Grand Rapids — It would be a major understatement to say that Frank Orlando has been around for a long, long time.
In fact, the 75-year-old Orlando has guided Detroit Country Day to a record 12 state championships, hoisting the ultimate trophy at such places as Grand Valley State (1989), Battle Creek (1995), Central Michigan University (2003), Eastern Michigan University (2009) and Michigan State University two of the last three years (2015, ’17).
So, would it be shocking if Country Day won at yet another venue?
Well, Country Day (22-4) is certainly in position to do so after running previously unbeaten Kingsley (26-1) out of Calvin College’s Van Noord Arena Friday night in a Class B semifinal, 70-54.
And, while Country Day — which will play Jackson Northwest (25-1) in the title game at 6 p.m. Saturday — is led by a pair of Division 1 players in Miss Basketball finalist Kaela Webb and physical 6-foot forward Maxine Moore (Western Michigan), it was 5-11 junior guard Maddie Novak who stepped up and put on a show on the big stage.
The lead changed hands six times in the opening quarter before Novak scored 12 points during a 28-12 run to open a 40-24 lead late in the first half.
Still, one of the keys to Country Day’s victory was Webb’s ability to stay out of further foul trouble after picking up her second with 4:41 left in the opening quarter.
“I think coming into this game we knew that the refs would be checking everything, the hand touches and we would have to move our feet and not get caught up into it, and that’s the only thing I kept stressing to my team because after my two fouls I think everyone had their fair share of the fouls and getting frustrated at the refs,” Webb said. “I told them we just had to stick together. What was more important was stopping them from scoring and me fouling them was going to help them score so I had to just lock down mentally with that.”
Webb was proud of Novak.
“I think Maddie’s performance was outstanding,” Webb said. “She hasn’t been here (Final Four) before and she was kind of nervous and I was like, ‘We have your back.’ I’ve been stressing since the summer, we’ve been working really, really hard and I think she showed it tonight, outrebounding everyone and scoring those points when we needed them. She just played with amazing confidence and we needed that.”
Orlando wasn’t about to take Webb out after she got in early foul trouble.
“I can’t take her out because she’s so valuable to our team,” Orlando said. “I stuck with her because she’s a senior and she knows how to stay away from that third or fourth foul. I trust her.”
It looked like Kingsley would make a run to open the second half when Britany Bowman scored off a steal to cut the deficit to 43-30, but Country Day responded with a 12-0 run with Novak and Jasmine Powell making 3-pointers for a 55-30 cushion, then Moore made another 3-pointer for a 58-32 lead.
Country Day led 61-36 after three quarters with Novak scoring 20, making 5-of-8 shots from the field, 8-of-8 from the line and 2-of-4 3-pointers.
Jacie King made a free throw to help Kingsley pull within 66-50 with 2:58 left, but Moore answered with an inside basket at the other end for a 68-50 lead.
Novak finished with 20 points and six rebounds. Webb scored 15, making 7-of-10 shots, with eight assists, Moore had 11 points and seven rebounds; Adrian Folks 10 points and Powell, eight points and six assists.
Jalynn Brumfield scored 14 for Kingsley. Rebekah Crosby had 12 points and Brittany Bowman 11.
“We dug ourselves a hole with some foul trouble and we got beat up on the boards at times in the first half, got beat back a handful of times and just generally got beat at our game,” Kingsley coach Matt Schelich said. “If I’m looking at this (stat sheet) right it was 33-6 on points off of turnovers and that’s been our M.O. We ran into a team that’s got incredible size and speed as a team and not a lot of weak spots out there.”
Jackson Northwest 56, Michigan Center 47: Junior guard Sydney Shafer had 21 points, 13 rebounds and six steals to lead Northwest to the championship game.
Shafer made 6-of-13 shots from the field and converted 9-of-14 free throws for Northwest, which led 17-9 after one quarter, 31-22 at halftime and 43-30 after three.
Northwest led 47-30 to open the fourth before Michigan Center (23-3) made three 3-pointers for a 9-0 run to pull within 47-39, but it could get no closer.
Jozie Bontrager joined Shafer with a double-double (13 points, 12 rebounds) for Northwest, which owned a 46-31 rebounding advantage. Ella Bontrager scored 11.
Masyn Shannon had 14 points and seven rebounds for Michigan Center.
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.
Saginaw Heritage 46, Grosse Pointe North 28
East Lansing 60, Wayne Memorial 52
Final: Saturday, 12:15 p.m.
Jackson Northwest 56, Michigan Center 47
Detroit Country Day 70, Kingsley 54
Final: Saturday, 6:15 p.m.