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GIRLS' BASKETBALL: Stellar Flat Rock season reaches end in regional finals (PHOTO)
A sad Flat Rock bench can see the end of the season coming during the latter stages of Thursday night’s regional championship game at Ladywood High School in Livonia. Ladywood won 48-34 and advanced to the Class B state quarterfinals. Flat Rock finished its best girls’ basketball season ever with a record of 22-2 and Huron League and district titles.
In a contest that redefined “letting them play,” the Catholic League champion Ladywood Blazers outslugged the visiting Huron League champ Flat Rock Rams 48-34.
The loss ended the greatest girls’ basketball season in Flat Rock history. The Rams won a league title and a district title and shattered the school record for wins in a season with their final 22-2 record. The old record for wins was 18.
The game wasted little time in heating up as each team ran the floor and converted scoring chances in the first quarter.
Ladywood tried to press the Rams in the full court but soon found that did not work. The Rams scored a number of easy baskets and matched the Blazers nearly bucket-for-bucket.
Ladywood led 15-14 at the end of the first period and when Flat Rock scored the first four points of the second quarter to take a three-point lead, it seemed the battle was engaged.
But the Rams went cold and Blazers heated up.
Flat Rock went scoreless the last four minutes of the first half as the Blazers grabbed a 27-18 lead at the break. When the Blazers came out and scored the first eight of the fourth quarter, Flat Rock’s fate was sealed.
“I thought a couple of times we were going to cut (Ladywood’s lead) to 10 and get back in it, but we missed some bunnies and some open shots,” said Flat Rock Coach Marc Villemure. “Ladywood is such a good team with such strong guards and that when they are up 12 or more, it’s tough to come back.”
Ladywood’s win was powered by the twin tandem of Shelby Walsh and fearless guard Andy Anastos, who each had 18 points.
The two players could not be more different and that what makes the Blazers tough to deal with.
Anastos is a hard-nose guard who loves to take the ball to the basket. The physical nature of the game fit her style to a tee.
Walsh is a perimeter floater, who had six three-point shots, each a dagger to the heart of Flat Rock’s chances. In all, 30 of Ladywood’s 48 points came on its 10 triples.
“The one thing we were worried about was them shooting the lights out like they did Tuesday (in a regional win over River Rouge) and that’s what they did again,” said Villemure. “They are a good team; hat’s off to them.”
Only three other Ladywood players scored and only one had as many as seven points.
Flat Rock went nearly eight minutes at the end of the second quarter and thee start of the third without scoring a point and that ultimately did the Rams in. Flat Rock’s three-point shooting ability – so good and so deadly in its regional semifinal win over Ida Tuesday – failed it against Ladywood. Although the Rams hoisted a number of shots from beyond the arc, they made just two.
“We seemed to lose our confidence for a while,” said Villemure.
Paige Villemure led Flat Rock with 11 points. Haley Boyer had six, all in the first period as a result of the Flat Rock press break. Breanna Keethler added five.
The game was the last high school game for Boyer, Keethler, Talia Gibson, Raeanne Highers, Morgan Schalm, Morgan Kaiser and Samantha Murphy.
That group helped put the Rams back on the map with district championships in two of the last three seasons.
Last Updated: 3/7/2013 11:13:15 PM EST