Breslin Bound: 2021-22 Boys Report Week 1

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

December 13, 2021

Showcase matchups began quenching fans’ thirst for the new season last week, with more on the way, and league play already is ramping up as we embark on a four-month journey – much different than last season’s two-month sprint.

MI Student Aid

Boys basketball season began the way it’s meant to begin, and no one will be taking that for granted.

Every Monday with “Breslin Bound” we’ll take glances at five scores that especially jumped out from the previous week, provide snapshots of two teams in each division to watch as the winter progresses, and then give a glimpse of five intriguing matchups on the schedule during the week to come.

“Breslin Bound” is powered by MI Student Aid and based on results and schedules posted for each school at Send corrections or missing scores to

Week in Review

The countdown of last week’s five most intriguing results: 

1. Detroit U-D Jesuit 51, Detroit Martin Luther King 42 These two are both expected to be in the Division 1 championship mix again, as usual, making this a game that might be recalled when March rolls around.  

2. Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice 86, Grand Blanc 68 The Warriors opened with an impressive win over the reigning Division 1 champion, putting up what would’ve been a season-high points total last winter. 

3. Freeland 80, Bridgeport 51 Although these Tri-Valley Conference foes did split last season, Bridgeport is coming off a run to the Division 2 Semifinals. 

4. Grand Rapids Catholic Central 50, Grand Rapids Christian 45 The reigning Division 2 champion didn’t lose a game last season but got an immediate test from the Eagles in this opener. 

5. Harrison 40, Beaverton 38 Harrison finished seventh and Beaverton was undefeated in winning the Jack Pine Conference last season; this avenged 29 and 39-point losses by the Hornets.

Watch List

With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each division making sparks: 

Division 1

Bay City Central (2-0) The Wolves are making an early push for one of the most interesting potential turnarounds this winter. The finished 2-12 last season, and they’ve already equaled that success. And it came with plenty of excitement – Central opened with a 63-61 win over Midland Dow and followed with another close finish, 51-49 over Tawas. 

Okemos (2-0) After a rare down season – finishing 3-7 with a pair of overtime losses and two more defeats by five or fewer points – Okemos is off to a fast start reestablishing itself as a contender in the Capital Area Activities Conference Blue. The first step was a 63-51 opening-night win over a Howell team coming off a District title, and the next was a 53-37 victory over DeWitt.

Division 2

Onsted (3-0) The Wildcats are coming off two straight 14-win seasons, and they couldn’t have gotten off to a better start last week. All three wins were by double digits – 69-56 over Michigan Center, 68-38 over Hanover-Horton and 69-26 over Jonesville – and Hanover-Horton made the Division 3 Semifinals last winter, after defeating Michigan Center in Regional play. 

Richmond (3-0) The Blue Devils joined Onsted among 12 teams statewide to start 3-0 last week, a great bounce-back after going 4-6 last season with six games canceled. This start is more reminiscent of when the team went 18-4 in 2019-20 – except last week Richmond also got a win over Fraser, 51-49, to go with victories over Marine City and Cardinal Mooney.

Warren Michigan Collegiate (2-0) After missing last season’s Quarterfinals by a one-point loss to Detroit Loyola, Michigan Collegiate opened in a big way last week. The Cougars downed Detroit Mumford by 30 and then defeated Ecorse 72-45 at the Horatio Williams Tip-Off Classic. A Motor City Roundball Classic matchup Dec. 27 with Detroit Renaissance could be telling before Charter School Conference play begins. (UPDATED Jan. 31, 2022; this originally appeared under Division 3, but Michigan Collegiate is in Division 2.)

Division 3

Holton (2-0) Even with last season shortened, Holton has upped its win total each of the last four from six to 10 to 13 to finishing 15-6 last winter. The Red Devils got started on attempting to repeat as champions of the Central State Activities Association Silver with a 46-28 win over Morley Stanwood on Friday, after opening with a 16-point win over Howard City Tri County. 

Division 4 

Lake Linden-Hubbell (2-0) The Lakes play in a strong Copper Country division of the Copper Mountain Conference which features primarily Dollar Bay and Painesdale Jeffers as well. But Lake Linden-Hubbell will try to work its way into the race and got a solid jump on bettering last season’s 7-9 overall finish with a 39-34 win over Hancock and more sizable victory over Baraga. 

New Buffalo (2-0) The Bison are coming off a District title and off to a fast start. They held on for a 77-73 win over Division 1 Sturgis to open, and then won big against Covert to kick off the Berrien-Cass-St. Joseph Conference White schedule. New Buffalo was runner-up in the league and 13-4 overall last season.

