CHSL girls teams win 4 of 5 ‘Calihan Challenge’ games versus MAC foes

Mercy junior point guard Alexis Roberts heads downcourt in the Marlins’ 61-37 drubbing of Grosse Pointe South in the Calihan Challenge. The CHSL girls teams improved their record to 12-8 in the annual rivalry with teams from the Macomb Area Conference. (Photos by Mr. Mack Photography)

DETROIT — The Catholic High School League girls teams more than met the “Calihan Challenge” on Sunday afternoon by winning four of five games against their Macomb Area Conference foes.

Played at the University of Detroit Mercy’s Calihan Hall, the CHSL raised its record to 12-8 over the MAC in the four years the showcase has been held.

Two CHSL teams remain unbeaten in the Challenge: Bloomfield Hills Marian 4-0 and Royal Oak Shrine 3-0.

Shrine 51, New Baltimore Anchor Bay 44

Shrine coach Lindsay Noble’s coaching debut in the Catholic League was a memorable one. The Knights defeated Anchor Bay for their third win in the Calihan Challenge rivalry. Lindsay played her high school ball at Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes.

It was a happy homecoming for Shrine’s new coach, Lindsay Noble: a return to the Catholic League, where she played at Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes (2002 grad).

Lindsay (nee Mecoli) played basketball at Central Michigan University and coached for seven years at Troy Athens before stepping away from the sidelines to raise a family (she and husband Dan, also a Lakes 2002 alum, have three youngsters).

“I always wanted to get back to coaching,” she said, adding, “There is nothing like the Shrine community.”

Senior Regan Smith connected on three of her five 3’s and converted three free throws in the second quarter to break open a 7-7 first quarter tie and put the Knights ahead for good, 23-13 at the half.

Smith wound up with 20 points before she was forced out with five minutes to play when she collided with an Anchor Bay player. She wound up holding an ice bag to the right side of her head.

Anchor Bay closed the gap to 39-36 with three minutes in the game, but senior Hannah Groth came to the Knights’ rescue with three baskets and seven free throws in the fourth quarter. She had 18 for the game.

Warren Regina 27, Romeo 26

Regina freshman Jamieson Dean watches a teammate scoop up a loose ball in a Calihan Challenge against Romeo. The Saddlelites prevailed in the closing moments for their first win in four Challenge appearances.

“We have to learn how to protect a lead,” Regina coach Diane Laffey said. “But I’m glad we won.” It was the Saddlelites’ first win in four appearances in the Challenge.

Both teams struggled to overcome their respective ineptitude to produce a 10-10 halftime score.

Regina finally went ahead 21-16 led by sophomore Reagan Stempin’s eight points in the third quarter, but saw it shrink to 27-26 with 34 seconds to play.

Romeo missed a tying free throw and a potential game-winning basket when the ball rolled around and off the rim.

Stempin had a team high 14 points. Regina missed nine of 10 free throw attempts.

Grosse Pointe North 29, Our Lady of the Lakes 26

The ball has the attention of the Lakers' Alexis Koenig and Christina Braker of Grosse Pointe North to open their game in the Calihan Challenge. The Lakers couldn’t hold an 8-point halftime lead in the closing moments and lost, 29-26.

This was another encounter that went down to the wire.

The Lakers raced to a 10-2 first-quarter lead and maintained the edge, 16-8, at the half. It was the beginning of the end.

The Lakers managed just three baskets and four free throws the rest of the game. Grosse Pointe went ahead for the first time, 23-22, with 5:21 to play and stayed in front to claim the victory.

“This is early in the season,” said coach Paul Robak, subbing for his brother, Steve. “You could tell we were tired. And, when the legs go, the brain does, too.”

Marian 55, St. Clair Shores Lakeview 32

“They’re going to be fun to watch,” says Marian coach Mary Cicerone. The Mustangs combined pressure and speed to beat St. Clair Shores Lakeview to keep their spotless 4-0 record in the Calihan Challenge series.

Press and push. That’s the MO for Marian basketball this season.

“I have good athletes and a decent bench,” coach Mary Cicerone said after disposing of a talented Lakeview squad that has the core of the team that reached the state quarterfinals last year.

“I’ve got two point guards who can handle the job,” she added about Sophia Mancini and Anna Herbeholz replacing departed All State Olivia Moore.

She also has a team that can apply pressure and step on the gas from almost any facet of her roster. “They’re going to be fun to watch,” Cicerone said.

The Mustangs, true to their mascot, raced to a 17-5 first quarter lead and never let up.

A full-court press and a 21-9 offense coming out of halftime clinched the victory so much so that the teams went through the motions in the final eight minutes, combining for a mere seven points.

Junior Shannon Kennedy led the attack with 15 points. Sophomore Grace Rotter chipped in 10.

Farmington Hills Mercy 61, Grosse Pointe South 37

Are Marlins coach Gary Morris and Cicerone reading the same book?

Mercy raced out to a 17-7 first quarter lead and kept the momentum building to an 11-point halftime lead, 14 points after three quarters, en route to the decisive 24-point victory margin.

“It was a good start,” Morris said. “We have the depth to play hard and play fast.”

Juniors Ellie Tisko had 16 points and Maddie Kenny 14.  

Mercy is 2-2 in the Challenge series.

Who will outrace whom Jan. 7 when Marian plays at Mercy in a Central Division showdown?

The boys challenge is next

The CHSL-MAC boys “Calihan Challenge” lines up this way for Sunday, Dec. 15, at Detroit Mercy's Calihan Hall:

  • 12:30 p.m., New Haven vs. Detroit Loyola
  • 2:00 p.m., St. Clair Shores Lake Shore vs. Novi Detroit Catholic Central
  • 3:30 p.m., Warren Woods Tower vs. Warren De La Salle
  • 5:00 p.m., Sterling Heights Stevenson vs. University of Detroit Jesuit
  • 6:30 p.m., Roseville vs. Orchard Lake St. Mary’s Prep