Newaygo vs. Detroit Country Day
Van Andel Arena 3pm Wednesday
By Ken De Laat
Ok, one can imagine those 13 state championship banners Country Day owns might be a bit intimidating. Their last one came in 2018 and a year later the Coach (Frank Orlando) that mentored those 13 state champs retired.
And despite that collection of hardware consider that none of those teams will be taking the floor Wednesday afternoon.
The Yellow Jackets are young and led by 6 foot senior Chelsea Abulu (#32) who has been described as a ‘walking double double’ with her rugged play in the paint.
Freshman Jaidyn Elam (#11) can splash it in from all over the court and sophomore Aysia Yokley (#3) is skillful at the point.
The Lions are really on a roll. They have dispatched the #2 team in the state rankings and the #7 before that. Wayland came in as OK Gold champs and sent a strong South Christian team and Wolverine Conference top dog Plainwell to the sidelines before getting dismantled by the Lions.
This one should be a barnburner. A big game, a big venue and a lot on the line since the winner heads to East Lansing to take on the survivor of Portland/Parma West
And how fun would it be to have Newaygo and Portland in a rematch of the only blemish on what has been a truly remarkable season for these gutsy gritty young women who wear the black and white?
But it won’t come easy. The ‘Jackets are fast, they pressure well and can really shoot the ball. And though a mostly young team, those players chose to attend a school with a lengthy tradition of athletic excellence, a tradition attracts talent to their doors.
And yet there is a good deal of talent that wasn’t drawn to Newaygo because of the athletic tradition, but by geography alone.
Their names are Jaylee Long, Jaxi Long, Anna Brummel, Lily Swinehart, Grace Painter, Kayla Fisk, Lily Ruehmeier, and Emmerson Goodin
.And regardless of what happens over the next few days…
These young women are champions.