The Lady Skippers defeated the Kalamazoo Valley Cougars 68-62 to win the Michigan Community College Athletic Association state championship title on March 2.
The victory was SC4’s third MCCAA championship and the second championship of the season for this team, making their record 28-1.
The scores stayed close during the first half, with the Skippers carrying a five-point lead at halftime. In the second period they reached double-digit leads four times, but the Cougars fought back and managed to make it a three-point game in the final minute.
With 15 seconds remaining, Skippers guard Sheyna Deans made a three pointer as the shot clock ran down, and the last points were scored.
Skipper Heidi Highstreet had 13 points and 13 rebounds. Teisha Knott had 12 points and seven rebounds, and Deans put in 11 points and eight rebounds.
Knott said that despite being nervous going into the second half, she believed that the Skippers would come out with energy and win.
“I knew we had it. I felt like if we kept playing hard, kept getting back rebounds and then boxing out we were gonna do great,” she said.
Cougars Coach Ron Welch praised his team’s perseverance. “I’m really proud of my kids,” he said.
“You know, when they built those double digit leads on us it would have been real easy to say ‘Oh, well, we’re down two starters, and you know, we might as well give up and go home,’ but they didn’t do that.”
Welch coached his first state championship victory in the SC4 gym. “I thought maybe we’d get a little déjà vu today, but that didn’t happen,” he said, offering his congratulations to Coach Mike Groulx.
After the game, the members of the Skippers took turns cutting pieces of the net, and Groulx finished cutting it down.
Groulx said that the Skippers’ strength was in their togetherness. “Everybody has each other’s back. When somebody has an off night, somebody else steps up.”
At this point, he said, maintaining the team’s intensity in upcoming games would be key.
“I tell them this time of year it’s focus and discipline. I need to keep them focused on the prize.”