Class B semifinals: Haslett, Country Day advance
East Lansing — Goodrich had Miss Basketball award winner Tania Davis, but Country Day showed it has a star of its own in Destiny Pitts, who put on a show to help her team pull off an upset in a Class B semifinal Friday night at the Breslin Center.
Pitts, a 5-foot-10 sophomore who could be a Miss Basketball award winner in a couple of years, showed Country Day (21-4) would be a force from the opening tip, scoring on a drive 20 seconds into the game.
Pitts finished with 28 points in the 69-39 rout of Goodrich, which had won consecutive state titles in 2012 and 2013. It was Country Day's first semifinal appearance since 2010.
Pitts made four of her first five shots in the opening quarter to give Country Day a 16-11 lead. She scored nine, making three 3-pointers during a 13-4 run to open the fourth quarter to open a 22-point lead.
And, yes Pitts had extra motivation going up against Davis.
"It was just exciting to play on this big stage," said Pitts, who made 11-of-23 shots, including 6-of-11 3-pointers while grabbing 10 rebounds. "It was a lot of motivation because Tania is one of my best friends and we play AAU together over the summer."
While talking about her 3-point shooting, especially the three she made in the fourth quarter, Pitts replied: "I was just shooting, to be honest. I didn't know how many 3s I had. My teammates were looking for me and I was coming off of screens."
Country Day will try to win its first state championship since it won consecutive titles in 2008 and '09 when it faces Haslett (22-5) Saturday at 6. Country Day defeated Haslett last month, 57-43.
And, this will be Country Day's youngest team competing in the title game, with two sophomores and a freshmen in the starting lineup.
"It's definitely my youngest," said Orlando, who has guided Country Day to 10 state championships in his 35 years at the school, including one in the '80s, four in the '90s and five in the '00s. "We had all juniors in 2003 when we won it and that was our youngest.
"It's so refreshing to see young kids step up in this venue and play with no fear and with so much heart. They played good defense and moved the ball well."
Country Day shot 44 percent and made 10-of-20 3 pointers, limiting Goodrich (25-2) to 30-percent shooting.
Junior Arika Tolbert scored 14 for Country Day, senior guard Jordan Wright had 11 and freshman guard Kaela Webb 10.
Davis, a 5-foot-4 point guard who will play at Iowa, scored 12 on 4-of-16 shooting before going down with a leg injury after battling for a loose ball with Pitts with 7:15 left and Country Day holding a 48-33 lead. She was on the bench for the remainder of the game with an ice pack on her right knee.
Junior guard Alexis Sevillian had 16 for Goodrich.
Haslett 63, Benton Harbor 52: The highly-rated Gondrezick sisters made their first trip to the state finals at the Breslin Center, but Haslett used a total team effort to the victory. Senior guard Kalabrya Gondrezick, a Miss Basketball finalist headed for Michigan State, scored 20. Junior guard Kysre Gondrezick, who has been offered a scholarship by Connecticut, scored 17.
But in the end it was Haslett (22-5) which had outstanding ball movement and filled the passing lanes to cause problems defensively, then consistently beat Benton Harbor (20-6) back for easy transition baskets, especially during a 10-1 run to open a 49-35 lead with 1:30 left in the third quarter.
Makenna Ott, a 5-foot-10 senior who missed several weeks with a foot injury, led Haslett with 18 points.
Karson Tripp (14), Adrianna Stolicker (13) and Megan Mowid (11) also scored in double figures for Haslett, which shot 46.6 percent and turned the ball over just 11 times.
Tripp started the pivotal 10-1 run with a NBA-range 3-pointer and Stolicker, Mowid and Ott all followed with transition baskets, Ott ending the run with a 3-point play.
It was during the second quarter that Kalabrya showed her frustration after getting tied up by Shannon Szedlak, then being overly aggressive after the whistle to be called for a technical foul.
Haslett took advantage of the technical with Ott making two free throws and Stolicker scoring on a drive for the 31-23 lead with 1:20 left in the half, followed by three missed shots by Kysre Gondrezick.
"Everyone was well aware of where 2 (Kysre) and 10 (Kalabrya) were at all times," said Haslett coach Bob Currier. "In man-to-man we tried to match up on them where we always had help and our help was Makenna, and she did a great job. When we went to the 1-3-1 we could identify where they were and having Karson's long arms up front makes it tough to shoot over."
So, Haslett mixed up its defenses, even using the 1-2-2 zone at times, forcing Kysre into 5-of-14 shooting and six turnovers, and Kalabrya into 7-of-18 shooting and four turnovers. Benton Harbor shot 34.5 percent and made just 3-of-14 3-pointers.
Benton Harbor coach Lisa Harvey Gondrezick felt her players didn't move the ball around enough.
"We didn't go quick enough, didn't get into the gaps and move the ball to make their defense shift," she said.
Still, it was the defensive end that cost Benton Harbor the most.
"I think on defense we had a lot of lackadaisical moments," said Kalabrya Gondrezick. "Two of us would pick up and another would catch up late and allow someone wide open and that hurts when you're trying to catch up. We didn't play defense like we normally do."