Detroit Edison coach Monique Brown, senior guard Rickea Jackson and junior guard Gabrielle Elliott react to their 70-43 state semis win over Haslett Eric Coughlin, The Detroit News
Grand Rapids — When Detroit Edison coach Monique Brown had to bench two starters for discipline issues to start Edison's Division 2 girls state semifinal basketball against Haslett, she was worried.
Edison only trailed for 50 seconds.
In a dominant performance, Edison (26-1) devoured Haslett (19-7), 70-43, earning a shot at its third straight title.
"The two (players) that stepped in (to the starting lineup) were probably very nervous," Brown said. "Once we got going, I told them it was just basketball. After we settled down I think we were OK."
With Michigan's Miss Basketball Rickea Jackson on its squad, Edison was more than OK.
Jackson, a 6-foot-3 senior, scored 26 points on 11-for-17 shooting with eight rebounds, two assists and two steals in 27 minutes.
"Everyone knows who we are," Jackson said. "For us to have this huge target on our backs and make it this far means that we've been working hard in practice and we're seeing it pay off."
Jackson dazzled in Grand Rapids Friday night. She was physical down low, spearheaded Edison's fast break and showed off a natural shooting stroke. She credited her teammates for making her look good.
"I don't have to have all the pressure on my shoulders," Jackson said. "If I'm having a bad game we have other scorers and passers on our team, so it takes pressure off me knowing that my teammates have my back."
One of those teammates is junior guard Gabrielle Elliott who had 21 points, four assists and two blocks against Haslett. Elliott is one of Edison's team leaders and said the locker-room message for Saturday's championship game against Freeland (24-2) will be to have fun.
"We're on a mission for a three-peat, but we've got to play our game," Elliott said. "We're not changing anything for anyone. We've got to go out there, play our game and send Rickea (Jackson) off right."
Haslett coach Ross Baker and seniors Ella McKinney and Hannah Homan react to their 70-43 loss to Detroit Edison in the state semis Eric Coughlin, The Detroit News
Haslett coach Ross Baker was proud of his team despite the crooked score.
"I thought we battled," Baker said. "We competed from bell to bell, 32 minutes. Edison's very well coached and number five (Jackson) is pretty special. This was an incredible run and a special season."
Haslett was led by sophomore forward Skyla Nosek (16 points) and senior guard Ella McKinney (15 points), who will be playing at Hope next season.
"We've had a fire to push ourselves in the postseason," McKinney said. "This year we knew we had a special team. We'll never forget being here and playing against all these great teams."
Haslett trailed, 13-6, after the first quarter after shooting 1-for-9. Jackson was disruptive on defense, using her long frame to choke off passing lanes and bother ballhandlers.
Edison's lead grew to 14 by halftime. Jackson hit a 3-pointer and scored on a leaping putback, and, at half she had 15 of her team's 30 points while shooting 7-for-9.
Jackson highlighted the third quarter with a nifty and-one on a turnaround jumper, and Edison entered the final frame up 51-27.
Edison stretched its lead in the fourth quarter as both teams emptied their benches.
More Division 2
Freeland 71, Hamilton 66: Kadyn Blanchard scored 23, Alyssa Argyle 17 and Lily Beyer 13 for Freeland (24-2). A.J. Ediger scored 33 and Bria Schrotenboer 13 for Hamilton (25-1).
In a game that featured seven lead changes, Freeland erased an 11-point third quarter deficit by outscoring Hamilton 24-15 in the fourth quarter. Freeland shot 9-for-21 from three, far outpacing Hamilton's 1-for-12.
Ediger, a 6-foot-2 sophomore forward, dominated early. She collected 17 rebounds and went 11-for-14 on free throws.
At Van Noord Arena, Calvin College
Saginaw Heritage 58, Wayne Memorial 55
Southfield A&T 54, Muskegon 50
Final: 12:15 p.m. Saturday
Freeland 71, Hamilton 66
Detroit Edison 70, Haslett 43
Final: 6:15 p.m. Saturday
Flint Hamady 42, Lake City 33
Pewamo-Westphalia 37, Ypsilanti Arbor Prep 33
Final: 4 p.m. Saturday
St. Ignace 48, Kingston 44
Adrian Lenawee Christian 57, Fowler 36
Final: 10 a.m. Saturday