2017-03-23 / Sports

St. Ignace Saints Fall to Glen Lake Lakers in the Quarterfinals, End Season 22-3

By Kevin R. Hess


Senior Jordan Belleville looks for a teammate in the first quarter of the Saints’ quarterfinal matchup against Glen Lake. Glen Lake’s defense put the clamps on St. Ignace, defeating them 63-52 Tuesday, March 14, at Gaylord High School. Belleville scored two points in her final game for the Saints. Senior Jordan Belleville looks for a teammate in the first quarter of the Saints’ quarterfinal matchup against Glen Lake. Glen Lake’s defense put the clamps on St. Ignace, defeating them 63-52 Tuesday, March 14, at Gaylord High School. Belleville scored two points in her final game for the Saints. This season marked the eighth consecutive regional title for the St. Ignace Saints girls basketball team. In six of the previous seven years, the Saints advanced to the semifinals in East Lansing. The only time they did not advance was last year, when they lost in the quarterfinal round to Traverse City St. Francis. Tuesday, March 14, they returned to the place where last season ended, Gaylord High School, looking for redemption. Standing in the way were the 22-3 Glen Lake Lakers. Both schools were well represented by their fans in a raucous atmosphere inside Gaylord’s gymnasium. After a hard-fought game that saw multiple ties and lead changes, girls fighting for every possession, and players and coaches expending every ounce of energy they had, Glen Lake came out the victor, scoring a 63-52 win over the Saints.


St. Ignace fans made the 65-mile trip to Gaylord to cheer on the Saints in their quarterfinal match against the Glen Lake Lakers. Here, the fans stand as the Saints come out of the locker room to start the second half. The crowd was loud and energized, doing everything they could to lift the team to victory. In the end, the Saints fell short, losing 63-52, but the fans showed their support, even in defeat. St. Ignace fans made the 65-mile trip to Gaylord to cheer on the Saints in their quarterfinal match against the Glen Lake Lakers. Here, the fans stand as the Saints come out of the locker room to start the second half. The crowd was loud and energized, doing everything they could to lift the team to victory. In the end, the Saints fell short, losing 63-52, but the fans showed their support, even in defeat. Glen Lake scored first, controlling the tip and driving in for two, just seconds into the game. St. Ignace came right back with five straight. One of the few areas where the Saints struggled this year was the free throw line. That was not the case on this night. St. Ignace made 7-7 from the line in the first quarter, including 6-6 by junior Linnie Gustafson. They led by as much as seven, 16-9, before the Lakers hit a three to close the gap to 16-12 at the end of the first quarter.


St. Ignace sophomore Emily Coveyou looks to pass to junior Keshia Davis in the second quarter of the Saints’ quarterfinal game against Glen Lake. Coveyou scored 14 points and had 10 rebounds, while Davis scored one. Glen Lake defeated St. Ignace 63-52 Tuesday, March 14, to advance to their first semifinal since 1995. It’s the second consecutive year that the Saints’ season ended in the quarterfinal round at Gaylord. They finished the season 22-3. St. Ignace sophomore Emily Coveyou looks to pass to junior Keshia Davis in the second quarter of the Saints’ quarterfinal game against Glen Lake. Coveyou scored 14 points and had 10 rebounds, while Davis scored one. Glen Lake defeated St. Ignace 63-52 Tuesday, March 14, to advance to their first semifinal since 1995. It’s the second consecutive year that the Saints’ season ended in the quarterfinal round at Gaylord. They finished the season 22-3. Junior Keshia Davis was whistled for two fouls just minutes into the first quarter, forcing the Saints to sit her longer than they would have liked in the first half. Glen Lake took advantage inside and used a 7- 0 run from the end of the first quarter into the opening minutes of the second to tie the game at 16, before a 3-pointer by Jade Edelman stopped the run. Four straight points by the Lakers gave them their first lead since 2-0 in the opening seconds. The second quarter saw two ties and three lead changes. St. Ignace struggled in the second, scoring only six points on two field goals and a free throw. Glen Lake outscored the Saints 15-6 in the second quarter and went into halftime with a 27-22 lead.

