Class C: Edison girls start fast, roll past Hamady

David Goricki
The Detroit News
Detroit Edison's Gabby Elliott (left) and Rickea Jackson celebrate as Detroit Edison defeats Flint Hamady, 54-31, in a  Class C state semifinal Thursday at Breslin Center in East Lansing.

East Lansing — Detroit Edison couldn’t have asked for a better start in its Class C state semifinal game against Flint Hamady on Thursday afternoon at the Breslin Center.

Edison scored the game’s first 11 points and held Hamady without a basket in the first quarter, forcing 10 turnovers with its pressure defense in earning a dominant 54-31 victory.

Edison (20-5) shot 48.8 percent, limited Hamady (19-6) to 21.7 percent shooting while forcing 26 turnovers and holding a 37-28 rebounding advantage.

Edison led 28-8 at halftime with 5-foot-10 freshman guard Gabby Elliott scoring 13 second-quarter points. Several baskets came off short jumpers, transition layups or putbacks.

Elliott, the younger sister of Mr. Basketball finalist Greg Elliott of Detroit East English, finished with 24 points. She scored all of Edison’s points during a 7-2 run to start the second half for a 35-10 cushion.

“It’s just something that we work on in practice and my teammates got me the ball,” Elliott said. “We felt like we had something to prove because people were doubting us all year. We really didn’t receive the hype in the social media. We just came here on a mission and ready to finish it. I’m happy that we won this game to get that opportunity (to play for state title).”

Edison will play Pewamo-Westphalia for the state championship game at 4 p.m. Saturday.

Rickea Jackson, a 6-2 sophomore guard, had 16 points and eight rebounds.

Jackson celebrated her birthday on the Breslin Center floor following the semifinal win with a chorus of “Happy Birthday” ringing out from the Edison fans. She said the coaches were banging on their hotel room late Wednesday night and into Thursday morning, telling them to go to sleep.

“We couldn’t sleep because we were just thinking about the game, just talking about what we could do and stuff and they came knocking on our doors, banging like a SWAT team,” Jackson said. “They took our phones so we couldn’t do anything but talk.”

Jackson and her teammates must have talked about getting off to a great start. Edison held Hamady (19-6) to 2-of-24 shooting in the first half (1-of-10 3s), forcing 16 turnovers.

“At the beginning I just realized that Flint Hamady’s a really good team so we have to get it going quick,” Jackson said.

Edison’s largest lead was 29 (39-10) before Hamady — which won consecutive Class C state championships in 2009 and 2010 and lost in the 2014 title game — pulled within 39-18 at the end of three. Edison went on a 10-1 run to open the fourth and leave no doubt of the outcome.

Edison was primed for a run to the state championship game after playing a tough schedule, including a 57-56 win over Miss Basketball finalist Deja Church and Southfield A&T, which will be playing in the Class A semifinal Friday.

Edison also played defending Class C state champion Ypsilanti Arbor Prep and Detroit Country Day, suffering losses to both teams, which will be playing in Class B semifinals Friday night.

“They’ve been preparing for this, we’ve talked about it,” said Edison coach Monique Brown, who started the program six years ago, then guided the team to its first district title in school history earlier this month. “As we went throughout the season we hit a really tough part of our schedule, the middle part of our schedule when we played (Detroit) King, Midland Dow, Southfield A&T and won some of those games and we lost, but I kept telling them that it was all in preparation for games like today.

“They really came out and played really hard, and I’ve always told them no matter what I don’t want to hear anyone say we’re talented, I want them to say how hard we play.”

Hamady longtime coach Keith Smith was proud of how his team reached the semifinals without its star player Krystal Rice, who suffered a season-ending injury in late January. Rice will play at Indiana State.

Hamady lost to Edison 43-39 midseason, but got off to a slow start in the rematch with the title game on the line.

“We knew they would be an explosive offensive team, but the biggest issue I think was our poor shooting in the first half and our turnovers,” Smith said. “We missed too many makable shots, high percentage shots, layups in the paint and too many unforced turnovers. We felt like we could play with them like we played them close last time. I really think if we would have had a better first quarter we would have had a much closer game.”

Deajah Cofield, the Associated Press Co-Player of the Year, struggled with her shooting (3-of-16, 2-of-10 3-pointers), scoring 10. Aryana Naylor also scored 10 for Hamady.

“They pressed us a little harder than before, and we just played out-of-control basketball,” said Cofield, who averaged 15.5 points, of the first-half problems Hamady experienced.

Pewamo-Westphalia 64, Maple City Glen Lake 51: Emily Spitzley scored 24, including a driving layup with 6:08 left to give Pewamo-Westphalia a 47-44 lead while sparking a game-ending 19-7 run.

Pewamo-Westphalia (24-2) shot 43.5 percent, limited Glen Lake (23-4) to 33.3 percent shooting while holding a 39-35 rebounding advantage. Spitzley grabbed 12 rebounds and Kate Hengesbach came off the bench to get 12 rebounds, eight on the offensive end, while collecting six of her team’s 13 steals. Brenna Wirth scored 13.

“She brought so much energy off the bench for us.” Pewamo-Westphalia coach Steve Eklund said of Hengesbach. “Kate was great on the offensive glass. We kind of saw that in our film study, that they give up a lot of offensive rebounds.”

Pewamo-Westphalia had six offensive rebounds during the pivotal fourth quarter, three apiece from Spitzley and Hengesbach with Spitzley grabbing six total rebounds during the final eight minutes.


At Breslin Center


Class C

Detroit Edison 54, Flint Hamady 31

Pewamo-Westphalia 64, Maple City Glen Lake 51

Final: Saturday, 4 p.m.

Class D

Saginaw Michigan Lutheran Seminary 64, Engadine 59

Pittsford 57, Mt. Pleasant Sacred Heart 39

Final: Saturday, 10 a.m.


Class A

Warren Cousino vs. Flushing, 1 p.m.

East Kentwood vs. Southfield A&T, 2:50 p.m.

Final: Saturday, noon

Class B

Detroit Country Day vs. Marshall, 6 p.m.

Ypsilanti Arbor Prep vs. Freeland, 7:50 p.m.

Final: Saturday, 6 p.m.