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GIRLS BASKETBALL: Ranking the State of Michigan’s top 100 players for the 2019-20 season

By: MATTHEW B. MOWERY, December 11, 2019, 12:18 pm

With the girls basketball season well underway, it’s time to take a look at which players rank among the best in the state.

Plenty of these kids have already signed or committed with their school of choice, as Michigan continues to be a hotbed for basketball recruiting.  Whether it’s to the two Big Ten schools in the Mitten — Michigan and Michigan State — or the directional Mid-American Conference schools — CMU, WMU and EMU — or the Division II GLIAC squads, Michigan continues to put girls basketball players in college uniforms.

This list, however, is only partly about that. It’s not necessarily a recruiting list, a rundown of the most skilled, the highest potential/ceiling players, but rather a combination of that along with a listing of the players who’ve done the most to help their high school teams succeed. Potential and production balanced out. Two of the players who might have ranked among the top 10 college prospects in the state — Charlevoix’s Elise Stuck and Wayne Memorial’s Makailah Griggs-Zeigler — do not appear on the main body of this list, as both will likely miss most of their senior seasons with ACL injuries.

With that in mind here are the top 100 players in Michigan for the 2019-20 girls basketball season:

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1 Gabby Elliott, Detroit Edison, 5-10 Sr. wing

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: 8

Commitment: Clemson

After playing second option for Edison the last few years, this should be Elliott’s year to shine as the go-to player for the Pioneers, who are going for their fourth straight title. There are plenty of other valid scoring options for Edison — with point guards Damiya Hagemann and Daija Tyson, off guard Shaulana Wagner as well as super sophomores Ruby Whitehorn and Rakiyah Beal — but Elliott’s ability to create her own shot off the dribble, pull up for a mid-range jumper, or score in the post will likely make her the centerpiece of the offense. Ranked No. 42 in the nation in the Class of 2020 by ESPNW, Elliott’s length allows her to bang on the blocks with the biggest bigs, and defend virtually anyone. Miss Basketball may not stray too far away from Wilkins Street. 

2 Whitney Sollom, Hartland, 6-4 Sr. forward

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: 9

Commitment: Michigan

At this time last year, Sollom was still waiting to start her junior season after knee surgery in the spring, and spent some of the year playing catch-up before turning it on late in the season and in the Eagles’ run to a third quarterfinal appearance in five seasons. Few players can match both the size and versatility that Sollom brings on the floor: Players as tall as she rarely have her athleticism, and ones as quick are rarely big enough to challenge her shot. While she can play a back-to-the-basket game, she also has good range on the jumper — as an early-season matchup against Adrian Lenawee Christian big Bree Salenbien proved — making her 3-point attempts more than just a ‘show-me’ shot, and forcing teams to play her out to the arc. Those parts of her game are additions over the last few seasons, tacked on to the ability she already had to control the game defensively, with her shot-blocking (or -altering) and rebounding. 

3 Damiya Hagemann, Detroit Edison, 5-7 Jr. point guard

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: 19

If Elliott is the leader of the pack for the Pioneers this season, Hagemann is 1A, and the straw that stirs the drink. Ranked No. 18 in the Class of 2021 by ESPNW, Hagemann has been considered among the best point guards in the country since her freshman season, but now it’s her time to step into more of a lead role, after the graduation of unquestioned leader Rickea Jackson. Lightning quick and agile, Hagemann is able to wriggle her way through the smallest creases in the defense to penetrate the lane, setting up her own scoring opportunities, or others’, and has the range to hit from the outside, too. 

4 Bree Salenbien, Adrian Lenawee Christian, 6-2 Jr. wing

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: 15

There’s not much on a basketball floor that this junior can’t do — or hasn’t done. After leading the Cougars to a Class D title as a freshman, coming off a travel season where she was the talk of the circuit, she followed that up last season by leading Lenawee Christian to a Division 4 crown. Teams that think they can pressure Salenbien’s older sister, Dani, often don’t factor in the fact that the younger sister can handle the ball and break pressure, too, as well as pass over the defense. Few D4 players can match Salenbien’s length and athleticism, and she’s got an array of offensive moves, in addition to a solid outside shot. As long as she’s on the floor, don’t bet against a three-peat for the Cougars, or a run at Miss Basketball in 2020-21.

