Baraga girls basketball team’s dream season ends with MHSAA Division 4 state finals’ loss to Maple City Glen Lake, 60-43

Maple City Glen Lake’s Maddie Bradford, left, falls back on a shot while defended by Baraga’s Jaycee Larson during the MHSAA Division 4 state championship girls basketball game played at Michigan State University’s Breslin Center in East Lansing on Saturday morning. (Photo courtesy MHSAA.com)

EAST LANSING — It was the tale of two halves as the MHSAA Division 4 state finals clock wound down inside the Breslin Center at Michigan State University on Saturday morning.

While Baraga posted a strong 27-22 lead by halftime, it was clear as the second half wore on that Maple City Glen Lake was going to win. The Lakers from just west of Traverse City outscored the Vikings 28-11 after halftime to earn a 60-43 victory for the state title.

“We had a great start,” Baraga coach Tyler Larson said. “I was very happy with our play. We were running our sets, and our shots were falling.”

Glen Lake (26-2) opened with a 4-0 lead but it was shortlived. The Vikings (23-6) took a 12-6 lead, before upping it to 15-6 thanks to a triple by Corina Jahfetson. And it was a 19-10 Baraga advantage after one quarter.

Baraga kept the momentum in the second quarter with Jahfetson hitting back-to-back 3-pointers to close the half still ahead 27-22.

The third period came with a definite adjustment made by the Lakers to playing in the paint as they scored 42 of their 60 points inside the key then, while Baraga finished with just 10 points there over the course of the game.

The Lakers also utilized their two 6-foot seniors, Maddie Bradford and Ruby Hogan. The pair combined for 47 of the Lakers’ 60 points, Bradford putting in 28 and Hogan 19.

“Size played a big difference in the second (half),” Larson said. “We could not match up with them in the paint, and we went cold from the floor.”

The Lakers took their second lead with 3:06 left in the third to make it 32-31 and the Vikings never would catch them again. Glen Lake led 39-32 after three quarters and outscored the Vikings 21-11 in the fourth.

Jahfetson led the Baraga scoring with 20 points, while Makenna Hendrickson followed with 14.

Despite the loss in the last game of the 2022-23 season, the Baraga girls basketball program had a historic year.

First and foremost, for the second time in as many years, the girls made it to the state final four. They faced the same team — the Fowler Eagles — each time in the semifinals but with different results. Last year, they lost to Fowler 51-45. This year they beat the Eagles 46-44 and earned Baraga’s first appearance in the state championship game.

“This has been an incredible season,” Larson said. “These girls are deserving of being here. They gave everything, not just today, but every day of this season and fought to the end. They put in the work, belief and trust in one another to get them here. As for today, the better team won.”

Jahfetson, the Player of the Year in the Copper Mountain Conference, echoed a similar sentiment on the last day of her high school basketball career.

“It means so much just to get here,” she said. “We put in so much work to be here, and we had the best season in program history. That’s something that will not be soon forgotten.”


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