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Girls Basketball Quarterfinal Picks: Many upsets in Class A tournament leaves the title up for grabs

By: Tom Markowski, March 12, 2018, 3:34 pm

The first night of the girls basketball featured a notable upset. Ann Arbor Huron, ranked No. 5 in Class A, lost to Dexter, 41-36. In a district semifinal Caledonia shocked top-ranked East Kentwood, 46-45.

Those two games set the tone for the tournament. Take nothing for granted. Expect the unexpected. Four teams ranked in the top 10 in Class A remain.

In Class B the top five ranked teams reached the quarterfinals, the other five did not.

Detroit Edison, the defending champion and ranked No. 1 in Class C, made it to the quarterfinals as did five other ranked teams. Negaunee and Pittsford, teams that entered the tournament undefeated, were upset in a district semifinal. Ishpeming Westwood whipped Negaunee, 59-44, and Pittsford lost to Manchester, 46-45. The Westwood victory was really a surprise. On Feb. 16 Negaunee defeated Westwood, 50-33.

The Class D tournament has gone pretty much according to Hoyle. Of the eight teams remaining, seven were ranked in the final top 10 rankings. The eighth team, Athens, had been ranked earlier in the season.

 

Class A

At Grand Blanc: Clarkston (20-4) vs. Saginaw Heritage (24-1), 7: Clarkston features 6-1 Kayla Luchenbach. Heritage counters with 6-2 Shine Strickland-Gills. Heritage is a well-balanced team that finds ways to win in a variety of ways. Heritage was the top-ranked team in Class A before the start of the season and is ready to make a semifinal appearance. Pick: Heritage by 7.

At DeWitt: East Lansing (24-0) vs. Muskegon (22-2), 7: Muskegon has really played well since losing its opener to East Kentwood (69-44). The Big Reds boast Lyza Winston, who is quite possibly a Miss Basketball candidate next season. East Lansing has Jaida Hampton, the Miss Basketball winner this season. East Lansing has been the model of consistency this season. Pick: East Lansing by 6.

At Southfield A&T: Detroit King (17-3) vs. Grosse Pointe North (19-5), 5: King had won sixth consecutive Detroit Public School League titles before being outclassed by Detroit Renaissance, 73-48, in a PSL semifinal this season. The Crusaders reached the Class A final in 2016 and a return trip would appear to be remote but there have been other upsets in this class this season. King did defeat Renaissance (40-36) in a regional final. North tied with Macomb Dakota for the Macomb Area Conference Red Division title and defeated two other Red Division teams (Dakota and Warren Cousino) in the regionals. Pick: North by 2.

At Southfield A&T:  Hartland (20-5) vs. Wayne Memorial (21-4), 7: Wayne defeated Hartland, 45-40, in the second round of the Kensington Lakes Activities Association playoffs. The only bit of information one can take from that is, the KLAA is a highly competitive league, one that features a handful of some of the top teams in the state. Pick: Hartland by 1.

 

Class B

At Marshall: Hamilton (24-1) vs. Jackson Northwest (23-1), 7: Bria Schrotenboer is a standout performer for Hamilton, an up-and-coming program. Sydney Shafer, one of the state’s top juniors, has had a solid season for Northwest. Pick: Hamilton by 4.

At Tecumseh: Michigan Center (22-2) vs. Harper Woods Chandler Park Academy (19-6), 6: Chandler Park was my sleeper pick before the tourney and there’s no reason to back away from that pick now. Pick: Chandler Park by 5.

At West Bloomfield: Detroit Country Day (20-4) vs. Freeland (23-2), 7: I picked Freeland to win it all before the tournament and, yes, it will be an upset but what the heck? No reason to get off the bus now. Pick: Freeland by 2.

At Cadillac: Kingsley (25-0) vs. Muskegon Oakridge (22-3), 7: Kingsley is a deep team, if not one that has been severely tested this season. Jalynn Brumfield, Marie Pierson, Brittany Bowman, and others have all contributed. Only two teams have come within four points of Kingsley, the last being Sault Ste. Marie (49-45) in a regional semifinal. Pick: Kingsley by 3.

 

Class C

At Howell: Detroit Edison (21-1) vs. Flint Beecher (18-5), 7: This would be an intriguing boys basketball quarterfinal as well. Beecher’s program has made significant strides recently but the Bucs haven’t progressed so much that they’ll keep this one close for more than a half or so. Pick: Edison by 13.

At Cedar Springs: Pewamo-Westphalia (24-0) vs. Kent City (22-3), 7: Looking for a team that can give Edison some trouble? Pewamo-Westphalia just might be that team. Pick: Pewamo-Westphalia by 10.

At Bronson: Schoolcraft (25-0) vs. Ypsilanti Arbor Prep (19-5), 6: Records can be deceiving. Arbor Prep’s schedule is one of the best in this class. Pick: Arbor Prep by 8.

At Gaylord: Maple City Glen Lake (22-2) vs. St. Ignace LaSalle (23-1), 7: This could be one of the most competitive quarterfinals in any class. Glen Lake’s two losses were to Kingsley, a team that could win the Class B title. St. Ignace lost to Edison in what was a lopsided affair, 88-56. Pick: St. Ignace by 2.

 

Class D

At Sault Ste. Marie: Gaylord St. Mary (23-1) vs. Chassell (24-1), 6: Oddly enough, both teams lost their only game of the season in their opener on the same day (Nov. 28). There are no common opponents but what sticks out is St. Mary’s 41-29 victory over Traverse City St. Francis, a 17-4 Class C team that was eliminated in the first round by Glen Lake (52-47). Pick: St. Mary by 6.   

At Burton Bendle: Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes (18-4) vs. Kingston (23-0), 6: Three of Lakes’ losses were to teams still playing, Arbor Prep, Country Day and Chandler Park. None of the teams on Kingston’s schedule were ranked at any time this season. Pick: Lakes by 3.

At Richland Gull Lake: Athens (21-4) vs. Adrian Lenawee Christian (23-1), 7: Lenawee Christian was my pick to win it all before the tournament and it would appear that it caught a break in this round. Pick: Lenawee Christian by 11.

At Mason County Central: Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart (23-0) vs. Bellaire (21-3), 7: Sacred Heart has been ranked No. 1 all season but an upset here is not out of the question. Bellaire lost to Kalkaska, a competitive Class B team, and twice to Gaylord St. Mary, by two and six points. Sacred Heart’s defense has been outstanding all season. Pick: Sacred Heart by 7.