Breslin Bound: 2021-22 Boys Report Week 10

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

February 14, 2022

The boys basketball tournament picture is getting a little clearer as we draw closer to the end of the regular season, allowing coaches to forecast a bit more (and scout) who their teams might face when Districts begin in three weeks.

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It's also the right time for us to begin envisioning how some of our headlining regular-season games might become rematches next month – and we'll be digging into some of those possibilities over the next few weeks, including a couple we note below. 

“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 65, Detroit Catholic Central 43 The Detroit Catholic League Central has been the setting for one of the most contested league races in recent memory, and the Cubs (10-4) clinched the title after having defeated the Shamrocks (8-7) by only two points in their first meeting.

2. Port Huron Northern 49, St. Clair Shores Lake Shore 47 The Huskies (12-4) faced former co-leader Lake Shore (13-3) twice over seven days and won both to clinch the Macomb Area Conference Blue title outright.

3. Vandercook Lake 65, Napoleon 59 The Jayhawks (13-1) moved into a half-game lead over Michigan Center and one full game ahead of Napoleon (12-2) in the Cascades Conference.

4. Goodrich 43, Flushing 42 The Martians (14-1) won a second one-point game in a row, this one over the Raiders (12-2) in a matchup of teams leading their respective Flint Metro League divisions.

5. Benton Harbor 79, Battle Creek Pennfield 74 The Tigers (13-2) bounced back from their second loss with their best win in terms of MPR against the Panthers (11-3).

Watch List

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

Division 1

Detroit Martin Luther King (15-1) The Crusaders haven’t lost since the season opener against Detroit U-D Jesuit (see below) and are up to No. 2 in Division 1 MPR after going undefeated in a Detroit Public School League Blue that included Cass Tech (14-2), Renaissance and Southeastern (both 11-4). King also has wins over Beecher (13-1), Ann Arbor Huron (11-3), Saginaw (10-6), Kalamazoo Central (10-6) and Grand Blanc (11-4) among others – and if the Crusaders meet Jesuit again, it will be in the Division 1 Final.

Detroit U-D Jesuit (10-4) As noted above, Jesuit clinched the Catholic League Central, a major accomplishment. Additionally, only two of the Cubs’ opponents this season have fewer than 10 wins entering this week, providing another boost behind Jesuit’s No. 1 MPR ranking. The Cubs opened with a 51-42 win over King and can also count nonleague victories over Waterford Mott (11-3) and Macomb Dakota (10-5) along with the impressive run through the conference.

Division 2

Croswell-Lexington (14-0) This is familiar territory for the Pioneers, who are up to a combined 53-3 over the last three seasons. They have a two-game lead over Richmond in the Blue Water Area Conference, having handed the Blue Devils (12-2) a 57-38 defeat Jan. 25 and with the rematch coming up. Wins over Brown City (9-5) and Reese (12-2) have provided further MPR boost as the team sits No. 4 in Division 2 coming off last year’s run to the Quarterfinals.

Escanaba (10-4) After reaching the Quarterfinals last season, the Eskymos loaded their schedule again with many of the Upper Peninsula’s best, and it’s paid off with the No. 1 MPR ranking in Division 2. Escanaba is second in the Great Northern Conference with two losses to Menominee (14-1) and will play the Maroons again Tuesday, but those defeats have provided a boost along with two wins over Kingsford (10-4) and others against Ishpeming Westwood (12-3) and Negaunee (11-5). The two other losses came to teams from Wisconsin.

Division 3

Detroit Loyola (11-4) The Bulldogs have won eight straight to clinch the Detroit Catholic League AA championship and move up to Nov. 5 in Division 3 MPR. Wins over Pontiac Notre Dame Prep and Warren Lincoln (both 12-4) also have provided a boost, and all four losses were to larger schools with at least 11 wins – Hamtramck (11-3), Bloomfield Hills (11-3), Oak Park (11-3) and North Farmington (12-3). Loyola gets another good test in Detroit Country Day (10-3) this week as it looks to build on last season’s Quarterfinal run.

Elk Rapids (9-4) With only one game left against leader Traverse City St. Francis, on Tuesday, and two league losses, Elk Rapids may have to settle for second in the Lake Michigan Conference for the second-straight season. But another big opportunity awaits the Elks, No. 9 in Division 3 MPR. Their District includes St. Francis and the top two teams in the Northwest Conference and second-place team in the Ski Valley Conference – and at the time of this writing, Elk Rapids would be seeded second thanks to wins like the sweep of Boyne City (10-4).

Division 4

Genesee Christian (11-4) The Soldiers have taken a few steps up from last year’s 9-8 finish despite a strong schedule. The Genesee Area Conference Red has four teams 8-4 or better and three with at least 10 wins, and Genesee Christian is up to No. 8 in Division 4 MPR with six victories over teams with eight wins or more. The Soldiers get some benefit from losses to Beecher (13-1) and Flint Hamady (8-4) and have defeated among others Hamady, Lake Fenton (9-5), Clarkston Everest Collegiate (11-3), Webberville (11-4) and Burton Bendle (10-4). They see Bendle again next week.

Lake Leelanau St. Mary (12-3) The No. 7 Eagles have piled up 14 wins two seasons in a row and made the Regional Finals a year ago, and they’re surging toward March again with a 10-game winning streak. St. Mary handed Ellsworth (14-1) its only defeat and also earned solid boosts from victories over Traverse City Christian (12-2) and Flat Rock (13-3) – with the losses to Maple City Glen Lake (13-3), Rudyard (14-0) and Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central (8-6).

Can't-Miss Contests

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

Tuesday – Ferndale (12-3) at Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice (11-4) – Ferndale is No. 7 in Division 2 MPR and Brother Rice is No. 3 in Division 1

Tuesday – Grand Haven (14-1) at Rockford (15-1) – The Rams won the first meeting and have a one-game lead on the Bucs in the Ottawa-Kent Conference Red.

Tuesday – Battle Creek Pennfield (11-3) at Marshall (14-1) – Marshall has a one-game lead in the Interstate 8 Athletic Conference despite falling to co-second place Pennfield 48-44 on Jan. 11.  

Friday – Frankenmuth (11-2) at Freeland (14-0) – The Falcons can clinch a share of the Tri-Valley Conference 8 title, or the Eagles can pull within a half game of the lead if they hand Freeland a first league defeat.

Saturday – Grand Blanc (11-4) at Muskegon (13-1) – The reigning Division 1 champion could bring a 10-game winning streak on the road to face another contender for this season’s title.

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PHOTO Westwood’s Zach Carlson threads a pass while being defended last week by Ishpeming’s Parker Gauthier. (Photo by Cara Kamps.)

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.