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