GRAND RAPIDS – Free Press special writer Tom Lang covers the Michigan high school basketball state semifinals on Wednesday at Van Andel Arena. The most recent games are listed first.
Bellaire on Petersburg-Summerfield
In the final 30 seconds of the third quarter, leading by just five points, Bellaire made two quick baskets that triggered a 13-3 advantage in the fourth quarter and led the Eagles to a 48-29 victory over Petersburg-Summerfield in Wednesday division 4. semi-finals at Van Andel Arena.
The victory sends Bellaire’s women’s basketball program to their first-ever state championship game, where they face Fowler, a 61-37 winner over Carney-Nadeau of the UP.
“It was a bit of a weird game,” said Bellaire coach Brad Fischer. “We had big problems and we weren’t moving our feet very well. But I think we’ve worn them down a bit, and I think the longer the game goes, these girls get a lot stronger.
“They stick defensively and the longer the game lasts, they just ride it and push it up. This obviously worked in our favor today.
After a slim 22-19 lead at the half, Bellaire stifled Summerfield for the remainder of the time.
“They just passed us and passed us,” said Summerfield coach Mickey Moody. “I thought that in the second half, they gave us a little more body than the first half, and we really didn’t react well … we didn’t attack the basket like we do normally.
Bellaire (17-3) used a balanced score, while Katie Decker and center Jacey Somers, who went scoreless in the first half, each finished with 10 points. Emersyn Koepke and Madi Evans added eight points each. Destanee Smith led Summerfield (15-5) with nine points.
Bellaire shot 42% from the field and had 37 rebounds (12 on offense) against 22 overall for Summerfield.
“We always want to attack the boards,” said Fischer. “A missed shot is part of our attack. I say to the girls: “We’re going to shoot and we’re going to miss, but a missed shot is an opportunity to get back on the board.”
“We keep telling these girls defense, defense, defense. It’s a cliché but it always comes for a reason. Our girl-to-girl defense was impressive tonight. I am just delighted for them that they were able to write history in our school.
Bellaire goaltender Noel Mann, who had six assists, led the late third quarter spark and added four more points in the fourth. She was impressed with Summerfield’s ability to expand.
“Their ability to anticipate what we were doing on offense, their defense came out of the zone and pushed us – they extended – and I think that caught us off guard,” she said. “Our ball movement wasn’t the best at first, but once we got through that it kind of opened up for us and then we started to play our game more.”
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Fowler rolls by Carney-Nadeau
Fowler has done what he has normally done this season – leading his sister combo Emma and Mia Riley to a Division 4 semi-final victory over previously undefeated Carney-Nadeau, 61-37, at Van Andel Arena on Wednesday. .
The Eagles (15-4) advance to the final at the Breslin Center on Friday, marking the 30th anniversary of the program’s last state championship.
Fowler lost in the semifinals two years ago, then last March COVID-19 closed the state tournament. This has stuck with Mia Riley as a motivator for a better outcome. She led the team with 23 points and nine rebounds. Emma Riley scored 18 points but had eight interceptions in the stifling Fowler defense that created 31 Carney-Nadeau turnovers.
“I thought they had really good ball pressure, and they really cut the passing lanes,” Carney-Nadeau coach Ken Linder said. “They ran a great press there. I don’t think we have moved as well as usual. I think we just got it wrong and once we got over 15 (points) behind it was really hard to get it back.
Carney-Nadeau seemed to enter the game with a clear advantage, with 6-3 center Tessa Wagner (21 points, eight rebounds) and 5-11 guard Chole Grand.
However, basketball games are played on hardwood, where Fowler has resisted the wolves enough to win and advance.
“We’re really aggressive because obviously we don’t have a lot of size in our squad, and we had to face some pretty big players and some big enough teams,” said Mia Riley. “Every girl must mobilize. Our rotations were consistently seven girls to keep their players taller. It’s a team effort. “
Fowler also likes to shoot the ball from the outside to overcome height differences. The Eagles missed their first nine attempts by 3 points, but retained their freedom to throw it from deep.
“I have the greatest confidence in these girls, and we’ve been in games where we haven’t shot the ball well and the last thing I want is for them to lose confidence,” said Fowler’s trainer Nathan Goerge. “So there are definitely things I’m mad at them for, but when we shoot the ball I’m going to congratulate myself on it every time.”
Fowler shot 7 for 26 (27%) from a 3-point range, but got a couple from Emma Riley and Emma Halfmann (11 points) early in the third quarter to help shift a 33-17 advantage to halftime at 43-26.
“We’re a tough team to beat when we can get out of the way and take shots,” said Goerge. “Overall, it’s great teamwork for us.”