Season

Player of the Year – Abbey Kimball, West Catholic (Senior)
Our player of the year is senior West Catholic guard, Abbey Kimball. While she came in second to Detroit Edison senior, Ruby Whitehorn, in the Miss Basketball standings and her Falcons lost to Edison in the state championship, she was the most complete and skilled player we saw all season. She is the best half-court scorer in the state and is able to finish in the paint or behind the arc. She also has excellent passing vision and transition skills to go with solid athleticism on the defensive end.

#2 – Ruby Whitehorn, Detroit Edison (Senior)

#3 – Indya Davis, West Bloomfield (Sophomore)

#4 – Macy Brown, East Grand Rapids (Junior)

#5 – Mya Petticord, Arbor Prep (Senior)

#6 – Theryn Hallock, Forest Hills Central (Senior)

#7 – Myonna Hooper, West Bloomfield (Senior)

#8 – Amanda Roach, Hartland (Senior)

#9 – Madisen Wardell, Detroit Edison (Senior)

#10 – Gabi Lutchka, Grass Lake (Senior)

#11 – Cadence Dykstra, West Catholic (Junior)

#12 – Jaci Tubergen, Hudsonville (Senior)

#13 – Soraya Timms, East Lansing (Senior)

#14 – Alyssa Wypych, Rockford (Junior)

#15 – Janae Tyler, Holt (Senior)

#16 – Maddie Petroelje, Hudsonville (Junior)

#17 – Ashley Bower, Portland (Senior)

#18 – Maddie Geers, Kent City (Sophomore)

#19 – Summer Davis, West Bloomfield (Sophomore)

#20– Claire Groenewoud, Holt (Senior)

#21 – Karianna Woods, Arbor Prep (Senior)

#22 – Dakota Alston, Detroit Edison (Junior)

#23 – Ella Miller, East Lansing (Senior)

#24 – Anna Wypych, Rockford (Freshman)

#25 – Lexie Bowers, Kent City (Junior)

#26 – Michelle McGee, Wyoming (Senior)

#27 – Mia Riley, Fowler (Senior)

#28 – Alaina Diaz, Hudsonville (Senior)

#29 – Brax Baker, Lowell (Sophomore)

#30 – Emma Riley, Fowler (Junior)

#31 – Lydia Meredith, St. Patrick (Senior)

#32 – Jamya Robinson, Muskegon (Senior)

#33 – Grace Lyons, Rockford (Senior)

#34 – Jayd Hovey, Hart (Senior)

#35 – Madison Garbow, Morley-Stanwood (Senior)

Top 5 Returning Players in 2023 – Indya Davis – West Bloomfield, Macy Brown – East Grand Rapids, Cadence Dykstra – West Catholic, Maddie Petroelje – Hudsonville and Alyssa Wypych – Rockford.

Kent City Did It Again

There are few teams that lost as much as the Kent City Eagles did last spring as two all-time Kent City greats, Kenzie Bowers and Jenna Harrison, graduated. The two school and state record holders left the small town of Kent City, Michigan to continue their basketball careers in the collegiate ranks (Bowers at Illinois State and Harrison at Siena Heights).

One could have been forgiven for assuming the Eagles would take a step back in 2022, even as they brought back several key pieces of that historic run. The Eagles had other plans and have battled their way into the state final with an unblemished record for the second straight season after handling Madison Heights Bishop Foley with relative ease. The Eagles got a huge boost from junior guard Lexie Bowers, who was held to just 6 points in the state quarterfinal, but was on fire inside Breslin for the second straight year.

Last year the Eagles faced Grass Lake and Big 10 Indiana commit Lexus Bargesser & Northwood commit Gabi Lutchka. This year the Eagles advance to challenge another giant, Ypsilanti Arbor Prep.

The Gators are loaded with Division 1 talent and led by Texas A&M commit Mya Petticord and Bethune-Cookman commit Karianna Woods.

One could also be forgiven for thinking the Eagles should shift into “just glad to have made it” mode with such a task ahead of them Saturday evening. While Arbor Prep’s aggressive and physical style of play will be on display in the final, it should be expected to see a Kent City team ready to respond and play with a chip on their shoulder as well.

