EAST LANSING – They came to make history.
But they ran out of time and fell a few points short.
The No. 6-ranked Pewamo-Westphalia girls basketball team’s bid to capture its first state championship was denied by No. 5-ranked Detroit Edison, which held on for a 46-44 victory in the Class C state championship game Saturday evening at Breslin Center.
“No one thought we’d hang with that team,” P-W junior Emily Spitzley said. “Looking at the roster, the stat sheets. I know people thought it would be a blowout. I’m just proud we were able to be this close to a win. I’m really proud all the way around.”
The Pirates had a chance in the closing seconds to make their first appearance in a state championship game since 1984 end with a state title. While down one, P-W had its go-ahead shot attempt blocked with four seconds remaining. The Pirates had one other opportunity near their own basket after the block. But the ball went out of play and possession went to Edison.
“(The final seconds are) kind of a blur to me,” said Spitzley, who received the late in-bounds pass but was never able to get off a shot. “All I remember was just arms everywhere. They are athletic and long. I don’t know. We just didn’t get what we wanted out of (that final play).”
Edison (21-5) hit a free throw in the final seconds to wrap up its first state championship.
Freshman Hannah Spitzley had 17 points and Emily Spitzley had 15 points and five rebounds for the Pirates, who conclude the season with a 24-3 record.
P-W coach Steve Eklund said his squad just ran out of time late in their attempt to overcome an 11-point deficit.
“I think we needed two more minutes,” Eklund said. “We needed to play a 34-minute game and I think it might have ended up going our way. Definitely in the fourth quarter, I think (we were) getting to them and we were taking away their primary options. I think on offense we kind of figured them out and we were getting penetration. We were getting in transition and getting good looks. I just would have liked to play a college 40 minute game today.”
The Pirates trailed by 11 early in the third quarter, but rallied in the final minutes to give themselves a chance to win. Emily Spitzley hit a jumper that capped a 7-0 run that pulled P-W within one with just over a minute left.
Edison missed the front end of free throws in one-and-one situations twice in the final 30 seconds that gave P-W a chance to hit a winning shot in the final seconds.
And even though things didn’t unfold as they would have liked in those final seconds, P-W was proud of what it accomplished.
“I’m extremely proud of us,” Hannah Spitzley said. “I was so thankful to play with the seniors and hopefully we can make them proud next year and see if we can get this far again.
“This is huge. People are going to be talking about this game for a long time.”
Contact Brian Calloway at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @brian_calloway.