Saline junior Ella Stemmer has launched her game into a higher orbit.
Stemmer set a new team record with eight three-point baskets and scored a career high 34 points as Saline defeated Dearborn Henry Ford Academy, 71-24. The Hornets are now 5-0.
Stemmer has now scored at least 30 points in three of the five games she’s played this year.
“The defense was slow to contest and we had great ball movement,” Stemmer said, explaining her success Tuesday night.
Stemmer spent the offseason working on strength, conditioning and explosiveness. And she also spent a lot of time in the gym working on her shot with her father. The work is paying off, as evidenced by her 27.8 point-per-game average. Stemmer has been a star for the Saline girls basketball team since her freshman campaign. But she’s taken her game to a new level.
Coach Leigh Ann Roehm, who was a star three-point shooter when she played high school basketball, was all smiles talking about Stemmer’s record-setting performance.
“I’m just so happy for her because she’s put in so much work and she’s so disciplined,” Roehm said.
Before the junior varsity contest tonight, Roehm spoke to Stemmer about a conversation they had when Stemmer was still in middle school.
“I remember doing workouts with her when she was in eighth grade and talking to her about ‘You have to become an excellent three-point shooter. There’s going to be a day when it will come if you do the work.’ And then all of the sudden, in game five of her junior year she’s breaking the school record with eight in a game,” Roehm said. “It all comes down to the work she’s put in. So I’m proud of her.”
Stemmer finished with 34 points, three rebounds, three steals and three assists. Senior Steffi Bentley had another strong outing with 17 points, seven rebounds, seven steals and seven assists. Natalie Sweetland (six points, eight rebounds), Emily Wizlcynski (five points, four rebounds and three assists), Liz Sekerak (four points, five rebounds and three assists), Reggie Duest (three points) and Ashtyn Mosigno (two points and two rebounds) also made the score sheet.
It wasn’t much of a contest.
Wilczynski opened the scoring with a long jumpshot from just inside the arc. Moments later, Sweetland stole a pass and passed it to Bentley, who dished it for Stemmer for an easy basket. Saline led 4-2. Henry Ford Academy got on the board with a basket - it’s only basket of the quarter. Saline responded with a point from the free throw line by Sweetland. Then Stemmer dished to Sekerac for a layup for a 7-2 lead. Stemmer followed with back-to-back three pointers to make it 13-2. Bentley scored two baskets from underneath to make it 17-2. Stemmer finished the first quarter scoring with her third three-pointer of the game to make it 20-2.
Early in the second quarter Stemmer was called for her second foul so she went to the bench. Sweetland made a three-point play with a layup and free throw basket. Henry Ford came alive a bit and traded baskets with Saline. For the Hornets, Bentley took over underneath. She converted a pass from Wilczynski into two points to make it 25-10. After a couple of points for Henry Ford from the stripe, Bentley took a pass from Sekerak and scored. After adding another point from the stripe, Bentley took a pass from Sekerak turned it into a three-point play with a layup and free throw. With 2:21 to play in the quarter, Stemmer hit another three-pointer to make it 34-14. Down the stretch, Saline got another point from Bentley at the stripe. Stemmer hit her fifth three-pointer and then she capped the half by going 2-for-2 from the stripe. Saline led 40-16.
Stemmer’s 19-point first half merely set the stage for one of the most dominant four minutes of basketball you’re going to see. Stemmer scored 10-points in the first 3:28 seconds of the third quarter. She made two two-point field goals and then followed that up with two three-pointers.
Saline led 50-16. Roehm took the foot off the gas and sat her leading scorer for the remainder of the period. But that didn’t stop the Hornets. Sekerak put back a rebound and then Bentley scored from the paint. Regina Duerst followed with a three from the corner. Saline took a 57-20 lead into the fourth.
Stemmer opened the fourth with her eighth three-pointer of the evening, sparking a nine-point run that also featured baskets by Bentley, Sweetland and a put back by Stemmer.
Wilczynski scored another long two-point basket and Ashtyn Mosigno hit a long jumper down the stretch for Saline.
The Saline Post 3 Stars
Ella Stemmer - The Saline junior can score every which way. But Tuesday, 24 of her career-high 34 points came from three-pointers. She broke the record set last year by Nicole Sweetland.
Steffi Bentley - Bentley had another great game, scoring 17 points and grabbing rebounds. She’s also winning battles for loose balls and she showed a lot of skill dishing the ball to teammates Tuesday.
Emily Wilczynski - The speedy junior has quietly played a big role for the Hornets this year, carrying the ball up the floor and helping the Hornets get set. She uses her speed to her advantage on defense. She’s also developing confidence in her shot.