What to watch in girls basketball state quarterfinals

What to watch in girls basketball state quarterfinals

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What to watch in girls basketball state quarterfinals

 

Detroit Country Day's Kaela Webb cuts through Grand Rapids South Christian's Mariel Bruxvoort and Isabella Scott's defense, during the second half of the MHSAA girls basketball Class B game 1 semifinals at the Breslin Center in East Lansing, Mich. on Friday, March 18, 2016.

Detroit Country Day’s Kaela Webb cuts through Grand Rapids South Christian’s Mariel Bruxvoort and Isabella Scott’s defense, during the second half of the MHSAA girls basketball Class B game 1 semifinals at the Breslin Center in East Lansing, Mich. on Friday, March 18, 2016.

 

What to watch for in the girls basketball state quarterfinals, which begin Tuesday around the state. 

Class A

Top storyline: The quarterfinals won’t include No. 1-ranked and last year’s runner-up Detroit Martin Luther King, which fell to No. 6 Southfield A&T in a regional final, 55-51. No. 4 Midland Dow also was eliminated by Flushing, leaving defending state champion and No. 2-ranked Warren Cousino as the highest-ranked team in the field. Cousino barely survived its regional final, prevailing in overtime over Birmingham Marian, 41-39.

Best matchup: Warren Cousino vs. Farmington Hills Mercy, 7 p.m. at Southfield A & T.

After outlasting Catholic League runner-up Marian in overtime, Cousino (23-2) will gear up for Catholic League champion Mercy (22-3). The Marlins lost in overtime to Detroit Martin Luther King in the Operation Friendship championship and knocked off No. 10 Hartland in a regional semifinal.

Team to watch: Can Cousino repeat as state champion? It was a close call on Thursday against Marian, but the Patriots showed their championship resolve and survived to the final week. With arguably the state’s best player in Kierra Fletcher and other ranked teams eliminated, Cousino has a great shot.

Dark horse: Macomb Dakota (19-6) and Flushing (21-3) are both unranked and will meet in a 6 p.m. quarterfinal at Davison. Dakota never had been to the quarterfinals, and Flushing is making its first quarterfinal appearance since 2009.

Names to know: There are two Miss Basketball finalists in the field – Kierra Fletcher of Cousino and Deja Church of Southfield A&T. Fletcher, who signed with Georgia Tech, carried Cousino to the title last season. Church is a Michigan signee.

Class B

Top storyline: No. 1 Ypsilanti Arbor Prep and No. 2 Birmingham Detroit Country Day still are on track to meet in what was the most anticipated championship game at the start of the tournament. Country Day advanced to the quarterfinals for a 20th straight year, and Arbor Prep is 25-0.

Team to watch: Ypsilanti Arbor Prep won Class C last season and hasn’t missed a beat after moving to Class B.

Best matchup: Arbor Prep could be challenged when it meets No. 3 Williamston (23-1) in a quarterfinal at Brighton. The other ranked quarterfinal pairing is at Ostego, where No. 4 Grand Rapids Catholic Central (24-1) will face No. 6 Marshall (22-2). The winner of that game likely will draw Country Day in the semifinals.

Dark horse: Detroit Mumford and Cadillac. Mumford opens against Country Day in a quarterfinal at Marysville, a pre-determined site that is well north of both schools. Cadillac is coming off a 59-58 regional win over No. 10 Kalkaska and will face unbeaten Freeland (25-0) in a quarterfinal at Big Rapids.

Names to know: The Williamston-Arbor Prep quarterfinal will feature two of the state’s top juniors in Maddie Watters of Williamston and Lasha Petree of Arbor Prep. Country Day features Miss Basketball finalist Destiny Pitts (Minnesota signee) and junior Kaela Webb (Marquette commit). Grand Rapids Catholic Central has a pair of players headed to Central Michigan, Sophia Karasinski and Kyra Bussell.

Class C

Top storyline: Flint Hamady wasn’t ranked entering the playoffs, but the Hawks made a name for themselves by upsetting previously unbeaten and No. 1-ranked Sandusky, 38-36, on Thursday. Hamady will take on Hemlock (21-4), also unranked entering the postseason, in a quarterfinal at Saginaw Heritage.

Best matchup: The only quarterfinal featuring two ranked teams is at Ypsilanti Community, where No. 10 Blissfield (23-2) will face No. 5 Detroit Edison (18-5) at 6:30 p.m. Edison has six players who stand at least 6 feet.

Team to watch: St. Ignace finds a way to make a run in the tournament, regardless if they’re playing in Class C or D.  The Saints were Class D champions in 2013 and 2015 and Class C runner-up in 2014, St. Ignace, behind coach Dorene Ingalls, always is a tough out in March.

Dark horse: Maple City Glen Lake wasn’t ranked going into the playoffs, but it improved to 22-3 following a 56-44 win over an 18-win Charlevoix team in a regional final. Next up is St. Ignace in a quarterfinal played at Gaylord.

Names to know: Detroit Edison has one of the top sophomores in the state, 6-foot-2 C/F Rickea Jackson, a skilled and versatile player who can score in a variety of ways. Flint Hamady senior Deajah Cofield has had a great year trying to fill in for injured senior Krystal Rice (Indiana State). Cofield had 32 points in a regional semifinal win over Harbor Beach.

Class D

Top storyline: The upsets were limited in district and regional play, as five ranked teams remain, including No. 1 Pittsford, No. 2 Mt. Pleasant Sacred Heart, No. 5 Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes, No. 6 St. Joseph Michigan Lutheran and No. 8 Crystal Falls Forest Park.

Best matchup: Pittsford vs. St. Joseph Michigan Lutheran at Battle Creek Harper Creek. Pittsford is unbeaten, but St. Joseph Michigan Lutheran comes in as a worthy challenger with a 23-2 record. It will be the only quarterfinal contested between two ranked teams.

Team to watch: Pittsford enters with a 52-game winning streak, their last loss coming in overtime to St. Ignace in the 2015 state championship game. Pittsford is the team to beat, although a semifinal showdown with No. 2 Sacred Heart looms. Pittsford beat Sacred Heart in the championship game last year, 48-30.

Dark horses: Keep an eye on Mt. Pleasant Sacred Heart and Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes. Both programs are accustomed to playing on the big stage. Sacred Heart has been to the title game two of the past three years, winning it all in 2014. Our Lady of the Lakes won three straight titles from 2010-12 and has been to the semifinals six of the past seven years.

Names to know: Pittsford senior forward/center Maddie Clark, who last month collected her 1,000th career rebound, is an impact player. She had 23 points and 10 rebounds in the state championship game last season and should be all-state again this year. Sacred Heart has a nice duo in junior forward Sophie Ruggles and sophomore point guard Scout Nelson.

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