The trip to East Lansing for the Class A girls basketball final March 16 was all too familiar for the Blue Devils.
Last season, they matched up against Grand Haven and lost by a single point.
On March 16, they faced the same squad in the championship game, and, unfortunately for the Grosse Pointe South, left the gym with the same disappointment. Only this time, it was a 60-54 overtime loss.
Numbers tell the story
For the game, South shot 4-of-24 from the field, as opposed to Grand Haven’s 22-of-29.
South coach Kevin Richards cited that as the key to the outcome of the game.
“They shot almost 76 percent,” he said. “We shot 26 (26.9). That tells a good part of it. A lot of it is a credit to their defense.”
Despite that differential, South showed plenty of resolve.
Trailing the majority of the game, including by as many as 11 points with 7:44 left in regulation, South chipped away at the lead, scoring nine unanswered points. And with 3:30 remaining, sophomore Cierra Rice hit a layup to give her team a 49-48 lead. And after trailing by three with 2:01 to play, senior Gretchen Shirar hit a triple to tie at 52-52, which is how regulation ended.
Forward Claire DeBoer, who scored South’s only bucket in overtime and led both squads in rebounding with 12, had some ideas as to what it was that helped South mount its furious fourth-quarter comeback.
“We’ve been behind before,” she said. “We knew we could come back. (If) we play as hard as we can (and) put enough pressure on them, we feel we can go out there and get some turnovers. I think our pressure really helped us.”
Although South was unable to complete the comeback, Richards appreciates the effort he got from his team.
“I’m extremely proud of the girls,” he said. “We executed the game plan as far as what we wanted to do. I can’t say enough about the girls in the locker room.”
And while he was hoping it would be his team hoisting a state championship trophy at the end of the contest, Richards understands the quality of the opponent his team was up against in Grand Haven.
“Having lost (a) second straight year to the same team, it hurts,” he said. “But I just love the way our girls competed. We had the tempo we wanted. Give Grand Haven credit — they made some plays when they needed to.”
Rice led South with 24 points; junior Bre’nae Andrews had 10. Senior Claire DeBoer finished with 10 points, while Shirar had six. Sophomore Aliezza Brown helped out with four points.
The Blue Devils wrapped up the season at 25-2, including a perfect 12-0 in the Macomb Area Conference Red Division.
Christy Flom, Shirar, DeBoer and Emily Satterfield played their final prep game for the Blue Devils.