Contact: John Johnson
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EAST LANSING, Mich. – June 21 – Great game-winning shots, monumental comebacks and late-game touchdown drives will be featured for nine weeks this summer on MHSAA.TV’s 80’s Finals Flashback Series.
All of the events will be posted in their entirety. Some are from actual broadcasts, some are from fully-produced games shown on venue video boards and distributed on VHS tape at the time. A new event will be posted online each Monday beginning June 27, through the week of August 22.
Here’s the weekly rundown of 80’s Finals Flashback series, with game recaps courtesy of MHSAA Historian Ron Pesch of Muskegon:
Week of June 27 – Saginaw Buena Vista 33, Flint Beecher 32 – 1986 Class B Boys Basketball Final – “The Shot” - a 54-foot rainbow launched at the final buzzer by Saginaw Buena Vista's Chris Coles – miraculously found the mark and gave the Knights a 33-32 win over defending champion Flint Beecher in a rematch of 1985’s Class B double overtime thriller. Tied at 31 with three seconds to play, Beecher sophomore Ernest Steward hit the first shot of a one-and-one situation to put the Bucs on top, 32-31. Stewart missed on the second attempt, allowing the Knight's Michael Jackson to grab the rebound and pass to Coles. The shot was Coles’ first attempt of the second half, and the senior’s only points in the contest. Shoun Randolph led the Knights in scoring with 19 points. Ricky Jackson paced Beecher with 18.
Week of July 4 – Traverse City 24, Detroit Catholic Central 14 – 1988 Class A Football Final - In Class A, Traverse City notched a 24-14 win over Detroit Catholic Central. The Trojans took the opening kick and drove 80 yards on 20 plays en route to their first touchdown of the day. A 46-yard field goal by Josh Wuerfel, breaking the championship record of 42 yards by Jeff Fisher of Ann Arbor Pioneer in 1984, gave TC a 10-0 lead at halftime. The Shamrocks cut the lead to 10-7 late in the third on a 3- yard run by Dave Owens. However, a pair of fourth quarter interceptions by Trojan linebacker Andy Baillie set up Traverse City TDs. Mike Nadlicki paced the winners with 85 yards on 27 carries and two touchdowns.
Week of July 11 – Detroit Cass Tech 52, Saginaw 51 – 1987 Class A Girls Basketball Final - Trailing by 20 with two minutes to play in the third quarter, Detroit Cass Tech rallied to defeat Saginaw, 52-51, in the Class A Final at Grand Valley State University in Allendale. The Technicians held the defending champions scoreless over the final 4:16, while scoring the final nine points to grab the title. LaTonya Tate finished with 20 points, including the game-winning three-point field goal with 1:43 remaining. Sheronda Mayo added 14 points, including eight in the fourth quarter. Sentaria Johnson finished with a career-high 20 points for Saginaw.
Week of July 18 – Northport 80, Beal City 78 – 1988 Class D Boys Basketball Final - Northport's Sander Scott scored 39 points, but it was teammate Dan Stowe's six-foot jumper with three seconds to play that sealed an 80-78 victory over Beal City in Class D. Scott connected on 15 of 24 shots, including four of eight three-pointers, before fouling out with 2:52 to left in the game. Beal City received balanced scoring from Todd Schafer (21 points), Jason Gottleber (17) and Tim Block (15).
Week of July 25 – Muskegon 16, Detroit Martin Luther King 13 – 1988 Class A Football Final - Muskegon's Marcus Longmire dashed 89 yards for a touchdown on the opening kickoff of the second half as the Big Reds downed Detroit Martin Luther King, 16-13, in the Class A Final. Longmire's TD gave Muskegon a 16-0 lead, but the Crusaders did not fold. On second down of the following series, King quarterback Zolton Hall hit David Bowden on a 76-yard touchdown pass. Hall scored with 3:36 remaining in the third to cut the lead to three, but the Crusaders were unable to score again.
Week of August 1 – Dearborn Divine Child 50, Okemos 45 (OT) – 1985 Class B Girls Basketball Final - Runner-up in the 1985 Class B championship match, Dearborn Divine Child battled to a 50-45 overtime win over Okemos. Sue Nissen led the winners with 22 points. Leading most of the second half, Okemos fell behind, 43-41, on Andrea McAllister's breakaway with 1:33 left in the fourth quarter. Sophomore Amy Zack tied the game with a five-foot jumper, and the Chieftains had a chance to win with one second to play in regulation. After being fouled, Zack missed the front end of a one and one, and the game went into overtime.
Week of August 8 – Grand Rapids South Christian 69, Redford Bishop Borgess 66 – 1988 Class B Boys Basketball Final - A battle of future Michigan State University players was a feature of the Class B showdown. Matt Steigenga of Grand Rapids South Christian, and Parish Hickman, 6-7, 205-pound forward from Redford Bishop Borgess, were the focal points of the game. Leading 53-45 after three quarters, Borgess appeared to be in the driver's seat. However, Steigenga began a Sailor comeback with a thundering dunk off an offensive rebound to open the fourth quarter of play. South Christian scored eight of the next 10 points, tieing the contest at 55 with 5:29 remaining. Despite picking up his fourth personal foul before the end of the first half, Steigenga grabbed six offensive rebounds in the final frame, while Mark Wierenga, scored eight of his 21 points as the Sailors defeated Borgess, 69-66. The Spartans had one last chance when sophomore Shawn Respert hit a three-pointer with 10 seconds remaining to pull within three. The future MSU star launched a 35-footer at the buzzer that could have tied the game, but the shot bounced off the rim. Steigenga and Hickman each finished with 21 points apiece.
Week of August 15 – St. Joseph Lake Michigan Catholic 41, Ontonagon 39 – 1988 Class C Girls Basketball Final - With 34 second remaining, Tirzah Wilson nailed both ends of a bonus situation to give St. Joseph Lake Michigan Catholic a 41-39 victory over Ontonagon in Class C. Catholic's Kelly Rose led all scorers with 17 points, and a Finals record 25 rebounds. Jill Mattson paced Ontonagon with 13 points.
Week of August 22 – Farmington Hills Harrison 28, DeWitt 27 – 1989 Class B Football Final - In Class B, Farmington Hills Harrison scored a 28-27 victory over DeWitt in what many consider the greatest game of Michigan's 25-year playoff history. The defending Class B champions and top-ranked Hawks had their hands full with the Panthers from DeWitt. Tied 7-7 after one quarter, the Panthers grabbed a two-touchdown lead in the second on 32-yard run by John Tellford, and a 35-yard pass play from Tellford to John Cowan. Harrison responded with a Matt Conley 1-yard run to cut the margin to 21-14 at the half. Hawk quarterback Mill Coleman knotted the score at 21 with a dazzling 16-yard run early in the fourth quarter, but DeWitt stormed back again, driving 75-yards on 13 plays. The series was highlighted by tight end Dave Riker's 24-yard, one-handed catch to the Hawks’ 3-yard line. Two plays later, quarterback Chris Berkimer slipped over from the 1, and DeWitt again took the lead, 27-21. With 2:12 remaining on the clock and the ball at the Harrison 33, Coleman went to work. Three quick completions moved the ball to the DeWitt 16, then Coleman let his legs do the rest of the work. Following a Hawk timeout, Coleman dashed right for seven more yards to the Panther 9. Facing a second-and-three, Coleman dropped back to pass, escaped the rush at the DeWitt 17, then scampered up the middle and dove into the end zone, for the tying points. Steve Hill added his fourth PAT of the game with 1:34 remaining for the final margin, then secured the victory with an interception on the next series.