Michigan Center High School basketball players celebrate after winning a district title at Napoleon High School on Friday. Photo by Jeff Steers, JTV Sports.
By Jeff Steers
Two teams looking to make a run in the Michigan High School Athletic Association playoffs met in the district final on Friday at Napoleon High School.
Unfortunately, only one could move on.
Michigan Center High School made a number of big plays in overtime to earn a 49-44 win over Grass Lake in the Division 3 district final. The Cardinals will move on to play the regional round at home beginning Monday at 5:30 p.m. against Springport.
Grass Lake goes home with a 21-2 record and a Cascades Conference championship. Both of their losses were to Michigan Center.
The Cardinals defeated Grass Lake early in the season and the Warriors returned the favor with a 3-point win later in the year.
“We learned from the run last year to play every possession like it was your last,” MCHS Coach Joe Lusk said. “Because it could be.”
Both teams feature a number of underclassmen and this could be the beginning of two or three years of great duels. A standing-room-only crowd at NHS witnessed the district final.
“We have a young team who learned some hard lessons tonight,” GLHS Coach Andrea Cabana said. “We knew this game could go either way.”
It went the defensive way in the first half as both teams started out slowly. Michigan Center led at the end of the first quarter as Shealyn Tripp scored four points for the cardinals and Gabrielle Lutchka tallied four points for the Warriors.
Michigan Center led by as many as five points in the second half before a Grass Lake comeback. The Warriors outscored the Cardinals 9-2 in the last five minutes of the second quarter to lead 15-13 at halftime.
The Warriors scored the first four points of the third quarter to lead by six points – the biggest lead of the game for either team. But Michigan Center pulled within one point on two baskets by Teagan Haynes and a 3-point shot by Amanda Zaborowski. Grass Lake led 25-24 heading into the fourth quarter.
Grass Lake was ahead by as many as four points with just over a minute remaining. A big 3-point play by Shealyn Tripp tied the score at 36-all with just over 23 seconds remaining in the quarter.
“I knew that our team needed a boost to get us through,” Tripp said of the play. “We were down and needed some momentum.”
The play gave the Cardinals a boost in overtime. Tripp made another 3-point play with just under two minutes remaining in overtime giving the Cardinals a 43-40 lead.
Abrie Cabana kept Grass Lake in the overtime period, scoring all eight points.
But the Cardinals made 7-of-9 free throws in the overtime period to seal the win.
Tripp led the Cardinals with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Haynes added 14 points and Morgan Morris tallied 10 points and seven rebounds. Alize Tripp finished with 10 rebounds for Michigan Center (19-3).
Grass Lake was led by Cabana with 18 points, Lutchka added eight points and 11 rebounds, and Lexus Bargesser finished with eight points.
Here are the scores and highlights of all Jackson-area schools during district basketball week:
Division 1 at East Lansing
Jackson 57, Okemos 43: Jada Patton scored 21 points and Amaya Taylor scored 11 points for Jackson (15-6).
East Lansing 78, Jackson 55: The Vikings end the season with a 15-7 overall record while East Lansing improved to 19-2.
Division 2 at Olivet
Western 62, Olivet 38: Alyna Lewis had a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds and Natalie Shellberg scored 16 points and while grabbing seven rebounds.
Northwest 49, Western 41: Sydney Shafer scored 24 points for Northwest and grabbed 10 rebounds. Jozie Bontrager added 12 points, while finishing with eight rebounds For Northwest (16-4). Natalie Shellberg finished with eight points and 12 rebounds for Western (11-10).
Northwest 68, Charlotte 48: The Mounties advance to the Division 2 regional tournament at 6 p.m. Monday at Ionia, facing Lansing Catholic.
Division 3 at Springport
Springport 48, Lumen Christi 37: Alana Nelson scored 27 points and Alex Maher added 14 for Springport. The Titans ended the season with a 6-14 record.
Concord 49, Vandercook Lake 31: Billie Weeks scored 21 points for Concord (10-11). The Jayhawks (1-19) were led by Danielle Cheney with 13 points.
Springport 53, Hanover-Horton 45: Alana Nelson scored 18 points and pulled down 23 rebounds for Springport (17-3). Chloe Marsh added 13 points, 15 rebounds and five steals and Alex Maher scored 13 points for the Spartans. Haileigh Powell scored 16 points and Brinna Melling added 10 points for Hanover-Horton (14-7).
Springport vs. Concord: The winner advances to the Division 3 regional tournament at 5:30 p.m. on Monday at Michigan Center High School facing Michigan Center. Springport won the district title Friday over Concord 66-50.
Division 3 at Napoleon
Manchester 60, East Jackson 18: East Jackson ended the season with a 2-18 record.
Grass Lake 58, Columbia Central 22: Lexus Bargesser scored 24 points and grabbed seven rebounds for Grass Lake. Abie Cabana scored 15 points and dished six assists and Gabriella Lutchka scored 11 points and pulled down 10 rounds for he Warriors. Columbia Central ends the season with a 15-5 record and a Lenawee County Athletic Association title.
Grass Lake 66, Napoleon 18: Lexus Bargesser scored 21 points and seven assists and Abrie Cabana added 19 points for Grass Lake (21-1). Napoleon ends the season with a 3-14 record.
Michigan Center 58, Manchester 28: Alize Tripp scored 17 points and Kaycee Shannon added 15 points for Michigan Center (18-3).
Michigan Center 49, Grass Lake 44 OT: The winner will face Springport or Concord in the Division 3 regional tournament at Michigan Center on Monday at 5:30 p.m.
Division 4 at Webberville
Lansing Christian 48, Jackson Christian 21: Jackson Christian ended the season with a 6-15 record.
Grass Lake High School basketball player Amber Boomer (42) drives to the basket against Amanda Zaborowski of Michigan Center during the Division 3 district final at Napoleon High School on Friday. Photo by Jeff Steers, JTV Sports.
Sydney Shafer, shown here against Marshall earlier in the season, scored nearly half of the Mounties’ points in a Division 2 district basketball win over Western. Photo by Jeff Steers, JTV Sports.
Chloe Marsh (10) of Springport High School anticipates a rebound against Brecquel Kilgore (1) and Kaylie Cox of Hanover-Horton High School during a Division 3 basketball game at home Wednesday. Photo by Jeff Steers, JTV Sports.