5 Aaliyah Nye, East Lansing, 5-11 Sr. guard

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: 28

Commitment: Illinois

More of a shooter and a complementary scorer during her early years, breaking out as a sophomore when the Trojans finished as the Class A runner-up, Nye has developed into another in the line of East Lansing all-around standout players, and goes into her senior season hoping to lead the Trojans to their first title since 2010, as well as contend to bring home another Miss Basketball trophy (Jaida Hampton won the award in 2018; Klarissa Bell won it in 2010). 

6 Morasha Wiggins, Kalamazoo Central, 6-1 Jr. guard

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: Next 50

Using her wingspan and quickness to her advantage both on offense — getting to the bucket — and defense — as a key part of Central’s pressure package — Wiggins opened eyes with her impressive performances over her first two seasons, but it’s been her ability to refine her game as she’s gone along that have kept the Division I recruiters circling. She’s increased the range on her jump-shot over the years, as well as taking on a bigger leadership role with the Maroon Giants. 

7 A.J. Ediger, Hamilton, 6-2 Jr. forward

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: N/R

Commitment: Iowa

A throwback, back-to-the-basket force for the Hawkeyes, Ediger can dominate smaller teams — as she did in her 33-point, 17-rebound game vs. Freeland in last year’s Division 2 semifinals — with her ability to go downhill from the elbow when posting up, and clean up misses on the glass. A multi-sport star (volleyball) who is committed to Iowa for hoops, the next phase in the development for the Hamilton star is continuing to develop the wing skills she’ll need on the next level.

8 Aaliyah McQueen, Flint Carman-Ainsworth, 5-9 Sr. guard

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: 32

Commitment: Illinois

A steady force for the Cavaliers through her two seasons (she transferred from Goodrich after her freshman year), McQueen has done a little bit of everything for Carman-Ainsworth, while Destiny Strother played the role of primary scorer. McQueen — who can score from the outside or on the drive, can handle the ball, and defend — will likely get the bulk of the touches this season for the Cavs, and could put her hat in the ring with Elliott and future Illinois teammate Nye for Miss Basketball.

9 Cheyenne McEvans, Southfield A&T, 5-10 Sr. guard

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: 21

Commitment: Buffalo

If you just looked at her career rebounding and shot-blocking totals, you’d think McEvans was a 6-footer planted in the middle of the lane, rather than an incredibly athletic big guard who can out jump almost anyone. The leading rebounder for an A&T team that made it to the final four for the second time in her three seasons on the squad, McEvans averaged a double-double last season, but may end up vastly increasing her scoring average as a senior to make up for the offense lost to graduation. A two-time all-state player, McEvans is likely on the short list for Miss Basketball contention. 

10 Ally VanTimmeren, Jenison, 6-2 Jr. forward

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: Next 50

A left-hander who can stretch the floor with her shooting range, or score inside with her size, VanTimmeren is just scratching the surface of her vast potential. The junior forward has been someone that most on the AAU side have known about for a while, but as the Wildcats haven’t made a deep run — failing to make it out of districts the last two seasons — the average high school fan hasn’t seen her talents on the biggest stage, just yet. 

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11 Mya Petticord, Ypsilanti Arbor Prep, 5-8 Soph. point guard

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: 22

Held nine DI offers before she ever suited up for the Gators, then helped lead Arbor Prep to its fifth consecutive appearance in the semifinals as a raw freshman. If anything, the Gators are even younger than that team that lost to eventual champ Pewamo-Westphalia, and they’ll need to lean on Petticord to produce even more than last year’s 19.3 points per game.

12 Kenzie Lewis, Williamston, 5-10 Sr. point guard

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: 20

Commitment: Bowling Green

A contributor since her freshman year, Lewis has always had that pairing of basketball IQ that comes from being a coach’s kid, as well as upper-level size and athleticism. Able to do so many different things for the Hornets — shoot, drive, score, defend, rebound — it’s her ability to get her teammates the ball in the right spots and make everybody on the floor better than brands her as a true point guard. Miss Basketball contender? Quite possibly.

