It's March, its MHSAA Tournament time, and generally that's enough to explain the excitement and urgency as we begin the annual championship portion of a four-month journey that will end again in East Lansing.
District tournaments tip off all over the state tonight. Check out “Tracking the Tournament” on MHSAA.com for every matchup from all of them, and see below for some of last week’s most eye-catching scores and three Districts in each division that could make the biggest impacts this week on the overall postseason pictures.
“Breslin Bound” is powered by MI Student Aid.
Week in Review
The countdown of last week’s five most intriguing results:
1. Orchard Lake St. Mary’s 50, Detroit Martin Luther King 49 St. Mary’s (16-4) edged King (18-2) in the annual Operation Friendship game between the champions of the Detroit Catholic League and Public School League Tournaments.
2. Grand Blanc 68, Flint Beecher 57 The reigning Division 1 champion Bobcats (15-5) finished the regular season defeating last year’s Division 3 champion Beecher (17-2).
3. Kalamazoo Central 51, Muskegon 46 The Maroon Giants (12-7) have had some massive wins and tough losses this season, but this certainly files under the former as the Big Reds (18-2) are Division 1 title contenders.
4. Hartland 42, Canton 39 The Eagles (16-4) had finished second to Canton (15-5) in the Kensington Lakes Activities Association West, but with this victory claimed the league tournament title.
5. Carson City-Crystal 32, Blanchard Montabella 29 The Eagles (17-3) earned a share of the Mid-State Activities Conference title by adding a second three-point win over the Mustangs this season (17-3).
Districts at a Glance
These could be among our most competitive brackets. Host sites are in bold:
1. Detroit Martin Luther King (18-2), 2. Detroit Cass Tech (17-3), River Rouge (17-3), Detroit Western (15-4), Melvindale (10-9).
This power-packed bracket includes the champions from the Detroit Public School League Blue (King) and Gold (Western), the runner-up from the Blue (Cass Tech) and the runner-up from the Michigan Metro Athletic Conference Black (Rouge). King, No. 3 overall in Division 1 MPR, defeated Cass by five in league play and Western in the PSL Tournament championship game, in addition to impressive wins over Flint Beecher (17-2), Grand Blanc (15-5), Ann Arbor Huron (17-3), Kalamazoo Central (12-7) and others. Its one-point loss to Orchard Lake St. Mary’s last week was its first since the season opener. Cass Tech’s losses were by a combined 12 points and it has a win over Flint Carman-Ainsworth (14-6); the Technicians could open with Western in a semifinal after falling to the Cowboys 57-53 on Feb. 17. Western opens with River Rouge, which lost its final two games but against Hamtramck (17-3) and Grand Blanc.
1. Muskegon (18-2), 2. Grand Haven (17-3), Muskegon Reeths-Puffer (13-7), Coopersville (13-7), Grand Rapids Kenowa Hills (13-7), Grand Rapids Union (8-11), Muskegon Mona Shores (9-11).
The Big Reds are coming off an undefeated run through the Ottawa-Kent Conference Green, which includes Reeths-Puffer and Mona Shores, but also are coming off a loss to Kalamazoo Central in the regular-season finale. Muskegon’s only other defeat was to Ferndale, and an 84-79 win over 2021 Division 1 champion Grand Blanc on Feb. 19 is what people should recall first when thinking of the team’s prospects this month. Grand Haven saw its O-K Red title chance slip away with a pair of losses in its final two league games, but similarly a win over league champ Rockford (18-2) showed what the Buccaneers are capable of presenting. Coopersville had a win this season over Grand Rapids West Catholic (15-5), and Kenowa Hills defeated Coopersville in overtime at the start of February.
1. Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (16-4), 2. Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice (14-6), Bloomfield Hills (16-4), Birmingham Groves (12-7), Birmingham Seaholm (8-11), West Bloomfield (4-15).
