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Country Day’s young guns played like veterans in Class B semifinal win over Goodrich

By: Jeff Dullack, March 20, 2015, 11:00 pm

East Lansing – At times, on the biggest stages, it can be easy for young players to get caught up in the moment.

But somebody forgot to tell that to the youthful Detroit Country Day team.

In a surprising blowout win over Goodrich and Miss Basketball winner Tania Davis, it was the Yellowjacket young guns that dominated from start to finish.

Led by star sophomore Destiny Pitts, who scored a game-high 28 points and made six 3-pointers on the night, Country Day jumped out to an early lead and never looked back, cruising to a 30-point win, 69-39.

Pitts said that she’s heard the doubts all year long because of just how young the Yellowjackets are, having just two seniors, two junior and eight players who are either freshmen or sophomores, and praised freshman point guard Kaela Webb for her play.

“A lot of people doubt us because we’re young,” said Pitts, who also had 10 rebounds on the night. “We can’t do this, we can’t beat Goodrich, but we proved them wrong. Kaela, as a freshman came up really big for us. Compared to what we had last year, Asia Doss, that’s a starting point guard at the University of Ohio State, it doesn’t get any better than that. But Kaela filled her shoes a little bit and she’s stepping up and growing.”

Webb, who was tasked with stepping in for Doss, who graduated last year and is now playing in Columbus certainly didn’t seem to be overwhelmed by the stage as she collected 10 points, seven rebounds, three steals and three assists in the win for Country Day.

Webb said that simply, she was enjoying her time on the court with her teammates and said that all season long she as well as the other underclassmen were focused on helping get their seniors to East Lansing.

“It was amazing,” she said. “To just chill with my teammates and for our two seniors, Kristina and Jordan, our goal was to get them to the big house and we did that as a team, together. We stressed it every day in practice.”

Country Day’s young players played so well that even their own coach, Frank Orlando, couldn’t help but be impressed with his team’s dominant performance on Friday night. 

“It’s so refreshing to see young kids step up in this venue,” said Orlando, who is in his 34th year in charge of Country Day. “They stepped up and played with no fear and played with their heart and played good defense and moved the ball and they did a lot of wonderful things today.”

Junior Arika Tolbert also stepped up in a big way in her first appearance at the Breslin Center as she poured in 14 points off the bench for the Yellowjackets.

Tolbert admitted she did have her nerves before the game started, but once the game got underway, she was simply focused on what she need to do.

“It was a team thing, when I first got here I was pretty shaken up, being under the lights,” she said. “But when I stepped on the court, I knew I had to do what I came here to do and put everything else aside.”

Senior Jordan Wright did step up along with her younger teammates as she registered a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds for Country Day.

After their performance in the Class B semifinals, Pitts said that she and the rest of her team are only going to walk into Saturday night’s Class B state championship game with even more confidence and added that she knows they have to come out with a strong start against Haslett.

“Tomorrow, I think we’re going to come out more confident and we’re looking to push it,” she said. “We have to come out with a strong start, we can’t come out slow and I think we’re going to be ready.”