13 Hannah Spitzley, Pewamo-Westphalia, 6-0 Sr. wing 

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: 26

Commitment: Western Michigan

Despite winning honors as the Associated Press D3 Player of the Year in leading the Pirates to their first state title, Spitzley hardly rested on those laurels, hitting the gym almost immediately after the title game to continue her improvement. Always a lock-down defender, Spitzley developed into a reliable scorer for the Pirates en route to the title, but may have taken that to the next level, becoming an offensive force as a senior. She can shoot from the outside, or get her own points off the dribble, using her size and athleticism to penetrate the lane. Should be a Miss Basketball contender.

14 Jasmine Clerkley, Okemos, 5-11 Sr. forward

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: 13

Commitment: Bowling Green

Originally committed to Michigan State — after getting an offer from the hometown Spartans before she entered high school — Clerkley opted to decommit last year, and wound up at Bowling Green, where she’ll play for Okemos grad Robyn Fralick, and alongside AAU teammate Kenzie Lewis. An undersized post, with the ability to put the ball on the floor and score in multiple ways, along with dominate on the glass, Clerkley will have to carry a lot of the scoring load for Okemos this season, after the graduation of Laya Hartman. 

15 Kenzie Bowers, Kent City, 5-10 Jr. point guard

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: 37

Commitment: Illinois State

One of the best ball-handlers in the state, Bowers’ ability to distribute (and score upwards of 18 points per game herself) to the Eagles’ multiple scoring options has helped Kent City make it to the quarterfinals in her freshman year, and then to the regional finals last year, where the Eagles lost to eventual champion P-W. 

16  Sophie Dziekan, Brighton, 6-2 Sr. forward

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: 36

Commitment: Bowling Green

The second of the KLAA’s dominant bigs, Dziekan is a third top-20 Michigan player second-year BGSU coach Robyn Fralick grabbed off the I-96/Grand River Ave. corridor, joining Okemos’ Clerkley and Williamston’s Lewis. Dziekan averaged a near double-double for a balanced Brighton team that won the KLAA’s West Division and lost to Wayne in the league title game. Unlike some bigs, Dziekan has the speed to lead the pack when the Dogs get out and run on offense, but she can still provide punch in the post either facing up, or with her back to the basket, and is a glass-cleaner. 

17 Gabi Saxman, Schoolcraft, 5-6 Sr. point guard

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: Next 50

Commitment: Western Michigan

Grabbing the starting job at the point as a freshman, and leading Schoolcraft to its first-ever regional title that season, Saxman has been a lock-down defender since she stepped into a high school gym. She’s also bumped up her offensive contributions each season, averaging 16 points with six assists and six steals as a junior.  

18 Cameron Grant, Macomb Dakota, 6-1 Sr. forward

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: 25

Commitment: Ball State

Grant played in just 10 games as a junior after tearing ligaments in her ankle — averaging a double-double before her injury — but she’s back to full health as a senior. The kid of a coach, 

Grant has a high basketball IQ, paired with the versatility (and skills) to play a multitude of positions for the Cougars, who will rely on her scoring. 

19 Theryn Hallock, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central, 5-8 Soph. guard 

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: N/R

Commitment: Michigan State

Hallock plans to follow her brothers (Tanner and Tate) and father (Ty) to Michigan State, but the offer from Suzy Merchant was hardly just a boon to a legacy player. The point guard averaged 13 points and 3.7 steals per game for Forest Hills Central as a freshman, and has long been considered one of the top players in the 2022 class, with a knack for putting the ball in the bucket, as well as the ability to defend and rebound from the guard position. 

20 Kailee Davis, Detroit Renaissance, 5-3 Jr. point guard

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: Next 50

While most of the point guards on this list are top-notch ball-handlers, few can move the ball up the floor with the speed Davis can. Couple that with the ability to set up teammates in the right spots off penetration, and a knock-down jumper from the outside, and Davis is the next big thing at a Renaissance program that’s produced its share of them. 