Can't-Miss Contests

Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up:  

Tuesday – Traverse City St. Francis (0-0) at Charlevoix (1-0) – The Lake Michigan Conference race gets going right away, with the reigning champion Rayders taking on one of last season’s co-runners-up.

Thursday – Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (2-0) at Clarkston (2-0) – This is a rematch of a Division 1 Regional Semifinal, won by the Eaglets 38-37 on the way to reaching last season’s Quarterfinals.

Friday – Hudsonville Unity Christian (2-0) at Grand Rapids South Christian (1-1) – Two of the Grand Rapids area’s best were a combined 33-6 last season.

Friday – Detroit U-D Jesuit (3-0) at Ferndale (0-1) – Jesuit lost only one game last season, a Division 1 Regional Final, and Ferndale is coming off a run to the Division 2 Semifinals.

Saturday – Benton Harbor (2-0) vs. Flint Carman-Ainsworth (1-0) at Grand Rapids Union – This Showcase Classic game matches teams that were a combined 29-6 last season.

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 and find more information on Facebook and Twitter @mistudentaid.

PHOTO Ovid-Elsie, defending, opened with a 56-52 win over Bath last week. (Photo by Christine McCallister.)

Ferndale Caps Winter Season with 1st Boys Hoops Title Since 1966

By Dean Holzwarth
Special for

March 25, 2023

EAST LANSING – One team was going to end a long championship drought in Saturday’s boys basketball Division 2 Final.

Ferndale’s was especially lengthy, and spanned more than five decades.

And now it is no longer.

The Eagles won their first Finals championship in 57 years with a 44-38 victory over Grand Rapids South Christian at Breslin Center.

Ferndale had last won a state title in 1966.

“The drought is over,” Eagles coach Juan Rickman said. “That’s big time, and the biggest part about making it down here was seeing how charged up the community was and the school was so charged up. It’s the greatest feeling to see how vested our community was in our success.”

Christopher Williams (13) tries to power past South Christian’s Sam Weiss (23) to the rim.Ferndale senior Christopher Williams led the way with 16 points and four rebounds.

“It feels great,” Williams said. “Especially since the past four years we’ve been to the same place and lost twice in a row to the same team, and now it feels like weight is lifted off my shoulders.

“We started off the season 1-5, and going till now we knew if we stayed together through adversity then we could do it. And it made it more impactful that it was our coach’s first state title, and that’s what we wanted to do.”

Added senior point guard Cameron Reed, who had a game-high seven assists: “It’s incredibly special. I wasn't born back then, my teammates weren’t born and my coaches weren’t born. It definitely rejuvenated the whole city and community.”

Ferndale led 8-4 at the end of the first quarter, and both teams shot poorly in the first half. The Eagles connected on a paltry 24 percent from the field, and South Christian on 35 percent of its attempts. Nate Brinks drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Sailors a 16-14 halftime lead. 

Junior guard Jake Vermaas opened the third quarter with a 3-pointer to make it 19-14, but Ferndale made a charge.

The Eagles sliced the deficit to one (25-24) on a 3-pointer by Trenton Ruth, and Cameron Reed tied it at 28-28 with an acrobatic layup.

“Our team was mentally strong, and I’m so proud of them for their accomplishment,” Rickman said. “Just so committed to the process and just being resilient.”

Cameron Reed (0) leads a break for the Eagles.An 8-2 spurt by Ferndale over the first three minutes of the fourth quarter made it 36-30.

“That was extremely important, and we always want to win the first four minutes,” Rickman said. “And we tried to open up the fourth quarter with what we call a kill; we want to get five straight stops and score on two or three of those possessions so we can build a lead. We did that fairly well against a good team.”

South Christian was attempting to win football and basketball Finals championships during the same school year, and was looking for its first basketball title since 2005.

“It was a really hard-fought game and I thought we played at our speed, but it got away from us a little bit,” first-year Sailors coach Taylor Johnson said.

“But it doesn’t take away from what we accomplished this year. We’ve been through it all, including three season-ending injuries, and to still make it to the state finals is an incredible feat.”

Senior Jacob DeHaan and Vermaas led the Sailors with 14 points apiece, while senior Sam Medendorp added seven points, seven rebounds and four blocked shots.

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS (Top) Ferndale raises the Division 2 championship trophy Saturday night at Breslin Center. (Middle) Christopher Williams (13) tries to power past South Christian’s Sam Weiss (23) to the rim. (Below) Cameron Reed (0) leads a break for the Eagles.