BOYS BASKETBALL FLASHBACKS

1919

Nearly 40 teams entered the two-day, two-class pre-MHSAA tournament hosted at Michigan Agricultural College in East Lansing, now Michigan State University. Earl Knutson scored five baskets and was 4-5 at the free-throw line as Holland squeaked past the defending champ, Detroit Northwestern, 14-13, in Class A. The Dutchmen rallied from an 11-7 halftime deficit, scoring five times in the third period for a 13-12 lead. Northwestern's center Tho Wiley was held scoreless from the field, but hit free throws to lead the Colts. A large silver cup was presented to the win­ners, to be held for one year. The trophy was to be returned for competition the fol­lowing year, and would be presented per­manently to the first school to win three titles.

1929

In the Class B games for schools with less than 400 students, Cadillac defeated teams from South Haven, Dundee, Chelsea, and Charlotte before downing Greenville, 35-13, for the championship.

Jackson, Class A runner-up in the 1928 tournament, scored a 29-15 win over Highland Park at Olympia Stadium in Detroit. Maynard Otto and Louis Jagnow and led the victors with 14 and nine points, respectively. Highland Park avenged an earlier loss to Detroit Northern in the City League championship game with a 38-21 win in the semifinal round to advance.

In Class B, Grand Haven made full use of its height advantage and defeated Stambaugh, 25-18. It was the third championship in six years for Grand Haven and Coach Gus Cohrs.

Harbor Springs knocked off defending Class C champion Flint St. Michaels, 25-20 in overtime. A basket by Elwood Weingarden of Harbor Springs with less than 30 seconds to play in regulation forced the extra frame. Weingarden fin­ished with 10 points.

1939

A 39-19 victory over Elk Rapids gave Bridgman back-to-back Class D crowns. The feat was remarkable in that more than 300 teams - nearly half of the total membership
of the MHSAA- competed in Class D in 1929. Forrest Baldwin scored six baskets to run his total to 18 for the final three rounds of the championships.

At the old IMA in Flint, a crowd of 5,000 saw three first-time champs crowned in the Lower Peninsula tournament. Flint Northern, which tied for third in the Saginaw Valley in the reg­ular season, never trailed in its 37-27 victory over Muskegon Heights. It was the Vikings 11th straight win and third Class A crown since 1933.

Albion's stunning 33-32 upset of defending Class B champ Grand Rapids Christian was the talk of the tournament. The scrappy Wildcats hung with Christian throughout the contest, as the lead changed hands nine times. The game's hero was Albion forward Vie Bulnowski, who calmly stepped to the line and canned a pair of free throws with 20 sec­
onds remaining to give Albion its first-ever title.

In Class C action, Flint St. Mary's Kowak twins' coffibined for 24 points to lead St. Mary's to its first crown, a 31-21 win over Holland Christian. Edwin Nowak led all scorers with 13 points, while his brother Edward finished with 11.

Trailing 15-14 with two minutes to play, Joe Bolduc nailed both free throws to give Muskegon St. Joseph a 16-15 win over Dryden. in the Class D finale.

In the Upper Peninsula tourney at Northern State Teachers College in Marquette, Iron Mountain rebounded from an 18-9 deficit to turn back Iron River in Class B, 32-30. Gerald "Kootchie" Nelson, hero of Iron Mountain's semifinal win over Marquette a night earlier, again sank a shot at the buzzer to give his team the win.

1949

Crystal Falls made it two in a row with an overwhelming 41-27 win over Baraga Parochial of Marquette in Class C. A Sartori led the win­ners with 12 points while teammate Robert Shemky finished with 10. Robert "Choc" Tonella topped Marquette Baraga with 11 points. The appearance in the finals was the fourth consecutive for Crystal Falls, coached by Eddie Chambers. In Class D, Bergland ran past Pequaming, 31-16. The Hubert brothers combined for 13 points, while D. Lackie pumped in seven for the winners.

The two sessions of finals attracted 19,254 to Jenison Field House on the campus of Michigan State in East Lansing.

Kalamazoo Central pulled off the high school upset of the year, defeating heavily favored and previously unbeaten Saginaw Arthur Hill in the Class A contest, 53-37, before a turnaway crowd of 11,754. The Maroon Giants, who had finished in a tie for fourth place in the Southwestern Conference, and a 15-6 regular-season mark, opened up a nine-point lead in the opening stanza. Kalamazoo continued to extend that lead to 34-21 at the half. First-year coach Bob Quiring used defensive standout George Heinrich as his primary offensive weapon, and the guard respond­ed with six field goals in the first half of action. He finished with 20 points. Lumberjacks star Paul Hinkin was held to just three points on the day.

