Riddle 1: How can a ball get passed from another to another and go through the bottom of the net resulting in three points and three of them appearing on a list on a school banner?
Riddle 2: How can three Balls from Riddle 1 represent one-third of the list?
Answer: Only one ball is a basketball. The other four Balls are all related to each other. They are Kevin Ball, Jeremy Ball, Preston Ball and Spencer Ball.
Kevin and Jeremy are brothers who played basketball during the 1990s for Elk Rapids High School. Kevin is also currently coaching the Elks. Preston and Spencer are also brothers playing today for the Elks. And, Kevin is the father of Preston and Spencer.
As a result of the basketball being passed by Spencer to Preston in a win over Boyne City last week and Preston subsequently burying a 3-pointer, Preston became the Elks’ ninth member of the 1,000 point club joining his father and uncle.
“It is really cool,” the four-year Elk Rapids starter said of joining his father and uncle. “Three Balls on the list ... I really can’t put it into words ... it’s incredible.”
His father agrees.
“As a family we’re very blessed and been very fortunate to have all of our kids have success in athletics,” said the proud father of three children raised with his wife Charlotte. “So to have Preston join us is awesome.
“We’re excited that Spencer has been a part of it as well,” he conditioned. “To be able to play with his brother is pretty special. With my brother being four years apart, we didn’t have that opportunity until after we graduated.”
Spencer and Preston have also teamed up on the soccer pitch for the Elks, who reached the Division 3 Semifinals this fall. Preston led the Elks in scoring all four years amassing 86 goals and 41 assists. Spencer assisted Preston’s final career goal and the Elks’ only goal in the Semifinal shootout loss to Grand Rapids South Christian.
And Spencer’s very first goal for the Elks was assisted by Preston.
Spencer had hopes all along he’d be the one getting the assist on the 1,000th point. It was on the sophomore’s mind as Preston neared the mark entering the game with the Ramblers. But it didn’t cross his mind in the game until play was stopped to recognize the accomplishment.
“I wanted to, but our whole team wanted to do the same thing,” Spencer noted. “They all wanted the assist on it.
“I guess it just fell in place.”
And Preston is thrilled it did come from his brother.
“It was pretty cool the way it all turned out,” he said.
Preston currently ranks ninth among the school’s all-time career scorers. Kevin’s 1,188 points are second, and Jeremy is third on the list with 1,171. The senior is not likely to pass top scorer Luke Morrison, but topping his father and uncle may be in reach.
Preston recalls watching Morrison join the 1,000 point club.
“Luke Morrison was kind of the guy I looked up to a lot,” Preston said. “Watching him throughout his career kind of inspired me.
“My dad and uncle being in the 1,000 point club was also something I wanted to join them in and coach (Brett) Graham also in the 1,000 point club,” he continued. “All three of them had a tremendous impact on my game and my life.”
Graham coached the Elks when Preston began his varsity career. Kevin was the JV coach and was happy to see his son move up to the varsity right away. Kevin took over the boys varsity last year when Graham stepped down.
Kevin wasn’t and still isn’t sure how far Preston would go, but he knew there was a good chance Preston would join him in the 1,000 point club the day he started on the varsity. Preston’s summer camp display proved to coach Graham that he could play varsity, his father said. The rest, as the saying goes, is history.
“Once he made (varsity) and once he was in that position to be a starter as a freshman, I knew he had a shot (at the 1,000 point club),” the coach said.
Both coach and son are glad to put the accomplishment behind them and move on. The Elks are 8-1 after Friday’s win over East Jordan.
“I tried to think about it as little as possible,” said the senior who is averaging nearly 20 points, five assists and five rebounds per game. “It felt really good to get past that benchmark.
“Hopefully people kind of stop talking about it for a little bit and I can just focus on the rest of season, play my game and just enjoy it.”
The Balls’ younger sister, Mattea, is an eighth grader. She is expected to carry on the Ball family tradition next year playing basketball for Elk Rapids.
