WILLIAMSTON, Mich (WLNS) – The Lansing Catholic girls basketball team is one of the youngest teams still standing in the Michigan High School Athletic Association playoffs. With 12 girls on the roster, six of them are freshmen but they don’t let the big lights of playoff basketball blind them from the task at hand.
In the Regional Semifinal round against Chelsea, it was the Cougars’ freshman who led them to victory. Freshman guards Anna Richards and Gabby Halliwill led all scorers as Richards finished with 15 points and Halliwill finished with a game-high 17 points. Sophomore guard Hannah Pricco was right behind them with 14 points of her own.
While the accolades for offense are always admirable, it was the Cougars’ 1-3-1 zone defense that made the difference and led to them having an 18 point lead at halftime. In the second half, the Cougars’ defensive pressure continued and led to offensive fast breaks that extended their lead to 22 points by the end of the third quarter.
The fourth quarter was more of the same that was seen as game as Chelsea struggled to get the ball to their bigger players who were set up closer to the basket. Lansing Catholic would go on to win the Regional Semifinal, 64-32.
After the game we asked the Cougars’ Richards and head coach Kacee Reid what part of their game they were most proud of.
“We were able to play really good defense and talk to each other,” said Richards. “When we were in the 1-3-1 (zone defense) we were able to get good traps and steals and then on offense just pressing the ball around and sharing it with everyone looking for the open player.”
“It’s amazing for me that you know just two nights ago the game plan might have been all man-to-man (defense) and a different type of a thing and they can just switch gears and do it just as effectively,” said Reid. “You know the old cliché that defense wins championships and we bought into that. They really are a good defensive team especially considering how young they are and I think that again gets us some wins.”
The Cougars will have 48 hours to restructure their defense before taking on Parma Western on Wednesday at Williamston. Tip off for that game is set for 7 p.m.