CARSON CITY — The Carson City-Crystal girls basketball team won its first league title since 1983 and then won its first district title since 1984.
Their season ended with a loss to top ranked Morley Stanwood — Class C state semifinalist after a 59-44 quarterfinals victory over Saginaw Nouvel on Tuesday — in the regional semifinals.
The Eagles finished their season with an 18-5 record. It was an improvement of 13 wins after 5-17 season a year ago.
That turnaround earned Eagles head coach Larry Farmer AP Class C Coach of the Year special mention honors for the season.
“That is so cool. It’s a great honor and I would have never expected it,” a surprised Farmer said. “That is exciting. It says a lot about the girls and how hard they worked. Normally, a coach award says as much about a team.”
Farmer — in his second year as girls coach — credits the turnaround to a long summer of playing basketball and improving.
“We put in a long summer and the girls worked hard in the offseason,” he said. “The addition of Mikayla Duflo as a freshman helped. But for your team to do well everyone has to step in and do something. That’s why I was really proud of them this year.”
Despite all of the offseason work, conference and league championships were not expected. They were actually picked to finish near the bottom of the nine-team CMAC.
“I think the thing I always stressed to them is to show up and do our best,” Farmer said. “Whatever happens, happens. All we can control is doing our best. In life, that is what we all try to do, with our families, our jobs and as a coach that’s what you try to teach your team.”
Carson City-Crystal really excelled on the defensive end of the court. They allowed just 28 points per game all season long.
“My guess is that is a school record (28 points per game), but I don’t know for sure,” he said. “If you hold a team to 28 points you, usually give yourself a chance to win.”
The Eagles will return a nice core for next season. They lose just seniors from this year’s team. Both Sara Schneider and Allison Seals were significant contributors, though.
Farmer is using his team’s loss in the regional semifinal to Morley Stanwood as a learning experience. As good as their record was, the Eagles still have a ways to go to reach an elite level.
“You’re always striving to get better. It was a good experience playing them,” Farmer said. “That is where we are trying to get and will continue to work hard.”
The Eagles will get back to basketball after a break this spring. They will participate in camps and more this summer.
Next year, the Eagles will compete as members of the MSAC and not the CMAC.
“We will try to go out and play some people that will test us,” Farmer said. “We are excited about the new league. There are some girls good teams in that league. We will be challenged and we won’t surprise anyone next year.”
CLASS C All-State
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Madison Ristovski, Grosse Pointe University Liggett, 5-10, Sr.,
Sheyna Deans, Mount Clemens, 5-10, Sr.
Sarah Appold, Saginaw Valley Lutheran, 5-9, Sr.
Dy’man Webb, Flint Hamady, 6-1, Sr.
Annemarie Hamlet, McBain, 5-6, Sr.
Bailey Cairnduff, Morley Stanwood, 5-11, Sr.
Kelli Guy, Kalkaska, 5-6, Jr.
Alexis Huntey, Morley Stanwood, 6-2, Sr.
Carlie Newman, Niles Brandywine, 5-9, Sr.
Adrianna Culbert, Delton Kellogg, 6-0, Sr.
COACH OF THE YEAR
Rick McNeil, Adrian Madison.
Nominees receiving two or more votes from the 10-member panel: McKenna Erkfritz, Manchester; Morgan Berry, Napoleon; Jenna Hirsch, Marlette; Jackie Bieniewicz, Madison Heights Bishop Foley; Haleigh Ristovski, Grosse Pointe Uni. Liggett; Lindsay Winter, Clare; Lauren Goldthorp, St. Ignace; Taylor Dillinger, Houghton; Kara Carlson, Kent City.
COACH OF THE YEAR
Larry Farmer, Carson City-Crystal.
Nominees receiving one or no votes from the 10-member panel: Shelby Hurst, Laingsburg; Megan Redmen, Concord; Samantha Gierman, Brown City; Samantha Shafer, Saginaw Valley Lutheran; Abby Schlicher, Johannesburg-Lewiston; Karina Cole, Lincoln Alcona; Meredith Hamlet, McBain; Jamie Justin, Leroy Pine River; Liza Erickson, Traverse City St. Francis; Taylor Martin, Maple City Glen Lake; Sonnie Kurnat, Kent City; Sydney Czurak, Shelby; Lena Madison, New Buffalo; Cassandra Willis, Lawton; Brooke Howard, Mendon; Drew Findlay, Reese; Taylor Hengesbach, Saginaw Nouvel Catholic; Kristie Gaedcke, Memphis; Morgan Hanel, Indian River Inland Lakes.
COACH OF THE YEAR
Dennis Gruber, Reese; Bob Raven, Morley Stanwood; Brent Rowe, Holland Black River; Doreen Ingals, St. Ignace.