“It was just a nightmare,” Buccaneers’ coach Katie Kowalczyk-Fulmer, referring to Tuesday’s double-overtime victory against East Lansing. “Everything that could have went wrong for us, went wrong. But in the tournament, you survive and advance, and we feel very fortunate to win. We can play so much better.”
The No. 1-ranked Bucs (25-1), who reached the state semifinals a year ago, will need to play better on Friday as they meet defending state champion and No. 9-ranked Inkster (20-5) in the Class A semifinals. That game will tip off at 1 p.m. Friday at the Breslin Student Event Center in East Lansing.
“I’ve seen them on tape, seen some of their games on the Internet, and obviously, they’re a team that has a lot of tournament experience,” Kowalczyk-Fulmer said. They’ve got two starters back, grew athletes, a 6-4 girl, athletic guards.”
Kowalczyk-Fulmer’s biggest concern is 6-1 senior Kelsey Mitchell. She’s the daughter of coach Ollie Mitchell and is Inkster’s all-time leader in scoring (2,013 career points) and rebounds (1,492). She has 62 career triple-doubles, earning a scholarship to the University of Michigan.
“She’s 6-1, but she plays like she’s 6-8,” Ollie Mitchell said. “She’s a great leaper, a great all-around player.”
Mitchell said his team likes to push the tempo.
“We’re a helter-skelter team with control,” he said. “We like to get up and down the floor, but don’t you dare think we can’t get into a half-court set and run our offense.”
Mitchell is most concerned with Buccaneers’ guard Shar’Rae Davis, a player he knows very well. Davis played on the Adidas Top 10 AAU team with several of Inkster’s players over the summer.
“It makes it worse because we know her,” Mitchell joined. “Shar’Rae is a tremendous player. I would much rather not know her and be surprised. We know she’s going to show up for this game. She’s a great player. She’s a tremendous perimeter shooter, and she was our best defender this summer.”
Read more of this story in today's print edition or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.