Boys Basketball Finals Flashbacks
By Ron Pesch


Detroit Cooley stunned a previously unbeaten Detroit Southwestern squad with a 82-77 overtime victory before 13,482 at Crisler Arena in Ann Arbor. Cooley had lost twice to the Prospectors earlier in the year, including a 35-point defeat in the Detroit Public School League title game. The Cardinals led by eight enter ing the fourth quarter, but watched in disbelief as Doyle Callahan scored off an offensive rebound at the buzzer to tie the game at 71 apiece. Southwestern’s James Hunter scored the first points of overtime, but Cooley did not fold. Rafeal Peterson responded with a basket, and the Cardinals rolled to victory. It was the sixth consecutive defeat in the Class A finals for the Prospectors. Callahan ended with 26 points for the Southwestern, while sophomore Michael Talley’s 23 paced Cooley.

Juniors Ernest Stewart and Aaron McFadden scored 12 points apiece as Flint Beecher grabbed its second Class B crown in three consecutive visits with a 41-32 win over Alma. Dave Modders led the Panthers with eight points.

Runner-up in 1986, Saginaw Nouvel coasted to a 72-59 win over Benzie Central in Class C. Corey Ward led Nouvel with 19 points - all in the second half. Guard Rex VanDuzen poured in 20 for the Huskies.

In Class D, McBain Northern Michigan Christian ended the year as the state’s only unbeaten squad, with a 56-46 victory over the Snowbirds of Gaylord St. Mary. Bryan Eisenga led the winners with 16, while Mike Heuker added 14. Jay Martin tallied 14 for St. Mary’s.


A crowd of 13,609 fans packed Crisler Arena to watch Earvin “Magic” Johnson and the No. 1 ranked Lansing Everett Vikings square off against Kevin Smith and Birmingham Brothe r Rice for the Class A crown. The Warriors opened up a 43-36 lead early in the fourth quarter, as Johnson drew his third and fourth fouls. Everett and Johnson responded to the test, knotting the score at 45 with 1:39 to play. The Vikings grabbed a 49-47 lead with three seconds to play, but the game was sent to overtime when Smith scored on a shot from just past mid-court at the buzzer. Everett built a 56-49 lead in the extra frame before Johnson fouled out, then thanks to the free throw shooting of Jamie Huffman hung on to win, 62-56. “Magic” ended with 14 rebounds and 34 points, pushing his prep career scoring mark total to 2,012. Smith finished with 25 points, including 11 of 13 from the free throw line.

Dearborn Divine Child’s Tom Wing held Grandville’s all-stater Vince Vogg to 10 points as the Falcons downed the Bulldogs, 49-45, in Class B. Randy Palmitier led Grandville with 17 points, while Wing finished with 12 and teammate Dave Blazo added 11 for Divine Child.

Steve Jones dropped in 19 points and snagged 20 boards as Redford St. Mary defeated Saginaw Sts. Peter and Paul, 61-47, for the Class C championship. David Bland led the Crusaders with 12, while Cass Wilson and Mike Bishop each contributed 10.

Geoff Kotila’s five points in the final 38 seconds, including a pair of free throws with a single second remaining, gave Maple City-Glen Lake a 70-68 upset win over top-ranked Detroit East Catholic in Class D. Kotila finished with 27 points. Teammate Rick Baillergeon ended with 12 points, to close out his prep career with 2,144 points - The total ranked second at the time on the career scoring list behind Fennville’s Richie Jordan. Ted Anderson scored 22 points, Terry Triplett 20, and Donell Williams 19 for the Chargers, who ended the year at 23-2.


The Detroit City League won its first MHSAA basketball crown since 1930 as Detroit Pershing defeated Flint Central, 90-66. The City League opted out of competition in the MHSAA basketball tournaments for 30 years, returning to the fold in 1961. Flint Central focused on shutting down Pershing’s Spencer Haywood, double and triple teaming the future NBA legend. That left junior sensation Ralph Simpson (another future NBA star) free to run the floor. Simpson delivered a tournament record 43-point performance as the Doughboys rolled to the Class A title. Haywood was held to five field goals in the contest, but delivered on 14 of 18 free throws for 24 points. More importantly, he remained a threat on the boards, grabbing a game-high 17 rebounds. Tim Bograkos finished with 27 points for Flint Central.

