Macomb TownshipMarch 14, 2012
L’Anse Creuse North girls hoops falls in regional semifinal
By Jon Malavolti
C & G Sports Writer
STERLING HEIGHTS — Macomb L’Anse Creuse North’s girls basketball team’s banner season came to an end March 6, as the Crusaders fell to Chippewa Valley in a Class A regional semifinal at Utica Ford II.
“We had a great year. We just didn’t make enough plays at the end,” North coach Bob Johnston said. “I’m just so proud of the kids.”
North (13-9) fell 45-43 in a back-and-forth game with a thrilling finish. For more details from that game, as well as additional photos and coverage from the state tournament, visit our website at www.candgnews.com.
Johnston said his team, champions of the Macomb Area Conference Gold Division, played “terrific.”
“It’s one game,” he said. “Would we have liked to gone on? Absolutely. It just wasn’t in the cards.
“So live and learn.”
On that note, the Crusaders hope to use this year’s tourney run as a learning experience to build on for the future.
“They’re going to have to raise the level of play, because this group has set a standard that we want to keep,” Johnston said.
While the program has some talented younger players, it will be challenged to replace seniors Jazmine Brown, Ashley Dunford, Kayla King and Kelsey Thompson.
“I can’t say enough about them,” the coach said about his senior class. “They played at a really high level.”
Junior starters Keearra Brown and Marisa Oleksiak, along with junior reserves Kaylee McPharlin and Courtney Warren, will look to step in and lead the Crusaders next season.
Big Reds bow out in regional final
Chippewa Valley fell out of the tournament in its next game after beating L’Anse Creuse North, falling 69-48 to Grosse Pointe South March 8 at Utica Ford II.
“It’s special to get to this point,” Chippewa coach Jackie Mauer said. “Win or lose, you’re the only team left from your county, that says something about your players and what it took to get here.”
Chippewa won a district title for the first time in four years.
Mauer is hoping her team, which includes underclassmen in key roles, can learn from and build on this season’s success.
“I think this was a great experience for all of them,” the coach said. “They had never been in this situation before. So I think next year we just build off of that energy and come back strong, and hopefully, get here again.”
The Big Reds will have to replace a pair of senior starters in the frontcourt in forwards Emily Tolksdorf and Ciara Helton, as well as reserves Patti Pensko and Erin Kupps.
Junior guards Tiffany Misch and Tori Staver should return to give the Big Reds one of the better backcourts in the county next season. They’ll be joined by guard/forward Olivia DeMoss, who started as a sophomore this season.
Visit our website for more details from Chippewa’s regional final contest against Grosse Pointe South.