The Detroit Catholic League Central’s five teams all finished among the top six in overall Division 1 MPR, and this is the only District with multiple. St. Mary’s, No. 2 overall, lost to Brother Rice 45-43 on Jan. 14 and 62-50 on Feb. 1, and didn’t see the Warriors on the way to winning the Catholic League Bishop Tournament. The win over King last week was just one of many impressive ones for the Eaglets, who have five victories over teams that finished 15-5 or better including Grand Blanc and Ferndale as well. Brother Rice, No. 5 overall, also has wins over Grand Blanc and Carman-Ainsworth and won’t have to face Bloomfield Hills, which opens on St. Mary’s side of the bracket. The Black Hawks shared the Oakland Activities Association White championship and closed on a five-game winning streak.
Grand Rapids West Catholic
1. Hudsonville Unity Christian (20-0), 2. Grand Rapids Catholic Central (19-1), Grand Rapids West Catholic (15-5), Ada Forest Hills Eastern (15-5), Allendale (6-14), Wyoming Lee (5-15).
This District features the two most recent Division 2 champs, last year’s winner Grand Rapids Catholic Central and 2019 champ Unity Christian (with 2020 canceled because of COVID-19). Unity Christian won the O-K Blue, handing West Catholic two of its defeats along the way, while GRCC won the O-K Gold and defeated Forest Hills Eastern twice during league play. Third rounds of both are part of this bracket if West Catholic and FHE win their openers. GRCC defeated Unity Christian 71-52 in last season’s District Final on the way to its undefeated finish.
1. Marshall (18-2), 2. Olivet (19-1), Battle Creek Pennfield (14-6), Battle Creek Harper Creek (14-6), Eaton Rapids (10-10), Charlotte (8-12).
League title winners also line up on opposite sides of this bracket, with Interstate 8 Athletic Conference co-champ Marshall and the Great Lakes Activities Conference’s Olivet. The Eagles’ only loss this season was by two to league rival Leslie (11-9), and Olivet will open Wednesday against the winner of an I8AC matchup between Harper Creek and Pennfield – last season’s Division 2 runner-up. Harper Creek won its regular-season matchups with Pennfield by 18 and 12. Pennfield did deal Marshall a loss, by four, Jan. 11.
1. Grand Rapids Christian (16-4), 2. Grand Rapids South Christian (15-5), Wyoming Godwin Heights (9-8), Wyoming Kelloggsville (12-8), Grand Rapids West Michigan Aviation Academy (14-6), Kentwood Grand River Prep (6-8).
The Eagles enter the top seed as runners-up from the O-K White but with all three of their losses to Division 1 opponents and as the only team to defeat Grand Rapids Northview (19-1). South Christian tied for second in the O-K Gold, but all of its losses were to teams that finished 15-5 or better – including a season-opening defeat to Grand Rapids Christian, 66-58. Godwin Heights, Kelloggsville and WMAA all were upper-division teams in their respective leagues as well, with Kelloggsville and Godwin Heights meeting in an opener after splitting their regular-season series.
1. Niles Brandywine (13-5), 2. Watervliet (16-3), Bridgman (12-8), Cassopolis (16-4), Buchanan (12-8).
This District features five teams that all finished among the top 42 in overall Division 3 MPR, with Brandywine at No. 10 and Watervliet at No. 14. Brandywine lines up as the Berrien-Cass-St. Joseph Conference Red champ on one side of the bracket, facing league opponent Buchanan for the third time. Watervliet was the co-champ of the Southwestern Athletic Conference Lakeshore and sits on the other side. Cassopolis was second in the Southwest 10 Conference and opens with a rematch against Bridgman, which tied for second in the BCS Red and defeated the Rangers by 16 on Dec. 28. The winner of that game sees Watervliet on Wednesday.
Maple City Glen Lake
1. Traverse City St. Francis (18-2), 2. Benzie Central (17-3), Elk Rapids (14-6), Maple City Glen Lake (15-5), Mancelona (14-6).
