Marian wins title for outgoing coach Cicerone; Foley makes it two for the Josephs

At the final buzzer of the Catholic High School League’s girls basketball Bishop Division championship game, winning coach Mary Cicerone gets a bear hug from senior Maria Hesano. Cicerone’s Bloomfield Hills Marian squad beat Dearborn Divine Child, 44-38. (Photos by Wright Wilson | Special to Detroit Catholic)

DETROIT — Try talking to Bloomfield Hills Marian basketball coach Mary Cicerone about her impending retirement, and she’ll change the subject. Mention her recent 700th career win, and she’ll insist it’s no big deal. Congratulate her for her Catholic League “Coach of the Year” selection, and she’ll laugh it off as “a sympathy vote.”

But bring up the Mustangs’ game against Dearborn Divine Child in Saturday’s Catholic League Bishop Division championship at Wayne State University, and you’ll be challenged getting Cicerone to stop talking about it.

“These kids; I love ‘em,” she said following Marian’s 44-36 upset win. “They really battled. They came to play. I can’t say anything bad about that.”

Cicerone’s squad entered the tournament as the fourth seed (out of six), but knocked off regular-season champion Farmington Hills Mercy in the semi-finals, 45-44 in overtime, before the Marian mystique came to play again against the Falcons — who had captured both regular season games against the Mustangs.

Marian’s championship was the school’s 20th under Cicerone (far left), who amassed over 700 wins in 39 seasons leading the Mustangs.
Marian’s championship was the school’s 20th under Cicerone (far left), who amassed over 700 wins in 39 seasons leading the Mustangs.

“Our whole year, we knew we wanted to go out on a high note,” said senior guard Anna Herberholz, who scored half of the Mustangs’ points Saturday. “The regular season is important for the rankings, but we really wanted to mesh at the right time. We focused on team defense, running our sets and doing anything we can to win.”

Herberholz ensured that Marian got off to a good start, scoring all of her team’s early points as the Mustangs led 11-6 after the first quarter.

“Even though (Divine Child team leader) Kennedy Blair is listed as a guard, and she can play well at any spot, I really consider Anna the best point guard in the whole Catholic League,” Cicerone said. “She didn’t get the attention she deserved this year, and came out on fire. She’s always been a good distributor, but we got it in her head that she can be a scorer, too.”

Meanwhile, teammates Elle Ervin and Sarah Sylvester clamped down on Blair, limiting her to just two field goals and 12 points overall before she fouled out midway through the fourth quarter, as Marian (12-6) never relinquished its lead. Grace Rotter was Marian’s second-leading scorer, netting all but two of her nine points after halftime.

Marian point guard Anna Herberholz brings the ball up court against Divine Child’s Anna Bidolli. Herberholz scored 22 points — including all of her team’s 11 in the first quarter — pacing the Mustangs to a 44-38 win.
Marian point guard Anna Herberholz brings the ball up court against Divine Child’s Anna Bidolli. Herberholz scored 22 points — including all of her team’s 11 in the first quarter — pacing the Mustangs to a 44-38 win.

“Elle Ervin guarded Kennedy and played some doggone good defense — she’s kind of our defensive specialist, and Grace Rotter played well down the stretch. She struggled early, but she’s a great kid, a great competitor. We’ve got to get Grace mad more often, because she played really well,” Cicerone said.

While it was the 20th Catholic League crown in 39 seasons for Cicerone, who announced her retirement in December, Divine Child (15-3) was frustrated in seeking its first championship since 2012.

“We were usually about four points behind and just couldn’t get over that hump; we didn’t finish our shots,” Falcons coach Mary Laney said. “We all talk about it, in the Catholic League how anyone can beat anyone on any given night. On Tuesday even before we played the semi-finals, I really felt that any one of those four teams can win this. It was going to come down to who makes fewer mistakes and who has a better shooting percentage.”

Ventures down St. Catherine in see-saw battle

The Cardinal Division championship game between Madison Heights Bishop Foley and reigning champion Wixom St. Catherine of Siena Academy was another one of those either-team-can-win scenarios.

But when push came to shove, the Ventures had Moore and Moorer.

Sophomore Ryan Moorer had game-high honors with 18 points while senior Melanie Moore finished with 12. Moore — who scored the 1,000th point of her career on a lay-up with 50 seconds remaining in the third quarter — also hit two decisive free throws with 1:59 in the contest, which gave Bishop Foley (14-1) the lead for good.

“We did not play our game today; we were a little bit jittery, but finally when we ran our offense and made our shots, things opened up for us,” said Ventures coach Ray Joseph.

St. Catherine (14-3) had the upper hand for an eight-minute stretch encompassing most of the fourth quarter, but came up empty on each of its last five possessions. The Stars had three players score in double figures: Hailey Baumann (14), Hannah Lisch (13) and Rachel Luomala (11).

“We knew it would be a battle the whole time. Both teams made good runs throughout the game, but it just came down to who made their shots at the end,” St. Catherine coach Jennifer Van Goethem said.

The title was the first for Bishop Foley since 2014, and the second for the Joseph family. The head coach that year was Ray’s brother, Dave.

“I learned a lot from Dave; he’s my mentor,” Ray Joseph said. “He taught the girls to never give up, and if you play hard to the end, it will come. It’s never easy.”



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