Lakeview rallies to beat L’Anse Creuse North for MAC Blue/Gold tourney title for second straight year
WARREN — If there was a team that had every reason to cash it in, and rest on excuses, it might be this one.
But the St. Clair Shores Lakeview Huskies refused to do that, continuing to win, even if they were no longer expected to, knocking off L’Anse Creuse North for the second straight year, 53-52, to win the Macomb Area Conference Blue/Gold tournament title, their third in four years.
“Beating this team feels really good, because, like last year, we’re not supposed to win, so beating a team that we’re not technically supposed to beat, feels great,” said junior Ariana Wlodeck, who had all 12 of her points — including the game-winning bucket with 50 seconds left — in the second half. “I feel like that’s because we’re really close, and the bond helps us pull through at the end of games.”
The Huskies (16-3, 8-2 MAC Blue) have won 10 straight since losing to LCN on Jan. 21.
The loss snapped a seven-game winning streak for L’Anse Creuse North (14-4, 9-1 MAC Blue), which won the MAC Blue Division’s regular-season title.
“To their credit, these girls just fight. We’ve had adversity all season; Joslyn (Brennan, the 6-foot-6 Grand Valley recruit) blowing her knee out — we’ve gone 15 games without her. And we’ve only lost one game without her, which is a tribute to these girls. They just believe in themselves, and work. That was just simple work, right there. We got some stops, dug it out, and made plays,” Lakeview coach Joe Charrette said. “I’d love say it’s great coaching, or something like that, but the kids make plays, and I got out of the way.”
The Huskies trailed by 11 midway through the third quarter, but cut the deficit back to just one, 41-40, headed into the fourth.
“We prepared really well, but it didn’t show,” Charrette said. “I told the girls we missed free throws, didn’t make layups, and we’re still in the game. So just keep battling.”
LCN pushed the lead back to five, 51-46, on a layup by Kayanna Carlos, but would score just one free throw the rest of the way.
Wlodeck scored on a putback with 1:32 left, making it a three-point game at 51-48, then scored the game-winning bucket down low on a feed from Taedom Stein.
“The last play was supposed to go to Taedom. Taedom was going to dribble-drive and hit Ari, because I knew the big girl couldn’t guard Taedom,” Charrette said. “We disguised it as a play we always run, and just went back to Taedom, who took her one-on-one, drew Ari’s help, and then dished.”
Wlodeck was ready for the adjustment.
“We talked about in the huddle that Taedom was supposed to get the ball and score, but I was posting up on the other side, and she made a good pass,” said the junior, who scored five points in the fourth after seven in the third-quarter rally. “I was kind of slow in the first half, and he (Charrette) told me to pick it up.”
The coach did give her a halftime talk.
“We just said ‘Be athletic. Don’t fall in love with the jump shot.’ I said, ‘Just grab the ball, and dribble by them,’” Charrette laughed. “Genius, huh?”
The Huskies also made a bit of an adjustment.
“We went to a different set — they went to a box-and-one, and we ran Tricia (Sankiewicz) off, and had a lot of openings,” Charrette said. “We just wanted it out of (No.) 5’s hands.”
No. 5 for LCN is Brooke Daniels, and the sophomore guard almost single-handedly willed the Crusaders to the title, scoring the game’s first 10 points, and 32 points in total.
Sankiewicz had 15 points to lead Lakeview, while Stein had 13.