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“We’re trusting the process” - Grass Lake girls basketball ready for first-ever state final

The Warriors automatically advance after Hemlock forfeits due to COVID-19 issues
Published: Apr. 7, 2021 at 6:49 PM EDT
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GRASS LAKE, Mich. (WILX) - Waking up in the morning and getting a call that you’re going right to the state championship wasn’t Grass Lake expected, but with a pandemic season, you learn to adapt.

COVID-19 has gotten the best of some high school basketball teams around the state, and one girls team got hit this morning. Hemlock was set to play Grass Lake in the semifinals Wednesday morning, but the team had one positive case, making them forfeit. Now, Grass Lake automatically advances to the Division 3 state finals.

“We were prepared and ready to play today’s game and certainly they want to be on the court and they want to earn their way to the championship game,” Grass Lake head coach Andrea Cabana said. “But that’s the way this season works with COVID-19.”

Getting to the state finals is something only eight teams get to do every year and the Warriors have never had that chance before. This is the program’s first ever state-final appearance in school history.

“It’s so exciting. We’ve been dreaming of it since I was a freshman, our seniors were sophomores,” junior guard Lexus Bargesser said. “It’s just always been our goal and to actually be able to get there and go play there on Friday is a dream come true.”

Moving on without playing that semi-final game doesn’t feel the same, but they know they deserve to be in this spot, especially fighting a quarantine of their own earlier this year.

“We’ve been prepping for this part of the season all season long and these past two years we struggled to get out of districts, so that’s really motivated us to help us keep on pushing,” senior guard Abrie Cabana said.

They’re used to the high stakes, being ranked number one in the state in the Associated Press Division 3 poll most of the year.

“I think we’ve all played in pretty big games, especially with AAU, so we kind of just have to go in thinking that it’s just another game,” junior forward Gabi Lutchka said. “I mean we are playing for a state championship, but just keeping the nerves down and play our game that we have this entire season.”

A season filled with breaking school records. Playing at the Breslin Center is the icing on the cake.

“It’ll be very special for them walking in,” Coach Cabana said. “Hopefully they’ll settle down and play their game and we’ll end on a high note.”

Trust is the word this team has used all season, now trusting that a day like today, does happen for a reason.

The last time Grass Lake won a regional title was in 1979, so it’s been 42 years since a team has advanced beyond that. The Warriors will play Kent City in the state finals this Friday, April 9 at 3 p.m. at the Breslin Center.

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