Breslin Bound: 2021-22 Boys Report Week 12
By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor
February 28, 2022
We're hours from the beginning of March and less than a week from the start of the MHSAA Boys Basketball Tournament.
Although District seeds have been determined and brackets posted, there are still plenty of teams with plenty on the line as we finish up the regular season. We highlight some of those below, plus take a look at a few more contenders before switching into "Breslin Bound" playoff mode next week.
“Breslin Bound” is powered by MI Student Aid and based on results and schedules posted for each school at MHSAA.com. Send corrections or missing scores to Geoff@mhsaa.com.
Week in Review
The countdown of last week’s five most intriguing results:
1. Orchard Lake St. Mary’s 65, Detroit U-D Jesuit 43 The Eaglets’ win over Detroit Catholic League Central champ Jesuit (12-5) in the Bishop Tournament semifinal set St. Mary’s (15-4) up to go on and down Detroit Catholic Central in the final.
2. Onaway 84, Mancelona 50 Onaway (18-1) clinched its first league title in this sport since 1963, defeating runner-up Mancelona (13-6) in the Ski Valley Conference.
3. Detroit Martin Luther King 66, Detroit Western 38 The Crusaders added the Detroit Public School League Tournament title to their PSL Blue championship with this win over PSL Gold winner Western (15-4).
4. Flint Beecher 63, Flint Carman-Ainsworth 60 The Bucs (17-1) appear ready for another Division 3 title run, that assumption backed up again by this close win over the Division 1 Cavaliers (13-5).
5. Macomb Dakota 65, Clinton Township Chippewa Valley 45 These two shared the Macomb Area Conference Red title, but Dakota (14-5) claimed the MAC Red/White Tournament championship with its second win over the Big Reds (13-6) in three meetings this season.
With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each division making sparks:
Canton (15-4) The Chiefs opened this season with four consecutive losses (all to teams that have won at least 11 games). Canton has not lost since and will take on Hartland on Tuesday in hopes of adding the Kensington Lakes Activities Association Tournament title to the KLAA West championship clinched two weeks ago against the Eagles (15-4). The division title was the team’s first since 2018-19, and Canton then defeated Dearborn (15-4) in a KLAA Tournament semifinal.
Detroit Cass Tech (15-3) Although Cass Tech missed out on playing in the PSL Tournament final, having lost to Western in a semifinal, there is still plenty of reason to believe the Technicians could emerge as champs of one of the state’s strongest Districts next week. Cass lost to Western 57-51, and its other defeats to King and Clarkston (11-7) were both by five or fewer points. Meanwhile, the Technicians have downed Carman-Ainsworth, Detroit Southeastern (12-5), Detroit Edison (12-6), and Detroit Renaissance (11-7) twice, among others.
Carrollton (17-2) The Cavaliers have guaranteed themselves a share of the Tri-Valley Conference 10 title, and their two losses this season were by a combined seven points including by six to league rival Standish-Sterling (18-1). Carrollton also has a win over Standish and two apiece over Ithaca (15-5) and Hemlock (13-6). The Cavaliers were a one-point loss from making the Division 2 Quarterfinals last season and could be on the verge of a similar run.
Romulus Summit Academy (16-2) The Dragons have won 14 straight, including a perfect run through the Charter School Conference West and league tournament. Total, nine of their wins are over teams with at least 10 victories, with last week’s by 19 points over Romulus (11-4) sticking out recently along with victories over Warren Michigan Collegiate (13-2) by 22 and Edison by five during the league playoffs. Summit reached the Division 2 Quarterfinals a year ago after similar regular-season success.
Benzie Central (17-1) The Huskies downed Maple City Glen Lake 58-45 on Friday to win the Northwest Conference title, its first since 2011-12. It’s been a solid jump from finishing fourth and 10-9 overall last season, with the only loss this winter 64-56 in the first meeting against Glen Lake (15-5) on Jan. 25. All but two of Benzie’s wins have been by double digits and have included a pair over Buckley (14-4) and another over Lake Leelanau St. Mary (14-4).
Pewamo-Westphalia (14-4) Second-year coach Dominic Schneider has picked up where longtime coach Luke Pohl left off, leading the Pirates to a combined 26-7 record over the last two seasons. P-W clinched a share of the Central Michigan Athletic Conference title Friday and can claim it outright with a win in either of two games this week against teams at the bottom of the standings. The Pirates started the season 2-3, then won 12 straight before falling to undefeated Freeland (19-0) by six Saturday.
Southfield Christian (15-3) The Eagles are annual Finals contenders and reached the Quarterfinals last season before falling to eventual champion Detroit Douglass. Two of their three losses this winter were to Division 2 teams, Ann Arbor Father Gabriel Richard (13-4) and Detroit Country Day (11-7), with the third to Plymouth Christian Academy (11-7) resulting in their shared Michigan Independent Athletic Conference Blue title. Tuesday’s matchup with Clarkston Everest Collegiate (13-5) will provide more prep for the postseason.
Ubly (14-3) The Bearcats clinched their second-straight Greater Thumb Conference East championship outright last week and also posted an impressive win over Deckerville (14-5). Ubly’s losses were to GTC East third-place Memphis (13-6) twice, by a combined five points, and GTC West runner-up Bad Axe (17-2). The Bearcats could see Deckerville again next week as they pursue a repeat District title as well.
Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up:
Tuesday – Hartland (15-4) at Canton (15-4) – As noted above, these two will meet for the KLAA Tournament championship after finishing second and first, respectively, in the West.
Tuesday – Menominee (17-2) at Ewen-Trout Creek (15-3) – Two of the Upper Peninsula’s best offer each other a final regular-season test heading into the playoffs.
Tuesday – Waterford Mott (14-3) at White Lake Lakeland (16-3) – Mott also must play South Lyon on Thursday, but has a half-game lead on Lakeland at the top of the Lakes Valley Conference standings after winning the first meeting 44-35 on Jan. 25.
Thursday – Flint Beecher (17-1) at Grand Blanc (13-5) – The Bobcats are not taking it easy during the last week of the regular season, taking on the Bucs after opening the week against River Rouge.
Thursday – Blanchard Montabella (17-1) at Carson City Crystal (16-3) – Montabella has a one-game lead in the Mid-State Activities Conference heading into this season finale, but the Eagles won the first meeting 45-42 on Jan. 26.
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PHOTO Flint Metro League Stripes champion Flushing downed Corunna 63-45 in nonleague play last week. (Photo by Terry Lyons.)
Ferndale Caps Winter Season with 1st Boys Hoops Title Since 1966
By Dean Holzwarth
Special for MHSAA.com
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.”
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.”
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.
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.