By: Butch Harmon
girls basketball state tournament preview
By BUTCH HARMON
A thrilling girls' basketball season comes to an end in March with the state tournament. High School Sports Scene takes a look at this year’s tournament and predicts who will make it to the Breslin Center.
Statewide outlook: Detroit King enters the tournament as the top team in Class A. It will be tested at the regional level, though, where King, second-ranked Grosse Pointe South, and fourth-ranked Mercy could all be present for what will be the toughest regional in the state. Whoever survives that regional could face third-ranked Marian in the state semifinals.
Area outlook: Haslett made it three in a row over rival DeWitt to earn the district title at Haslett. Grand Ledge has enjoyed a successful season with only two losses - to DeWitt and to Detroit King. The Comets survived the Gull Lake district and face a potential showdown at the regional at Ann Arbor Huron against Haslett. Jessica Walter and Midland are poised for a deep tournament run also. Midland’s lone loss this season came against Class B Powers Catholic. Greenville, led by senior Leah Somerfield, enjoyed a good season and got past a dangerous Forest Hills Central team in the district. The Yellow Jackets must get past Muskegon and possibly Grand Rapids Christian at the regional.
HSSS projected FINAL FOUR: Grand Ledge vs. Midland, Grosse Pointe South vs. Marian
HSSS projected STATE CHAMPION: Grosse Pointe South over Grand Ledge
Statewide outlook: Grand Rapids South Christian is the top-ranked team in the state. The Sailors are deep, with plenty of size and athletic ability, and they have been tested in a rugged conference. Detroit County Day has been the premier team in southeast Michigan. However, it faces a huge potential roadblock in the regional, where it has to get past Powers Catholic or Goodrich.
Area outlook: Powers Catholic and Goodrich are ranked no. 2 and no. 3 in class B and are on a collision course in the Goodrich regional. The winner of that regional could very well be the eventual state champion. Ionia survived one of the toughest area districts at Wayland where it defeated sixth-ranked Portland and host Wayland. Eaton Rapids came out of the rugged Olivet district where it got past Jackson Northwest. The Carrollton regional will be very interesting. Clare, led by senior standout Lindsay Winter, is ranked seventh in the state in Class B. Bullock Creek may be the team to beat at Carrollton after getting past John Glenn at the Garber district. Alma came on strong down the stretch behind standout senior standout Maddy Seeley as they won the Ovid-Elsie district.
HSSS projected FINAL FOUR: Grand Rapids South Christian vs. Bullock Creek, Goodrich vs. Ionia
HSSS projected STATE CHAMPION: Goodrich over Grand Rapids South Christian
Statewide outlook: Class C is wide open this year and may have the most exciting tournament. Blissfield, in southeast Michigan, is undefeated and top-ranked in the state entering the tournament but may not have faced the schedule that some other teams have. Sandusky is ranked second in the state in Class C and hosts what could be the toughest regional in the state. In southwest Michigan, Brandywine has an outstanding team, while St. Ignace, last year’s Class D state champion, also has a talented squad.
Area outlook: Nouvel Catholic Central, which advanced to the Class C state title game last year, came out of the rugged Breckenridge district and is part of the loaded Sandusky regional. This year's Nouvel team is capable of another deep tournament run. Reese entered the tournament ranked fourth in the state and captured the tough New Lothrop district. The Rockets have defeated both St. Ignace and Sandusky this season, their lone loss coming against Nouvel. The regional at Sandusky will be a battle royale that included second-ranked Sandusky, fourth-ranked Reese, fifth-ranked Hamady, and either No. 8 Nouvel. Carson City-Crystal is ranked seventh in the state and defeated a solid Pewamo-Westphalia team at its own district.
HSSS projected FINAL FOUR: Nouvel Catholic Central vs. Gobles, St. Ignace vs. Manchester
HSSS projected STATE CHAMPION: Nouvel Catholic Central over St. Ignace
Statewide outlook: Forest Park is the top-ranked team in the state and is the one to beat for the title. It has one of the top players in the entire state and the top player in Class D in Michigan State University pledge Lexi Gussert, who is capable of dominating games.
Area outlook: Led by standout guard Sara Hansen, who became the school’s all-time leading scorer late in the season, Sacred Heart Academy has had a memorable season. It has a deep and talented team that can score in a variety of ways. The Irish had impressive wins over Gaylord St. Mary Cathedral and Carson City-Crystal this season, while their losses came against the likes of Class B Clare, Class C Nouvel Catholic Central, and Class C Beal City. Fowler came up big with a upset of Portland St. Patrick Catholic at the Fulton district. A regional showdown between Sacred Heart and Fowler is very possible.
HSSS projected FINAL FOUR: Sacred Heart Academy vs. Cardinal Mooney Catholic, Forest Park vs. Lake Michigan Catholic
HSSS projected STATE CHAMPION: Forest Park over Sacred Heart Academy