Boys Finals: Points A to B

March 22, 2012

Loaded expectations come with being the favorite for any MHSAA championship. 

But a pair of favorites and two groups of strong contenders make for loaded fields for both the Class A and B Boys Basketball Finals this weekend at Michigan State's Breslin Center.

In Class B, reigning champion Lansing Sexton is a heavy favorite, but 2011 runner-up Muskegon Heights and 2010 champion Detroit Country Day also are in the mix. And in Class A, top-ranked Saginaw and No. 2 Romulus both have reached the final weekend of the MHSAA winter season.

Below is a schedule for Friday's Semifinals and all four Saturday Finals. Tickets cost $8 per session, and parking at Michigan State is $5. All Semifinals will be streamed live at along with the press conferences after each, and the A Final will be broadcast live on Fox Sports Detroit -- with Class B then broadcast on delay at 10:30 p.m. Saturday. Click for scores as they come in, and return to Second Half for coverage of all 12 games this weekend at Breslin.

Friday's Semifinals
Class A

Rockford (21-5) vs. Romulus (22-3) - 1 p.m.
Saginaw (24-2) vs. Macomb L'Anse Creuse North  (22-4) - 2:50 p.m.
Class B

Stevensville Lakeshore (23-2) vs. Muskegon Heights (20-6) - 6 p.m.
Detroit Country Day (21-5) vs. Lansing Sexton (25-1) - 7:50 p.m.

Saturday's Finals
Class A - 4 p.m.
Class B - 8 p.m.
Class C - Noon
Class D - 10 a.m.

Now, a look at this season's Class A and B Semifinalists (Click for previews of the Class C and D Semifinalists.):

Class A

22-4, unranked
League finish:
First in Macomb Area Conference Red
Jay Seletsky, 10th season (140-80)
Championship history:
Has not appeared in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins:
54-52 and 64-59 over Romeo, 51-50 over Fraser (Regional Semifinal), 43-41 over Detroit Denby (Regional Final).
Players to watch:
Tyler Conklin (6-3 jr. G – 12 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 3.0 apg), Robert Hopkins (6-3 jr. G – 9.5 ppg).
L’Anse Creuse North might be the biggest surprise of this weekend after finishing 10-11 a year ago and posting two sub-.500 records over the last three seasons. But Seletsky has led the team to three league titles in five seasons, and his team knows not only how to win, but how to win close games – eight wins this season were by three or fewer points, and two more were by four points.

21-5, unranked
League finish: Tied for first in O-K Red
Coach: Nick Allen, first season (21-5)
Championship history: One MHSAA title (2003).
Best wins: 62-55 over Class B honorable mention Grand Rapids Christian, 36-35 over Hudsonville, 43-32 over East Kentwood, 55-53 over Okemos (Quarterfinal).
Player to watch: Chad Carlson (5-9 jr. G – 13.2 ppg, 59 3-pointers).
Outlook: After a tough league race that ended with Rockford sharing the championship with both Hudsonville and East Kentwood, Rockford was plenty prepared for the tournament – and came back from 10 down in the second half to win the Quarterfinal. Carlson runs the point and is the player teams focus on most. But four more – 6-1 Alex Durkin, 6-3 Mitch Caywood, 6-1 Chase Fairchild and 6-6 Ivy Johnson – all average 5.5 points per game and help bring a physical edge.

22-3, No. 2
League finish: First in Western Wayne Athletic Conference
Coach: Nate Oats, 10th season (195-50)
Championship history: One MHSAA title (1986), one runner-up finish.
Best wins: 67-62 over No. 5 Detroit Pershing (Quarterfinal), 76-62 over No. 10 Saginaw Arthur Hill, 83-67 over No. 9 Kalamazoo Central, 86-51 over Class B honorable mention Muskegon Heights, 60-59 over Class B No. 3 Detroit Country Day, 69-57 over Class B No. 9 Dearborn Heights Robichaud.
Players to watch: Elbert Matthews (6-4 jr. G – 13.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 2.3 apg), Raven Lee (6-3 sr. G – 12.7 ppg, 3.0 apg), Wesley Clark (6-0 jr. G – 12.7 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 3.3 apg, 2.4 spg, 37 3-pointers).
Outlook: Romulus regularly plays one of the state’s toughest regular-season schedules, and regularly drives deep into the Class A tournament. The Eagles’ run to a runner-up finish in 2005 was the first of five Regional and six District championships in the last eight seasons under Oats. Lee has committed to sign with Eastern Michigan.

Record/rank: 24-2, No. 1
League finish: First in Saginaw Valley League
Coach: Julian Taylor, first season (24-2)
Championship history: Five MHSAA titles (most recently 2008), four runner-up finishes.
Best wins: 88-76 and 66-62 (District Final) over No. 10 Saginaw Arthur Hill, 71-62 over No. 2 Romulus, 73-59 over Bay City Western.
Players to watch: Travontis Richardson (6-2 sr. G – 15 ppg), Julian Henderson (6-2 jr. F – 12 ppg).
Outlook: Like Romulus, Saginaw annually plays a strong regular-season schedule featuring not only tough competition from the Saginaw Valley, but also many of the best from the Detroit area and beyond. Those two losses this season were by five to Arthur Hill – a loss which Saginaw later avenged – and late, by a point, to No. 9 Kalamazoo Central. Five other players average at least eight points per game behind solid backcourt duo Richardson and Henderson.

