Girls Basketball Tournament Preview: Cousino is primed for a repeat, as is Pittsford in Class D
Warren – Kierra Fletcher carried Warren Cousino to the school’s first state title last season and though Cousino isn’t ranked No. 1 in Class A entering the tournament the Patriots are State Champs pick to repeat.
It’s all about the brackets.
Let’s take a look at Class A first, then the other three classes.
Cousino has a clear path to the regionals and will likely play Birmingham Marian, a team that defeated Cousino in the opener on Dec. 3, 56-42, in a regional final. But that was December and Cousino has played much better since. St. Clair Shores Lakeview could upset Marian in a regional semifinal.
Look for Cousino to reach the quarterfinal where the Patriots will likely play Hartland.
Hartland should defeat Farmington Hills Mercy is a regional semifinal then play Canton in the final.
In the other bracket the Midland Dow-Saginaw Heritage district semifinal should be a dandy. These two Saginaw Valley teams split their season series. Heritage is the home team and should sneak past Dow.
Heritage should have no trouble getting past Flushing in a regional final and face Port Huron Northern, a quarterfinalist last season, in a quarterfinal.
The other half of the bracket features a difficult road to the semifinals for teams like DeWitt, East Grand Rapids, East Kentwood, East Lansing, Grand Rapids Christian, Hudsonville, Lansing Waverly, Muskegon Mona Shores and Muskegon Reeths-Puffer. I could name more but it looks like one of these nine teams will have an excellent shot at reaching a semifinal.
Mona Shores and Miss Basketball candidate Jordan Walker receive a bit of a break in the district as it will face the winner of host Grand Haven and Reeths-Puffer in the final. A Mona Shores-E. Kentwood regional semifinal is quite possible but E. Kentwood might get upset by either Caledonia, E. Grand Rapids or G.R. Christian. I’m taking E. Kentwood to survive.
I’ve got Mona Shores in a quarterfinal and the Sailors will play E. Lansing. The Trojans host one of the top districts that features DeWitt and Waverly.
In the other bracket Detroit King has an easy road. The Lady Crusaders will defeat Dearborn in a regional semifinal and its opponent in the final should be Southfield for the Arts and Technology and its Miss Basketball candidate, Deja Church. King has too much balance for Southfield A&T. King’s quarterfinal opponent will likely be Belleville or Wayne Memorial.
Semifinals: Cousino vs. Heritage; King vs. Mona Shores
Final: Cousino over Mona Shores
Remember what I wrote in the second paragraph. It’s all about the brackets.
Take Detroit Mumford for example. The Mustangs should have little difficulty reaching a quarterfinal and this is a team that has but two signature wins, both against Detroit Renaissance.
Detroit Country Day’s road to a quarterfinal is even easier. No team will come within 15 points of the Yellowjackets in the districts or two regional games.
In the bottom half of this bracket, the regional semifinal between Marshall, the defending champion, and Stevensville Lakeshore should be competitive. The Edwardsburg-Otsego winner will play Marshall in a regional final.
Grand Rapids Catholic Central, a quarterfinalist in 2016, should play Hamilton in a regional final and look for Catholic Central to win and play Marshall, for the second consecutive season, in a quarterfinal.
In the other bracket, should Williamston defeat Fowlerville in a district final Williamston should have a clear path to the quarterfinals. Ypsilanti Arbor Prep, ranked No. 1 all season, will get past Dearborn Heights Robichaud its Miss Basketball candidate, Kamaria McDaniel, in a district final, at Arbor Prep. The Arbor Prep-Williamston game promises to be quite entertaining.
Unbeaten Freeland will breeze into the quarterfinals and play Arbor Prep.
Semifinals: Country Day vs. G.R. Catholic Central; Arbor Prep vs. Freeland
Final: Arbor Prep over Country Day
This could be the most unpredictable class. St. Ignace La Salle is ranked No. 1 and is the favorite but teams like Flint Hamady, the defending champion, have multiple losses but those losses aren’t that significant now.
The top bracket is wide open but I like Blissfield to reach a quarterfinal. The reason is quality losses. One of its losses was a competitive game against Class A Utica Ford.
In the other bracket I like a young Detroit Edison team. Edison has been ranked in the top five most of the season and its only tough game in its region appears to be Royal Oak Shrine, the Catholic League C-D champion.
Hamady should get out of its district without too much trouble and likely face unbeaten Sandusky in a regional final.
That winner should defeat Leroy Pine River in a quarterfinal and advance.
Niles Brandywine, a semifinalist a year ago, should reach a regional final where the Bobcats will play either Centreville or Kalamazoo Hackett. I’m taking Brandywine to reach a quarterfinal.
The other bracket features one of the most competitive districts hosted by Carson City Crystal. Four of the five teams have 15 or more victories. I’m going with Pewamo-Westphalia to survive.
Pewamo-Westphalia should defeat Grandville Calvin Christian in a regional semifinal and get past Kent City to advance to the quarterfinals.
Traverse City St. Francis, ranked in the top three most of the season, will have a tough time getting past Maple City Glen Lake in a district semifinal. Once past Glen Lake, St. Francis, a finalist last season, will have no trouble reaching a quarterfinal creating one of the top matchups in this class.
St. Ignace must get past once-beaten Norway in a regional semifinal before facing another quality opponent, likely Munising, in a regional final.
The much-anticipated St. Ignace-St. Francis quarterfinal could well be the game that decides the state champion.
Semifinals: Edison vs. Sandusky; Pewamo-Westphalia vs. St. Francis
Final: St. Francis over Sandusky
This class appears to be clear-cut. If Pittsford or Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart doesn’t win the title there should be an investigation.
Here are the formalities. Hillman will reach one quarterfinal and play Baraga.
Waterford Lakes will breeze through its district and regional and face Portland St. Patrick in another quarterfinal.
Like Lakes, St. Joseph Michigan Lutheran will breeze past its opponents in the districts and regionals, and play that powerhouse known as Pittsford in a quarterfinal.
Sacred Heart will play a competitive Wyoming Tri-unity Christian in a regional semifinal before taking on once-beaten Fruitport Calvary Christian in a regional final.
The winner of the regional semifinal between Gaylord St. Mary and Frankfort will determine the other quarterfinalist.
Semifinals: Baraga vs. St. Patrick; Pittsford vs. Sacred Heart
Final: Pittsford over St. Patrick