The Country Day Yellowjackets advanced to the Class B girls basketball state championship by eliminating the defending champion Marshall Redhawks 46-42 Friday evening at the Breslin Center. The win moves Country Day to 25-1 overall and to their 16th championship appearance with chance to add a 12th title. Marshall finishes at 23-3, ending the high school basketball careers of five tremendous seniors.
The first quarter saw eight lead changes with Marshall finishing the frame ahead, 19-17. They had the game’s largest lead of six-points in the second and didn’t trail until Destiny Pitts sank a three-pointer at the buzzer for a 27-25 Yellowjacket halftime lead. Country Day stayed ahead in a defensive 6-5 third quarter as both teams dealt with players in foul trouble. The Redhawks briefly took the lead twice in the fourth quarter, but Country Day finished at the free throw line for the win.
Pitts topped the Yellowjackets with 13 points, followed by Tylar Bennett with 10. Marshall’s Nikki Tucker and Jill Konkle scored 13 each. They, along with fellow seniors Georgianna Pratley and sisters Carlee and Taryn Long, finish their high school basketball careers with a championship and semifinal appearance.
For Country Day to win their 12th title, they’ll have to knock off another defending state champion, as last year’s Class C winner Arbor Prep moved to 27-0 by defeating Freeland 54-47. The Class B final is Saturday evening at 6 p.m.
Listen back to the semifinal contest below
Listen live Friday evening on Michigan Sports Radio to the first Class B MHSAA girls basketball state semifinal between the Marshall Redhawks and Detroit Country Day Yellowjackets. The game is set for 6 p.m. from the Breslin Center at Michigan State University with the winner advancing to the championship Saturday at 6 p.m.
Marshall is the defending class B champion and sits at 23-2 overall. Their 2017 postseason has mirrored their 2016 run to this point, defeating the same five teams to start; Comstock, Harper Creek, Lakeshore, Otsego, and Grand Rapids Catholic Central. Tuesday’s 49-27 over GRCC avenged one of their two regular season losses.
For Country Day, they’re 24-1 overall with postseason victories over Pontiac Notre Dame Prep, Macomb Lutheran North, Clawson, Croswell-Lexington, Goodrich, and Detroit Mumford. No girls basketball coach in Michigan has seen more success than Frank Orlando, who has a state-record 760 victories and 11 championships since taking over the program in 1981. The Yellowjackets fell to Grand Rapids South Christian in the semifinals last season. Two seasons ago, they claimed their most recent title.
Both teams have an average margin-of-victory around 28 points per game, although they’ve taken different paths to get there. Country Day’s offense is averaging a stellar 68.1 points per game while allowing 40.2. Marshall’s defense is holding teams to 30.5 per contest, while scoring 58.1 on average. The Redhawk offense is led by first-team all state senior Nikki Tucker, averaging 15.1 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. Country Day has two first-team all state players, led by the Class B player-of-the-year in senior Destiny Pitts and her 22.7 points per game. The other, junior Kaela Webb, scores 14.6 per game.
Listen to the semifinal contest live on Michigan Sports Radio with tip off scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday. The winner plays in the championship Saturday at 6 p.m. against Freeland or Arbor Prep, who meet in their semifinal at 7:50 p.m. Friday. Both squads enter their semi at 26-0. Arbor Prep is the defending Class C state champion, while Freeland is looking for their first ever title, having made it to the final once in 1998.