Midland Bullock Creek freshman Aaron Smokovitz, a trumpet player in the pep band, cringes a little inside each time he plays the school’s fight song.
Decades ago the Lancers adopted the same tune as Michigan State University, but Smokovitz is a huge University of Michigan fan.
“I’m not a huge sports follower, but the main reason I’m a big fan of them is because my older sister (Kayla, now in college in Spokane, Wash.), when she was younger she had cancer and they saved her life at the U-M hospital,” Smokovitz said.
“I try not to remember that’s the (MSU) fight song we’re playing. I’ve had numerous thoughts to petition to change our fight song, but that will never happen.”
In a somewhat superstitious move, Smokovitz even removed his U-M sweatshirt and borrowed green shoes to attend the game at MSU’s Breslin Center, “just to make sure nothing bad happens on the trip,” he said.
“I think playing this fight song is pretty significant, as in representing both the university and our school. It’s kind of like a good luck charm on top of that.”
CHAMPIONSHIP PEDIGREE: South Christian’s basketball players have plenty of championship experience off the hardwood, too.
The school won the state championship in Division 3 girls soccer last spring, with five members of the current basketball team: Cassidy Vredevoogd, Morgan Torres, Jennifer DeBoer, Renee Broekhuizen and Ashley VanderHorst.
The Sailors were Class B state runner up in volleyball in the fall, with four basketball players: Vredevoogd, Dani Oeverman, Torres and VanderHorst.
Three of the hoops starters have signed college letters of intent: Oeverman at Trinity Christian in Illinois for volleyball and softball; Broekhuizen for soccer at Spring Arbor; and Vredevoogd will play basketball at Dort College in Iowa.
DeBruyn said that six unselected team captains have rotated three per game all season.
“This team has had such great success in other sports,” he said. “They’re all good leaders and we didn’t want to leave out any leadership potential.”
COPYCAT STATS: South Christian entered the Class B semifinal giving up a total of 845 points to opponents; Bullock Creek just two more at 847.
PLAYOFF BOOST: Bullock Creek junior Halee Nieman averaged 12.5 points per game during the regular season before amping it up in the playoffs, where she scored at a 19.5 clip, with 18 points in the semifinal loss. She scored 10 of the Lancers’ first 13 points of the game.
SCHOLAR ATHLETE: Eaton Rapids’ point guard Bailey Baker will be part of at least one state final — next weekend at the boys’ Class C final. Baker is one of 28 winners of the MHSAA Scholar-Athlete Award, and will receive a $1,000 check from Farm Bureau Insurance.
■ FAMILIAR FACES: Three of the four teams to reach the Class B semifinals were also here last year, giving each a second straight chance for the elusive title — Flint Powers, Midland Bullock Creek and Grand Rapids South Christian. Two-time defending champ Goodrich did not return, while Eaton Rapids was the newcomer.