High School Sports
Lyons hits it in the clutch; Rockford wins MHSAA State Championship
East Lansing – The West Bloomfield Lakers and the Rockford Rams, facing off in a rematch of last year’s final two, but this time there would be a new team to crown as champions.
The Lakers were looking to go back-to-back, but Grace Lyons, the Wypych sisters, and the rest of Rockford had other plans. They would win the game late on a prayer three-pointer after a heart-racing fourth quarter, 40-36.
The first quarter started a bit slow for both teams, but the Lakers found themselves scoring the first four. Those four would be the only points for the first three minutes of the game.
Both teams did their homework the night before, as both the Lakers and the Rams had set up great defensive schemes for the first quarter of the game. Both teams were struggling early to score.
With just under five minutes left, Alyssa Wypych got the Rams on the board with a good take to the basket.
Stepping up the defense on the Lakers side came with a bit of risk as Kendall Hendrix, who was responsible for some early points for the Lakers, found herself in early foul trouble with two fouls in the first quarter.
With Kendall out it was time for her sister, Sydney Hendrix, to step up for the Lakers and she did, scoring four straight in the post. This is where Sydney generated most of her points during the semi-final against Salem Rock High.
This would close out the first quarter with West Bloomfield leading the scoreboard 10-4, but things would just be getting started for both teams.
The second quarter played out much differently for both teams, starting with the Lakers only being able to hit one shot the entire quarter. A nice fadeaway jumper from Indya Davis brings the Lakers to twelve, where they stayed the entire quarter.
For the Rams, things were beginning to heat up for Alyssa and Anna Wypych as they were the only two to score for the Rockford Rams in the first half. Although that may sound a bit rough they would actually lead heading into halftime 14-12.
Turn up the Pressure
The start of the third quarter introduced a new scorer for the Rams in Sienna Wolfe as she got the first bucket of the second half in an attempt to extend their lead.
Sydney Hendrix once again found herself putting in work in the paint as she scored back-to-back layups, the second to tie the game, 16-16.
Just like the first quarter, both teams came out energized and utilized all that energy toward the defensive end of the ball. Scoring slowed for a bit as both teams continued to battle back and forth.
Both Sydney and Kendall were holding things down in the paint for the Lakers, but once again their defense came with risks and Anna Wypych picked up a pair at the charity stripe.
The Rams would hold onto their lead early in the third, that is until they let Kendall Hendrix score from where she is most comfortable, the post. Hendrix found herself with back-to-back layups to give the Lakers the lead by one, 23-22.
The show must end
The fourth quarter consisted of 6 different lead changes as both teams continued to go back and forth, but it would all come down to one single moment.
It was a battle between all the sisters in this High School matchup as there were three different pairs of them. For West Bloomfield, the Hendrix sisters and the Davis sisters were both doing all they could to hold it down in the fourth.
Summer and Indya pushed the ball and found openings while Kendall and Sydney continued to pound the glass.
For Rockford it was the Wypych sisters that ran the show for the Rams as Anna finished the game with 20 points, racking up 10 of those points in the second half. Her sister Alyssa followed behind her with 9 points as they combined for just short of 30.
While the Wypychs were running the show, Grace Lyons, who put on a three-point clinic during the semi-finals, decided she was going to steal the show.
With just over 30 seconds left Lyons, who had not been able to find her shot all game, heaved one up and it turned out to be her only, and most important three of the day. Lyons’s three would put the rams up, 38-36 with less than half a minute left.
Immediately after the big three West Bloomfield threw the ball away, but they come up with a steal on the next play which resulted in Summer Davis being fouled.
Unfortunately, she missed the first, and then the second, intentionally, but the Rams scooped up the rebound and dribbled out the clock. That’s it, the new state champions are the Rockford Rams.
After the game, Rockford’s head coach of six years, Brad Wilson, praised his girls for their performance in such a tight game.
“They (West Bloomfield) made a couple of runs today where most teams would have folded, but our girls didn’t flinch, they steadied the storm.”
The storm could have gone another way if it wasn’t for the biggest shot of the night by Grace Lyons, after the game she commented on her game-winner.
“Well I wasn’t gonna stop shooting just because I had missed a few, I know I am a good shooter and at least one of them was going to go in,” she said. “I just let it fly and it went in.”
Well, you know what they say, “shooters shoot” and Lyons indeed shot it.