Ypsilanti – Lasha Petree has taken on all assignments and passed with flying colors during her senior year at Ypsilanti Arbor Prep, a reason she is a finalist for the Miss Basketball Award.
Petree joins Detroit Country Day guard Kaela Webb, Wayne Memorial guard Camree Clegg and 5-11 guard/forward Jaida Hampton of East Lansing as finalists. The award will be announced March 12.
“She makes the coaches job a lot easier,” said Arbor Prep coach Scott Stine. “She’s really developed her leadership skills and has become the complete player. If we need someone to stop a point guard, she can do it. If we need someone to stop a wing, she can do it. If we need someone to stop a post player, she can do it. She guards the other team’s best player night in and night out.
“I’m not going to talk for Rickea (Edison 6-3 junior Rickea Jackson), but I’m guessing that’s the toughest Rickea’s been guarded this year, holding her to eight points. Offensively, she does things that no other girl in the state of Michigan can do. If we need a bucket and things break down she has that special talent to create a shot.”
Petree held Jackson, considered to be the state’s top player, to eight points when Arbor Prep defeated defending Class C state champion Edison 55-49 on Jan. 11. The teams could meet in the Class C state championship game March 17 in Grand Rapids.
Petree showed her offensive skills by scoring 31 earlier this season, 17 in the fourth quarter, to defeat Clarkston, wiping out a 12-point deficit.
And, earlier this month against Detroit Country Day, she scored 33 in a 66-65 win. Arbor Prep lost to Country Day in last year’s Class B state championship game, its lone loss of the season.
“The last five games she’s been absolutely ridiculous, shooting 65 percent from the field, 60 percent from 3 and averaging 26 points a game,” said Stine.
Petree was ecstatic when she found out she was a Miss Basketball finalist.
“When I found out about it I was very emotional because it’s been a dream of mine to be nominated,” said Petree, a 6-foot guard who is averaging 20.2 points, seven rebounds, five steals and three assists for Arbor Prep (15-5) after averaging 10.8 points a year ago.
Petree said she has learned a lot from playing with such players as Nastassja Chambers, Ro’zhane Wells, Adrienne Anderson and Cydney Williams during Arbor Prep’s run to the Class C state championship two years ago, and then the run to the Class B title game last season.
“When I first transferred I didn’t get the chance to play with Nastassja (Chambers) because I was a transfer, so I sat on the bench and watched her play,” said Petree, who transferred from Salem.
“They taught me a lot, like how to be a better teammate and a better leader, just by watching them lead. One of the biggest thing they changed about my game is my defense. I didn’t really take it seriously my first two years, but after I transferred here I wasn’t going to play if I didn’t know how to play defense.”
Petree, who will play next year at Bradley, said she learned a lot from last year’s run to the championship game.
“It was an amazing experience, something I’ll never forget,” Petree said. “It was exciting. We did lose our last game, which hurt, but it only motivates me more this year to get back.”
Petree has also enjoyed the opportunity to play with her sisters, Mahri and Jala.
“It’s a great experience,” she said. “I love playing with them and I love being with them. They’re my best friends.”
Webb, who will play next year at Providence, is averaging 17.5 points, 3.5 assists and 3.5 steals for Country Day (15-4). She made a name for herself her freshman year when she scored 20, sinking six free throws down the stretch in a 49-41 Class B state title win over Haslett. She helped Country Day to another state title last season with a 13-point, nine-assist performance.
Clegg, headed to Clemson next year, helped Wayne (16-4) earn the KLAA tournament championship, scoring 31 in a title game win over Howell.
“She’s had a really good year and we’re happy about it,” said Wayne coach Jarvis Mitchell of Clegg getting nominated. “She works really hard.
Clegg, who averages 24.2 points, opened the season with a 41-point performance in a 73-70 win over Country Day.
Hampton, who will play at Wichita State, has helped East Lansing to a 20-0 record.
“We’re really happy with Jaida,” said East Lansing coach Rob Smith. “She’s a young senior, just turned 17, and she’s really come a long way, incredible to see her growth in the last two years. She’s really shooting the ball well.”
Hampton averages 16 points, five rebounds and is shooting 43 percent from 3-point range.
Smith guided East Lansing to the Class A state championship in 2010 with Klarissa Bell earning Miss Basketball that season before she moved on to play at Michigan State.