Mission accomplished for Country Day’s Kaela Webb
Kaela Webb had a huge smile on her face as she dribbled out the final 10 seconds of Detroit Country Day’s 64-48 Class B state championship win over Jackson Northwest Saturday night at Van Noord Arena in Grand Rapids.
Webb had reason to smile. It’s one thing to win a couple of state championships when you’re playing with such a star as Destiny Pitts, who scored 20 (5-of-7 3-pointers) as a freshman Friday in Minnesota’s NCAA tournament win over No. 22 Green Bay.
Webb wanted to show she could help Country Day repeat as state champions and win its third in the last four years without Pitts.
Webb’s mission was realized when Country Day defeated a talented Jackson Northwest team led by junior guard Sydney Shafer, who should be a Miss Basketball candidate next year.
Webb – a Miss Basketball finalist who will play next year at Providence – was at her best after junior point guard Jasmine Powell was forced to the bench after picking up her fourth foul with 3:33 left in the third quarter and Country Day leading 42-37.
Webb led Country Day on an 8-2 run to open a 50-39 lead and wasn’t threatened the rest of the way.
“I just looked at Max (6-0 senior forward Maxine Moore) and Coach O (Frank Orlando) and couldn’t do anything but smile because we just never thought about winning three state championships,” said Webb, talking of the last 10 seconds of Saturday’s title game. “We came in hungry our freshman year and wanted to continue that. That loss (semifinal loss to Grand Rapids South Christian in 2016) that we suffered our sophomore year, we knew that we didn’t want to do that.
“This team is so special because we had to find our own identity. We had to pick up where we left off last year from losing a valuable asset (Pitts) at both ends of the floor. So we knew we had to work even harder than the year before.”
Webb scored 20 in a 49-41 state championship game win over Haslett her freshman year, making six straight free throws during the final 1:28 after Haslett pulled within four.
Webb had 13 points and nine assists in a 59-48 state title win over Ypsilanti Arbor Prep last year and had 11 points, seven assists and six steals in the win Saturday.
Country Day’s win over Northwest resulted in a record 13th state championship for the 75-year-old Orlando, who has no plans of retiring.
Webb and Moore (Western Michigan) finished with three state championships and a career record of 95-11.
And while Webb and Moore move on to college, Country Day returns a solid nucleus in Jasmine Powell, 5-11 junior Maddie Novak and 6-0 junior forward Adrian Folks. Novak scored 20 in the semifinal win over previously unbeaten Kingsley Friday, then scored 13 in the title game.
Edison lights it up
Detroit Edison defeated Ypsilanti Arbor Prep 51-34 Saturday afternoon to repeat as Class C state champions while also having the right to say it was the best team in the state.
Edison also owns wins over the Class A state champs (Saginaw Heritage) and the Class B state champs (Country Day).
Edison (24-1) avenged its lone loss by forcing Arbor Prep into 20 turnovers, including several during the first quarter when it battled back from a 10-2 deficit.
Rickea Jackson had a double-double (16 points, 10 rebounds) with four blocks and sophomore guard Gabrielle Elliott made 8-of-12 shots and scored 20, including 10 during the third quarter when Edison opened up an 18-point lead.
Monique Brown’s Edison team was able to handle Arbor Prep’s pressure with freshman guard Damiya Hagemann, who has offers from Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State.
“I would definitely say our maturity and our ability to fight through the adversity that we overcame this year,” said Brown when asked what she was most proud of. “I would say last year when we got off to a bad start against a Country Day or Arbor Prep we were not able to overcome that, and that seven- or eight-point lead turned into 15. I would say our maturity and our tough schedule that we had this year prepared us for this moment.”
Edison is a good bet to win a third straight title next year, returning the majority of its team, including Jackson, Elliott and Hagemann.