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 Royal Oak Shrine senior Grace Kruszewski evades a defender in the Catholic High School League championship game earlier this season. Kruszewski is one of two Shrine seniors departing from the program this season.

Royal Oak Shrine senior Grace Kruszewski evades a defender in the Catholic High School League championship game earlier this season. Kruszewski is one of two Shrine seniors departing from the program this season.

Photo by Patricia O'Blenes


Season to remember for Shrine girls hoops

By: Jacob Herbert | Royal Oak Review | Published March 26, 2019

 Royal Oak Shrine senior Grace Murray watches from the bench in a game earlier this season. Murray scored more than 1,000 points in her career for the Knights.

Royal Oak Shrine senior Grace Murray watches from the bench in a game earlier this season. Murray scored more than 1,000 points in her career for the Knights.

Photo by Patricia O'Blenes

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Before the Royal Oak Shrine girls basketball team took on Flint Hamady in a Division 3 state quarterfinal, coach Wayne Gigante said the game would be Shrine’s toughest challenge yet.

That prediction proved to be true in a 56-34 loss to the Hawks March 19 at Lapeer High. Both standing at 6-foot-3, Aryana Naylor and Treshondra Williams were able to finish around the basket with the Knights unable to stop either of them.

Williams finished with 14 points and Naylor with 11.

“They were too big inside for us,” Gigante said. “We knew we could play with their guards, but we just didn’t know if we could play inside with them. Tonight proved that we just couldn’t.”

In her final game as a Knight, Grace Murray led her team in scoring with 13 points. The senior finishes her four-year varsity career having notched over 1,000 points. Her coached called her a wonderful student and a great leader in the community. 

“She’s a skill kid and skill kids make it look easy,” Gigante said. “The other kids in practice, they try to emulate that kind of skill. She’s just a great example of skill for our other kids to see that and try to copy that.”

Fellow senior Grace Kruszewski ran into foul trouble early in the third quarter during the Hamady loss and finished the game with 2 points. No matter the points total, Kruszewski is a player that will give nothing short of a top-tier effort in each and every game, according to her coach.

“She brings the same things off the court that Grace Murray does,” Gigante said. “She’s one of those kids on the floor that you want your kids to watch because it’s nothing but hustle, that’s how she goes. She never stops, and she’s a real example of that kind of fight in a kid.”

In the four years Kruszewski and Murray donned the Knights jersey, Shrine went 62-28 overall, with the season record improving each year.

Among the accomplishments this season, the Knights captured their first regional title since 1995 and won a third straight Catholic High School League tournament championship.

“You win the league, then you win the Catholic League championship, then you win the district, then you win a regional. I mean, how can I complain about that season,” Gigante said. “When you think about the season going in and what you want for your children, I really couldn’t have asked for much more. It was a great season.”

The Knights will return 13 players next year including Allison LaPoint, Hanna Groth, Regan Smith and Clara North who all saw significant minutes this season. Overall, Gigante is optimistic.

“We’ve got some good stuff coming up,” he said. “We’re going to be OK.”

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