It is not often that the David in the “David and Goliath” metaphor is the defending state runner-up, but it is the place Kent City finds itself and the stigma they’ve been upending all season long on their way to a perfect 26-0 record going into the final matchup of the season with a state championship on the line.

Clean Sweep for Area Girls Basketball

The talents of west Michigan girls basketball were on full display Tuesday night. Kent City traveled an hour south to face Schoolcraft in the quarterfinal for a second year in a row, Rockford welcomed East Lansing just down the road at Calvin University and West Catholic faced undefeated Edwardsburg in Wayland.

A year after Kent City (25-0) routed Schoolcraft (finished season 23-2), the teams battled it out through four quarters of defensive brilliance. Schoolcraft managed to slow Kent City star, Lexie Bowers, and held her to just six points. However, sisters Emma and Maddie Geers played sister-sister and led the Eagles on the offensive end to the 34-33 victory. The Eagles will head to Breslin for the second time in school history in as many years. They will face Madison Heights Bishop Foley (20-3).

While it took the Kent City faithful four quarters to find out if their Eagles would advance, West Catholic (24-1) had their answer much earlier in the night. Undefeated Edwardsburg (finished season 24-1) was outmatched from the jump and never got their bearings. The Falcons ran away with things in the first half and did the unthinkable by forcing a running clock in the second half during the state quarterfinal. West Catholic advanced with the stunning 82-27 final. The Falcons are playing with a fire brought on by a heartbreaking exit last year, partially due to Covid protocols and will have something to prove against Detroit Country Day this Thursday.

The final showcase of west Michigan girls basketball talent was the Rockford Rams (23-2) and East Lansing Trojans (finished season 19-5). Both teams are stacked with stellar guards able to handle and shoot the ball with efficiency. East Lansing also had the unique aspect of a post presence in senior center, Ella Miller. Both teams played a hard-fought first half with Rockford freshman Anna Wypych giving a standout shooting performance on the way to a 23-21 lead at the break. East Lansing’s offensive efficiency waned in the third quarter after coming out hot in their first few possessions and fell behind double digits. The Trojans made several runs, but couldn’t sustain them long enough to overcome the Rams’ hot shooting touches. The Rams advanced to the state final with the 54-43 victory.

All three west Michigan programs advance, proving once again that west Michigan hosts some of the best girls basketball in the state and deserves more recognition in the state-wide hoops landscape.

Northview Advances to Face West Ottawa

The gym was electric on Tuesday night in Grand Haven, MI. Elite basketball talent was on display all evening and four teams entered the confines of Grand Haven High School with plans to leave with berths into the regional championship. The unfortunate nature of the post-season meant that two teams would be leaving empty-handed.

Wyoming narrowly led West Ottawa at the half and seemed to be in control of that slim margin for most of the second half, but things began to slip as desperation set in for West Ottawa. With their season on the line, they managed to put together a small run and gain the advantage. That put them in the driver’s seat and allowed them to play keep away for most of the final 6 minutes. That strategy put them at the line and the Panthers managed to sink all but a couple down the stretch. Despite mounting a spirited effort, Wyoming could not get over the hump and lost a battle in the regional semifinal.

The second matchup of the night was a slugfest between two favorites to go the distance this post-season. The unfortunate news was that the two would be facing one another in the round of 16. Muskegon seemed poised for the opportunity to upset Northview and Mr. Basketball finalist, Kyler VanderJagt. They jumped all over the Wildcats in the early going behind impassioned defense and incredible shooting.

Northview also found themselves as the beneficiary of severe foul trouble to three of its starters and top two scorers, VanderJagt and Jalen Charity. That meant the Wildcats had to turn to their bench and next level of scorers to deliver quality minutes and most importantly: points. Not only did the Wildcats answer the call, but managed to maintain a lead going into half.

The second half saw more tough fouls called against Northview’s scorers, but Charity was able to see prolonged minutes, while VanderJagt patiently waited for time to dwindle low enough to step back on the floor in a close contest. Northview’s balanced attack slowly began to drain the Big Reds and the lead began to expand. However, every time it looked like Northview might run away with it, Muskegon would mount another run that kept things hopping in the packed gymnasium. In the end, Northview played like a veteran roster and never lost their composure, even as Muskegon pulled within striking distance multiple times. That poise will be necessary if the Wildcats are going to achieve their goal of a state championship.