21 Ruby Whitehorn, Detroit Edison, 6-0 Soph. point guard

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: 31

If Edison had to depend on her to log big minutes early, Whitehorn certainly has the skills to have been ranked higher on this list, like Arbor Prep’s Petticord is. With a stacked varsity roster, though, she spent much of her freshman season shuttling back and forth between the Edison “Black” squad. When she does play with the ‘A’ team, her size makes her a mis-match for defenders, while she can outjump many others for rebounds, and use her wingspan to defend smaller players. She’s ranked as the No. 21 overall player in the 2022 class by ESPNW, and the No. 3 guard in the class.

22 Alana Micheaux, Wayne Memorial, 6-3 Jr. forward

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: Next 50

Playing with Miss Basketball candidates each of the last two seasons, Micheaux’s job has been to set picks, play defense and clean the glass — all of which she does with aplomb — and contribute with low-post scoring on the few occasions it was needed. Now, with all the Miss Basketball candidates graduated, and senior Makailah Griggs-Zeigler on the shelf with injury, the young-ish Zebras will lean on shoulders of their big to carry them for the time being — something she’s plenty capable of doing.

23 Carly Crabtree, Coldwater, 5-10 Sr. wing

Last year’s STATE CHAMPS! ranking: 40

Commitment: Central Michigan 

A two-time MVP of the Interstate 8 Conference, Crabtree came into her senior season on the cusp of 1,000 career points, and 135 points shy of the school’s scoring record. The Cardinals have made it to the regional finals each of the last two seasons, after a district finals loss in 2017, but could be one of the D1 teams to be reckoned with if Crabtree finishes off her career the way she’d like to.

24 Maddie Voelker, Goodrich, 5-9 Sr. guard

Commitment: Northwood

When you can still score 24 points per game on an injury plagued squad, with no secondary scorer to divert defensive attention, like Voelker did in her third straight all-state season as a junior, you can stack up with anyone in the state as an offensive threat. Could she bring Miss Basketball back to Goodrich? Don’t discount it.

25 Jillian Brown, East Grand Rapids, 5-10 Jr. guard

A contributor for the Pioneers since her freshman season, this will be the first for Brown without her older sister, Olivia, who is playing at St. Bonaventure. It’s not like the middle of three sisters needs to climb out of the shadow of her older sister, though, as college coaches have been recruiting Jillian Brown for years. A taller guard at 5-10, she presents mismatch problems for many, and she’s versatile to play any spot on the floor, scoring in a multitude of ways. 

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No. 26-50:

26 Ellie Droste, Pewamo-Westphalia, 5-8 Sr. point guard

Commitment: Grand Valley State

Hard-nosed defender who is fast, fast, fast, and can shoot.

27 Shaulana Wagner, Detroit Edison, Sr. guard

Commitment: Xavier

Missed the postseason run for the Pioneers with a concussion, but is one of the team’s best defenders when healthy, and plays with an unbridled energy and passion.

28 Daija Tyson, Detroit Edison, Sr. guard

Commitment: Bradley

Can run the offense as well as any of the multiple point guards on the Edison roster.

29 Kaybriana Hallman, East Kentwood, 6-3 Jr. forward

Premium rim-protector for the Falcons.

30 Lamariyee Williams, East Lansing, 5-8 Sr. guard

Commitment: Oakland

Lightning-quick transfer from River Rouge gives the Trojans yet another scoring option. 

31 Sarah Miller, Birch Run, 5-8 Sr. wing

Commitment: Saginaw Valley State

Can score in bunches, as evidenced by the fact that she broke the school scoring record (with nearly 1,400 points) in just three seasons, and has her entire senior year to better the mark.

32 Kadyn Blanchard, Freeland, 5-10 Sr. forward 

Commitment: Ferris State

Has all the requisite skills to star for the Falcons now that graduation robbed them of some balance — can shoot, defend, rebound. On top of all that, Blanchard is one of the toughest players around.