Glen Lake came out in the third and converted a basket and foul for the traditional three-point play to stretch the lead to eight. St. Ignace was unable to capitalize on shot opportunities close to the basket, and committed too many turnovers. The Glen Lake defense was stout, making St. Ignace work hard for their shots, causing the Saints to rush when they were open. The Saints players showed their frustrations on the court. The teams traded baskets, with St. Ignace unable to cut into the lead. Glen Lake outscored the Saints 15-14 in the third quarter to lead 42-36 heading into the final frame.

The Lakers quickly extended the lead to 10 before St. Ignace made one final run. Missed free throws by Glen Lake helped to keep the Saints in the game. St. Ignace hit 17-20 free throws on the night, giving themselves a chance to come back. The two teams traded baskets for much of the quarter, with Glen Lake recording their biggest lead of 55- 44, led by the outside shooting of junior guard Savannah Peplinski and the inside presence of sophomore center Kaitlyn Schaub, whose size gave the Saints troubles all game long. But St. Ignace showed why they are a perennial contender for state titles by going on an 8-0 run, cutting the lead to 55-52. The run was keyed by three-pointers from sophomore Madison Olsen and freshman Tessa Shepard. But those would be the final points of the game for St. Ignace. Gustafson, the Saints’ leading scorer, fouled out with 3:20 left in the game, and Glen Lake hit their free throws when they counted most. Reality began to set in, as tears of joy flowed on the Glen Lake bench, and tears of heartache on the Saints’. Senior captains Jade Edelman and Jordan Belleville received one final cheer of appreciation from the fans as they exited the game late. Bench players from both sides entered the game, playing out the remaining seconds. As the buzzer sounded, St. Ignace’s season ended for the second year in a row at Gaylord, just one game short of a trip to East Lansing.

The effort for the Saints was championship-level, but Glen Lake was simply the better team on this night.

“They have a very athletic, physical team, and they locked down on us defensively and made it difficult,” said St. Ignace Coach Dorene Ingalls. “We had a good effort, but they have four good guard and two post (players). They were the better team.”

Although the Saints did not achieve their ultimate goal, it was still a season of which they can be proud.

“I am very proud of these girls,” said Coach Ingalls. “We made it to the final week and although we fell one game short of the final four, we had a great season. It was one heck of a ride.”

She also reflected on the careers of her two seniors, Jordan Belleville and Jade Edelman.

“Our seniors were amazing,” she said. “I’m so proud of everything Jordan and Jade have accomplished in their four years of playing for the Lady Saints; they have definitely left their mark on St. Ignace basketball history.”

Throughout their careers, Belleville and Edelman were part of four regional championships, two final four appearances, one state runner-up, and a state championship in 2015.

Even with the loss of the two seniors, the team’s future is bright.

“The returnees are excited to start the next journey and after this weekend they realize the hard work ahead. We are looking forward to earning it every day,” said Coach Ingalls, mentioning the strong fan support all year.

Glen Lake coach Jason Bradford knew it was going to take their best effort if they were to defeat the Saints.

“We knew it was going to take 32 minutes of intense basketball. (St. Ignace) has the tradition that we are trying to implement for Glen Lake girls’ basketball. Their team is disciplined and extremely athletic,” he said.

This was Glen Lake’s first trip to the semifinals since 1995. They lost in the first game of the semifinals to Pewamo-Westphalia, 64-51.

Linnie Gustafson (17 points, 12 rebounds) and sophomore Emily Coveyou (14 points, 10 rebounds) both tallied double-doubles for the Saints. Coveyou did so while nursing a knee injury she’s had throughout the postseason. Peplinski led Glen Lake with 23 points and 11 rebounds, followed by Jennifer LaCross with 11 points and Kaitlyn Schaub with 10.

Saints statistics: Linnie Gustafson, 17 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, three blocks; Emily Coveyou, 14 points, 10 rebounds; Jade Edelman, 12 points, six rebounds; Madison Olsen, three points; Tessa Shepard, three points, three steals; Jordan Belleville, two points; Keshia Davis, one point, seven rebounds.

Team: 85% (17-20) free throws; 28% (16-57) field goals; 18% (3- 17) 3-point field goals; 42 rebounds; nine assists; 10 steals; and seven blocks.

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