Northview will face West Ottawa in the regional final on Wednesday night as heavy favorites.

Kent City Eagles Continue Journey

Despite a very aggressive Covenant Christian team, the Eagles continued their journey towards the grand prize, a State High School Championship.

Covenant Christian led most of the first quarter, with the Eagles trailing close behind. But soon the tide changed and the Eagles took off.

Lexi Bowers finished with 19 points, but it was Madelyn Geers who had to take charge when Bowers got her fourth foul at the begging of the 3rd quarter. The Kent City Eagles defeated Covenant Christian 46-32.

Lexie Bowers 19 points Madelyn Geers 16 points Taryn Preston 9 points.

Kent City (24-0) will play Schoolcraft (23-1) tuesday at Edwardsburg High School at 7pm.

Kent City Returns with State Finalist Trophy in Tow

There is an old adage in basketball: end on a make. The quip relates to players’ seeming necessity to not end a shooting session or practice until they can end on a made basket. The final score did not reflect the outcome the Eagles had hoped it would as Grass Lake held on for the narrow 52-50 win at the Breslin Center in East Lansing, MI, but Kent City did what all competitors hope to do: end on a make. Despite the outcome being different than hoped, the Eagles capped off their season in a fitting way, making the final bucket of the 2021 Division 3 season.

As things kicked off on Friday afternoon, Grass Lake was clearly the beneficiary of fresh legs after their semifinal game on Wednesday was cancelled by forfeit and the Warriors came out firing on all cylinders. Kent City managed to hold Grass Lake All State performers, Lexus Bargesser and Abrie Cabana under wraps in the first half. That focus led to a wild shooting day for Grass Lake’s Gabi Lutchka. Lutchka played lights out in the first half with 14 points, including four three point buckets, before the Eagles held her scoreless in the second half. While the Eagles were able to spread the scoring around in the first half and benefitted from two stellar three point buckets by Taryn Preston, the Eagles shot a solid, but sustainable percentage from the field. That shooting kept them in the game, but the Eagles fell behind by double digits and looked to be out of it multiple times, only to rally back each and every time.

Bargesser took over the scoring duties in the second half for Grass Lake, most coming on fast break layups, and finished the day with an impressive stat line of 16 points, 10 rebounds, 5 steals and 1 block. The Warriors finish the season 20-1 and Division 3 champion.

The Eagles were led by senior guards Jenna Harrison and Kenzie Bowers who finished with 16 and 13, respectively. The Eagles finish their season 21-1 and brought home the school’s first ever girls basketball state finalist trophy. In the end, the Eagles battled back every time it appeared they were out of it and fell just two points short with the season ending 52-50 loss. This won’t be the last time these seniors see the hardwood as Kenzie Bowers heads to Illinois State and Jenna Harrison will continue her basketball career at Sienna Heights next year. The 2021 senior class will be a tough hole to fill, but if this post-season has showed one thing, it is that the Eagles have a bright future ahead of them with several returners ready to take over as program leaders.

Kent City Punches Ticket to Final Four over Schoolcraft

Kent City achieved the seemingly impossible task of holding a quarterfinal qualifying opponent to zero points for an entire quarter to open their Elite 8 contest with Schoolcraft High School on Monday night.

The teams met in Portage and filled “The Igloo” with hopeful fans and players a single game away from a trip to the Breslin Center. Kent City made sure there were no illusions that the trip would be as easily earned as several other contests the Schoolcraft Eagles had experienced in the postseason thus far.

Kent City led Schoolcraft 10-0 after the first quarter and went into the half with an emphatic 28-6 lead. Things didn’t get much easier for Schoolcraft in the second half and the SHS Eagles were only able to net another thirteen points in the second half, while Kent City added another twenty-four points and ended the night with the 52-19 victory and a ticket to the Division 3 Final Four.

Kent City was led by the Bowers sisters with senior Kenzie ending with 20 and sophomore Lexie finishing the night with 11.

