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Benton Harbor — Kysre Gondrezick showed Wednesday night why she is considered the favorite to win Miss Basketball, doing all she could possibly do before struggling late in Benton Harbor’s 78-74 overtime loss to Battle Creek Central.

Gondrezick, a 5-foot-10 senior guard, is closing in on becoming the first player in girls basketball history to average 40 points in a single season. But in what she called a sub-par game, she failed to make the plays late in the fourth quarter and overtime, where she missed all five of her shots and the front end of two 1-and-1 free throw opportunities.

Fatigue could have played a factor since she played every minute — following the graduation of the majority of last year’s Class B state semifinal team, including her sister Kalabrya, who is now a freshman at Michigan State.

Benton Harbor really has just two other scoring options this season so Gondrezick has to score 40 or more to give it a chance to win. She is averaging 40.5 points and picked Michigan over Baylor, signing with the Wolverines back in November.

“I miss her (Kalabrya) a lot, not just her but our team because last year we had a wide variety of options offensively from that team,” said Kysre, who has three games of 50 or more points and is shooting 45 percent from the field and 44 percent on 3-pointers despite getting double- and sometimes triple-teamed. “The IQ on this team, we’re still learning. We’re getting better as a team, but we have a long way to go, too. I’m a four-year starter, played all over the country, really all over the world, and it’s my responsibility to lead them.

“It’s not like I’m not having fun because I am, but I didn’t have any fun in that fourth quarter (or overtime). I don’t score because I want to, I score because I have to and I have fun doing it, but I have more fun getting my teammates involved, seeing them happy with a smile on their face.”

Gondrezick put on a show even in the loss, scoring 40 to go along with nine assists and six rebounds. She turned the ball over a half dozen times, but that’s going to happen when you have the ball in your hands as much as she does.

Gondrezick opened the game with a driving layup, then scored on a pull-up jumper before finding Jawana Young for a transition layup off a long bounce pass that the late “Pistol” Pete Maravich would have been proud of. Seconds later, Gondrezick found Young with a behind-the-back pass for another layup and 13-6 cushion.

Gondrezick scored 22 first-half points to help Benton Harbor to a 34-32 halftime lead, making 9 of 16 shots, including 4 of 8 threes. She scored 32 and had seven assists after three for a 55-52 advantage, making 13 of 23 shots, 5-of-10 threes, but didn’t get any star treatment from officials in the final seconds of regulation, missing a layup while getting contact with two seconds left, then again getting hit on the arm on a 3-pointer as time expired without getting a call.

Gondrezick got it done on the defensive end, as well, making it possible for the game to go to overtime by blocking a shot with the game even at 71 with five seconds left. She is averaging 8.8 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 4.3 steals.

Despite the 40-point game, all Gondrezick would talk about is the missed opportunities which left her team at 6-9 with a pair of overtime losses in the last three games, including 65-58 to St. Joseph when she scored 52. She is her toughest critic.

“It’s exhausting, but at the end of the day it’s really mind over matter and I can’t make any excuses because my teammates look up to me to lead,” said Gondrezick, who has a 4.3 grade-point average. “I’m just very frustrated because I didn’t finish that game out.

“With the personnel we have sometimes, I have to guard the post and bang, being double- and triple-teamed game in and game out. I stay in the gym late and work on my game so it translates into getting it done late in game, that’s where greatness shows and I didn’t come through.

“All I can think about is those missed layups and missed free throws.”

Sure, Gondrezick would much rather be duplicating her stats of a year ago — 27.4 points, 10.3 rebounds, 5.6 assists, 3.6 steals — when the Tigers finished 20-6 and earned the trip to the Breslin Center. However, a trip to Detroit to lift the Miss Basketball trophy on March 14 would be a great way to close out her high school career.

Other candidates

The few others worthy of being Miss Basketball include Michigan State-bound Mardrekia Cook of Muskegon, Siyeh Frazier of Detroit Renaissance and Cassidy Boensch of Bay City John Glenn.

Cook made the switch from post to point guard her senior year and has used her size (6-1) and athleticism to lead Muskegon to a 14-4 record. She is averaging 24 points and 10 rebounds and earned her sixth triple-double of the season Saturday with 20 points, 18 rebounds and 11 assists in a 57-28 rout of Grand Rapids Union.

“She’s a really good point guard, fully taking over that role after playing in the post her first three years,” coach Rodney Walker said. “She does a great job of getting her teammates involved.”

Frazier, a 5-9 guard who was named Miss PSL and will play next year at Penn State, rallied her team back Friday from a nine-point deficit in an eventual 68-66 Public School League title game loss to Detroit King. She scored 37, seven during the final 1:38 to give Renaissance a chance to win or take the game into overtime in the final seconds, but missed a driving layup as time expired.

“She’s a tremendous leader who plays phenomenal defense,” coach Kiwan Ward said of Frazier, who averages 19.4 points, seven rebounds and six assists for 14-4 Renaissance. “It’s hard to find a kid that plays both ends of the court, takes pride in playing great defense and being a leader. She has a no-quit attitude.”

Boensch, a 6-3 center headed for Grand Valley, has helped make Bay City John Glenn a legitimate threat to win the Class B state title.

Boensch had several Division 1 offers but believes Grand Valley is a better fit for her both academically and athletically. She is averaging 17.8 points, 11.4 rebounds and 5.1 blocks for 17-1 John Glenn, including a triple-double (12 points, 14 rebounds, 13 blocks) in just 17 minutes of action in a win over Tawas.

“She’s had an incredible season, shooting 69 percent from the field for us,” coach Cory Snider said. “Her strength is the ability to control the paint on both ends of the floor. She does a great job of scoring around the basket, but can also step out and make the 15-footer.”

By the numbers

37: Points scored by Renaissance standout senior guard Siyeh Frazier in a 68-66 PSL final loss to King Friday night

18: Consecutive wins by Macomb Dakota, which advanced to a Class A regional final last year (falling to Clarkston, 63-58)

6: Triple-doubles by Muskegon senior point guard Mardrekia Cook, who’s MSU-bound.

Top performer

Jermaine Jackson, Macomb Dakota

The junior guard scored a school-record 41 Friday night to lead unbeaten Dakota (18-0) to an 80-45 MAC Red rout of Romeo.

Quote of the week

“They already have it set up for me my sophomore year to do an internship at ESPN shadowing Jalen Rose, so I’m super excited about that.”

— Kysre Gondrezick, Benton Harbor senior guard, on her plans to major in communications at Michigan with a minor in journalism

Top game last week

Detroit University Prep 50, Harper Woods Chandler Park 44: University Prep (16-2) had three players score in double figures in the Charter League championship game Friday night, including a double-double (10 points, 10 rebounds) by Terrance Bowens. Prep limited league MVP Jalen Martin to 13 points for Chandler Park (14-4), after he had 26 in helping to rally his team from a 12-point halftime deficit for a win in their January matchup.

Top game this week

Warren De La Salle (12-5) vs. Detroit Loyola (14-3), 7 p.m. Wednesday, at Birmingham Marian: Standout senior Kevin McKay and De La Salle will try to take care of lightning-quick guard DeQuan Powell and Loyola to move on to the Catholic League final (3 p.m. Sunday at Calihan Hall against the winner of Tuesday’s game between defending champ U-D Jesuit and Dearborn Divine Child).

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