Tom Spencer is a longtime MHSAA-registered basketball and soccer official, and former softball and baseball official, and he also has coached in the northern Lower Peninsula area. He previously has written for the Saginaw News, Bay County Sports Page and Midland Daily News. He can be reached at [email protected] with story ideas for Manistee, Wexford, Missaukee, Roscommon, Ogemaw, Iosco, Alcona, Oscoda, Crawford, Kalkaska, Grand Traverse, Benzie, Leelanau, Antrim, Otsego, Montmorency, Alpena, Presque Isle, Cheboygan, Charlevoix and Emmet counties.
PHOTOS: (Top) Preston Ball (3) went over 1,000 career points last week against Boyne City, on a basket assisted by brother Spencer (24), to join the school’s 1,000 point club with father/coach Kevin Ball (far left) and uncle Jeremy Ball (far right). (Middle) The school’s 1,000-point scorers banner will soon include Preston as well. (Below) Preston Ball brings the ball upcourt this season. (Group and banner photos courtesy of Charlotte Ball. Action shot courtesy of the Elk Rapids boys basketball program.)
Foster Loyer’s four-season career at Clarkston from 2014-15 through 2017-18 certainly must be considered among the most accomplished in state history as he led the Wolves to back-to-back Class A championships in 2017 and 2018 and is listed in the record book 25 times.
Among Loyer’s most notable entries were 2,325 career points (12th most), 272 career 3-pointers (tied for ninth), records of 119 consecutive free throws and 634 career free throws, a .921 free-throw percentage as a junior (tied for fourth) and .900 career percentage (second), 589 career assists (sixth), 278 career steals (15th) and 102 games played (tied for sixth).
Loyer went on to play at Michigan State and then Davidson.
See below for more recent record book entries for boys basketball.
Four Onaway standouts were added for single-season and/or career records. Jager Mix, who graduated in 2022, was added for 92 steals last season and 225 over his four-season career. Kevin Pearson, a 2021 grad, was added for 81 steals as a senior and 247 over his career. Joe Sigsby, a 2016 grad, was added for 127 steals, and Jadin Mix was added for 124 in 2021-22. Their totals rank ninth and tied for 10th, respectively, on that all-time list. Jager Mix also was added for 967 career rebounds, and Onaway as a team was added for tying the record for most points in a quarter with 49 during the first quarter of a win over Fife Lake Forest Area on Feb. 3, 2022. Jager Mix is playing at Alpena Community College, and Jadin Mix is a senior this school year.
Uchenna Amene was added for 11 steals in a March 7, 2022, game against West Bloomfield Frankel Jewish Academy and for 97 steals total over 25 games. He was a sophomore at Southfield Christian that season and now is a senior at Detroit Catholic Central.
Owen Franklin graduated from Oscoda in 2021 as the school’s all-time leading scorer, and nearly 44 percent of those 1,477 points came on 3-pointers. Franklin made the state career 3-pointers list with 216 over four seasons. He’s playing baseball at Northwood.
Traverse City Christian sophomore Reece Broderick became one of the state’s most accomplished long-distance shooters in just his second year of high school this past winter, drilling 104 3-pointers – good for third-most for one season all-time – over 23 games. He connected on 42 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc.
A pair of Rudyard four-year varsity standouts entered the record book after their graduations in 2022. Tate Besteman made the career rebounds list with 762 over 89 games, and EJ Suggitt made the career 3-pointers list with 215 over the same 89 contests. Besteman played this past season for Mid Michigan College, and Suggitt is playing baseball at Spring Arbor.
Success from 3-point range played a significant role in Mesick finishing 21-1 in 2021-22, as the team made 195 of its 578 attempts – with game highs of 15 twice in wins over Baldwin and Pentwater.
Then-senior Tristan McFolley earned the first listing under single-game rebounds since 2013 with 30 in Detroit Cesar Chavez Academy’s game with Hope of Detroit Academy on Dec. 8, 2022.