Class B

21-5, No. 3
League finish: Does not play in a league.
Coach: Kurt Keener, 34th season (653-176)
Championship history: Eight MHSAA titles (most recently 2010), one runner-up finish.
Best wins: 89-52 over Harper Woods Chandler Park (Regional Final), 110-75 over Class D No. 7 Southfield Christian, 65-55 over Class A No. 10 Saginaw Arthur Hill.
Players to watch: Robert Puleikis (6-9 sr. C – 12.5 ppg, 9.8 rpg), Jodan Price (6-7 sr. F – 11.4 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 2.1 apg), Austin Price (6-3 jr. G – 10.6 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 2.9 apg).
Outlook: All eight of Country Day’s championships have come under Keener, and the Yellowjackets face a familiar opponent to start this potential run – Sexton, which Country Day beat in the 2010 Final and lost to in a 2011 Semifinal. Puleikis earned an all-state honorable mention this week and is one of a number of sizable Yellowjackets – the team also brings 6-6 and 6-3 players off the bench.  

25-1, No. 1
League finish: First in Capital Area Activities Conference Blue
Coach: Carlton Valentine, sixth season (122-25)
Championship history: Four MHSAA titles (most recently 2011), two runner-up finishes.
Best wins:  56-37 over No. 9 Dearborn Heights Robichaud (Quarterfinal), 66-56 over No. 4 Lansing Catholic (District Final), 80-71 over Class A No. 9 Kalamazoo Central, 70-57 and 93-80 over Class A honorable mention East Lansing, 72-60 and 75-58 over Class A No. 3 Lansing Eastern,
Players to watch: Bryn Forbes (6-3 sr. G – 18 ppg, 44 3-pointers), Anthony Clemmons (6-1 sr. G – 15 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 4.1 apg), Denzel Valentine (6-6 sr. G – 14.2 ppg, 10.9 rpg, 8.4 apg), Jalen Hayes (6-7 jr. F – 12.4 ppg, 6.2 rpg).
Outlook: Despite a one-point loss to Detroit Pershing during the season’s first half, it’s fair to argue Sexton is the state’s top squad, regardless of class. Four starters are back from last season, and all will play at the Division I college level – Valentine was named Associated Press Class B Player of the Year this week and has signed with Michigan State, while Clemmons has signed with Iowa, Forbes with Cleveland State and Hayes has a number of offers. The team’s top two guards off the bench last season also are back, and 6-9 freshman Trevor Manuel mans the middle.

20-6, honorable mention
League finish: Does not play in a league.
Coach: Keith Guy, ninth season (189-39)
Championship history: Six MHSAA titles (most recently 1979), eight runner-up finishes.
Best wins: 51-44 over No. 8 Cadillac (Quarterfinal), 64-51 over Rockford, 84-78 over Class A honorable mention Grand Rapids Ottawa Hills, 67-54 over Class C No. 7 Shelby
Players to watch: Juwon Martin (6-5 jr. F – 15.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg), Deshaun Thrower (6-0 soph. G – 11 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 3.4 apg), Mike Davis (6-4 soph. F – 10.5 ppg, 4.1 rpg).
Outlook: Although Muskegon Heights is seeking its first championship in more than three decades, few teams are more regular guests at Breslin Center. The Tigers are reigning runners-up and also finished runners-up in 2005. They’ve won their District every season under Guy, and also five Regionals including their last three. And this could be just the start on that next championship – the team has just three seniors, but six sophomores including two who start and Davis, a big contributor off the bench.

23-2, No. 7
League finish: First in Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference
Coach: Sean Schroeder, 10th season (164-70)
Championship history: Has never appeared in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 44-35 over Sturgis (Regional Semifinal), 65-55 over No. 10 Otsego (Regional Final), 58-48 over honorable mention Grand Rapids Christian (Quarterfinal), 69-63 over Class A No. 9 Kalamazoo Central.
Players to watch: Austin Kaiser (sr. G – 10.1 ppg, 36 3-pointers), Loren Johnson (sr. G – 10 ppg, 3.4 apg).
Outlook: Lakeshore has won 16 straight and lost only to Kalamazoo Central and Niles this season. The Lancers won their second Regional title and third District and league titles in six seasons. Balance is key – seven players average between six and 10 points per game, with senior Ryan Avery also among three at 10 ppg.

PHOTO: Lansing Sexton senior guard Anthony Clemmons (right) is back trying to lead the Big Reds to a second-straight Class B championship.

Clarkston's Loyer Leaves All-Time Legacy with 25 Record Book Listings

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

September 22, 2023

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.

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.