Grand Rapids — Ypsilanti Arbor Prep learned the hard way that you can’t let a state power up when it’s down, losing 37-33 in overtime to No. 8 Pewamo-Westphalia in a Division 3 state semifinal Thursday afternoon at Van Noord Arena.
P-W (26-1) will try to earn its first state championship when it plays Flint Hamady (21-5), a 42-33 semifinal winner over Lake City, 4 p.m. Saturday.
Arbor Prep (19-7) — which played in the state title game the previous three years, winning the Class C championship in 2016 — held a 30-28 lead with 1½ minutes left in regulation and had the ball in a tie game with a minute left to play for a chance at the winning shot.
Arbor Prep coach Scott Stine called for a timeout on two occasions, the final one coming with 14.6 seconds left. He put the ball in the hands of freshman phenom Mya Petticord, wanting her to penetrate with eight seconds left and either find a teammate on either side or drive and take a shot with 6-foot Mahri Petree and Kashyra Jackson crashing the boards for a putback.
Petticord, who averages 19.3 points, made her move a few seconds late and never got a clean shot off with Stine feeling she was fouled, but no call came.
And, then P-W got the job done in overtime while Arbor Prep missed its first five shots of the extra session, as well as two free throws.
Still, Arbor Prep had a chance, pulling within 34-33 on Karli Waddell’s 3-pointer with 30 seconds left.
Then, Stine was trying to get an Arbor Prep player to foul, but one player missed Kiera Thelen before Stine felt Petree did foul P-W’s Addison Bauer, but that wasn’t called, resulting in an intentional foul seconds later.
“We missed fouling, I think it was (Kiera Thelen) right by the coach’s bench there; we missed fouling her and she passed it to the corner and Mahri (Petree) absolutely fouled (Bauer), which is who we wanted to foul,” Stine said. “She (Petree) reached out and I think that everybody in the gym probably knew we were trying to foul, and it didn’t get called. I actually at that point was upset and turned around.
"I didn’t even see the intentional foul. A, I was mad at our player first for not fouling (Thelen) and then B, I was mad because the official didn’t call the foul when we were trying to foul (Bauer).”
Hannah Spitzley, a 6-foot junior who is a Western Michigan commit, stepped to the line and made 1-of-2 free throws for a 35-33 lead with 12.3 seconds left.
P-W got the ball back due to the intentional foul and Spitzley — a 78 percent shooter from the line — made two more free throws for the 37-33 cushion after getting fouled again with 9.1 seconds left.
Spitzley finished with a game-high 16 points on 5-of-11 shooting, making 5-of-6 free throws to lead P-W, which also received 15 points and four assists from 5-8 junior guard Ellie Droste and 10 rebounds from Bauer, a 5-10 junior.
“I’m excited for these kids, I’m excited for our community and I’m excited for all the girls basketball teams we’ve had over the last 30 years that have been there, but just not quite got over the hump, so it just means so much to me,” said P-W 10th-year coach Steve Eklund, whose program lost to Detroit Edison in the Class C state championship game in 2017 and again to Edison in last year’s Class C state semifinal game.
“It burns inside of me to get that win on Saturday.”
P-W has gotten the job done with defense, limiting Niles Brandywine to 19 points Tuesday night in a quarterfinal win, then limiting Arbor Prep to 28.6 percent shooting in the semifinal.
“The kids played like a team on that last possession to get that stop,” Eklund said of the final stop in regulation. “Our defense is so good because we trust each other and know where we’re going to be.”
Arbor Prep went on a 7-0 run to start the second half to take its largest lead (25-18), but was limited to just eight points during the final 16½ minutes, including overtime.
Petticord scored 14 for Arbor Prep. She was at her best during the second quarter when she scored nine during an 11-1 run to turn a 14-7 deficit into an 18-15 lead. However, she was limited to two points on 1-of-9 shooting in the second half and OT. Petree finished with four points (2-of-11 shooting) and Jackson, 10 points and eight rebounds, making 4-of-7 shots from the floor.
Spitzley guarded Petree in the opening half. Then, her job was to slow down Petticord late, and she made the most of her opportunity to keep her dream alive of a state championship.
“I have more length on her which helps,” said Spitzley of defending the 5-8 Petticord, who already has offers from Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State. “She has a step back and mid-range game so I just had my arms up.”
Flint Hamady 42, Lake City 33
Aryana Naylor and Jordan McKeller each scored 10 to help Hamady (21-5) reach the state title game for the first time since 2015. Hamady won consecutive Class C state championships in 2009 and ’10.
Naylor, a 6-2 junior, also grabbed eight rebounds to help Hamady to a 37-27 advantage on the glass, including 14-6 on the offensive end.
Senior guard Makayla Ardis had 14 points and six rebounds for Lake City (22-3) which held a 20-18 halftime lead before Hamady carried a 28-25 lead into the fourth quarter, then closed out the win.
At Van Noord Arena, Calvin College
►Saginaw Heritage (23-2) vs. Wayne Memorial (24-2), noon
►Southfield A&T (23-1) vs. Muskegon (21-4), 2 p.m.
►Final: 12:15 p.m. Saturday
►Freeland (23-2) vs. Hamilton (25-0), 5:30 p.m.
►Haslett (19-6) vs. Detroit Edison (25-1), 7:30 p.m.
►Final: 6:15 p.m. Saturday
►Flint Hamady 42, Lake City 33
►Pewamo-Westphalia 37, Ypsilanti Arbor Prep 33
►Final: 4 p.m. Saturday
►St. Ignace 48, Kingston 44
►Adrian Lenawee Christian 57, Fowler 36
►Final: 10 a.m. Saturday