Breslin Bound: Girls Report Week 11
February 18, 2020
By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
District seeds have been planted, league titles are being clinched seemingly every day and we’re fast-breaking into the final two weeks of this girls basketball season.
In case you missed them, District brackets were posted for all four divisions Sunday – and for the first time with the top two teams placed on opposite sides of the opening-round bracket. But there’s still plenty to decide before we get to the playoffs, and we connect some of those dots below.
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Week in Review
The countdown of last week’s five most intriguing results:
1. East Kentwood 53, Hudsonville 46 – The reigning Ottawa-Kent Conference Red champion Falcons (13-3) put themselves in position to at least claim a share of the title this time by handing current leader Hudsonville (15-1) its first loss.
2. Detroit Renaissance 81, Detroit Cass Tech 55 – The Phoenix (16-2) clinched the Detroit Public School League Tournament title and rose to No. 3 in the Division 1 Michigan Power Ratings with a big win over Cass Tech (15-2).
3. East Lansing 50, Flint Carman-Ainsworth 41 – The Trojans (15-1) moved to 9-1 this winter against teams that have gone on to double-digit victories, this time handing a second loss to another Division 1 contender in the Cavaliers (14-2).
4. Saginaw Heritage 56, Midland 39 – The Hawks (11-5) pushed into a first-place tie in the Saginaw Valley League Red, and a second loss last week sent former leader Midland (15-3) into third place.
5. Fowler 54, Byron 47 – The Eagles quietly have risen to No. 4 in Division 4 MPR, but this was a loud statement as they handed Byron (15-1) its only loss.
With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each division making sparks:
Detroit Renaissance (16-2) The Phoenix have won 16 games three of the last four seasons with room for more success this winter. Renaissance’s only losses came to Illinois powerhouse Chicago Simeon 65-50 at the end of December and by two to Detroit Edison, 54-52, on Feb. 1. That was the closest game unbeaten Edison has played, and the Phoenix can further add to a memorable regular season at Flint Carman-Ainsworth on Wednesday and against the Detroit Catholic League champ in next week’s Operation Friendship game.
East Lansing (15-1) The Trojans have defeated an exceptional list of opponents – including Carman-Ainsworth (14-2), Holt (13-3) twice, DeWitt (12-4) twice, Williamston (14-3), Haslett (11-5) and Pewamo-Westphalia (13-2), and a much-better-than-its-record Harper Woods Chandler Park (10-6). The only loss was to Edison 65-48 on Jan. 7, and East Lansing has only one game closer than nine points since. The Trojans can clinch a share of the Capital Area Activities Conference Blue title tonight at Okemos.
Big Rapids (15-1) The Cardinals have built a 10-game winning streak and moved into a first-place tie in the Central State Activities Association Gold with wins the last two weeks over co-leader Fremont (40-35) and third-place Newaygo (30-29). It’s been an incredible jump; after going 22-3 in 2017-18, Big Rapids fell back to 6-14 a year ago. But their only loss this winter came in the first Fremont game, 39-33 on Dec. 20.
Harper Woods Chandler Park (10-6) The Eagles rank third in Division 2 MPR with this record because of a schedule against opponents with a combined .715 winning percentage. Chandler Park is 8-2 over its last 10 games and won the Charter School Conference Tournament on Friday. The Eagles have handed Ecorse (12-1) its only loss and also have nice wins over Ypsilanti Arbor Prep (15-4) and Dearborn Henry Ford Academy (11-5) – plus good playoff-prep losses to Michigan Center, Brighton, Ann Arbor Huron, Carman-Ainsworth and East Lansing among others.
Kent City (16-1) The Eagles locked up a share of the CSAA Silver championship Friday with their second win over Morley Stanwood (13-3), this time 42-30. The title is the team’s sixth straight, and Kent City ran its league winning streak to 43 games. The only defeat this season came to Division 1 Muskegon (10-6) on Jan. 14, and the Eagles also have wins over Comstock Park (12-4), Kalamazoo Christian (12-5), Cedar Springs (10-6) and White Cloud (11-6) as they look to build for the tournament. They fell last year 35-33 in a Regional Semifinal to eventual champion Pewamo-Westphalia.
Maple City Glen Lake (15-2) The Lakers quietly are back on top in the Northwest Conference with a chance to clinch a share of the league title tonight against second-place Kingsley. But they made some noise last week by handing Division 2 Cadillac its only defeat, and Glen Lake also owns double-digit wins over Lake Michigan Conference leader Charlevoix and second-place Traverse City St. Francis. The losses came to Division 1 Midland Dow 45-43 on Dec. 7, and then 58-54 on Jan. 8 to Manton – the opponent that stopped the Lakers’ playoff run in the District opener a year ago.
Adrian Lenawee Christian (15-2) The Cougars did take their second loss Monday, but impressively 67-62 to Edison, and the only other defeat came against Division 1 Hartland (15-1) on Dec. 7. Those could provide as much value as most wins as Lenawee Christian aspires to claim a third-straight Class D/Division 4 championship. And there have been plenty of impressive wins too, over Fowler, Division 3 Michigan Center (13-3) and Brooklyn Columbia Central (15-2), Division 2 Dexter (13-3) and Division 1 Kalamazoo Central.
St. Ignace (13-2) After falling to league rival Sault Ste. Marie on Feb. 6, the Saints are working to finish with a shared championship in the Straits Area Conference. But they really make their name when the playoffs start. Last season’s Division 4 runner-up (with a two-point loss to Lenawee Christian in the Final) will sprint into this postseason with wins to their credit over Division 1 Ann Arbor Huron (15-2), the Division 2 Blue Devils (15-1) and Kingsley (11-5) and Division 3 Charlevoix (11-5) twice. Division 2 Goodrich (14-2) should provide another tune-up Saturday.
Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up:
Tuesday – Brighton (15-1) at Hartland (15-1) – These two are tied for first in the Kensington Lakes Activities Association West with two league games to play and Brighton winning their first meeting 41-33 on Jan. 24.
Tuesday – Ubly (15-1) at Sandusky (14-3) – The Bearcats lead the Greater Thumb Conference East by a game thanks to a 31-17 home win over Sandusky on Jan. 21.
Tuesday – Lake City (15-1) at Manton (16-1) – The Rangers won the first meeting and can clinch a share of the Highland Conference title with another, or see Manton move into a first-place tie.
Tuesday – Macomb Dakota (15-2) at Port Huron (18-0) – The Macomb Area Conference White champion Big Reds look to advance to the Red/White Tournament final against the Red runner-up.
Friday – Ishpeming Westwood (16-1) at Negaunee (13-4) – The Western Peninsula Athletic Conference East-leading Patriots handed Negaunee its only league loss 45-35 on Jan. 24.
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PHOTO: Pewamo-Westphalia is among contenders prepping again for a potentially long postseason run. (Click to see more from HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)