The North Branch Broncos are just one match away from finishing what they set out to do back in August, and that’s to win a state title.
And if they play as well as they did in Friday’s Division 2 State Semifinal against Grand Rapids South Christian, they should be able to do just that.
“Every single kid played well, every single one of them,” North Branch head coach Jim Fish said. “We did not have a weak point tonight. We weren’t going to lose to anybody, that’s how well we played.”
The Broncos made their presence known at the Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek early on with a 4-0 run to start the first set. They would go on to win 25-13, 25-19, 25-15, finishing with a 12-3 run and leaving no questions.
As the second set came to a close, junior setter Adrienne Greschaw had an emphatic dig that would’ve been a kill against most opponents.
Instead, she sent the ball to her teammates with a loud boom, putting North Branch at match point, to which the announcer said, “Everything is going right for the Broncos.”
But it wasn’t a matter of coincidence. Between Greschaw’s craftiness, junior Hailey Green’s defensive leadership, the hounding attacks from North Branch’s widespread talent at the net, and junior Brookelynn Franklin’s final ace, it was clear to everyone that the Broncos had been preparing exactly for that match – and more importantly, the one to be played this afternoon.
“[South Christian] is very good, and they actually played pretty well against us, we just played phenomenal tonight,” Fish said. “I thought it was our best match all year.”
As a team, the Broncos hit .270 on the night while holding South Christian to .089. They were led by freshman Aubree Deshetsky with 13 kills. Junior Clara Gyomory added nine, junior Alana Deshetsky and senior Natasha Bickel each totaled eight, and junior Kaela Chingwa had four.
“It’s kind of ironic that we returned 14 of the 15 on our team last year,” Fish said, “and the kid who led us in kills wasn’t even on our team last year.”
Greschaw had 35 assists, 10 digs, and even three kills of her own, and Green led with 19 digs.
"Adrienne played a great, great game," Fish said, "great serving, setting, decisions, and defense."
North Branch is now 52-7 on the season and will play Cadillac at 4:30 p.m. this afternoon in the Division 2 State Final. Cadillac won its semifinal yesterday 3-1 against Dearborn Divine Child and is now 34-10-4 on the year.
“We’ve got to finish the deal. We’ve got to finish it,” Fish said. “I feel good about it, our kids are ready, we’ve been ready, but we’ve got to play.”
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