34 Abrie Cabana, Grass Lake, Jr. point guard

Commitment: Grand Valley

Lightning-quick getting to the hole, and can shoot the lights out from the outside. 

35 Abbey Kimball, Grand Rapids West Catholic, 5-10 Soph. guard

Started getting Division I looks early, after averaging 16 points per game as a freshman.

36 Hadley Miller, Three Rivers, 5-9 Sr. wing

Commitment: Grand Valley State 

Just the second player in school history past 1,000 points, Miller has been a tough guard since her freshman season. 

36 Jozie Bontrager, Jackson Northwest, Sr. guard

Commitment: Lake Superior State

Just a sophomore when Northwest made it to the championship game, Bontrager has slowly worked her way from complementary scorer into the leader for the Mounties. 

37 Brittany Bowman, Kingsley, 5-4 Sr. point guard

Commitment: Lake Superior State

A three-sport standout (volleyball-hoops-track), Bowman offsets her lack of height with extraordinary speed, and has a sweeter jumper than almost anyone.

38 Jolee Houle, Grand Haven, 5-7 Sr. point guard

Commitment: Wayne State

A lights-out shooter who has always made defenses pay for committing attention to the Bucs’ size inside, this will be Houle’s year to be the star.

39 McKenna Bent, Comstock Park, 5-5 Sr. guard

Commitment: Saginaw Valley State

A three-sport star (golf-hoops-tennis), Bent is the floor leader for Comstock Park, but can also score in bunches when needed.

40 Xeryia Tartt, Flint Hamady, Sr. guard

Commitment: Stetson

A transfer from Carman-Ainsworth two seasons ago, the powerful Tartt can get to the basket with ease, and hit the outside shot when needed. 

41 Lauren Ross, Muskegon Reeths-Puffer, 5-10 Sr. guard

Commitment: Ferris State

Possessing guard skills, and coupling that with the power and size (and tough-minded mentality) of a forward makes Ross a tough stop for anybody.

42 Natalie Foster, Mattawan, 6-5 sr. post

Commitment: Wichita State (volleyball)

A walking double-double, the lengthy Foster has averaged nearly eight rebounds and three blocks per game for her career, and her uncommon size makes her a mismatch for almost every defense.

43 Danielle Salenbien, Adrian Lenawee Christian, 5-9 Sr. point guard

Commitment: Hillsdale

The elder Salenbien sister has proven time and again that stopping one of the two is only half the battle. A superb floor leader, Danielle can get to the bucket and shoot the lights out from outside.

44 Joslyn Brennan, St. Clair Shores Lakeview, 6-6 Sr. center

Commitment: Grand Valley State

A relative newcomer to basketball, Brennan helped Lakeview win the MAC Blue/Gold tournament title as a junior. Now that she’s focused on the sport, and in the gym daily refining her game — there are few defenders who can handle her size.

45 Sydney Pnacek, Dexter, 5-10 Soph. wing 

Burst onto the high school scene as a freshman, but has had college coaches drooling since long before that. 

46 Kelsey Richards, Fruitport Calvary Christian, 6-0 Sr. guard

The two-time all-stater came into her senior season with more than 1,600 points scored, and has a realistic chance of joining her sister, Taylor (2,043 from 2012-15) as one of the 32 players in state history to surpass the 2K threshold.

47 Sarah Sylvester, Birmingham Marian, 6-2 Soph. forward

Gives the Mustangs a rim protector and rebounder on defense and a solid post presence on offense, where she will likely get a lot more touches this winter. 

48 Abi Tarrant, Bay City John Glenn, 5-9 Jr. wing

On pace to become the Bobcats’ all-time rebounding leader. You can choose to stop either her or classmate Carly McCrum, but it’s hard to stop both.

49 Ella Stemmer, Saline, 5-10 Jr. guard

Stemmer has upped her scoring average each of her first two seasons, and looks to take it even higher this year, as the main option, after Saline graduated a boatload of seniors.

50 Alecsis Smith, Bay City Central, 6-2 Soph. center

The big that no one’s talking about, despite her putting up monster numbers in the SVL. She had 17 double-doubles as a freshman, averaging 18 points and 17.8 rebounds per game.

