Traverse City St. Francis Falls to Ypsilanti Arbor Prep in Class C Title Game

EAST LANSING – A stifling defense from top-ranked Ypsilanti Arbor Prep proved too much for the Traverse City St. Francis girls basketball team Saturday at Michigan State’s Breslin Center.

Appearing in the program’s first state final, the Gladiators dropped a 54-37 contest to the Gators for the MHSAA Class C state title.

It is Arbor Prep’s first state championship.

After holding a nine-point, 39-30 lead after three quarters, the Gators (25-2) led by as many 18 with five minutes remaining in regulation.

“At halftime I thought we were okay, we certainly didn’t play well at all and we weren’t down by that much,” St. Francis coach Keith Haske said. “I’m super proud of the girls for hanging around, we had a lot of reasons not to be in that game and we hung around for a long, long time. I’m proud of that and just thought they played a really, really great defensive game, a defense we haven’t seen before.”

Arbor Prep’s press forced 29 Gladiator turnovers, leading to 33 points.

Senior forward Annie Lyman led the Gladiators with a game-high 15 points, while fellow senior Lauren McDonnell chipped in with 10 points and six rebounds.

Junior Juliana Phillips nearly registered a double-double with nine points and 10 rebounds.

“I’m just so proud of our team and what we’ve accomplished this year together,” Phillips said. “This is as far as you can make it in the season and we’re all pretty sad it’s over but super proud of what we did.”

Nastassja Chambers paced Arbor Prep with 14 points, while Cydney Williams posted a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.

The Gladiators are set to return 11 next season.

St. Francis ends its season at 26-2.

“I told them earlier in the year that, what I’ve been through, every day is a gift, every practice is a gift, every game is a gift, but more importantly every one of them is a gift.,” Haske said. “I can only tell you we’re disappointed that we lost but just being a part of this today is a bigger gift than any of you will probably ever feel or know. It’s an amazing experience to bond with a group of kids and just know we love each other."