Newaygo Ends Historic Run in Division 2 State Title Game

EAST LANSING – The Newaygo girls basketball team saw its historic campaign come to an end with a 52-32 loss to Portland in the MHSAA Division 2 state championship Friday at the Breslin Center.

Portland (20-2) held a slim 9-8 lead after the opening quarter and stretched its lead to 20-12 at the half. The Raiders pulled away in the third, taking a 42-25 lead to the fourth.

The state championship is Portland’s first.

Ashley Bower paced the Raiders with a game-high 20 points, three rebounds, assists and two blocks while Ava Guilford and Alivia Densmore tallied 12 points apiece.

Emmerson Goodin, Jaylee Long and Anna Brummel scored eight points apiece to lead the Lions who shot 20.9% (9-for-43) from the field and were outscored 24-8 in the paint.

“These girls have done something that hasn’t been done in a long time. It’s not easy,” Newaygo coach Nate Thomasma said. “They made a really long run and I’m beyond proud.”

Newaygo was making its first state finals appearance since winning consecutive Class C state championships in 1984-85.

Several players from Newaygo’s two state championship teams were in attendance Friday.

“We’re just so proud of them for making it here,” said Erica Boyd, who played on the 1984 and 1985 championships teams. “They play really scrappy defense, so it’s fun to watch. Nate’s (Thomasma) done a really great job with them.”

“They draw our town together in all the support,” added Kristan Mast, who played on the 1984 title team. “Same with Erica (Boyd), I didn’t teach high school, but I taught all these girls. It’s a personal interest also and a nostalgia of our old teams.”

Newaygo graduates three seniors from a squad that went 21-2 this year, finished undefeated in Central State Activities Association Gold play and won its first regional title in 36 years.

Categories: Girls Basketball