20-0 Just Start for Senior-Driven Ravenna

March 4, 2020

By Tom Kendra
Special for Second Half

With 20 seconds remaining in Tuesday night’s victory, the Ravenna student section started chanting:

“Undefeated! Undefeated!”

That was about as wild and crazy as the Bulldogs got after a truly historic achievement – moving to 20-0 and wrapping up the first-ever perfect boys basketball regular season in school history with a 71-51 victory over host Fruitport Calvary Christian.

Afterward in the locker room, one of the players wrote the following message on the whiteboard:


“That’s been our philosophy all year,” explained first-year Ravenna coach Courtney Kemp, whose team is ranked No. 5 in the final Associated Press state rankings. “I remember seeing 0-5 and 0-6 up there. We want to play with the humility, the hunger and the sense of urgency of a team that is desperate to get a win.”

The Bulldogs know they have accomplished something truly special on the hardcourt, an achievement that will be talked about in the small farming community in eastern Muskegon County for years to come.

They also know that they can’t afford to celebrate it right now, as they will be hosting a grueling Division 3 District, starting with a third showdown on Monday against West Michigan Conference rival North Muskegon (14-5). If they survive that, stern tests loom against a pair of tournament-savvy teams in Kent City and Muskegon Western Michigan Christian.

“It’s a season to remember, for sure,” said 6-foot-5 senior center Jacob May, who scored a team-high 21 points with five rebounds in Tuesday’s regular-season finale. “It’s been a blast. Our goal was to put a banner up in the gym and we got that conference title, but we can’t be satisfied with that.”

May is one of five senior starters who rose above some early setbacks to win the school’s first boys basketball conference championship in 40 years and first outright WMC title in 47 years. It was the school’s third boys basketball championship in 51 years in the WMC.

The perfect season becomes more impressive when you consider that the team lost its coach in June, when Justin Johnson left after five years to take the same job at Division 1 Muskegon Mona Shores. Johnson, whose teams won a combined 16 games over his first three years, guided the ‘Dogs to a breakthrough 15-7 finish last year and their first postseason win in more than a decade.

In August, star guard Josh Cox suffered a serious knee injury in the season-opening football game against Hopkins. Then in November, 6-5 senior Grant Parker learned he needed surgery and decided not to play basketball to recover in preparation for his college football career at Saginaw Valley State.

The ‘Dogs have never used any of those losses as an excuse, instead wearing down one opponent after another with their deep, senior-laden roster.

The strength of the team is a versatile front line of three seniors – May (14 points, nine rebounds, two blocked shots per game), 6-4 Calvin Schullo (14 points, five rebounds) and 6-4 Hunter Funk (nine points, 8.5 rebounds, four assists).

Kemp, who served as Ravenna’s junior varsity coach under Johnson, also brings good length off the bench in seniors Jack Emery (6-3) and Dom Mabrito (6-2) and junior Joel Emery (6-1).

The backcourt is in the hands of senior football standouts Connor Kilbourne and Trevor Sterken, with sharpshooter Dom Jones coming off the bench.

“They are all so competitive,” said Kemp, who like Johnson before him, played high school basketball at Unionville-Sebewaing. “Our depth is one of the biggest reasons for our success, which makes a huge difference in games and in practice. These guys go at each other hard every day, and it makes them better.”

That depth was on display Tuesday against Fruitport Calvary, which came out on fire from long range but ultimately couldn’t keep up for four quarters. May and Schullo were the only two Bulldogs in double figures, but 10 of the team’s 12 players scored.

Ravenna’s quest for perfection was tested during four consecutive road games in mid-February. The Bulldogs edged Wyoming Potter’s House on Feb. 11, then survived their closest call with a 54-52 win at North Muskegon two days later. Next came Ravenna’s most impressive win, a 70-36 overwhelming of neighboring rival Muskegon Oakridge on Feb. 18, followed by a win at Scottville Mason County Central to improve to 17-0.

Schullo said one of the biggest motivators was a pair of heartbreaking losses on the football field – during the regular season against Oakridge and a season-ending loss to Montague in the Division 6 District championship game.

“They took it from us in football, so we were determined to get it back in basketball,” said Schullo, who scored 13 points Tuesday.

The challenge now for Ravenna is to exhale, momentarily, and enjoy a historic hardcourt achievement at a school known statewide for football – boasting MHSAA Finals championships in 1994, 1996, 1997 and 2003 – while simultaneously preparing for a tough District where everyone will be out to hand the Bulldogs their first loss.

“It sounds funny to say, but we still don’t feel like we’ve accomplished anything yet,” said Kemp, who is assisted by Andy May and Tim Jones. “That has to be our mentality because teams are going to be gunning for us next week. We can celebrate 20-0 later.”

Tom Kendra worked 23 years at The Muskegon Chronicle, including five as assistant sports editor and the final six as sports editor through 2011. E-mail him at kendra.tom@gmail.com with story ideas for Muskegon, Oceana, Mason, Lake, Oceola, Mecosta and Newaygo counties.

