2016-12-01 / Sports

St. Ignace Middle School Girls Basketball Teams Record Successful Seasons

By Erich T. Doerr


The St. Ignace eighth grade girls basketball team posted an undefeated 12-0 record this season. The team is pictured together here before the start of its season-ending Monday, November 21, game against Engadine that they went on to win 61-16. The team members pictured here include (back, from left) Coach Brian Olsen, Nakiya Kingsbury, Skylar Dumas, Jayde Fraser, Monique Engle, Lyla Horn, Missy Wyers; (front) Bella Zaragoza, Marlee Huskey, Chloe Convery, Hallie Marshall, Regan Mortensen, Maizey Brown, Emmalee Hart, and Jerzie Belleville. Addison Cheeseman is not pictured. The St. Ignace eighth grade girls basketball team posted an undefeated 12-0 record this season. The team is pictured together here before the start of its season-ending Monday, November 21, game against Engadine that they went on to win 61-16. The team members pictured here include (back, from left) Coach Brian Olsen, Nakiya Kingsbury, Skylar Dumas, Jayde Fraser, Monique Engle, Lyla Horn, Missy Wyers; (front) Bella Zaragoza, Marlee Huskey, Chloe Convery, Hallie Marshall, Regan Mortensen, Maizey Brown, Emmalee Hart, and Jerzie Belleville. Addison Cheeseman is not pictured. The 2016 St. Ignace Middle School girls basketball season was a success for both the school’s seventh and eighth grade teams. The eighth grade team defeated all challengers as it posted a perfect 12-0 record for the season, while the seventh grade team came close to that feat with a 10-2 record.

The eighth grade team completed its unbeaten season Monday, November 21, by defeating Engadine 61-16 at home. Its closest games this year came against Newberry, with the Saints able to pull out the victory both times they met. The team’s success this season followed the 11-1 record posted by last season’s eighth graders.


The St. Ignace seventh grade girls basketball team had a strong 2016 season, as it posted a 10-2 record. The Saints are pictured here at halftime of the season-ending game Monday, November 21, against Engadine that they went on to win. The team members pictured here include (back, from left) Riley O’Rourke, Skylar Seccia, Alicia Sheber, Leah Haw, Brooke Brandstrom, Ellie Colegrove, Coach Robin Kissinger; (front) Ella Adams, Alexia Pemble, Helena St. Onge-Kissinger, Kylee Peters, Morgan Odle, and Mariana Zaragoza. Ariana Getchell and Skyler Musick are not pictured. The St. Ignace seventh grade girls basketball team had a strong 2016 season, as it posted a 10-2 record. The Saints are pictured here at halftime of the season-ending game Monday, November 21, against Engadine that they went on to win. The team members pictured here include (back, from left) Riley O’Rourke, Skylar Seccia, Alicia Sheber, Leah Haw, Brooke Brandstrom, Ellie Colegrove, Coach Robin Kissinger; (front) Ella Adams, Alexia Pemble, Helena St. Onge-Kissinger, Kylee Peters, Morgan Odle, and Mariana Zaragoza. Ariana Getchell and Skyler Musick are not pictured. This lineup for the eighth grade Saints this year included Addison Cheeseman, Chloe Convery, Regan Mortensen, Emmalee Hart, Marlee Huskey, Hallie Marshall, Maizey Brown, Lyla Horn, Monique Engle, Missy Wyers, Jerzie Belleville, Nakiya Kingsbury, Jayde Fraser, and Skylar Dumas. Brian Olsen continued in the head coach role for a fifth season and said this year’s team was a lot of fun to work with.

“This girls team is one of the best teams I’ve coached,” Mr. Olsen said. “They all work hard…Everyone contributed to a successful season.”

The eighth grade team overcame a number of injuries this year to find its success. When the season began, four of its players were on crutches, including some of the taller team members. The team overcame this problem as other players stepped up to fill in the gaps and the Saints focused on speed to make up the difference. St. Ignace basketball usually takes a fast-paced approach with a strong defense forcing a lot of turnovers. Mr. Olsen said the team focused on a strategy of “get the ball and go” this season.

The seventh grade girls also had a successful season as their team closed out its 10-2 season with a win Monday, November 21, against Engadine. Pickford dealt the team its only defeats this season.

The seventh grade roster this year included Ella Adams, Ariana Getchell, Skyler Musick, Alexia Pemble, Helena St. Onge- Kissinger, Brooke Brandstrom, Kylee Peters, Alicia Sheber, Skylar Seccia, Morgan Odle, Ellie Colegrove, and Leah Haw. Robin Kissinger was their coach this season, continuing a 13-year career coaching junior high sports, including at least seven years of boys and girls basketball.

“Every game, my players played really hard,” Mr. Kissinger said.

Mr. Kissinger treasured his opportunity to coach the seventh grade team again this year in particular, because Helena is his daughter. His personal connection to the team extended throughout the lineup because many of the players have been Helena’s classmates for years, so he already knew many of them.

Mr. Kissinger said both his team and the eighth grade squad excelled on defense this year. The seventh graders only allowed their opponents an average of 17 points per game. A focus on defense is a common trait between St. Ignace’s middle school and high school teams, something Mr. Kissinger is familiar with because of his role as an assistant on the varsity team, with the younger teams learning the same type of techniques as the older ones.

Mr. Olsen and Mr. Kissinger and all their players are working together to build a strong foundation for St. Ignace basketball in the years to come. Many of the players having success now in the middle school gym will suit up in the future for the Saints’ high school teams, with members of both this year’s squads likely to be teammates on upcoming varsity and junior varsity rosters.

“The future looks bright for St. Ignace basketball because of the talent we have in the seventh and eighth grades right now,” Mr. Olsen said.

“Our girls have been pretty successful,” Mr. Kissinger added, noting the seventh and eighth grade teams have only lost a combined six games throughout the last two seasons.

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