In Class B, Floyd Eby's Coldwater del­ egation offered up a coaching clinic on the man-to-man press en route to a 49-42 win over Lofton Greene's squad from River Rouge. The Panthers pulled to within one early in the third period, 24-23, but seven straight points for Coldwater's Rex Corless pulled the Cardinals in front to stay. Al Driscoll scored a Finals-record 24 points for Rouge in the contest, including 15 in the final half to lead all scorers. Corless ended with 18.

Forward Dave Scott notched 18 points while center John Stoneman added 15 as Kalamazoo St. Augustine pounded Eastland High of Roseville, 49-3, in Class C. Bob Betcher
ted Eastland with five field goals and 12 points.

St. Joseph Cath­ olic opened up a 33- 22 lead over Gwinn, then held on for a 50- 46 victory in the Class D game. Catholic's center Jim Beckman scored 14 points before fouling out early in the third. His depar­ ture aided the UP squad's comeback effort. Gwinn had pulled to within four points, late in the fourth, and to within three points on two occasions in the final frame, but could not find the clinching rally.

1959

In the Upper Peninsula Class E final game at Marquette, Alpha downed National Mine, 50-34.

It has since become known as "The Shot." Described by "The Swami" - Detroit Free Press prep writer Hal Schram - as "a crazy heave that bounced twice on the rim before
dropping through the laces," it was the "the windup to a wild finish that gave Lansing Sexton an 80-79 overtime win over Hamtramck." Many of the 12,120 fans that packed Jenison Field House for the Class A contest had left the arena early as the Cosmos opened up a 17-point lead, 43-26, at the half and controlled the contest 72-57 lead midway through the final period. However, much to everyone's amazement, Sexton notched the game's final 15 points in the last 3:15 of regulation knotting the game at 72 and sending it to overtime. "The Shot" by Sexton's Bob Davis as time ran out in extra period erased a 79-78 Hamtramck lead. The horn sounded while the shot was in the air, and according to those in attendance, the ball seemed to bounce on the rim for an eternity before finally falling in.

"We had no plan for setting up one man with the final shot," said Sexton coach Clayton Kowalk after the game. "During our timeout with 49 seconds left, I told the boys that heart, hard work and spirit had carried us this far. I told them not to quit."

Runners-up in 1958, River Rouge scrambled to a come-from-behind victory over Holly in Class B, 52-47. The win negated a 28-point, 21-rebound perfor­ mance by Holly's George McDaniel. The 6-6 center poured in 10 points in the final period, as the Bronchos pulled within one, 48-47 with a minute to play. Everett Griffith finished with 14 points for the Panthers, including four straight foul shots at the end of the contest to seal the Rouge victory.

Ken Fletcher sank four free throws in the final 18 seconds as Kalamazoo Christian dethroned defending Class C champ Muskegon West Michigan Christian, 63-59. A substitute center, Fletcher replaced all-state center John Oosterbaan after the senior drew his fourth foul with just under three minutes to play. Trailing 57-53 with 90 seconds remaining, the Warriors pulled to within two points, 59-57, then deliberately fouled Fletcher with 18 ticks left on the clock. Oosterbaan ended with 19 points while Ron Busier scored 14 to lead the Comets attack. Dave Mulder and Larry Weesies each finished with 17 points and Norm Vanderwel added 15 for the Warriors.

In Class D play, Maple City Glen Lake dumped Baldwin, 66-54. Vikings guard John Laskey's scored 18 of his game-high 32 points in the final frame. At the time, the total was believed to be a record for a single quarter in a final con­ test.

1969

In the Upper Peninsula Class E title game held one week earlier at Northern Michigan College's new fieldhouse, Nahma snapped Trout Creek's 25-game winning streak, 55-45.
Warren Groleau netted 34 points for the victors. Jim Manning led the Anglers with 17.

Grand Rapids Ottawa Hills earned their sec­ond straight Class A title with a 67-64 edg­ing of Ypsilanti. The game was a rematch of the 1968 final. Ernie Johnson paced Ottawa with 22 points, while Robin Raymond topped the Braves with 19.

River Rouge was once again atop the heap in Class B, downing Kalamazoo Hackett, 83-50. The Panthers, eight-time winners of the title dating back to 1954, including five in a row between 1961 and 1965, had missed the final round in both 1967 and 1968 and some were beginning to question the skills of its legendary coach Lofton Greene. The coach and his team responded with one of their most dominat­ ing exhibitions of basketball. Dwayne Johnson, 6-4, 250-pound forward, ended with 23 points. Teammate Rod Wimphrey added 16, but more importantly held Hackett's explosive Bob Calligton to nine points in the contest. Calligton hit 31 in the semifinals one night earlier.