The Kent City (20-0) squad will face Calumet High School (20-0), who upset Maple City Glen Lake (ranked 6th in polls before Districts), in a tight battle that ended with Calumet victorious, 73-69. While both teams carry impressive undefeated resumes into the semi-final, there is a reason the games are played and it is clear that anything can happen when teams figuratively tip off on Wednesday just after high noon.

4th Time’s the Charm… Again

The 2021 senior class of girls basketball players at Kent City has been on the right side of quite a few wins in the past four years. The Division 3 District 74 championship game on Friday night was yet another notch in that long list of victories the Eagles have claimed during that span and the team’s fourth district title in as many years.

In a rematch of the district final from a year ago, Kent City met conference rival and fellow perennial power, Morley-Stanwood. The teams had played a tight game earlier this season in Kent City with the Mohawks even taking the lead late in the contest before the Eagles responded and won by a narrow double digit tally. A month later the two teams met again with a far less balanced result and Kent City claimed a 29-point victory on the road on the Mohawks home court. The third matchup of the year looked to be brewing up a real battle, as the Eagles chase a historic run that is four years in the making and the Mohawks looked to grab the upset on the neutral site at White Cloud High School.

While things remained close for the first several minutes and both teams settled into the flow of the game, Kent City’s tenacious and unrelenting defense began to take a toll. The pressure forced the Mohawks to play at a fast pace that caused them to sometimes miss opportunities even when they were presented with good looks at the basket. It was clear that the internal clock in player’s minds, analyzing the time they had before once again getting smothered by a defender, forced them to put up shots quicker than even the pace of the game might have required.

On the other end, Kent City also missed several good looks in the early going and a few other times throughout the rest of the contest, but the Eagles benefitted from senior guard Kenzie Bowers early and often; showing why she is a four-time All State player and in the running for Miss Michigan Basketball.

Bowers was electric on both ends of the floor, hitting big shots from all areas of the floor and dishing passes to open teammates with a precision that could only have been honed in her years of experience. Lexie Bowers also caught fire off the bench and, at one point, knocked down three consecutive three point buckets, putting a firm cap on the evening in White Cloud.

The Mohawks battled for the entirety of the game and left every ounce of energy on the floor. In the end, several missed looks may have brought the game within striking distance, but it was clear that Morley-Stanwood was on the unfortunate side of the Eagle’s date with destiny this year.

Kent City finished the night with a final score of 63-32 over the Mohawks.

Morley-Stanwood caps off another excellent and successful season and send off seniors Natalie Kukla, Isabel Devereaux and Brooke Brauher. The Mohawks also bid farewell to longtime coach and father of Brooke Brauher, Rob Brauher, who coached his last game for the Mohawks and will be stepping down from the head coaching position.

Kent City advances to the first round of regionals and will face West Michigan Christian at Calvin Christian High School next Monday night.

Zeeland East Sends Seniors Out with a Win Over Muskegon

Friday night was humming in Zeeland as the Big Reds of Muskegon came to town to face off with the Zeeland East Chix women’s basketball team on Senior Night.

Senior night festivities had no sooner ended than the Chix found themselves in a deficit and serious foul trouble with senior forwards Shelby Ulven and Audrey Dreyer both exiting early in the first quarter.

The Chix tallied more fouls than points in the first quarter and found themselves down 10-5. Zeeland East found their rhythm in the second quarter with juniors Maddie Schuur and Paige Westra helping lead the way offensively. On the defensive end, Zeeland East held Muskegon to just two points the rest of the half while posting eighteen themselves. The teams entered the half with a score of 23-12 and all momentum firmly behind the Chix.

Schuur went on to have another big half after the break, posting another twelve and ending the night with a game high 19 points. Muskegon made a last ditch attempt at a comeback in the fourth quarter but came up short 49-39. The Big Reds were led by senior Kailyn Nash who finished with 14 points and aided by Layla Harris with 12 points. Zeeland East spread the workload around and eight Chix netted points on the night and finished the season with the win over the Big Reds.

The Chix kept the momentum going after Friday night’s victory and won their first game of districts over Holland High School. Muskegon will wait for their opening game of the post season on Wednesday after a first round bye as they face the winner of Grand Rapids Union & Kenowa Hills.

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