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.
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.
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 Flint Metro League Stripes champion Flushing downed Corunna 63-45 in nonleague play last week. (Photo by Terry Lyons.)
The MHSAA and Holly school communities are grieving this week after the sudden loss of Tony Coggins, a shining light in his educational community and an enthusiastic supporter of school sports as a public address announcer for several of our largest championship events.
But while that cheerful tone has been quieted, it surely will not be forgotten by the many fortunate to enjoy an event in the presence of that voice and the joyfulness he brought into every arena, press box and classroom.
Coggins, 51, died Saturday. He is survived by his wife Kristy and children Emma and Bradlee, among several family and friends from his local and greater sports communities.
His career as a PA announcer began during his freshman year of high school in 1985, when his father Dale Coggins – Flushing’s athletic director at the time – couldn’t find anyone else to announce middle school football games. That was 39 years ago, and this fall Tony Coggins was in his 24th announcing at Holly, where he taught and served as an administrator in addition to his role as “Voice of the Holly Bronchos” for football, basketball, baseball, softball, volleyball, competitive cheer and swimming & diving over the years.
Coggins has been a mainstay among MHSAA Finals PA announcers over the last decade in football, basketball, softball and most recently volleyball. He lent his voice to college sports at University of Michigan as well. “Tony was a huge part of our Finals events. It’s hard to imagine it being the same without him,” MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl said.
As part of the run-up to the MHSAA public address announcers clinic in 2018, Coggins said this about what drew him to the microphone:
“I have zero athletic ability whatsoever, which is interesting because my father was an all-state running back. But I enjoy being involved, and I've always been the one for history and statistics and knowing what's going on,” Coggins said. “This is a way for me to be involved. It's a way for me to use a talent I've been given; public speaking has always come pretty naturally for me.
“So I worked at my craft to get better. I got better from watching the people around me, from studying the people I like, and the people – if I saw someone I didn’t care for – I'd make a note and say to myself, ