Class B final: Kaela Webb ensures Country Day encore
Grand Rapids — Kaela Webb made sure she ended her career at Detroit Country Day as a state champion, the same way she ended her freshman year.
Oh, and Webb earned a state championship in the middle of her career as well.
With Country Day junior point guard Jasmine Powell forced to the bench with four fouls with 3:33 left in the third quarter and her team on top 42-37, Webb took over and led an 8-2 run for the rest of the quarter to open up a 50-39 cushion, finding Destini Lewis and Maddie Novak for consecutive 3-pointers.
And, Country Day (23-4) led the rest of the way to earn its third Class B state championship in the last four years with a 64-48 victory over Jackson Northwest (25-2) Saturday night at Van Noord Arena.
“I’ll tell you what, if I have Kaela on my side, that’s all I want,” Country Day head coach Frank Orlando said. “She’s a fighter, she’s a coach and she knows the game and she plays it with her heart. If anybody could do it, Kaela can and I respect that a lot.”
Webb, a Miss Basketball finalist who will play at Providence, was the hero her freshman year when she scored 20 and made several free throws down the stretch. She had 13 points and nine assists last year in the state title win over Ypsilanti Arbor Prep.
“When Jaz had foul trouble Coach O basically was telling me to take over and I knew at that point I had to go because they were closing in on the lead and starting to have another run,” Webb said. “I knew that I had to do everything in my power to prevent it and that involved getting my teammates involved, driving to the basket because they started to clog it in on me and they (Lewis, Novak) just knocked them down when we needed it.”
Simply put, Country Day’s backcourt of Webb and Powell was just two quick and too talented for Northwest, forcing Northwest into 20 turnovers.
Powell was outstanding, finishing with 19 points and four assists. She was on attack mode from the start, scoring 12 points in the opening quarter to give Country Day a 23-13 lead.
Webb had 11 points and seven assists and 5-11 junior guard Maddie Novak scored 13. Six-foot junior Adrian Folks had 12 points and seven rebounds, making 6-of-7 shots from the field. Six-foot senior Maxine Moore (Western Michigan) also celebrated her third state title, chipping in with six points.
When Northwest attempted to make a run, Country Day would answer, delivering the knockout punch when Webb found Novak in transition for a three-point play (basket and free throw) for a 59-43 cushion with 4:35 left.
The win gave the 75-year-old Orlando a record 13 state championships. He has now won at least one title at six different venues, including Grand Valley State (1989), Battle Creek (1995), Central Michigan University (2003), Eastern Michigan University (2009), Michigan State University in two of the previous three years (2015, ’17) and now at Calvin College.
“We knew they weren’t going to go away, they were tough and No. 20 (Sydney Shafer) could shoot from 38 feet and it was in,” said Orlando, who proudly announced he had 10 of his grandchildren in attendance. “We just kept having to play our game and we did and I was really proud of the kids.”
Northwest was led by junior guard Sydney Shafer, who had 22 points and eight rebounds, making 4-of-8 3-pointers. Ella Bontrager scored 10.
“I heard the radio announcer out of the corner of my ear say this is a David versus Goliath matchup tonight and I don’t think it was that at all,” Northwest coachRyan Carroll said. “They (Country Day) just knocked down some big shots and we really shot ourselves in the foot when we had a chance to get back in the game.”