The Buccaneers are one step closer to taking care of business after holding off a late run to defeat defending state champion Inkster, 43-40, in Friday’s Class A semifinals at the Breslin.
“Last year, we were not mentally or physically prepared for that,” Buccaneers’ senior Shar’Rae Davis said. “This year, we’re all about winning. I’m not taking any other option.”
The Buccaneers will meet Grosse Pointe South for the state title today at noon. South defeated Ann Arbor Huron Friday, 44-41.
Grand Haven had its way with Inkster through three quarters. After an even first quarter, the Buccaneers burst out of the gates in the second. Alex Law hit a pair of 3-pointers and Shar’Rae Davis added a triple as the Bucs built a 23-13 halftime lead.
The Bucs’ advantage grew to as many as 14 points in the third quarter, but Inkster chipped away at the lead in the fourth with back-to-back 3-pointers to close the deficit to 42-36.
After a Grand Haven turnover, Inkster’s R’manni Gerrard powered in a basket to make it 42-38.
The Bucs had missed back-to-back free throws, leaving the door open, but Shar’Rae Davis split a pair at the line with 29 seconds left to put her team ahead 43-38. Davis then blocked an Inkster 3-point attempt with 20 seconds remaining.
The Vikings’ all-state forward Kelsey Mitchell scored with 4 seconds to play, but the Bucs threw the ball in as the final seconds ticked off the clock.
“The kids are excited,” Grand Haven coach Katie Kowalczyk-Fulmer said. “We feel like we have some unfinished business here. Obviously, last year was a heartbreaker. We’ve had a great season, and we feel we definitely belong here. The girls are excited to have a chance to bring home a state championship.”
The Buccaneers earned the win on Friday by playing their trademark outstanding defense, holding Inkster to just 18 percent shooting (4-of-22) in the first half and 25 percent (14-of-55) for the game.
Mitchell, who is heading to Michigan on a basketball scholarship next year, was shadowed all over the court by the Bucs’ Kaeding Skelton, with assistance from Hannah Wilkerson and Megan Newhouse. That trio teamed up to limit Mitchell to just nine points. Mitchell managed 11 rebounds, but only two came on the defensive end. She also turned the ball over three times.
“Obviously, I knew I had my work cut out for me,” Skelton said. “I knew she couldn’t get her hands on the ball. If that means I don’t get my hands on the ball, either, that’s fine.
“I just had to get into her, chest to chest. She’s so strong and quick. We definitely frustrated her.”
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