EAST LANSING – Chris Hodos is softening his stance on Michigan State athletics.
The Pittsford girls basketball coach, a longtime Ohio State fan, is becoming a regular at MSU’s basketball arena.
“I’m a Buckeye fan, but I love the Breslin Center,” Hodos said. “We’re getting used to coming here. I’d love to do it every year.”
Senior forward Maddie Clark finished with 29 points and 10 rebounds, helping Pittsford roll over Saginaw Michigan Lutheran Seminary, 71-31, in the Class D final Saturday in East Lansing.
The Wildcats (28-0), who also won last year’s Class D title by finishing 27-0, last suffered a defeat in the 2015 state final, a 64-60 overtime loss to St. Ignace.
“The first one is not sweeter. I love them both,” Hodos said of his repeat titles. “We have great competitors, up and down the lineup. They want to win; it doesn’t matter who we’re playing.”
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Clark, the Class D Player of the Year, shot 11-for-15 from the field and made all seven of her free-throw attempts. The Wildcats, who have compiled a 103-2 record the past four seasons, played in Class C in 2013-14 before moving to Class D.
The Wildcats won most games this year by lopsided margins, leading to a running clock. When a team goes ahead by 40 points in the second half, which happened in Saturday’s final, the game clock continuously runs.
“We want to score and we don’t care,” said Clark. “We play our hardest at all times. It doesn’t matter, in the back of our minds, how much we win by. We always push hard.”
Senior guard Jaycie Burger added 27 points, three assists and three steals for the Wildcats, who outscored Michigan Lutheran Seminary, 26-6, in the third quarter to blow open a 30-17 halftime lead.
“We always adjust real well,” Hodos said. “It takes us a while to get going, but once we find what works, we exploit it.”
Junior forward Reese VanLue had 13 points and nine rebounds for the Cardinals (18-10), who brought an 11-game winning streak into the final.
“It was an amazing run,” coach Brian Blaine said. “I love these girls. It was a good season, although it hurts right now. I’m still proud of them.”
Pittsford’s dominance in Class D is over. Hodos said his team will go back to Class C next season.
“It looks like we dominated everybody in Class D, but there’s some great teams,” he said. “We’ll play great teams in Class C. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”