Girls Basketball Tournament Preview: East Kentwood, Freeland, Edison and Lenawee Christian picked to win titles
The girls basketball tournament begins Monday and there is a clear favorite in one class but in the other three classes, the race is wide open.
Detroit Edison, the defending Class C champion, has lost one game this season but that loss appears to have been beneficial. On Jan. 11 Edison went to Ypsilanti Arbor Prep and lost 54-49. The Pioneers have won 11 straight since and are 17-1 on the season. Edison won’t be challenged in the district and will face what looks to be just a token resistance in the regionals.
Forget that one loss for a minute. Edison has defeated Detroit Country Day (62-46), the defending Class B champion and one of a handful of teams with a legitimate shot at the title. Edison also defeated two formidable Class A teams (Ann Arbor Huron, Wayne Memorial) plus another, Saginaw Heritage that is one of four teams State Champs, later in this article, has pointed to a top contender to win the title. Edison defeated Heritage (19-1) last Tuesday, at Heritage, in double overtime (57-55).
Oh yes, and Arbor Prep? The Gators are 14-5 and, after losing in the Class B title game last season, will compete in Class C this season. Arbor Prep could play Edison in the state final.
In Class A top-ranked East Kentwood, No. 2 Heritage, No. 3 East Lansing and No. 4 DeWitt are the top teams to look for to play in the semifinals and, possibly, the state final. East Kentwood lost in the final last season and coach Jimmy Carter’s team is loaded with talent. East Lansing is undefeated and handed DeWitt its only loss, 52-51, on Dec. 5.
In Class B we have Country Day, plus the other three teams ranked in the top four – Jackson Northwest, Kingsley and Freeland. One team doesn’t seem to have much of an advantage over the others. Country Day has played the most difficult schedule but the Yellowjackets haven’t played well the last three weeks or so. Kingsley has played the easiest schedule. One of Freeland’s two losses was to Heritage.
The Class D tournament could be the one where we have a team that goes on a magical run and surprises everyone. The favorite is top-ranked Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart (20-0) but the Irish have not played a highly competitive schedule. One team, Mid-State Activities Association rival Carson City Crystal has come within 10 points of Sacred Heart.
Waterford Lakes, a team with four losses, could win the title. And the teams ranked just below Sacred Heart – Kingston, Munising, Adrian Lenawee Christian and Gaylord St. Mary, all have a shot to win the title. Munising and Kingston have never made it to a state final. St. Mary and Lenawee Christian have reached a state final (once each) but have never won a title. Sacred Heart won the title in 2014.
Winner: East Kentwood
Sleeper: Midland Dow
Sleeper: Harper Woods Chandler Park Academy
Sleeper: Muskegon Western Michigan Christian
Winner: Lenawee Christian
Sleeper: St. Joseph Michigan Lutheran