East Lansing — Ypsilanti Arbor Prep turned up the heat defensively in the second and third quarters to dominate Ithaca, 72-44, on Thursday afternoon in a Class C girls basketball state semifinals at Breslin Center.
Arbor Prep (24-2) — which lost to Flint Hamady in last year’s semifinal — outscored Ithaca, 50-15, in the middle quarters to advance to Saturday’s championship game against Traverse City St. Francis.
The teams traded the lead several times in the first quarter before Arbor Prep used a 20-10 second quarter to take a 36-25 halftime lead. It forced 11 turnovers in the quarter.
“That’s our strength, putting pressure on teams and then push the ball,” said senior guard Nastassja Chambers. “We do good on 3-on-2 and 2-on-1 breaks, that’s our bread and butter.”
Chambers was the catalyst with seven points and three steals
In fact, Arbor Prep forced seven turnovers during a 41/2 minute stretch to turn a 17-16 deficit into a 10-point lead (29-19) with two minutes left.
“That loss (to Flint Hamady) motivated us to get back and take care of unfinished business,” said Chambers, who finished with 24 points (10-for-15), seven steals and six assists. “We weren’t as nervous as last year.”
Junior guards Ro’zhane Wells scored 11 and Adrienne Anderson added 10 for Arbor Prep, which forced 30 turnovers.
Kayla Belles, a 6-foot-3 sophomore, had 16 points and seven rebounds and 5-10 junior Maddie Brock scored 11 for Ithaca.
Traverse City St. Francis 53, Niles Brandywine 40: Juliana Phillips (17 points, 12 rebounds) and Lauren McDonell (10 points, 11 rebounds) had double-doubles for St. Francis (26-1).
St. Francis carried a 37-31 lead into the final quarter when Phillips took over, scoring an inside basket to open a 40-31 lead, blocking a shot and then scoring on a putback for a 45-35 advantage with 4:20 left.
Senior guard Makenna Hartline scored 17 and Emily Erwin had 11 for Niles Brandywine (24-3) which shot 3-for-21 on 3-pointers.
Thursday-Saturday, Breslin Center, East Lansing
Class A — Friday
Detroit King vs. St. Johns, 1 p.m.
Warren Cousino vs. Hudsonville, 2:50 p.m.
Saturday’s final: Noon
Class B — Friday
Detroit Country Day vs. Grand Rapids South Christian, 6 p.m.
Bay City John Glenn vs. Marshall, 7:50 p.m.
Saturday’s final: 6 p.m.
Class C — Thursday
Traverse City St. Francis 53, Niles Brandywine 40
Ypsilanti Arbor Prep 72, Ithaca 44
Saturday’s final: 4 p.m.
Class D — Thursday
Pittsford 62, Waterford Lakes 43
Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart 45, Stephenson 38
Saturday’s final: 10 a.m.