Country Day wins its 11th state championship by defeating Haslett, 49-41, in the Class B final
East Lansing – Detroit Country Day hadn’t won a title in six years and for a program that has 10 state championships that’s a long time.
Most expected the Yellowjackets would have to wait another year because of their youth and inexperience.
Country Day certainly didn’t play like a young team in its two games at the Breslin Center this weekend.
Thanks to some clutch free throw shooting down the stretch, the Yellowjackets were able to fend off Haslett on Saturday, picking up state championship No. 11 with a 49-41 victory in the Class B final.
Coach Frank Orlando, who has coached Country Day to its 11 titles, said that he was thrilled to see his young team come together throughout the season and praised the leadership from his seniors and juniors.
“I really am overwhelmed with pride and overwhelmed with joy,” he said. “I’ve done this for 48 years, but to have young kids, and we had good leadership, but to see kids just pull together and the last part of the season, they just kept getting better. To me, the biggest joy of all is to see these young women to be proud lady Jackets keep the legacy of our program.
“We’re blessed to win a state championship, but I don’t care about the number, I care about these kids.
Country Day (23-4) jumped out to a 37-31 lead early in the fourth quarter on a Destiny Pitts 3-pointer.
Haslett (22-7) came back with consecutive baskets by Adrianna Stolicker and Kenzie DeCook to cut the deficit down to two.
After the two teams exchanged free throws, Country Day sophomore Tylar Bennett scored to give her team a little breathing room, making it 41-37.
Country Day’s free throw shooting took over from there. Led by freshman Kaela Webb, who went 6-for-6 from the line, the Yellowjackets closed out the game making eight of their final 10 free throws to seal the win.
“I just knew I had to prove myself and know that I am supposed to come out here and help the team,” Webb said. “I didn’t have a chip on my shoulder, I just knew what I had to do and be in the gym and work hard.”
Webb performed much better than most would expect from a freshman as she led all scorers with 20 points. Sophomore Destiny Pitts added 12 points and 14 rebounds.
“I think it’s every team’s goal,” Pitts said of winning a state championship. “It was our goal from the beginning of the season, no matter how young we are, every team’s trying to come out and win a championship. We know we’re a good team, but we were able to get to this point by gelling together as a team. Everyone says we’re young, but we don’t really care about that.”
Haslett did manage to trim the deficit down to a manageable five points by the end of the quarter after a basket from Karson Tripp and a pair of free throws by Makenna Ott.
“They’ve been outstanding from the first minute we got them,” said Haslett coach Bill Currie on his senior class. “Their record has been wonderful for the four years that we’ve had them. The three girls have done everything we’ve asked and they’ve changed Haslett basketball I hope for good.”
Ott and DeCook led Haslett with 17 points apiece.