North girls basketball wins second consecutive district championship

By: Mark Vest | Grosse Pointe Times | Published March 6, 2018

 Grosse Pointe North junior Julia Ayrault goes for a shot Feb. 28 during a Class A semifinal against St. Clair Shores Lakeview. After beating Lakeview, the Norsemen went on to win a district title with a victory against Roseville High.

Grosse Pointe North junior Julia Ayrault goes for a shot Feb. 28 during a Class A semifinal against St. Clair Shores Lakeview. After beating Lakeview, the Norsemen went on to win a district title with a victory against Roseville High.

Photo by Sean Work

GROSSE POINTE WOODS — What had already been a good season for Grosse Pointe North’s girls basketball team got even better March 2, as the Norsemen beat Roseville High 52-27 in a Class A district championship game at North.

With their victory, the Norsemen advanced to a regional semifinal, where they were scheduled to play Macomb Dakota March 6, after press time.

The winner of that game plays at 7 p.m. March 8 at New Baltimore Anchor Bay against either Sterling Heights Stevenson or Warren Cousino.

Prior to beating Roseville, North defeated St. Clair Shores Lakeview in a semifinal Feb. 28, giving the Huskies just their second loss of the season.

Despite beating Roseville by 25 points, North coach Gary Bennett said his team was “flat” after getting a big win against Lakeview.

“You can somewhat expect that,” Bennett said. “The really huge game was Wednesday night (because) they were 20-1. But still, this is painful. We’re better than we played tonight. … We finally got it going, but it took a while.”

Leading 27-19 at the half, North helped seal its victory by outscoring the Panthers 17-2 in the third quarter.

The Norsemen led 44-21 going into the last quarter of play.

Although Roseville coach Andrew Houghton said his team “hung” with North for a half, it is difficult to overcome a 23-point deficit going into the last quarter of play.

“We scored two points in the third quarter, and that was the difference,” Houghton said. “But I was proud of the girls. It’s hard to come into a place like this and play a team like that, against a coach like that. So, I’m proud of them.”

At press time, North was 17-5 overall and 8-2 in the Macomb Area Conference Red Division.

The Norsemen’s district championship came after sharing a MAC Red title with Dakota. North lost its first two games in division play, before coming back to win its next eight.

“That was a major accomplishment,” Bennett said. “I didn’t see that coming. I had us about fourth in the league.”

Senior Josephine Ciaravino gets to come away with at least two championships in her final year with the program.

“It’s been really cool,” she said. “This year, I’ve been really close with the team, so it’s good.”

Bennett said he has had great players to work with who work hard at practice and have good attitudes.

“I like the championship stuff for the kids,” Bennett said. “For me, my major goal is, I want to keep getting better all the time, and I (want to) be good by the end of the season for tournament time. So, that’s my goal. If a championship happens in the meantime, fine. But for them, it’s something concrete.”


In other local girls district playoffs news
New Haven High beat Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett 52-45 in a Class C semifinal Feb. 28 at tournament host Clinton Township Clintondale.

New Haven went on to win a district championship with a 37-34 victory against Clintondale.

Liggett beat Mount Clemens High 42-38 in its district opener.

Detroit Cass Tech defeated Grosse Pointe South 47-46 in a Class A opener Feb. 26 at tournament host Detroit Martin Luther King.

King beat Cass Tech 55-41 to win a district title.