King's 3-point shooting has the Lady Crusaders in finalBasketball  |
East Lansing – St. Johns defeated some of the state’s top teams to reach its first state semifinal since 1997. The Redwings, unranked all season, knocked off top-ranked and tournament favorite Saginaw Heritage in a region final and defeated No. 7-ranked Flushing in a district final but they never faced a team that began a game as quickly as Detroit King.
King made its first three 3-point attempts and had six in the first nine minutes. Add King’s tenacious defensive style of play and the combination was too much for the Redwings.
Mecaela Kelly made King’s first two 3-pointers and scored 18 points to lead the Lady Crusaders to a 56-48 victory over St. Johns in a Class A semifinal at the Breslin Center on Friday.
King (24-1) will play Warren Cousino (22-4) for the title on Saturday at noon. Cousino defeated Hudsonville, 60-45, in the second semifinal.
It will be King’s 12th state-final appearance, a Class A record. The Lady Crusaders have won five titles.
“I wanted to get off fast,” Kelly said. “I hadn’t seen this team play so we wanted to get the lead early.”
Tia Tedford made King’s third 3-pointer and King led 9-3. King led 24-17 at halftime and 37-28 after three quarters. The Lady Crusaders never trailed.
“It always helps,” longtime King coach William Winfield said of his team’s 3-pointers. “We rely on Kelly and Tedford to hit our 3-pointers. We were off and running.
“If you’re a 3-point shooting team you have your highs and lows. We did an excellent job of doing our select 3-point shooting.
“And they played with poise. We did get a little sloppy at the end. That was my fault.”