Grand Rapids – Rickea Jackson was in attack mode from the opening tip Thursday afternoon to make sure Detroit Edison would reach the Class C state championship game, defeating Pewamo-Westphalia 50-39 in a semifinal at Van Noord Arena.
Jackson, a 6-foot-3 junior who will be a Miss Basketball candidate next year, scored 23 points, including eight during a 9-4 run to open a 43-30 lead with just under five minutes remaining.
Jackson made sure P-W (25-1) wouldn’t have a chance to pull out the victory in the final seconds this time around.
The teams met in a rematch of last year’s state title game with Shaulana Wagner needing to block Hannah Spitzley’s 3-pointer with three seconds left to help Edison escape with a 46-44 victory.
Edison (23-1) will play Ypsilanti Arbor Prep (21-5) in Saturday’s 4 p.m. title game. Arbor Prep handed Edison its lone loss, 55-49 back on Jan. 11 when Miss Basketball finalist Lasha Petree limited Jackson to a season-low eight points.
On Thursday, Edison went on a 7-0 run to start the game and never trailed, leading 11-7 after one, 22-14 at halftime and 36-28 after three.
“We’re more mature and we have the addition of Damiya,” said Jackson of the difference in the games against P-W, pointing out the addition of freshman point guard Damiya Hagemann, who already has offers from Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State. “We weren’t that strong with our guard play last year, so for Damiya to come in, it’s just amazing.
“We just want to get back-to-back because everyone’s saying it’s a fluke, so there’s more pressure for us to win this one.”
Edison coach Monique Brown was impressed with Jackson’s play, but wanted her to get more rebounds.
“She was awesome, but I was still pushing her to get in there and get a few more rebounds because that was our issue last year and even in the first half,” said Brown of Jackson, who made 12-of-20 shots from the field and had seven rebounds.
Sophomore guard Gabrielle Elliott struggled offensively, but grabbed 10 rebounds to help Edison to a 35-23 edge on the glass, including a 17-8 advantage at the offensive end.
Hagemann scored 13 and had three assists with just two turnovers in 31 minutes.
“She adds the ability to attack the rim, she brings the mental toughness, the physical toughness,” said Jackson of Hagemann. “She’s just an overall great guard, and the chemistry that we have together, it just makes the game easier because we know where we are on the court.”
That chemistry was never more apparent than with Hagemann’s alley-oop pass to Jackson for a layup and a 22-14 lead in the final minute of the half, then Hagemann’s dish to Ariel Jenkins off a drive for a 34-21 cushion with two minutes left in the third.
Edison continued to play strong defense after earning a one-sided 54-17 rout of Flint Beecher in a state quarterfinal Tuesday.
Edison limited P-W to 33 percent shooting in the first half and P-W misfired on all of its 3-pointers (0-for-8). P-W shot 36.8 percent for the game, making 4-of-19 from long range.
Edison missed the front end of two 1-and-1 free throws before Hagemann made three free throws down the stretch to open a 48-37 lead with less than a minute remaining.
Emily Spitzley scored 14 for P-W, which also received 11 points from Ellie Droste and nine from Hannah Spitzley.
Ypsilanti Arbor Prep 53, Maple City Glen Lake 35
The Petree sisters led Arbor Prep to the state championship game for a third straight year.
Arbor Prep, which won the Class C state championship in 2016 and lost to Detroit Country Day in last year’s Class B title game, opened the game with a 12-1 run and never trailed, leading 28-17 at halftime and 41-30 after three.
Senior guard Lasha Petree, who will play next year at Bradley, got Arbor Prep going, making a baseline jumper and then scoring a pair of transition baskets, the second coming off a pass from sister Mahri off a steal for the 12-1 lead with 2:10 left in the opening quarter.
“Transition baskets always help, easy layups, get the confidence up, and with our team in particular, when we get things going we tend to play better on defense,” said Arbor Prep coach Scott Stine. “I’d say we played pretty good defense, made stops when we needed to make stops.”
Arbor Prep scored 18 points in transition, 10 in the first half. Arbor Prep also limited Glen Lake to 31.7 percent shooting and held a 33-27 rebounding advantage.
Lasha Petree limited Savannah Peplinski to five points on 1-of-12 shooting – and she did it with an injured ankle after getting her foot tangled with a Glen Lake player during warmups.
“She guards the top player on every team we play and today was no different,” said Stine of Lasha Petree defending Peplinski. “We watched Peplinski on film and she’s a tough player, hard-nosed, aggressive, generally can get to the hoop on most people pretty consistently and also make the 3. Lasha did exactly what we expected. For the most part she kept her in front and challenged the shot, even blocked a 3-pointer or two.”
Said Lasha of Saturday’s title game: “Losing last year (to Country Day), that pain is still in my heart and I want to avenge it. I’m going to be aggressive both offensively and defensively.”
Mahri and Jala Petree each scored 12 for Arbor Prep with Mahri also having five assists and three steals. Lasha Petree contributed eight points with five steals and five assists.
And it was more than the Petree Sisters making contributions for Arbor Prep as Kashrya Jackson and Karli Waddell made consecutive 3-pointers to start the second half to open a 34-17 lead. Mahri Petree followed with an inside basket for Arbor Prep’s largest lead at 36-17.
Hailey Helling scored 11 and Jennifer LaCross 10 for Maple City Glen Lake, which finished 23-3.
Detroit Edison 50, Pewamo-Westphalia 39
Ypsilanti Arbor Prep 53, Maple City Glen Lake 35
Final: Saturday, 4 p.m.
Chassell 55, Waterford Lakes 51
Adrian Lenawee Christian 46, Mt. Pleasant Sacred Heart 44 (OT)
Final: Saturday, 10 a.m.
Grosse Pointe North vs. Saginaw Heritage, noon
East Lansing vs. Wayne Memorial, 2 p.m.
Final: Saturday, 12:15 p.m.
Jackson Northwest vs. Michigan Center, 5:30 p.m.
Detroit Country Day vs. Kingsley, 7:30 p.m.
Final: Saturday, 6:15 p.m.