2021 Experience Helps 2022 Tri-unity Earn Return to D4 Final

By Keith Dunlap
Special for MHSAA.com

March 24, 2022

EAST LANSING – Sometimes, there’s just no substitute for experience.

Such was the case in Thursday’s second Division 4 Boys Basketball Semifinal between Wyoming Tri-unity Christian and Genesee Christian at Michigan State University’s Breslin Center.

While Tri-unity Christian was in the Semifinals for a second-straight year and fourth time in the last seven years, Genesee Christian was playing on the stage for the first time.

Tri-unity Christian’s familiarity with Breslin and overall skill won out, as the Defenders reached another championship game with a 77-33 win. 

The Defenders (20-6) will attempt to win their first Finals title since 2011 at 10 a.m. Saturday when they play Ewen-Trout Creek. 

“If you haven’t been there, it can be pretty intimidating,” Tri-unity coach Mark Keeler said of playing in a final four game. “Last year, we came here. It helped us for this year.”

The big quarter for Tri-unity Christian was the second, as the Defenders went on a 12-0 run to start the quarter and take a 26-12 lead with 5:54 remaining until halftime. 

Tri-unity Christian ended up outscoring Genesee Christian in the second quarter, 25-7, to take a 39-19 lead at the break. 

The Defenders continued to grow their lead in the third quarter, going on an 8-0 run to move ahead 53-23 with 1:11 remaining in the third. 

Tri-unity Christian/Genesee Christian basketballThe game featured a matchup of two of the state’s top point guards in Division 4, Tri-unity Christian senior Brady Titus and Genesee Christian junior Trenton Boike. 

Titus entered the game averaging just under 30 points a game, while Boike was averaging over 23 points a contest.

Titus finished with a game-high 21 points on 9 of 17 shooting for the Defenders, while Boike had seven points for the Soldiers (21-5).

Now, Titus and the Defenders can try and earn some redemption after a loss to Detroit Douglass in last year’s championship game. 

“Last year was tough,” Titus said. “We came up short. But I think it will impact the want to win. That’s really what it is. Just having the drive to win the next game.”

Tri-unity Christian shot 58.3 percent from the field for the game and outrebounded Genesee Christian by a 41-19 margin. 

Junior Tyler Chapman led Genesee Christian with 10 points. 

Despite the loss, it was obviously a memorable and historic season for Genesee Christian.

“For the guys, I felt so proud of them,” Genesee Christian coach Dan Chapman said. “With COVID and everything the last couple of years, we kind of looked forward to this group. To do it with all the seniors that I’ve coached since fifth grade, it was everything you’ve dreamed of.” 

More good news for the Soldiers is that Boike and Chapman will headline a nice crop of juniors that will be back next year. 

“Just the experience part will help a lot,” Boike said. “It will help us next year when we get back here.”

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS (Top) Tri-unity Christian’s Brady Titus (25) works to get up a shot over Genesee Christian’s Jonah Derderian (24) during Thursday’s Semifinal. (Middle) Teammates watch in anticipation as the Defenders’ Stephen Bouslog (24) attempts a 3-pointer. (Click for more from Hockey Weekly Action Photos.)

St. Clair County Celebrates 1st Mr. Basketball Winner, PHN's Jamison

By Paul Costanzo
Special for MHSAA.com

March 29, 2023

The Jamison family has spent plenty of time over the years driving long distances as Tyler chased his basketball dreams.

Bay & ThumbAfter the Port Huron Northern senior achieved one of the biggest ones, they had to put some more mileage on the family vehicle.

As the newly-crowned Mr. Basketball, Jamison was invited to a special presentation during the Boys Basketball Finals this past Saturday afternoon at the Breslin Center. It was an invitation Tyler and his family didn’t hesitate to accept, and the drive from Port Huron to East Lansing was nothing.

But it did cause a pretty big change to some other travel plans.

Tyler and his family were scheduled to fly to Florida on Friday for spring break. That flight had to be canceled, though, and instead, the family made the drive down later.

“There were some jokes about just leaving me and letting me find my own way down there,” Jamison said.

While they joke, there’s nowhere the Jamisons would have rather been Saturday than at the Breslin. As a true basketball family – Tyler’s dad Brian is also the coach at Northern, and his brother Alex was a standout freshman for the Huskies – they have a great appreciation for the Mr. Basketball Award and its significance.

“I had said a while ago, ‘Hey, if we’re still in the tournament, we’ll be playing Friday,” Brian Jamison said. “I even mentioned that it would be a miracle, but Tyler could win Mr. Basketball. Now we’re eating plane tickets and driving down to Florida. But it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and we’re not missing this.”

