Tecumseh girls win first basketball District championship in 23 years
The underdogs prevailed in this year’s Class B district girls basketball tournament in Monroe on Friday, Feb. 28, with Tecumseh’s Indians earning their first title in the last 23 years with a 40-33 victory over Ida in the championship game.
Tecumseh followed with a 37-35 win over New Boston Huron in regional action on Tuesday, March 4, at Livonia Clarenceville and will advance to the championship final on Thursday against Ann Arbor Prep at 7 p.m.
A championship mentality has helped the Indians find success after its long run without securing a district title with Tecumseh coach Griff Mills and his assistants, Lori Spotts and Jeff Nowak, incorporating a “we can do it” mentality starting from the first day of practice forward.
“That’s something Jeff [Nowak] and I talked about early on,” said Mills. “We’ve got girls who have won state championships on our team. So, it’s just bringing that competitive spirit to the team. When tournament time came we flipped the switch and took it to another level.”
Nowak led the Indians to a state softball championship last spring season.
Against Ida in the district final, Tecumseh closed the opening quarter up 8-4 and finished the first half with the Bluestreaks hot on their heals, holding a one point, 16-15, advantage.
Tecumseh went into the final quarter with a 27-21 lead but the game got much tighter in the fourth quarter.
Mills said the team focused on using good man-to-man defense to get the job done and when it came time to produce at the free throw line the Indians did.
“Our kids did a really good job of it,” he said. “With forty-two seconds left we were shooting two free throws and we were up four, the score was 36-32. When those two free throws went in it started to feel a little bit better.”
Olivia Mills hit 7-of-9 free throw shots in the final quarter while Maddie Tedora connected on 4-of-4.
“Everybody contributed in some way,” Mills said of his girls. “We brought up kids from JV. So we had 15 kids total with us at the tournament and one through fifteen really found a way to help contribute whether that was cheering, encouraging, passing, dribbling, defense or whatever, it was an all-around team effort.”
Olivia Mills led the Indians’ offense in the final against Ida with 12 points.
Tedora scored 11 points with two assists against Ida while Morgan Skelton added seven points and 11 rebounds. Carley LaPlant stole the ball twice.
Tecumseh beat Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central 49-35 in the district semifinal on Wednesday, Feb. 26 with three players, Nicole Lipnichan (13 points), LaPlant (11 points) and Tedora (11 points), hitting double-digit scoring.
Lipnichan had 10 rebounds while teammate Kayla Kormos had nine rebounds and five steals.
Mills and Lipnichan added four steals each. Mills and Tedora both added four assists.
In the regionals on Tuesday, March 4, against New Boston Huron, Mills led the Indians with 17 points and four assists.
Kormos added six points while Morgan Skelton had six rebounds Kelsea Kaliszuk added five rebounds while Tedora recorded four steals.
“We were just fortunate enough that our kids hung in this year. They believed in what we were trying to do... have a foundation of playing good team defense, and that really helped set the table for us in the three games that we won,” said Mills.
Tecumseh opened district action at home on Monday, Feb. 24, with a 48-27 victory over Monroe Jefferson.