BASKETBALL: Belleville Rides Big First Quarter to District Championship Win Over Saline


Saline couldn't fight back from a 10-point first-quarter deficit, and Belleville won, 49-38, to win the MHSAA district title at Saline High School Friday night.

The Tigers improved to 21-2 and advanced to the regional tournament. Saline finishes the season with 19 wins and five losses.

Sophomore Keira Roehm scored 15 points and had six rebounds and two assists for Saline. Junior Kadyn Maida scored 14 points and had seven rebounds. Hadley Griffin hit two 3s and had three rebounds. Ayla Stager had two points and seven rebounds. Kate Stemmer scored a point and had three steals and two assists.

Sydney Savoury, one of the most highly touted freshmen in the country, scored 24 points to lead the Tigers.

Coach Leigh Ann Roehm was proud of Saline's effort. After beating Wayne Memorial in the semifinal, Roehm hoped Saline might find a way to stun the Tigers but the 18-8 first quarter proved too much to overcome.

"They're a great team. They're a favorite to go to Breslin for the state championship. I told our girls this that could have been a Breslin game," Roehm said.  "We played them tough. We won the second half. We got off to a start where we turned it over and gave up some pick sixes, but we settled down and played a tough half-court defense against them."

Saline held the Tigers to just five points in the second quarter - but Saline scored just three. The third quarter was an offensive slugfest, with the teams matching baskets. Saline was down 37-27 after three quarters. 

Hadley Griffin's first three of the game open the scoring in the fourth quarter, cutting the lead to seven. That was as close as Saline got.

"Belleville is a great team and they are going to make a big run. I also think these women showed that the Saline Girls Basketball Team is also a great team and can compete with anyone," Roehm said.

Roehm gave credit to the senior class, who've played their final basketball game for the Hornets.

"I have so much gratitude for this senior class. They have meant the world to me and will leave a great legacy for years to come. Kate, Hadley, Bailey (Burt), Lindsey (Clarke), Aislinn (McPeek) and Leighann (Farrell) are tremendous people who have set a high standard for our future teams to follow," Roehm said.

Saline couldn't get to the hoop early in the first quarter - in large part due to a Tigers' defense that was comfortable taking fouls.

Saline led 1-0 on a free throw by Maida. The Hornets were down 4-1 when Maida tied the game with a 3. 

Down 9-4, Maida scored again to make it 9-6. Roehm followed by going 2-for-2 from the line to make it a one-point game. But the Tigers closed out on a nine-point run and led 18-8 when the first quarter ended.

The Tigers scored the first five points of the second quarter to take a 23-8 lead. Roehm made a layup and Maida made 1-of-2 free throws to make it 23-11 before the half.

The third quarter was a different beast. Maida opened the scoring with a layup. The Tigers replied with a basket. Roehm made a layup. The Tigers replied with a basket. Maida scored in the paint. The Tigers replied with a basket and free throw shot.

Saline was down 30-17 when they started cutting into the lead.

Roehm hit a three-pointer and followed that up by going 2-for-2 from the line. 


After a Tiger 3, Ayla Stager scored to make it 33-24. The Tigers' hit made two baskets to make it a 13-point game.


Roehm hit a three-pointer to cut the deficit to 10 at 37-27 before the end of the quarter.


Griffin opened the scoring in the fourth with a three-pointer to cut the lead to 37-30. It was as close as Saline would get. Every time Saline scored, Belleville replied. And they did here, to make it 39-30.

Maida went 1-for-2 and Belleville replayed with a basket by Savoury and two points from the stripe, to make it 43-31. Roehm scored one from the stripe and Belleville scored to make it 45-32.


Maida came away with a steal and two points but the Tigers replied with two points of their own.

Roehm scored another point and then Griffin gave the Hornets one last reason to cheer when she knocked down a three from the corner.

Some of Saline's younger players, who figure to be here contributing next year, were Saline's big scorers.

"Keira Roehm really sparked us out of half time to allow us to start believing again. She made two threes and then a tough drive when they started over closing that built our momentum. She also got fouled attacking the rim and knocked down huge free throws throughout the game," Keira Roehm said. "I was very proud of the way she stepped up and created looks for herself when they were attaching and really gearing their defense towards not letting her touch the ball."

Maida was also a big scorer for the Hornets.

"Kadyn Maida was excellent in so many ways. She rebounded great and got to the rim to manufacture points for us," Roehm said. "It really hurt us when she got in foul trouble in the third quarter and had to sit for those minutes. She is so hard to guard off the bounce and that really got our offense moving."

Griffin, whose three-pointer sent the semifinal game to overtime and who hit a three at the buzzer to beat Pioneer, contributed as usual.

"Hadley Griffin hit two big 3s in the fourth quarter. She has just made big shots all year and today was no different," Roehm said.

Senior captain Kate Stemmer was limited to one point, but was singled out for her defensive play.

"Kate dictated so much of how this game went. Kate showed just how tough a defender she is, as she was excellent at guarding Sydney Savoury. She made Sydney work for everything she got and I loved watching her physical and competitive nature shine through. She gave up 6 inches to Sydney in height, but made up for it with the hugest heart on the floor today. She also handled their pressure with such poise," Roehem said. "Northwood is going to be lucky to have her join their locker room next year. She showed so many things that will make her a successful college point guard today."

Roehm said it was a joy and honor to coach the Hornets.

"They are more than amazing players, they are amazing people that have touched my heart," Roehm said. "I am grateful for them and the memories they have allowed me to share with them."

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