Trailing 43-42 with 51 second left to play, Saginaw St. Stephen's senior Richard Lawler stole the ball three times and accounted for six points to lead the his team to a 48-43 over Grosse Pointe St. Paul in the Class C Final. Lawler ended his prep career with 21 points in the contest, including 11 of 14 from the foul line. St. Paul's Mike Corcaran finished with 15.

1979

After 70 years of existence and in its final season of competition, Marquette Bishop Baraga earned its first-ever MHSAA cage crown, 68-63 over Detroit St. Martin (not dePorres) in Class D. The Royals, 8-10 in regular season play, used team speed and the shooting skills of Bob Leanes and Steve Hampton to gain victory, as the pair tallied 21 and 20 points, respectively.

The Stags of Detroit Mackenzie became only the fourth PSL school since 1930 (see feature article, page 18) to earn a Class A MHSAA title, knocking off Pontiac Central, 72-64 at the University of Michigan's Crisler Arena. Steve Caldwell scored 28 for the winners, who finished 21-7 on the season. It was the fifth loss in the MHSAA Finals for the Chiefs, and their second in a row. Clyde Corley ended with 23 points and 19 rebounds for Pontiac Central.

Donnell Plummer's 19 points sparked Muskegon Heights to a 52-47 win over Saginaw Buena Vista. Duane Parker had a game high 21 points, including a jumper from the right corner to pull the Knights to within a bucket, 47-45 with 2:54 remaining to play. But a pair of blocked shots by Plummer prevented Buena Vista from tying the game and gave the Tigers' their second consecutive Class B title.

Three Oaks River Valley defeated Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port, 59-54, in the Class C game. Mike Peterek scored seven of eight free throws in the final eight minutes of the game to finish with 20 points for River Valle, while Brad Ponegalek added 16.

1989

Coach Dave Soules and his Detroit East Catholic Chargers fought off a potent fourth-period attack by Muskegon West Michigan Christian to cement the Class D title, 58-56. Trailing 56-51 with 1:30 left, the Warriors were able to tie things up 56-56 on a three-point play by Dave Doom with 36 seconds remaining in regulation. East Catholic took a time out following the play, and chose to run down the clock for a final shot, made by center Anthony Baker for the win. Baker ended with 16 points while Doom had a game-high 19 points for Christian.

(Detroit Cooley became only the third Class A team in tournament history to three-peat, defeat­ ing perennial bridesmaid Detroit Southwestern, 85-73, before a packed house at Crisler Arena. Coach Ben Kelso's squad hit an incredible 67 percent of its shots in the contest. Led by Michael Talley's 27 points and Daniel Lyton's 20 markers, the Cardinals exacted revenge for a 55-45 loss to Southwestern in the PSL championship game earlier in the season. That defeat was Cooley's lone mar on the year.

Sophomores Jalen Rose and Voshon Lenard led the Prospectors with 17 and 14 points, respectively. The loss marked the seventh time in eight years that Southwestern had fallen in the MHSAA Finals.

Playing a game of slowdown, Saginaw Buena Vista held St. Joseph to three points in the second quarter to open up a 24-17 halftime lead in the Class B title contest. However, the top-rated Knights had trouble staving off the Bears, who managed to knot the game at 35 early in the fourth. Buena Vista's James Jackson broke the tie at the 2:08 mark as the Knights pulled out to a 40- 35 advantage with 29 seconds left. Still, a jumper by guard Scott Dukesherer pulled the Bears to within three with four seconds to play. Toriano Smith's free throw one sec­ond later ended the scoring as coach Norwaine Reed's squad held on for a nail- biting 41-37 victory.

The Class C game saw Detroit Country Day defeat Ishpeming, 82-43.  The Yellowjackets led 24-15 after one quarter and 45-29 at the half.

Mio's Ty McGregor and Dennis Kann combined for 56 points, to lead the Thuderbolts to a 78-67 win over Beal City in Class D. Beal City pulled to within seven points behind the shooting of Todd Schafer, as the 6-7 Kann fouled out with 1:54 to play. But McGregor picked up the slack, fin­ishing with 32 points, including five free throws in the final two minutes to seal the win. It was Mio's first state title in any sport. Schafer finished with 24 to lead the Aggies.

Ron Pesch