Breslin Bound: 2021-22 Boys Report Week 10
By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor
February 14, 2022
The boys basketball tournament picture is getting a little clearer as we draw closer to the end of the regular season, allowing coaches to forecast a bit more (and scout) who their teams might face when Districts begin in three weeks.
It's also the right time for us to begin envisioning how some of our headlining regular-season games might become rematches next month – and we'll be digging into some of those possibilities over the next few weeks, including a couple we note below.
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Week in Review
The countdown of last week’s five most intriguing results:
1. Detroit U-D Jesuit 65, Detroit Catholic Central 43 The Detroit Catholic League Central has been the setting for one of the most contested league races in recent memory, and the Cubs (10-4) clinched the title after having defeated the Shamrocks (8-7) by only two points in their first meeting.
2. Port Huron Northern 49, St. Clair Shores Lake Shore 47 The Huskies (12-4) faced former co-leader Lake Shore (13-3) twice over seven days and won both to clinch the Macomb Area Conference Blue title outright.
3. Vandercook Lake 65, Napoleon 59 The Jayhawks (13-1) moved into a half-game lead over Michigan Center and one full game ahead of Napoleon (12-2) in the Cascades Conference.
4. Goodrich 43, Flushing 42 The Martians (14-1) won a second one-point game in a row, this one over the Raiders (12-2) in a matchup of teams leading their respective Flint Metro League divisions.
5. Benton Harbor 79, Battle Creek Pennfield 74 The Tigers (13-2) bounced back from their second loss with their best win in terms of MPR against the Panthers (11-3).
With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each division making sparks:
Detroit Martin Luther King (15-1) The Crusaders haven’t lost since the season opener against Detroit U-D Jesuit (see below) and are up to No. 2 in Division 1 MPR after going undefeated in a Detroit Public School League Blue that included Cass Tech (14-2), Renaissance and Southeastern (both 11-4). King also has wins over Beecher (13-1), Ann Arbor Huron (11-3), Saginaw (10-6), Kalamazoo Central (10-6) and Grand Blanc (11-4) among others – and if the Crusaders meet Jesuit again, it will be in the Division 1 Final.
Detroit U-D Jesuit (10-4) As noted above, Jesuit clinched the Catholic League Central, a major accomplishment. Additionally, only two of the Cubs’ opponents this season have fewer than 10 wins entering this week, providing another boost behind Jesuit’s No. 1 MPR ranking. The Cubs opened with a 51-42 win over King and can also count nonleague victories over Waterford Mott (11-3) and Macomb Dakota (10-5) along with the impressive run through the conference.
Croswell-Lexington (14-0) This is familiar territory for the Pioneers, who are up to a combined 53-3 over the last three seasons. They have a two-game lead over Richmond in the Blue Water Area Conference, having handed the Blue Devils (12-2) a 57-38 defeat Jan. 25 and with the rematch coming up. Wins over Brown City (9-5) and Reese (12-2) have provided further MPR boost as the team sits No. 4 in Division 2 coming off last year’s run to the Quarterfinals.
Escanaba (10-4) After reaching the Quarterfinals last season, the Eskymos loaded their schedule again with many of the Upper Peninsula’s best, and it’s paid off with the No. 1 MPR ranking in Division 2. Escanaba is second in the Great Northern Conference with two losses to Menominee (14-1) and will play the Maroons again Tuesday, but those defeats have provided a boost along with two wins over Kingsford (10-4) and others against Ishpeming Westwood (12-3) and Negaunee (11-5). The two other losses came to teams from Wisconsin.
Detroit Loyola (11-4) The Bulldogs have won eight straight to clinch the Detroit Catholic League AA championship and move up to Nov. 5 in Division 3 MPR. Wins over Pontiac Notre Dame Prep and Warren Lincoln (both 12-4) also have provided a boost, and all four losses were to larger schools with at least 11 wins – Hamtramck (11-3), Bloomfield Hills (11-3), Oak Park (11-3) and North Farmington (12-3). Loyola gets another good test in Detroit Country Day (10-3) this week as it looks to build on last season’s Quarterfinal run.
Elk Rapids (9-4) With only one game left against leader Traverse City St. Francis, on Tuesday, and two league losses, Elk Rapids may have to settle for second in the Lake Michigan Conference for the second-straight season. But another big opportunity awaits the Elks, No. 9 in Division 3 MPR. Their District includes St. Francis and the top two teams in the Northwest Conference and second-place team in the Ski Valley Conference – and at the time of this writing, Elk Rapids would be seeded second thanks to wins like the sweep of Boyne City (10-4).
Genesee Christian (11-4) The Soldiers have taken a few steps up from last year’s 9-8 finish despite a strong schedule. The Genesee Area Conference Red has four teams 8-4 or better and three with at least 10 wins, and Genesee Christian is up to No. 8 in Division 4 MPR with six victories over teams with eight wins or more. The Soldiers get some benefit from losses to Beecher (13-1) and Flint Hamady (8-4) and have defeated among others Hamady, Lake Fenton (9-5), Clarkston Everest Collegiate (11-3), Webberville (11-4) and Burton Bendle (10-4). They see Bendle again next week.
Lake Leelanau St. Mary (12-3) The No. 7 Eagles have piled up 14 wins two seasons in a row and made the Regional Finals a year ago, and they’re surging toward March again with a 10-game winning streak. St. Mary handed Ellsworth (14-1) its only defeat and also earned solid boosts from victories over Traverse City Christian (12-2) and Flat Rock (13-3) – with the losses to Maple City Glen Lake (13-3), Rudyard (14-0) and Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central (8-6).
Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up:
Tuesday – Ferndale (12-3) at Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice (11-4) – Ferndale is No. 7 in Division 2 MPR and Brother Rice is No. 3 in Division 1
Tuesday – Grand Haven (14-1) at Rockford (15-1) – The Rams won the first meeting and have a one-game lead on the Bucs in the Ottawa-Kent Conference Red.
Tuesday – Battle Creek Pennfield (11-3) at Marshall (14-1) – Marshall has a one-game lead in the Interstate 8 Athletic Conference despite falling to co-second place Pennfield 48-44 on Jan. 11.
Friday – Frankenmuth (11-2) at Freeland (14-0) – The Falcons can clinch a share of the Tri-Valley Conference 8 title, or the Eagles can pull within a half game of the lead if they hand Freeland a first league defeat.
Saturday – Grand Blanc (11-4) at Muskegon (13-1) – The reigning Division 1 champion could bring a 10-game winning streak on the road to face another contender for this season’s title.
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PHOTO Westwood’s Zach Carlson threads a pass while being defended last week by Ishpeming’s Parker Gauthier. (Photo by Cara Kamps.)