Jamison was the overwhelming winner of the award, which is named after Hal Schram and given out by the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan. He received 3,058 points in the vote to become its 43rd winner. Curtis Williams of Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice (2,004 points), Kaden Brown of Grand Rapids Catholic Central (1,918), Sonny Wilson of Detroit U-D Jesuit (1,883) and Ryan Hurst of North Farmington (1,811) were the other finalists.

“It was just insane,” Tyler Jamison said. “I can’t even really put into words how I felt – it was just a dream come true, a culmination of all the hard work that’s been put in over the years. My mom was in the other room (when his dad called to tell him), and I just hugged her and we were kind of screaming. The dog was getting riled up. It was fun. There were a few tears shed.”

Jamison throws down a dunk.Jamison, who signed with Fairleigh Dickinson in December, finished the season averaging 26.7 points, 11.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 3.3 steals per game. He was named the Macomb Area Conference White division MVP after leading Northern to the league title and a 20-4 overall record.

Even with all that, winning the most prestigious individual basketball award in the state didn’t seem like a reality.

“We purposely try to play a tough schedule, and we purposely got into some showcases because we wanted people to see, not only him play, but us play,” Brian Jamison said. “We had beaten Skyline and Hamtramck, and went up to Croswell-Lexington and won up there, and I thought, ‘OK, now he’s done it against some of the better teams.’ Up to that point, when we played those tougher teams, he’s always showed out well, but it’s different when you’re not winning them. But at that point, I thought he had a chance. Really, I was just hoping he would get on the list. To win it was kind of above and beyond what I had hoped for.”

On the court, Tyler’s impact on the program was pretty obvious and immediate.

He’s the program’s all-time leading scorer – a record he set as a junior – with 1,763 career points. He also holds Northern records for career rebounds (825), points in a game (59), rebounds in a game (28), career field goals made (638) and career free throws made (439). As a junior, he was named MAC Blue MVP.

Northern did not lose a league game in either of the past two seasons.

But Northern is likely to see future success because of Tyler’s non-statistical impact.

Leading a young team, including a group of star freshmen – his brother Alex, Cam Harju and Amir Morelan – was a major part of Tyler’s job this season.

Northern’s home games were must-see events this winter, as the Huskies were one of Division 1’s top teams, and Tyler was providing nightly highlights and must-see performances. Even in his final game, a loss against Macomb Dakota in the District Final, Jamison treated the standing-room crowd with a 46-point performance and a halfcourt shot at the third-quarter buzzer in a valiant effort.

“That’s the big thing, you want the students and the school community to support you, and they did an amazing job,” Tyler Jamison said. “We also had people from the community that wanted to support us and watch us play. Port Huron High had a really good season, too, and I think both schools in the city had that public support. That’s huge. It makes you feel like you’re playing for more than yourself.”

Among those crowds were the next generation of Huskies, some of whom were coached by Tyler in youth basketball. As he’s the first Mr. Basketball winner from St. Clair County, those kids now have a hometown example of someone who has reached the highest heights.

“I think interest gets sparked when the little kids come to the gym, like, ‘Hey, I want to do that,’” Brian Jamison said. “They want to play for Northern or (Port Huron) High. And with him winning Mr. Basketball, I think it gives kids a little bit of ‘Hey, why not me?’ I do think it helps motivate younger people. We’ve had great crowds at our games. I think the area is excited about basketball. It really is a great basketball area.”

With all of that excitement surrounding him, Tyler had one more challenge after the season – keeping the secret that he had won. He found out six days before the award was announced.

“It was terrible – especially when it’s something of that magnitude,” he said. “You want to tell everyone. You want to tell your friends and family. It was hard to be like, ‘No, I don’t know.’”

Paul CostanzoPaul Costanzo served as a sportswriter at The Port Huron Times Herald from 2006-15, including three years as lead sportswriter, and prior to that as sports editor at the Hillsdale Daily News from 2005-06. He can be reached at [email protected] with story ideas for Genesee, Lapeer, St. Clair, Sanilac, Huron, Tuscola, Saginaw, Bay, Arenac, Midland and Gladwin counties.

PHOTOS (Top) Tyler Jamison, second from left, with his parents and brother, stands with his newly-received Mr. Basketball Award trophy during the ceremony at the Detroit Free Press. (Middle) Jamison throws down a dunk. (Photos courtesy of the Jamison family.)