Grand Rapids C.C. runs past Wayland in battle of top Class B teams
GRAND RAPIDS – Not often do you see a crowd increase for a girls high school basketball game that follows the boys game.
But that was the case at Grand Rapids Catholic Central High School Friday night.
Why not when the two teams the fans were coming to see were the second- and third-ranked teams in Class B in the latest State Champs Sports girls basketball rankings.
And what the home crowd was treated to was not expected by many in attendance, as the host Cougars, ranked third, whipped second ranked Wayland 64-42.
“I think this was a really great event for high school girls basketball,” Catholic Central coach Trevor Hinshaw said. “Obviously this was two quality teams. We had a great game the firs time, and everyone expected that tonight. It was an incredible environment, both communities came out to support the boys and the girls which is fantastic to see.”
Yes, everyone was expecting to see a game like the first time these two teams met earlier this year in Wayland.
That’s when the Wildcats beat Catholic Central 77-76 in double overtime. But on this night, a charged up Cougars team came out from the opening tip and controlled play on both sides of the court.
“I wasn’t expecting this at all,” said Hinshaw, whose team improved to 16-2 overall and 7-1 in the OK Gold Conference. “If we earn the right to play them a third time in the playoffs, I think it will be a close game. That is a really good team that had a good night. We have a lot of respect for them, and expected a game like the first one.”
Hinshaw said it was his team’s defense that was the difference Friday.
Catholic Central held Wayland to just one basket in the first quarter and raced out to a 13-4 lead after eight minutes. The Cougars stretched that advantage of 34-15 after the break, and never looked back from there.
“I really like our defensive intensity,” Hinshaw said. “We were locked in on details of what we were trying to accomplish defensively. More than that, I think we played with a great passion on both ends of the floor.”
Wayland coach Marty Howard was impressed. It was his team’s first loss of the year, and as he watched from the bench, he could see his Wildcats were not going to have any answers on this night.
“It is not often we are on this end of one of those night,” Howard said. “They bullied us, and we let them bully us. They were just more physical, and we didn’t respond well.”
One of the Wildcats that took a lot of the brunt of that bullying was senior point guard Presley Hudson.
The Central Michigan University-bound Hudson did score a team-high 20 points, but appeared frustrated much of the night trying to dribble through and around the Catholic Central defense.
“We planned for everything that they were going to do,” Howard said. “We just didn’t execute and lost our minds a little bit.”
The Cougars were paced by Megan Belke’s game-high 21 points. And senior center Michaela Faber had a huge night on senior night, scoring 16 points and grabbed nine rebounds.
These two teams could meet again, but it won’t happen until quarterfinal action – and it would be back in Wayland.
“We are all hoping we get the third shot to play them in the quarterfinals for a trip to the (state finals and the Breslin Center on the campus of Michigan State University),” Howard said. “We will learn from this.”