Tawas found its groove from long range Jan. 10 against Oscoda, drilling 22 3-pointers in an 86-31 win. The total tied for fifth-most in one game.
Although Norway felt just short, 40-37, in its District loss to Crystal Falls Forest Park on March 8, Alex Ortman kept the Knights close scoring 20 of his team-high 25 points in the fourth quarter to make the single-quarter scoring list. He’s now a senior.
Kobe Clark has listings in two MHSAA record books, with three for boys basketball joining those he earned for football during his Schoolcraft career. He was added in hoops for 531 career assists and 290 career steals over 94 games from 2016-17 through 2019-20, and also for 82 steals as a senior. Tyler DeGroote also was added to the record book, for scoring 20 points during the first quarter against Delton Kellogg during Schoolcraft’s Jan. 11, 2022, victory. Clark began at Saginaw Valley State for football and now plays basketball and Kalamazoo Valley Community College, and DeGroote is continuing at Rockhurst (Mo.).
Past Detroit Cooley star Larry Fogle has added a seventh record book listing a half-century later. Fogle grabbed 33 rebounds on Jan. 18, 1972, during a win over Detroit Mackenzie. He went on to play at Louisiana and Canisius, and then briefly with the New York Knicks.
Trevon Gunter scored 42 points in Kalamazoo Central’s 84-56 win over Richland Gull Lake on Jan. 17, 2020, including 31 during the third quarter – second-most and just one shy of the record for points during one period. A senior that season, Gunter plays currently at Grand Valley State.
Mark Wittbrodt held the record for consecutive free throws at 70 until 2008, and that entry in the record book has been joined by several others from the Bay City Western star. He was added for his 192 3-pointers, 436 free throws, .842 free-throw percentage and 266 career steals over three seasons from 1991-93, as well as for six single-season accomplishments. He went on to play at Michigan Tech.
Ellsworth’s Jacob Jenuwine tied for 12th on the single-game 3-pointers list when he connected on 11 as part of scoring 39 points total in his team’s Feb. 14 win over Alanson. Jenuwine graduated this spring.
Bellevue senior Dawson Wing capped his three-season varsity career last winter with three entries in the record. He was added for 12 blocked shots in a 2021-22 game against Colon, 107 for the season last winter and 203 blocks over his career. Teammate Caleb Betz, a senior this fall, was added for 12 steals in a game against Athens.
Logan Mansfield capped his Morenci career in a big way last winter. The senior drilled 90 3-pointers over 24 games to earn his school’s first individual record book entry in boys hoops since the 1987-88 season, when John Craig had 132 blocked shots that would have been the second-most recorded at that time. They currently rank 13th.
New Haven earned a pair of record book entries during its March 10 win over Memphis. The Rockets bested their previous single-quarter school record with 41 points during the opening period, and they also made the statewide single-game 3-pointers list with 16.
Whitehall’s Camden Thompson, a junior this fall, earned his first record book entry last winter – and the first for his school in boys basketball. He grabbed 303 rebounds over 21 games.
Grand Rapids Wellspring Prep junior Zeekeal Jackson earned his school's first boys basketball record book entry this past season as well. He made the single-season steals list with 106, over 22 games, and just missed the single-game list with a high of 10.
Jonesville’s Brady Wright was among his team’s leading scorers during his three varsity seasons ending this past winter, but he also was a major contributor defensively. He made the records with a season-high 101 steals over 25 games as a senior, and made the career list with 232 steals over 61 games.
Sophomore Christopher McLavish Jr. made a memorable impact last season with a pair of record book entries. He made the single-quarter points list with 20 in a Feb. 21 game against Flint Powers Catholic, but even more memorable were his 97 3-pointers over 25 games for the season – tying him for 11th all-time on that list.
PHOTO Foster Loyer directs Clarkston's offense during its 2018 Class A Semifinal.