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Kailee Davis' late-game heroics lift Renaissance past Wayne Memorial, into state title game


East Lansing — Detroit Renaissance senior guard Kailee Davis wasn’t about to have her career come to an end without playing in a state championship game.

The 5-foot-4 senior point guard scored seven straight points in a 21-second stretch to cap off a 9-0 run, turning a seven-point deficit into a two-point lead and sending Renaissance on its way to a 75-72 win over Wayne Memorial in a Division 1 state semifinal Wednesday afternoon at the Breslin Center.

Renaissance (13-4) will face Hudsonville in Friday’s 12:30 p.m. state championship game.

Renaissance forced Wayne (17-3) into 36 turnovers, including six in the final two minutes after Eastern Michigan-bound point guard LaChelle Austin made two free throws to push Wayne’s lead to 69-62 with 2:39 left.

First, Miss PSL Shannon Wheeler made two free throws to pull Renaissance within five, then Davis knocked down a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 69-67 with 2:09 left.

Davis (Northern Kentucky) quickly stole the ball out of the press and made a layup to pull Renaissance even at 69. She followed that with another steal and two free throws for a 71-69 cushion with 1:48 remaining.

Renaissance senior guard Mikyah Finley (18 points, five steals) made two free throws before Austin banked in a 3-pointer to pull Wayne within 73-72 with 20.2 seconds left.

After Davis made two more free throws with 18.9 seconds left, she recorded her third steal in the final two minutes with 10 seconds remaining to secure the win.

“It was just about not giving up,” said Davis, who finished with 33 points, 19 coming in the fourth quarter, to go along with eight rebounds and six steals.

“I believe in my teammates and they believe in me. Once they told me to go, I just wanted to win it for them.”

Davis (9-for-23 shooting, 4-for-8 on 3s) made 11 of 14 free throws while her teammates combined to go 13-for-32 from the line. Renaissance overcame a 45-25 rebounding deficit by forcing all the turnovers and taking care of the ball, only turning it over 12 times.

Wayne coach Jarvis Mitchell had high praise for Davis, saying: “An amazing player, absolutely amazing player. She absolutely willed them to win. She made some tough shots.”

Renaissance coach Shane Lawal talked of his team’s style of play.

“It’s organized chaos,” Lawal said of his team’s fast pace and ability to force turnovers out of its pressure defense. “We believe that we can play at that speed better than you can play at that speed. If we play at that speed long enough and you play at that speed long enough, eventually you’re going to break before us.”

Renaissance set the tempo by forcing eight turnovers in the opening quarter to take a 21-8 lead, limiting Wayne to 3-for-11 shooting while taking advantage of the hot hand of Finley. She scored 11 first-quarter points and made three 3-pointers.

Renaissance extended its lead to 23-9 on Nika Dorsey’s inside shot less than a minute into the second.

Wayne regrouped and responded with a 24-10 run the rest of the half, led by Austin’s playmaking ability and the inside presence of 6-foot-3 Alanna Micheaux (Minnesota) to cut the deficit to 34-33.

Wayne carried the momentum into the second half, pushing the ball at every opportunity with Austin leading the way and Micheaux often being the beneficiary with inside baskets.

Micheaux scored 12 points during a 20-8 third-quarter run to turn a 36-33 deficit into a 53-44 lead.

It looked like Micheaux’s season was over when she suffered a serious knee injury (dislocated right kneecap) March 12. After missing several games, she returned for the regional championship game, showing she was healthy with a 24-point outing and making 10 of 12 shots in a 68-60 win over No. 4 Saline.

Micheaux was at it again in the fourth quarter, first scoring inside for a 65-60 lead, then scoring in transition for a 67-60 advantage.

But Davis would put on a show to put Renaissance in Friday’s state championship game while handing Wayne a crushing loss.

“The saying is it’s hard to stop a team that’s resilient,” Mitchell said. “Renaissance, they never gave in to emotion. They just continued to go fighting. When we thought we had them, they just kept plugging and kept plugging. When you have kids that are tough-minded, mentally strong and they won’t take no for an answer, that’s the result you get. Of course, the turnovers hurt us.”

The 36 turnovers definitely hurt Wayne, committing eight in each of the first three quarters and a dozen in the fourth.

Micheaux finished with 29 points on 13-for-20 shooting and 17 rebounds. Austin had 25 points — 13 coming in the fourth quarter — nine rebounds, seven assists and 13 turnovers against a Renaissance defense that showcases four Division 1 players.

Division 2

Newaygo 55, Detroit Country Day 39: Newaygo ended Country Day’s magical season in the state semifinals at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids.

Jerica Williams inherited a 3-18 team from a year ago and took Country Day (15-3) to a Final Four run.

Country Day did it with three freshmen and a sophomore in the starting lineup, along with 6-foot senior Chelsea Abulu, who averaged nine points and 11 rebounds this season and came away with 18 rebounds in her final game Wednesday.

Country Day stayed close and trailed 39-34 entering the fourth quarter before Newaygo’s experience took over.

“Newaygo is tough and they took us out of what we wanted to do,” Williams said. “Newaygo is older, they are veterans who have been there before. They are tough. We kept it close through the third quarter, but when you play those tough teams that want it and are prepared, they’ll withstand those runs and that’s what they did.

"They scored 22 points off of our 19 turnovers and they only turned the ball over three times. They were the better team today for sure.”

Freshman Emma Arico had 18 points and seven rebounds and freshman Jaidyn Elam added eight points and 11 rebounds for Country Day which shot 28.8% from the field and went 4-for-22 on 3-pointers.

Emmerson Goodin led Newaygo with 15 points and nine rebounds.

david.goricki@detroitnews.com

Scoreboard

Girls state semifinals

Wednesday

Division 1

At Breslin Center

East Lansing

Detroit Renaissance 75, Wayne Memorial 72

Hudsonville 49, Midland Dow 37

Division 2

At Van Andel Arena

Grand Rapids

Newaygo 55, Detroit Country Day 39

Portland 45, Parma Western 38

Division 3

At Breslin Center

East Lansing

Grass Lake 2, Hemlock 0 (uncontested)

Kent City 59, Calumet 53

Division 4

At Van Andel Arena

Grand Rapids

Fowler 61, Carney Nadeau 37

Bellaire 48, Petersburg-Summerfield 29

Boys state semifinals

Thursday

Division 1

At Breslin Center

East Lansing

Ann Arbor Huron vs. Warren De La Salle, 3

Grand Rapids Forest Hills vs. Grand Blanc, 5:30

Division 2

At Van Andel Arena

Grand Rapids

Ferndale vs. Grand Rapids Catholic Central, 3

Bridgeport vs. Battle Creek Pennfield, 5:30

Division 3

At Breslin Center

East Lansing

Hanover-Horton vs. Flint Beecher, 10 a.m.

Schoolcraft vs. Iron Mountain, 12:30

Division 4

At Van Andel Arena

Grand Rapids

Rudyard vs. Wyoming Tri-unity, 10 a.m.

Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart vs Detroit Douglass, 12:30