In Class B, Menominee returned the crown to the U.P. for the first time in 10 years with a 63-59 triumph over Willow Run. The Flyers hit on only 29 percent of their shots, as a strong zone defense by the U.P. squad forced Willow Run to shoot from the outside. Pat Miller finished with 28 points to lead the Maroons. John Thomas finished with 22 points for Willow Run despite missing nearly 13 minutes of the second half due to foul trouble.

Mt. Pleasant Sacred Heart won its first title in four visits to the dance, with a 66-53 win over a scrappy Detroit All Saints squad in Class C. Sacred Heart took advantage of a definite height advantage as the Irish front line of Mark Simons (6-7), Mike Hackett (6-6) and Mick Natzel (6-4) combined for 45 points to lead the attack. Stan Grayson finished with 18 points for the All Saints. The victory capped a perfect 25-0 year for Sacred Heart.

John Sperla scored 29 points while teammate Bob Boudreau added 20 to lead Flint St. Matthew to a 75-67 victory over Ewen. Bob Franti led the Bulldogs with 24 points. St. Matthew ended the year undefeated in both basketball and football.


At Jenison Fieldhouse, defending champion Muskegon Heights defeated a strong Detroit Austin Catholic squad, 61-49, for the Class A trophy. Ed Burton ended his prep career at Heights with 25 points, while teammate Ronnie Robinson finished with 21. Dave DeBusschere paced Austin with 27 points, however the remaining Friars scored no more that five points apiece in the contest.

After winning three titles in the 1956 tournament, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula returned to East Lansing to reclaim two of the state’s cage crowns. In Class B, Negaunee escaped with a 68-66 win over an underdog squad from Harper Woods. The Pioneers pulled to within a single point on two occasions late in the contest, but could not finish the upset. Joe Lucci led the winners with 21 points, while Ron Scott scored 26 for Harper Woods.

Lakeview High of Montcalm County rallied in the second half to defeat Kalamazoo Christian , 76-68. Trailing 45-34 at the half, Lakeview switched to a full court press following the intermission to cut into Christian’s lead. Following a basket on which he was fouled, Lakeview’s Harold Gorby converted the free throw for a three point play and a 70-68 lead for the Wildcats with 4:51 remaining. Christian was shutout in the final five minutes of the Class C contest.

U.P. Class D powerhouse Chassell notched its 39th consecutive victory with a 58-50 win over Stevensville. Tom Peters scored five from the field, and 10 of 16 free throws for a game high 20 points. The Panthers’ streak of wins, which began on February 1, 1956, would extend through three MHSAA basketball tournaments before ending with a 38-36 loss to the Ewen Bulldogs i n the opening contest of the 1958-59 season. The total of 65 consecutive victories remains a state record.

In Class E action at Escanaba, Hermansville tripped up Michigamme, 77- 51. With the win, Coach Don Hill’s Redskins ended the year with a 21-1 mark.



A record crowd of 12,832 turned out to witness the finals at Michigan State’s Jenison Fieldhouse. In Class A, Flint Northern posted its fifth title in 15 years with a 48-38 win over Dearborn. Joe Wargo led the winners with 14 points. Guard Dave Sebring scored nine of his 12 points for the Pioneers in the first half.

Paced by Jack Joynt and Bob Shults, Alma scored a 32-20 win over Fremont in the Class B Lower Peninsula title game. Neil Johnson led Packers with eight points.

In Class C, Saginaw’s Art McColgan scored his 500th point on the year as the Sts. Peter and Paul squad defeated Evart, 39-29. The trip to East Lansing was a return engagement for the Saginaw squad. One year previous, it was defeated by Manton, 33-32, in a thriller. McColgan finished with 15 points to lead all scorers. Leo Boyd (currently the state’s leader in all-time football coaching victories with 291) added seven for the parochials. Dale Carmichael and Hugh Adams ended the game with 12 and 11 points respectively for Evart.

