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Division 3 final: Gabrielle Lutchka's 3-point shooting lifts Grass Lake over Kent City


East Lansing — Gabrielle Lutchka made sure she got No. 5 Grass Lake going in the right direction in the Division 3 state title game Friday at the Breslin Center, knocking down multiple 3-pointers to put her team on its way to a 52-50 win over No. 10 Kent City.

Lutchka made three 3-pointers during a pivotal 19-5 run to turn a 16-9 deficit into a 28-21 lead with 1:34 left in the first half and Grass Lake never looked back. It built a 12-point lead early in the third quarter before holding on to earn the right to lift the championship trophy.

“Gabby’s 3-point shooting certainly got us going,” Grass Lake coach Andrea Cabana said. “Gabby is a very high percentage 3-point shooter. She currently holds the MHSAA record from last season, which is 16 (3s) in one game, so she is certainly one of our top shooters. We as a team are a very high percentage shooting team, shoot over 40% from the 3-point line, and it's certainly something that we pride ourselves on.”

High school players, boys and girls, have had trouble shooting on the big stage at Breslin but not Lutchka, who once scored 56 points in a game and made those 16 3s last season against Manchester.

Lutchka and Grass Lake had little time to adjust since it didn't play in a semifinal game Wednesday in East Lansing due to Hemlock opting out due to COVID issues.

“We played at Ypsilanti Lincoln. It’s the same type of thing with a bunch of space behind the hoop, so I was kind of used to it from our quarterfinal game there,” said Lutchka, who finished with 14 points, seven rebounds, five assists and four made 3-pointers.

So, why did Grass Lake have so much trouble with Kent City early on?

“Kent City is a phenomenal team,” Cabana said. “They have great players. They are very disciplined, lots of back screens and screening away which requires us to be extremely disciplined on defense. It took us a minute to find a defense that would work on them and once we did it got a little bit easier, but definitely proud of the girls for adjusting to it.”

Cabana put together a tough schedule to prepare Grass Lake for the championship run, defeating Detroit Renaissance, Harper Woods Chandler Park and Ypsilanti Prep while suffering its lone loss to No. 1 Detroit Edison.

“Our philosophy is we want to play the best to see how good we really are,” Cabana said. “We want to be pushed to our limit. Teams like that will expose every weakness you have and we were able to work on things that need to be adjusted for big games like this.”

Grass Lake shot 44.4% from the field, with 5-foot-10 junior guard Lexus Bargesser recording 16 points and 10 rebounds and senior guard Abrie Cabana scoring 10.

Jenna Harrison scored 16 and Kenzie Bowers had 13 points, six rebounds and five assists for Kent City.

david.goricki@detroitnews.com