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The next 50:

(in alphabetical order)

Zakiyyah Abdullah, Niles Brandywine, 5-6, Sr. point guard

Emma Anderson, Menominee, 6-1 Jr. forward

Kaylee Bakker, Zeeland West, 6-1 Sr. forward

Maya Barakat, Dearborn Heights Crestwood, 6-0 Sr. forward (UM-Dearborn)

Lexus Bargesser, Grass Lake, 5-8 Soph. guard

Rakiyah Beal, Detroit Edison, 6-0 Soph. small forward

Macy Bisballe, Houghton Lake, 5-10 Jr. forward

Riley Bisballe, Lake City, 6-1 Sr. forward (Grand Valley State)

Mya Bobo, West Bloomfield, 5-8 Sr. guard

Keyonie Champion, Saginaw Heritage, 6-0 Sr. forward

Keliese Christopher, East Kentwood, 5-11 Jr. small forward

Megan Crow, Gladstone, 6-3 Jr. forward

DeShonna Day, Muskegon, 5-10 Sr. wing (Ferris State)

Jenna Galecki, Walled Lake Western, Sr. guard

Jada Garner, Midland Dow, 5-6 Jr. guard

Ciara Hardy, Romulus, 5-8 Jr. guard

Teagan Haynes, Michigan Center, Sr. guard (Aquinas)

Mya Hiram, Onsted, 5-11 Jr. forward

Ariel Jenkins, Detroit Edison, 6-0 Sr. forward (Ferris State)

Nicole Kamin, Escanaba, 6-0 Jr. forward (Grand Valley State)

Kelynn Kujat, Frankenmuth, Sr. 5-5 guard

Joanna Larsen, Centreville, 6-1 Sr. center 

Tessa Leece, Ishpeming Westwood, 5-10 Sr. guard

Alyssa Leister, Alma, 5-10 Jr. wing

Logan Lewis, West Bloomfield, 5-8 Jr. guard

Sarah Marvin, Byron, 5-10 Jr. wing

Carly McCrum, Bay City John Glenn, 5-11 Jr. wing

Becca Morrish, Flushing, 6-5 sr. center (Wayne State)

Aryana Naylor, Flint Hamady, 6-1 Sr. forward

Emaia O’Brien, Harper Woods Chandler Park, 5-3 Jr. point guard

Reeya Patel, Ann Arbor Huron, 5-7 Sr. guard

Sydney Peake, Hemlock, 5-10 Sr. wing

Zoey Persails, Frankenmuth, 5-9 Soph. guard

LoLo Reed, Saginaw Heritage, Sr. point guard

Brooklyn Robak, Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes, 5-7 Jr. guard

Alize Tripp, Michigan Center, Sr. guard (Concordia)

Shea Tripp, Michigan Center, 5-10 Jr. forward

Emma Trombly, Port Huron, 6-0 Jr. forward

Anna Tuck, Midland, 6-1 Jr. wing

Amaka Unobagha, Saginaw Arts & Sciences, 6-0 Sr. forward (Ferris State)

Bailey Vissman, Stanton Central Montcalm, Jr. point guard

Arieonna Ware, Battle Creek Central, 6-0 Jr. wing

Alyssa Welsh, Perry, 5-8 Sr. guard (Saginaw Valley State)

Kaylee Wendel, Howell, 5-10 Sr. wing

Claycee West, White Pigeon, 5-8 Sr. guard (Taylor University)

Nevaeh Williams, Mt. Clemens, 5-5 Soph. guard 

Jasmine Worthy, Southfield A&T, 6-3 Sr. forward

Jordan Wright, Wayne Memorial, 5-6 Soph., point guard

Avery Zeinstra, Byron Center, 5-5 Soph. guard

Kendal Zeiter, Troy, 6-2 Soph. forward

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Injured list:

Makailah Griggs-Zeigler, Wayne Memorial, 6-0 Sr. wing (ACL)

Elise Stuck, Charlevoix, 6-1 Sr. forward (ACL) — Michigan signee