Gators end Lady Eagles’ dream season
BRONSON — It might not have fallen in their favor, but the Schoolcraft Lady Eagles’ basketball team went toe-to-toe with one of the best teams in the state regardless of class size in Tuesday’s Class C state quarterfinals at Bronson.
Steve Kulczyk’s Lady Eagles suffered their first loss of the season 61-55 to Ypsilanti Arbor Prep, listed as an honorable mention in the final Michigan Associated Press state poll.
“We left everything we had out on that court tonight. We knew we didn’t have to play a perfect game to win, but we had to make sure all the bases were covered. Those were making sure we stuck with them in our man-to-man defense and limiting their second and third-shot opportunities,” said Schoolcraft head coach Steve Kulczyk.
“I thought we took good shots tonight and were aggressive. We had some offense going and knocked some shots down. Not every one you take is going to go in, but free throws have been our Achilles heel all season. To beat a good team you can’t have a bad night at the free-throw line.”
Ypsilanti Arbor Prep (20-5) was everything they were advertised and so was No. 2-ranked Schoolcraft (25-1).
Arbor Prep grabbed a quick 4-0 lead off a pair of shots inside by Lasha Petree. The 6-foot-0 Petree, who finished fourth in the final voting last week for the coveted Miss Basketball Award, led the Gators in scoring with 20.
“We totally respect her (Lasha Petree). Everyone goes zone against them. This little group of girls from Schoolcraft came right at her and the rest of their team,” Kulczyk said.
Schoolcraft’s intensity on defense got the Lady Eagles’ rhythm going soon after at the offensive end. Two free throws by the Lady Eagles’ sophomore guard Gabi Saxman tied the game at 6-6.
Schoolcraft would eventually seize a two-point advantage, 10-8, thanks to Lydia Goble’s three-point field goal. Goble, who was fouled on the shot, made the free throw.
Arbor Prep’s Petree hit two charity tosses of her own and added a bucket underneath moments after to put the Gators up 12-10.
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