Holinski scores 16 including game-winner with seven seconds left as Marian tops King, 50-49
Birmingham – Kara Holinski wanted to pass the ball. Even though she was open in the lane, Holinski first thought was to be unselfish and have a teammate shoot the open shot.
Trailing by a point and the final seconds ticking away, Birmingham Marian needed someone to step up and take the pressure shot.
Reluctantly Holinski did and her 12-footer in the lane with seven seconds left gave the Mustangs a 50-49 victory over Detroit King in the Operation Friendship championship game at Marian on Thursday.
“I was thinking, try to get a foul,” Holinski said. “I knew we were in the double bonus. I was trying to get some contact. I was looking for the kick (pass to the wing), really. I had the height advantage, so it was a good shot.”
Alicia Norman, a 5-foot sophomore, was guarding the 5-9 Holinski. Even so, Holinski hesitated before taking the shot.
It’s quite possible Holinski, a student with a 4.35 grade-point average and a score of 33 on the ACT, is caught thinking too much. This time Holinski was better off reacting, not thinking.
Marian (19-1), ranked No. 1 all season, played from behind the entire second half. King scored the last eight points of the second quarter to take a 21-17 lead at halftime. It’s the first time Marian trailed at halftime. Four times Marian tied the game, last at 48-48 on two free throws by Bailey Thomas with 44.8 seconds left.
A Janae Williams free throw with 28.4 seconds gave King (18-1) a 49-48 lead setting up Holinski’s game-winner.
Marian coach Mary Cicerone called time with 15.2 left and drew up a play that King disrupted, forcing the Mustangs to add lib.
“The play broke down,” Cicerone said. “But Kara made the play. I told them whoever has the ball, keep it.”
Usually Cicerone would go to 6-foot sophomore Samantha Thomas in that situation. But Thomas fouled out with 1:25 remaining.
King, which came in ranked No. 5 in Class A, was also without one of its top players, 6-3 senior Leah Mathis. Mathis fouled out with 7:13 left.
“Neither team played good defense tonight,” Cicerone said. “They called a lot of touchy fouls and two of the top players were out.”
King still had a chance to win it at the end. Norman drove the length of the court but missed an off-balance shot.
“Mathis didn’t give us anything,” King coach William Winfield said. “She got into foul trouble and didn’t play her game. Janae played well. Janae has played well all season.
“Marian’s a great team. They gave us a rough time. Do I want to play them again? Not necessarily.”
Should these team play again it would be in the state semifinals.
Williams led King with 17 points and eight rebounds.
For Marian Holinski had 16 points, Brittany Gray added 15 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks, and Thomas had 11 points, nine rebounds and two blocks.
For both teams this was a game that should help them prepare for the tournament, which begins Monday,
“We needed this bad,” Cicerone said. “They had us. My starters haven’t played a full game since we lost to (Chicago) Whitney Young.”
Marian lost to Young, 52-48, on Jan. 17.
Highlights of this game can be seen on the State Champs! High School Sports Show, Sunday at 9:00 AM on Fox Sports Detroit