PHOTOS: (Top) Ravenna’s Jacob May attempts a free throw during a win this season. (Middle) Calvin Schullo operates the offense under the watchful eye of Bulldogs coach Courtney Kemp. (Photos courtesy of the Ravenna High School yearbook staff.)

Breslin Bound: 2022-23 Boys Quarterfinal Preview

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

March 21, 2023

It finally feels like spring, at least here in East Lansing. And tonight, 32 teams will attempt to build into their spring breaks a trip to Breslin Center.


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Below is a glance at all 16 of tonight’s Quarterfinals across four divisions, with all games tipping off at 7 p.m. unless noted. Winners advance to Thursday and Friday’s Semifinals, and we’ll detail the teams more then as we preview those concluding rounds of this year’s tournament.

“Breslin Bound” is powered by MI Student Aid.

Division 1

Ann Arbor Huron (23-2) vs. Detroit Cass Tech (25-1) at University of Detroit Mercy, 5:30 p.m.

After an early postseason exit last season, 2021 Division 1 runner-up Huron has put together another deep playoff run. Sophomore guard Macari Moore leads three players averaging double-digit scoring at 17 points per game. After winning its first Regional title last season since 1998, Cass Tech is back at the Quarterfinals for a second straight March. Darius Acuff is another super sophomore, also leading three double-digit scorers at 21.6 ppg to go with 5.8 assists per contest.

Grand Blanc (24-2) vs. Rochester Adams (17-8) at Lake Orion

Last season’s runner-up is two wins away from playing for another title, but this time the Bobcats are led by first-year coach Tory Jackson. Seniors Tae Boyd (15.4 ppg) and RJ Taylor (14.3) are a strong 1-2 punch. Adams is coming off its first Regional title in this sport, with junior 6-foot-7 football standout Brady Prieskorn among top contributors for a Highlanders hoops team that has won seven of its last nine games.

Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (14-10) vs. Warren De La Salle (17-8) at University of Detroit Mercy

These Detroit Catholic League Central rivals will meet for the third time, with St. Mary’s winning the first matchup by 17 on Jan. 10 and the reigning Division 1 champion Pilots taking the rematch by 12 on Jan. 31. Sophomore Trey McKenney is a force at 25.5 points and 11.1 rebounds per game for the Eaglets, while Phoenix Glassnor is another sophomore standout leading De La Salle at 18.4 ppg.

Muskegon (24-2) vs. East Lansing (16-9) at Caledonia

East Lansing has won six straight and 12 of its last 14 games, with three of those wins over opponents responsible for four of their losses this winter. Only one starter is a senior, and sophomore Cameron Hutson leads the way at 19.3 ppg. Muskegon is in the midst of a ninth 20-win season over the last decade and earned its first Regional title since 2015. Senior Jordan Briggs (18.7 ppg) has qualified for the MHSAA single-season record list with 84 3-pointers, connecting on nearly 40 percent of his tries from beyond the arc.

Division 2

Cadillac (22-4) vs. Saginaw (20-6) at Alma

The Trojans are seeking their first Semifinal appearance since 2013 and have lost only to Division 1 opponents this season, with guard Javarie Holliday leading a mostly senior-powered lineup at 15.8 ppg. Cadillac also won its Regional last season and is seeking to return to the Semifinals for the first time since 2015, with 6-6 junior Charlie Howell the leading scorer (15.3 ppg) and rebounder (7.4 rpg).

Ferndale (18-8) vs. Goodrich (22-4) at Lake Orion, 5:30 p.m.

The Eagles are working to reach Breslin and the Semifinals for a third-straight season and have won 13 of their last 14 games while navigating a power-packed schedule again this winter. Senior Chris Williams leads a balanced lineup at 13.5 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. Goodrich is a combined 93-20 over the last five seasons and playing to make the Semifinals for the first time with senior Jack Locey (18.6 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 3.2 apg, 2.0 spg, 45 3-pointers) among those filling the stat sheet.

Hudsonville Unity Christian (18-9) vs. Grand Rapids South Christian (23-3) at Calvin University

These rivals will be filling Calvin for a rematch after South Christian won the regular-season meeting 58-50 on Dec. 16. The bad news for the Sailors is they lost leading scorer Carson Vis (17.7 ppg) to injury in the Regional Final, but senior Jacob DeHaan (13 ppg) leads three others averaging at least 8.9 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Unity has won 11 of its last 12 games, with two-point upsets of Grand Rapids Catholic Central and Grand Rapids Christian along the way. Juniors Trayton Fisher and Colin Neiuwenhuis both average about 11.5 points per game and have combined for 97 3-pointers.

Chelsea (21-5) vs. Romulus Summit Academy (24-2) at Milan

These are two more teams looking to reach the Semifinals for the first time, Summit having played in a Quarterfinal as recently as 2021 and Chelsea’s last trip to the season’s final week in 2000. Juniors Jacob Stephens (22.7 ppg) and Joseph Cabana (22.2) set a strong pace for the Bulldogs. The Dragons have doubled up all four of their postseason opponents so far and done the same in 16 wins total this winter.

