In Play with Tom Markowski

Arbor Prep, Edison to play for Class C title after semifinal victories on Thursday

Basketball   | Tom Markowski

Arbor Prep, Edison to play for Class C title after semifinal victories on Thursday

Grand Rapids – Detroit Edison and Ypsilanti Arbor Prep will make a return trip to the finals only this time they’ll be playing each other.

Edison, the defending Class C champion, defeated Pewamo-Westphalia, 50-39, on one semifinal and Arbor Prep, led by the three Petree sisters, defeated Maple City Glen Lake, 53-35, in the second semifinal at the Van Noord Arena in Grand Rapids.

Last season Arbor Prep, the 2016 Class C champion, lost to Detroit Country Day in the Class B final.

Edison (23-1) will play Arbor Prep (21-5) for the Class C title on Saturday at 4 p.m.

On Jan. 11 Arbor Prep handed Edison its only loss, 54-49.

“Last year, losing, there’s a pain in my heart,” Lasha Petree said. “I’m going to do my best for my teammates to win.”

Rickea Jackson was outstanding for Edison on Thursday. The 6-3 junior had 25 points and seven rebounds, and controlled much of the play on the offensive end. Freshman point guard Damiya Hagemann added 13 points and three assists.

Edison held a 35-23 edge in rebounds and its 17 offensive rebounds led to 12 second chance points. Edison scored 16 points off of Pewamo-Westphalia’s 10 turnovers and the Pirates had just two points off of Edison’s seven turnovers.

“(Jackson) was awesome,” Edison coach Monique Brown said. “I wanted her to get a few more rebounds. One of their girls (Emily Spitzley) had the most rebounds (5) at halftime and I was fussing with Rickea about that. We consistently talked about rebounds. On the offensive end, it’s more important for our players because we can get easy baskets.”

Pewamo-Westphalia (25-1) lost to Edison in the state final last season, 46-44, and the Pirates didn’t give an inch in this game. Even though they never had the lead, Pewamo-Westphalia was always within striking distance. It just couldn’t sustain its scoring runs.

“We’re more mature (this season),” Jackson said. “Plus we have Damiya. Our guard play is better this year.”        

Edison led the entire game, outscored Pewamo-Westphalia in every quarter and led by as many as 13 points three times, the last time, 43-30, after a basket by Jackson with 4:49 remaining.

There were times where the Pirates would make a run only to have Edison answer with a basket or two to keep the Pirates at bay.

“We don’t see that type of length and athleticism in the (Capital Area Conference),” Pewamo-Westphalia coach Steve Eklund said. “We were 4-of-19 from the 3-point range and we shoot 40 percent on the year. We had a lot of good looks. We just didn’t shoot the ball well. Sometimes you worry about the other team too much and forget about what you do well.

“My son told me this morning that (Edison) is pretty good. So we looked up the rankings and we saw that ESPN had them No. 18 (in the country). We knew they were good. They have a bunch of good athletes. “

Spitzley led the Pirates with 14 points and seven rebounds, and Ellie Droste added 11 points.

Quick starts at the beginning of the first, third and fourth quarters helped the Gators pull away from Glen Lake.

Lasha Petree scored six points in the first six minutes as the Gators raced to a 12-1 lead. Kashrya Jackson and Karli Waddell each made a 3-pointer, and Jala Petree followed with a basket to increase Arbor Prep’s 28-17 halftime lead to 36-17. The Gators scored the first seven points of the fourth quarter to increase its lead to 48-30 with 5:40 left.

“It was like a rollercoaster,” Glen Lake coach Jason Bradford said. “We’ve been behind before. (Traverse City) St. Francis had the lead on us (district final).

“We were lucky to be here. It was an amazing game against St. Ignace (LaSalle) on Tuesday.”

Glen Lake (23-3) defeated St. Ignace, 60-56, in a quarterfinal.  

Like Edison, Arbor Prep never trailed and led 14-5 after the first quarter. Jennifer LaCross scored four consecutive points to bring Glen Lake to within 21-17 but the Gators scored the last seven of the half, Miss Basketball finalist Lasha Petree providing the final basket, as Arbor Prep led 28-17 at the break.

The Petree sisters, combined, had 28 points, 15 rebounds, 12 assists and eight steals. Mahri, a junior, had 12 points, seven rebounds, and five assists. Jala, a senior, had 12 points and Lasha had eight points, five assists, and five steals, and played tremendous defense on Savannah Peplinski, Glen Lake’s leading scorer. Peplinski was held to five points and was one-of-12 from the field. Freshman Haley Helling scored 11 points and LaCross had 10.

“We did a good job of executing,” Arbor Prep coach Scott Stine said. “Defensively, we try to hold teams to 30 points. These three girls (the Petrees) make the job easier for the coach.

“Against Edison, we’ll have Lasha defend Jackson just like we did the first time.”