By: Butch Harmon
Girls basketball Class C and D preview
Top teams statewide: Reese, St. Ignace, Arbor Preparatory
Reese has turned in back-to-back perfect regular seasons. The Rockets went 23-1 last year before losing to Nouvel Catholic Central in the regionals. Junior center Reyna Frost (6'0") is a dominating post player who averaged 15 points, 12 rebounds, and two blocks per game last year. The team also has a standout senior point guard in Paige Gotham.
St. Ignace turned in a perfect 27-0 record enroute to the Class D state title last March. This year it moves up to Class C but has plenty of talent back. Senior Kelley Wright (5'10") is one of the top players in the state in Class C, while sophomore Abbey Ostman (5'9") averaged 10 points and 10 rebounds a game last year.
Arbor Preparatory in Ypsilanti has a dynamic one-two combination in junior Zakiya Wells and sophomore Nastassja Chambers.
Team area teams
Beal City, Carson City-Crystal, Montabella, Hemlock, Pewamo-Westphalia, Nouvel Catholic Central
Beal City is gearing up for a big season. The Aggies welcome back a trio of all-state players, led by senior center Addie Schumacher (5'11"). Junior Jordan Schneider (5'11") is another returning all-state player as is senior guard Melanie Schafer (5'5"). They also return senior guard Anna Reihl.
Carson City-Crystal has won back-to-back district titles, and it is looking to add another this year. Junior guard Mikayla Duflo (5'5") is a returning all-state player. The Eagles are solid up front with returning all-conference forwards Tori Christiansen (5'9") and Mackenzie Gesiter (5'9").
Montabella also has a veteran team led by a pair of all-state players. Seniors Taylor Smith (5'6") and Sarah Miller (5'5") give the Mustangs a pair of talented players around whom to build.
Senior Karli Herrington (6'2") leads the way for Hemlock. One of the top centers in the state, Herrington is a Miss Basketball candidate who is headed to Central Michigan University next year. She averaged 19 points and 15 rebounds per game last season.
Pewamo-Westphalia won the CMAC last year with a 15-1 record and finished 18-5 overall. The Pirates suffered heavy graduation losses but do return senior forward Marlena Klein (5'11"), who earned all-state honors last season.
Nouvel Catholic Central made it all the way to the Class C state final last year before falling to Manchester. Plenty of talent returns from that team, led by senior Rachel McInerney (6'2"). The Ferris State University commitment averaged 16 points and 10 rebounds per game last year and gives Nouvel a dominating player in the paint. Junior forward Nicole Buckingham (5'10") added nine points and six rebounds, while sophomore guard Laurel Jacqmain added eight points per game.
Top players in the state
Micheala Dekilder, sr., Gobles; Reyna Frost, jr., Reese; Meredith Hamlet, jr., McBain; Elisa Jurmu, sr., Houghton; Zakiya Wells, jr., Arbor Preparatory
Top area players
Mikayla Duflo, jr., Carson City-Crystal; Karli Herrington, sr., Hemlock; Marlena Klein, sr., Pewamo-Westphalia; Rachel McInerney, sr., Nouvel; Sarah Miller, sr., Montabella; Melanie Schafer, sr., Beal City; Jordan Schneider, jr., Beal City; Addie Schuacher, sr., Beal City; Emily Severn, sr., New Lothrop; Taylor Smith, sr., Montabella
Top teams statewide: Forest Park, Gaylord St. Mary Cathedral, Our Lady of the Lakes
Crystal Falls returns all five starters from a team that reached the state quarterfinals before falling to St. Ignace. Included in the group is perhaps the premier player in the entire state in senior Lexi Gussert (6'0"). One of the most highly recruited players in the state, Gussert finally selected Michigan State University. Last year, she averaged 32.5 points per game. Forward Kendra Campbell averaged 10 points per game, while point guard Maria Stankewicz also returns.
Top area teams
Fowler, Fulton, Lansing Christian, Sacred Heart Academy, Portland St. Patrick Catholic
Fowler turned in a 13-8 record last year and is primed for another strong season. Senior center Kelsie Feldpausch (5'8") is a two-time all-conference player. The Eagles also return junior guard Kara Schafer.
Fulton enjoyed success last year. It won a district title and advanced to the regional final while going 13-10. Senior forward Gabi Seida (5'9") leads the returnees along with senior guard Amanda Madden.
Lansing Christian went 22-2 last year and reached the regional final. While the Pilgrims graduated a number of key players, they do return senior Mikayla Terry (5'10"), who gives the team a strong presence in the post.
Sacred Heart Academy captured a regional championship last year and has plenty of talent on hand for a similar run this year. Junior point guard Sara Hansen (5'8") is a returning all-state player who averaged 13 points per game. Junior guard Riley Terwilliger (5'6") is another all-around athlete returning in the backcourt. The Irish also have plenty of size up front. Junior Lexie Methner (6'0") is a strong rebounder and defender, while sophomore Averi Gamble (6'3") has outstanding size and is a potential impact player.
Portland St. Patrick went 15-1 in the CMAC last year and 20-2 overall. The Shamrocks graduated a number of talented players but do return senior Danielle Simon (5'8"), who is one of the top players in the area.
Top players in the state
Cassidy Boensch, so., AuGres-Sims; Kari Borowiak, sr., Gaylord St. Mary Cathedral; Emiliegh Ferguson, sr., Bear Lake; Vanessa Freberg, sr., Superior Central; Emily Gerulis, sr., Plymouth Christian Academy; Charity Godbold, sr., Southfield Christian; Alexis Gussert, sr., Forest Park; Koryann Hincka, sr., Posen; Brooke Howard, sr., Mendon; Kristen Massey, sr., Franklin Road Christian; Taylor Richards, jr., Calvary Christian
Top area players
Malory Carlson, sr., Crossroads Charter Academy; Kelsie Feldpausch, sr., Fowler; Sara Hansen, sr., Sacred Heart Academy; Gabi Seida, sr., Fulton; Danielle Simon, sr., Portland St. Patrick Catholic; Mikayla Terry, sr., Lansing Christian; Courtney Wolf, jr., Morrice