Makenna Ott provides the punch as Haslett downs Benton Harbor 63-52 in a Class B semifinalBasketball  |
East Lansing – Heading into the Class B state semifinals on Friday, Haslett was well aware of the dangerous backcourt it was up against in Benton Harbor’s Kalabrya and Kysre Gondrezick.
The duo teamed for 37 points but it was the starting five of Haslett that stole the show. Four players scored in double figures to lead Haslett to a 63-52 victory in a Class B semifinal at the Breslin Center.
Haslett (22-5) will play in its first state title game on Saturday against Detroit Country Day, a program that has won 10 state titles, at 6 p.m.
Haslett coach Bob Currier said that his team knew of Benton Harbor’s ability to score but had hoped his team’s lead had grown a little sooner to take some of the pressure off of the Vikings, knowing that no lead was safe.
“I was so happy with the way our team played,” he said. “We had our game plan and they did a good job with that tonight. Their team has so much offensive firepower that we never felt safe. I would have liked to have seen a bigger lead earlier so we would have been more relaxed and not so worried with every possession.”
After Benton Harbor (20-6) took an 18-16 lead to start the second quarter on a Kysre Gondrezick basket, Haslett took the lead back on three straight baskets from Karson Tripp, Kenzie DeCook and Adrianna Stolicker to go on top, 22-18 with under five minutes to play in the first half.
Makenna Ott and Stolicker each scored four points as Haslett went on an 8-0 run to push the lead to 31-23 at halftime.
Ott finished with 18 points and six rebounds. Tripp chipped in with 14 points, Stolicker had 13 and Megan Mowid 11.
Ott, who missed five weeks towards the end of the season after suffering a broken bone in her left leg, returned to the Vikings just before the districts and has played a big role in their success in the postseason.
“I personally believe that everything happens for a reason,” Ott said. “It was heartbreaking when it happened, but me and coach were talking and he said that he can’t believe that something good wouldn’t come from this and I think this is the payoff. I was just working hard to come back, working hard in practice with my teammates.”
Benton Harbor trimmed the deficit down to 39-35 after baskets from each of the Gondrezicks giving the Tigers life.
“They have been committed to the commitment that the program is committed to,” Benton Harbor coach Lisa Harvey-Gondrezick said of this year’s team. “They’ve been selfless and they have a relentless passion for this game and I’m very demanding, but they’ve honored all of the expectations that I’ve requested and they’re like my daughters and I literally mean that.”
Kalabrya Gondrezick finished with 20 points and her sister added 17.
The Vikings responded on a Tripp 3-pointer and Ott’s a 3-point play from Ott to push the lead to 49-35.
Currier said that he felt his team’s fast paced play may have worn down Benton Harbor, and said his team’s ability to get off outlet passes was a big key as well.
“I looked at my assistant coach and I said that I thought they were more tired than we are,” he said. “We kept pushing the ball and that really did separate us. I thought one of the keys was early in the game, when we get a rebound, we try to push it, they really pushed the outlet passes, they touched so many of them and kept us from advancing the ball like we really wanted to. We got the ball out a little better and a little cleaner in the second half and we got some easier run outs and that helped us a lot.”?