- Associated Press - Saturday, March 15, 2014

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Rachel McInerney was hugging the state championship trophy like a proud parent Saturday afternoon, and why not?

She grabbed practically everything else for Saginaw Nouvel.

McInerney had 22 points and 23 rebounds -two off the state finals record - and Laurel Jacqmain added 23 points to help the Panthers claim the Class C crown with a 62-40 win over St. Ignace.

“I just didn’t want to have any regrets because last year I did,” said McInerney, who was on the team that fell to Manchester in last season’s title game.

Mission accomplished.

The Panthers (22-4) led 23-22 at intermission, but turned the game into a rout by outscoring the Saints 24-7 in the third period. McInerney had four points, six boards and five blocks during the run and Jacqmain added 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting during the period.

“They made shots and rebounded the heck out of the ball,” said St. Ignace coach Dorene Ingalls, whose team was outrebounded 47-27. “They earned it. It would’ve been nice to give them a better game.”

The Saints hamstrung themselves by making just 15 of their 61 tries from the floor. It was especially dire in the second half when they made just six field goals (19 percent). Despite the poor shooting, they managed to trail by just a point at half after finishing the second quarter on an 8-2 run.

St. Joseph Lake Michigan Catholic’s Kelly Rose set the finals record with 25 boards during the 1988 Class C final against Ontonagon.

McInerney, who had 12 points and 11 boards to help the Panthers take the lead for good in the first half, was 10 for 12 from the floor in the final game of her prep career.

The championship is Nouvel’s third Class C title and first since 2008. It was the first for coach Mary Jo Skiendziel, who heads to the offseason 9-0 on the bench.

Skiendziel was an assistant coach when the season began and was given the reins after head coach Will Jones was fired with four regular-season games remaining. The school’s fans shouted “thank you” to her as the final seconds ticked away.

“The family atmosphere here is amazing,” Skiendziel, a graduate and longtime coach at the school, added. “That meant a lot.”

Margo Brown scored 16 points for the Saints (24-4), who were seeking a second straight title after winning last season’s Class D crown.

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