2017-03-16 / Sports

St. Ignace Saints Girls Capture Regional Class C Championship Title

By Kevin R. Hess


The St. Ignace Saints captured the 2017 Class C Marquette Regional Championship Thursday, March 9, with a 50-47 win over the Calumet Copper Kings. Pictured here, accepting the championship trophy, are (from left): Keshia Davis, Tessa Shepard, Jordan Belleville, Jessie Frazier, Kiara Bishop, and Madison Olsen. The Saints will travel to Gaylord High School for a quarterfinal matchup against Maple City Glen Lake Tuesday, March 14 at 7 p.m. (Photographs by Jason Juno, Daily Globe/Ironwood) The St. Ignace Saints captured the 2017 Class C Marquette Regional Championship Thursday, March 9, with a 50-47 win over the Calumet Copper Kings. Pictured here, accepting the championship trophy, are (from left): Keshia Davis, Tessa Shepard, Jordan Belleville, Jessie Frazier, Kiara Bishop, and Madison Olsen. The Saints will travel to Gaylord High School for a quarterfinal matchup against Maple City Glen Lake Tuesday, March 14 at 7 p.m. (Photographs by Jason Juno, Daily Globe/Ironwood) The St. Ignace Saints captured their eighth straight regional championship with a 50-47 win over the Calumet Copper Kings during the Class C Regional final in Marquette Thursday, March 9. The game was tight throughout, but in the end it was the Saints making just enough plays to advance to the quarterfinals. The game came down to a three-point attempt by Calumet after St. Ignace missed some free throws that would have iced the game, and then turned it over with just under five seconds left. Fortunately for the Saints, the shot fell short, giving the Saints the regional title.


Kiara Bishop (from left), Linnie Gustafson, and Tessa Shepard embrace on the court after defeating the Calumet Copper Kings 50-47, to capture the regional title of the 2017 Class C Girls Basketball tournament. The Saints will travel to Gaylord to face Maple City Glen Lake in the quarterfinals Tuesday, March 14, for a trip to the Breslin Center. Kiara Bishop (from left), Linnie Gustafson, and Tessa Shepard embrace on the court after defeating the Calumet Copper Kings 50-47, to capture the regional title of the 2017 Class C Girls Basketball tournament. The Saints will travel to Gaylord to face Maple City Glen Lake in the quarterfinals Tuesday, March 14, for a trip to the Breslin Center. “We, as a team, must make more free throws and take care of the ball better, but our effort has never been better than it was for these two regional games,” said Saints Coach Dorene Ingalls. “We now have a chance to make it back to the Breslin (at Michigan State University) and our effort is a huge factor.”

The game was back-and-forth throughout with both teams taking turns holding the lead. Calumet led by four after the first quarter (14- 10), and led by as much as eight in the second quarter (21-13) before the Saints started to chip away. Back-to-back three-pointers by sophomore Madison Olsen cut the lead to two, at 21-19. St. Ignace used a 10-0 run overall to take a brief lead, 23-21 before a threepointer in the final seconds by Calumet gave them the one-point advantage at halftime.

St. Ignace had a strong third quarter, regaining the lead and taking a 37-33 advantage in to the final quarter. A combination of the Saints’ defense and foul trouble for Calumet limited the Copper Kings to just nine third-quarter points. Saints freshman Tessa Shepard continued to shine defensively, backing up her six-steal game in Tuesday’s regional game with seven in the championship game.

St. Ignace took their biggest lead at 42-33 early into the fourth quarter before Calumet began making a late run. The Copper Kings slowly chipped away at the lead, closing the gap to two, 47-45, with a pair of free throws. A free throw and layup by sophomore Emily Coveyou, after a great assist from senior Jordan Belleville, put the Saints ahead by five, 50-45.

“Emily was such a warrior,” said Coach Ingalls. “She had an injured knee and Jade (Edelman) was also banged up, but they logged the most minutes as they don’t come off the court often. Jade had two huge steals late that helped seal the victory.”

Calumet’s Hailey Wickstrom grabbed an offensive rebound and put it back in to cut the St. Ignace lead to three with 11 seconds remaining. Four missed free throws, and a late turnover gave Calumet the final shot to try and tie the game and send it to overtime. The shot came up short and the celebration began for the Saints.

“I’m proud of the way the team kept after it, even when things weren’t easy,” said Coach Ingalls. “Tessa played great defensively in two very close games. It was also great to see Jordan hitting her threes. She was sick on Tuesday, but came back on fire Thursday. Linnie (Gustafson) had a great regional and showed how much she wanted to win. Keshia (Davis) had strong rebounding game in the final and drained 5/6 free throws overall.”

Linnie Gustafson led the Saints in scoring with 14, followed by Belleville with 13. Niina Anderson led the Copper Kings with 12.

St. Ignace (22-2) will face Maple City Glen Lake in the quarterfinals at Gaylord, Tuesday, March 14, at 7 p.m.

Saints statistics: Linnie Gustafson, 14 points, 10 rebounds, five blocks. Jordan Belleville, 13 points (4/7 3FG), Emily Coveyou, six points, six rebounds, four assists. Jade Edelman, six points, eight rebounds, five assists. Madison Olsen, six points. Keshia Davis, five points, 12 rebounds. Tessa Shepard, six rebounds, seven steals.

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