BY WENDI REARDON PRICE
Clarkston News Sports Writer
The Mountaineers became one of the Elite Eight after posting a 58-39 win over Novi Christian in the MHSAA Division 4 Girls Basketball Regional Championship, March 13.
The Clarkston Everest Collegiate Girls Basketball team success lies within the sisterhood between the players.
Erin Van Wagoner, head coach, has said what has contributed to this team’s success is their ability for each member of the team to bring her strengths to the court.
The Mountaineers won its first regional championship five years ago in 2014 when Mary Jo Allen was a senior.
Since graduating Allen has returned to help the team as an assistant coach, including coaching her younger sister, Katelyn Allen, who is one of the leading scorers throughout this season.
Other pairs of sisters helping with the team’s success include the Annelise and Celeste James; Kendall and Audrey Beauchamp; and two of the Lowney triplets, Grace and Serra.
It was junior Annelise James who moved the Mountaineers into the regional finals with the final layup against Allen Park Inter-City Baptist in the semifinals, March 11. The team won the game in overtime with the basket, 36-34.
During the win over Novi Christian, Katelyn Allen led the team with 14 points, eight rebounds and seven blocks. Anneliese scored 12 points and had seven rebounds.
Freshman Celeste James had 11 points, eight rebounds and five assists and had the enthusiastic Everest student section cheering and chanting “she’s a freshman.”
Senior Kendall Beauchamp didn’t see much playing time with repeat ACL injuries but aided her teammates through practices and cheering them on during games.cheered. During the last minute of play in the regional final, Kendall saw playing time as she was sent onto the court to sub one of her teammates.
Novi Christian opened with a quick lead, leaving the Mountaineers trailing at the end of the first quarter.
Annelise boosted Everest at the beginning of the second quarter and within just over a minute the Mountaineers grabbed a 13-12 lead. The momentum continued to the end.
The Mountaineers will use their sisterhood bound as they play Kingston in the quarterfinals at Bendle High School in Burton on Tuesday. Everest finished the season with a 40-27 loss to Kingston.
Kingston moves on to the semifinals on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. The state championship is Saturday 10 a.m.
The final two games are played at Van Noord Arena at Calvin College in Grand Rapids.