Mt. Pleasant Sacred Heart Bests Stephenson in State Semis

EAST LANSING – For the second time in three years, the Mt. Pleasant Sacred Heart girls basketball team will play for a Class D state championship.

The third-ranked Irish held off eighth-ranked Stephenson for a 45-38 win Thursday evening in a Class D state semifinal at Michigan State’s Breslin Center.

The 2014 Class D state champion, Sacred Heart will face top-ranked Pittsford Saturday morning for the program’s second state title. 

The Eagles (24-3) took a 14-11 lead after the opening quarter on the heels of 7-4 run, but a Scout Nelson jumper as time expired in the second handed the Irish (24-1) a 21-20 edge at the half.

Sacred Heart led by five (33-28) after three quarters and never relinquished the lead from there.

"I think we just had to get through that first quarter, get the nerves out of the way and just think of it as a regular basketball game,” Sacred Heart head coach Damon Brown said. “I think once we did that, we settled in, our defense looked a lot better, our offense looked a lot better, and so I’m really excited about how we were able to make that adjustment there.

“One of the things I love about this team is we don’t flinch when we get in tight situations, we find a way to get it done. This team believes in each other, they believe in the coaches, so we can accomplish anything when that happens.”

Senior Averi Gamble led all scorers with 13 points and nine rebounds, while Sophie Ruggles and Nelson each chipped in 10 points apiece.

Karley Johnson pace Stephenson with 12 points.

Tip-off on Saturday is 10 a.m.