All five teams finished among the top 52 in overall Division 3 MPR, led by St. Francis (No. 4), Elk Rapids (13) and Benzie (19). St. Francis was first in the Lake Michigan Conference, with Elk Rapids second. Benzie won the Northwest Conference a game ahead of Glen Lake, while Mancelona was runner-up in the Ski Valley Conference. Benzie avenged its Jan. 25 eight-point loss to Glen Lake with a 13-point win Feb. 25 but lost both of its games last week against larger Big North Conference opponents. St. Francis’ only losses this season were to Division 1 teams.
1. Vandercook Lake (18-2), 2. Napoleon (18-2), Michigan Center (14-6), Grass Lake (6-13), Jackson Lumen Christian (3-17), East Jackson (5-15).
This lines up as concluding with a third game between Cascades Conference champ Vandercook Lake and runner-up Napoleon – and Vandercook Lake won the regular-season meetings by seven and six points. But surely the Jayhawks are keeping an eye on Michigan Center, which finished third in the Cascades and won the second meeting with Vandercook 68-66 on Feb. 4. They would meet again in a District Semifinal if Michigan Center defeats Lumen Christi in their opener. Grass Lake is an interesting upset prospect after losing to Vandercook Lake by only four and five points and to Michigan Center in overtime in their second meeting.
1. Powers North Central (16-4), 2. Hannahville Nah Tah Wahsh (18-2), Norway (14-6), Stephenson (13-6), Crystal Falls Forest Park (9-11), Carney-Nadeau (4-14), Felch North Dickinson (3-17).
The Jets went undefeated in winning the Skyline Central Conference small-school division, although they did lose a pair of games last week. North Central defeated Norway twice by double digits and would see the Knights again Wednesday if Norway gets by Forest Park for a third time. On the other side, the Soaring Eagles also are coming off a pair of losses last week, including by 26 to Stephenson – their opponent in tonight’s opener. Stephenson has won six straight.
1. Ubly (15-4), 2. Kinde North Huron (15-5), Deckerville (14-6), Carsonville-Port Sanilac (5-13), Caseville (1-12).
Ubly (12), North Huron (24) and Deckerville (27) were top-30 teams in the final overall Division 4 MPR. Ubly won the Greater Thumb Conference East, while North Huron was first in the North Central Thumb League Stars and Deckerville second. Deckerville did win their first matchup by five before North Huron won the rematch by six Feb. 18 as part of a 10-game winning streak. They could meet again in a Wednesday District Semifinal.
Three Oaks River Valley
1. New Buffalo (19-1), 2. Eau Claire (14-5), Three Oaks River Valley (15-5), Benton Harbor Countryside Academy (11-7), St. Joseph Lake Michigan Catholic (7-11), St. Joseph Michigan Lutheran (6-13).
New Buffalo finished No. 1 in overall Division 4 MPR, with Eau Claire No. 15 and River Valley No. 20. All six of these teams are from the BCS White, with New Buffalo the champion, Eau Claire a co-runner-up, River Valley fourth and Countryside fifth. New Buffalo’s only loss this season came to Niles Brandywine, and it defeated Eau Claire by nine and 15 points and possible Wednesday opponent River Valley by 12 and 16. Eau Claire defeated Countryside by 12 and 25, and they could meet a third time as well Wednesday.
Second Half’s weekly “Breslin Bound” previews and reviews are powered by MI Student Aid, a part of the Office of Postsecondary Financial Planning located within the Michigan Department of Treasury. MI Student Aid encourages students to pursue postsecondary education by providing access to student financial resources and information. MI Student Aid administers the state’s 529 college savings programs (MET/MESP), as well as scholarship and grant programs that help make college Accessible, Affordable and Attainable for you. Connect with MI Student Aid at www.michigan.gov/mistudentaid and find more information on Facebook and Twitter @mistudentaid.
PHOTO Orchard Lake St. Mary's downed Grand Blanc 65-62 on Jan. 8. Both are considered Division 1 championship contenders as District play begins. (Photo by Terry Lyons.)
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.