Baroda downed Haslett, 42-32, for the Class D Lower Peninsula championship. Floyd Schedler scored 19 points, including the game’s first seven to lead the winners. Dallas Canfield kept Haslett in the contest, scoring 13 second-half points to finish with 16. Earlier in the year, Baroda moved its games to the high school gym at Bridgman, a town three miles away, after its home floor was lost in an explosion. Apparently, the move brought the Bulldogs some luck, as Bridgman was the Class D Lower Peninsula champion in 1936.

In the Upper Peninsula tournament, Bessemer downed Lake Linden, 46-45, in a Class B thriller at Marquette. Norway grabbed the U.P. Class C crown with a 55-54 win over Gwinn in overtime at Iron Mountain. In Class D at Iron Mountain, Johnson of Greenland scored 26 points, including 11 field goals, to lead his team past Vulcan, 63-48. The Vikings of Bergland came from behind to defeat Perkins, 40-37, in the Class E game at Marquette. Bill Friedle scored nine, and John Strancel and Bob VanSlyke each added seven points apiece for Vikings. Valere VanDamme led the Yellowjackets attack with 21 points, including nine from the free-throw line.


Muskegon ended the year as the state’s only new champion, with a 31-27 Class A win over Holland at Flint’s IMA Arena. Bob MacIntyre scored 11 and Charles Vanderlinde added eight points for the Big Reds. Jim Grisson scored all of Holland’s second half points, to lead the Dutchmen with 14. Muskegon finished the season undefeated in 18 contests.

Bob Osterman , Detroit St Theresa’s 6-4 center, scored 11 first half points and finished with 16 as the Pirates rolled to their second consecutive Class B crown with a 45-25 win over Marshall. Jack Sweeny ended the game with 11 points for the winners.

Bob Wines finished with 15 points, including 13 in the first half as Lansing St Mary’s annexed the Class C crown with a 32-15 victory over St. Clair . It was the second in a row for St. Mary’s

Stevensville earned its third crown in a row in Class D with a 21-18 win over a tough squad from Horton in a rematch of the 1936 title game. Stevensville sealed the victory with five seconds remaining in the contest when a technical foul was assessed against Horton for too many time outs.

In the Upper Peninsula finals, Ironwood , playing on its home floor, defeated Ishpeming, 17-15, in a thriller in Class B. Newberry downed Crystal Falls, 24-16, in Class C, and Trout Creek trounced Trenary, 42-20, in Class D.


Clair Helmer and Bill McCall starred for the Big Reds as Muskegon downed Battle Creek , 32-24, in the Class A championship hosted at Detroit Central High School. Ray Priest, who finished with 12 points on six field goals, led the Battle Creek squad throughout. Trailing 15-12 at the half, Muskegon rallied to a 22-20 lead at the end of the third, then shutdown its opponent’s offense in the final frame. McCall finished with 11, while Helmer added nine.

In Class B played at Detroit Northwestern High School, Grand Haven overwhelmed Howell, 28-7. Henry Dirske and Steve Sluka paced the winners with 10 and eight points respectively.

Outstanding defense was the key as Reed City held Shelby scoreless from the field enroute to a 16-5 win in Class C at Northwestern High School. Reed City guards Johnson and Pratt continually frustrated Shelby, regularly breaking up passes. Buerge led Reed City offensively with nine points. The game remains the only final in which a team has finished with zero field goals.

At Central High School, St Anne’s of Alpena grabbed the Class D crown with a hard-fought 27-25 victory over U.P. finalist Gwinn. Herman Samp led St. Anne’s with seven field goals, to finish with an impressive 23 in his final three tournament contests.


In the first annual interscholastic tournament to be staged at the University of Michigan’s Waterman gym in Ann Arbor, Detroit Northwestern defeated Jackson, 24-21. A total of 38 high school squads entered the tourney that ran for three consecutive days. Teams were broken down into two divisions by tournament officials, and the final contest consisted of the respective division champions. Eligibility of those entered was decided according to Michigan Interscholastic Athletic Association rules. (NOTE: The MIAA was a forerunner of the current MHSAA.)

Northwestern center Henderson scored four baskets in the final moments of the contest as Detroit overcame a two-point deficit. Mitchell led Jackson with four field goals and three free throws.