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3 Seniors Lead Arbor Prep Girls Basketball Team in State Title Hopes

Two seasons after celebrating a state title, the Arbor Preparatory High School girls basketball team is busy preparing for another run. The Gators took the Division 3 title during the 2021-22 season, rolling through their district and regional games in dominant fashion, finally defeating Kent City 54-50. The team suffered a loss against Blissfield in the regional final last season, something they’re looking to correct.
Three current seniors factored into that championship and will play significant roles. Twin sisters Stacy and Stephanie Utomi are foundational players for the Gators. The senior forwards frustrate opposing offenses with their tenacious defense and score equally well from inside the paint and the perimeter. The pair has also committed to play at Division I Mercer University in Georgia next year.

Stephanie Utomi steals the ball during a game
Stephanie Utomi steals the ball during a game earlier in the season against Lowell.

The girls are looking forward to their opportunities at college next season, but aren’t overlooking the work to be done to finish out their senior season at Arbor Prep.
“Honestly, it’s a surreal moment,” Stephanie said. “We’ve been here four years, we’ve won one state championship and to be finishing up here with all the girls we started with, it means everything.”
Stacy said she is excited about college but wants that second state championship as well.
Stacy Utomi grapples for the ballStacy Utomi grapples for the ball with a Lowell player.

“It’s always been a dream of ours to take it to the next level, so to see it to fruition is everything,” she said. “I believe in our team, I think we can do it, but it’s a matter of if we buy-in, which I think we will. The goal and plan is to finish out with the state title.”
Leading alongside them is fellow senior Taylor Wallce, who plays guard and provides her own defensive intensity. Head coach Scott Stine relishes their experience and leadership on the court.

Pernell and Wallace guard a player
Autumn Pernell and Taylor Wallace guard a Lowell player during their game earlier in the season.

“We have a great mixture,” he said. “Three seniors who have played varsity for four years and have been consistent contributors since their freshman year. Stephanie, Stacy, and Taylor have been captains the past two seasons. Our seniors have experienced winning a state title and know what it takes to achieve a goal like that.”

Coach talks with team during time out
Head coach Scott Stine talks to his team during a time out.

Wallace believes it too and said the team’s focus on fundamentals should help them make a solid run at the title, even after a couple tough late-season losses. The players carry that perseverance with them and know what success looks like, as their school outperforms the local district in all subjects.
“Just being consistent and executing on the little things in practice so that we can execute that in games, that will help,” she said. “Just playing together will help us get there.”
The Gators will start their postseason run with their first district game March 3.
Good luck, Arbor Prep!

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About Arbor Preparatory High School
Arbor Preparatory High School is a tuition-free, public charter school in Ypsilanti, Michigan, serving students in ninth through 12th grade. It is part of the National Heritage Academies network, which includes more than 100 tuition-free, public charter schools serving more than 65,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade across nine states. For more information, visit

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