Tri-unity Christian’s Roy Fogg pulls in a loose ball during his team’s Regional championship victory over Lansing Christian.

Division 3

Detroit Loyola (25-1) vs. Flint Beecher (21-4) at Waterford Mott

A 67-58 loss to Division 1 Flint Carman-Ainsworth on Jan. 29 remains the only defeat on Loyola’s list this winter. All five starters are seniors, with Dashawn Martin (15.1 ppg) leading three averaging double-figure scoring. Beecher’s losses were to Division 1 and 2 opponents, including three playing tonight. Robert Lee leads a senior-dominated lineup at 24.1 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game as the Bucs attempt to make the Semifinals for a third-straight season.

Laingsburg (25-0) vs. Ecorse (19-4) at Ypsilanti Lincoln

The Wolfpack’s closest game this season was seven points, its Regional Semifinal win against Jonesville, as it attempts to reach Breslin for the first time since 2013. Junior Zander Woodruff is averaging more than a point per minute of playing time, leading at 24.4 ppg. Ecorse is seeking a return trip to the Semifinals and has won 17 of its last 18 games. Senior guard Malik Olafioye also is putting the finishing touches on a high-scoring career.

St. Ignace (22-4) vs. Traverse City St. Francis (22-4) at Gaylord

St. Ignace is playing in its first Quarterfinal since 2001, seeking to reach the Semifinals for the first time since 1983. Junior Jonny Ingalls (22.4 ppg) leads three Saints averaging at least 13, plus he’s dishing 5.4 assists per game. St. Francis has won 11 of its last 12 games with that lone loss to Cadillac (see above) in overtime in the regular-season finale. Senior Wyatt Nausadis has paced the scoring at 20.1 ppg after quarterbacking the football team to a Division 7 runner-up finish in the fall.

Pewamo-Westphalia (19-6) vs. Niles Brandywine (24-2) at Portage Central

Brandywine has reached the final week for the first time with its first Regional title, and its only losses this season remain against Division 2 Benton Harbor. Junior Jaremiah Palmer leads a lineup with four players averaging at least 9.7 ppg at 12.9 per game. P-W is making its second-straight Quarterfinal appearance after edging North Muskegon by three and then Grandville Calvin Christian by two last week. Senior Jamison Eklund is averaging 22.8 points and 7.7 rebounds per game.

Division 4

Painesdale Jeffers (25-1) vs. Munising (24-1) at Negaunee

The Upper Peninsula is guaranteed to send a one-loss team downstate to the Division 4 Semifinals, and for both programs it would be a first-time trip. Jeffers is playing its first Quarterfinal, and Munising its first since 1954. Junior Levi Frahm leads four Jets scoring in double digits at 20.5 ppg, while senior Kane Nebel is surrounded by a similar balanced attack and leads four double-digit scorers at 15.8 ppg.

Taylor Trillium Academy (21-3) vs. Marine City Cardinal Mooney (15-11) at West Bloomfield

Trillium is another first-time Regional champion, taking this step after falling just a four-point loss shy of reaching the Quarterfinals a year ago. Senior DaMaryon Fishburn is averaging 22.7 points, 9.9 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game for the Wildcats, and junior Keymarryon Fishburn adds 15.3 ppg. Cardinal Mooney has won seven of its last nine games to reach the Quarterfinals for the first time since 2016 and after falling in Regional Finals the last two seasons – avenging the 2022 loss to Genesee Christian to advance. Senior Trent Rice leads three double-digit scorers at 12.9 ppg.

Frankfort (17-8) vs. Hillman (22-4) at Gaylord, 5 p.m.

Frankfort is another team on a nice streak with eight wins over its last nine games including 50-44 over 2022 semifinalist Lake Leelanau St. Mary in last week’s Regional Final. Senior Emmerson Farmer and sophomore Carter Kerby supply the backcourt with between 10-11 ppg apiece. This will be Hillman’s fourth Quarterfinal over the last nine seasons as the Tigers seek their first Semifinal trip. Trenton Taratuta is a big-time scorer averaging 27.4 ppg with 60 3-pointers but also 9.7 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 5.2 steals per game.

Wyoming Tri-unity Christian (20-6) vs. Kalamazoo Phoenix (17-2) at Richland Gull Lake

This is a familiar spot for Tri-unity Christian, the reigning Division 4 champion. All five starters average between 6-13 ppg and four have high games of at least 20 points this season; senior Roy Fogg tops both lists at 13 ppg and 25, respectively. This is new territory for Phoenix, which won one game just two seasons ago but has won 10 in a row heading into this week. Senior Cameron Lewis-Atkins (19.9 ppg) leads five players averaging 11 or more points per game. Phoenix avenged one of its losses, to Eau Claire, in the Regional Semifinal.

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PHOTOS (Top) A fan holds up a sign supporting Painesdale Jeffers between the third and fourth quarters of last week’s Regional Final win over Stephenson. (Middle) Tri-unity Christian’s Roy Fogg pulls in a loose ball during his team’s Regional championship victory over Lansing Christian. (Top photo by Cara Kamps; middle photo by High School Sports Scene.)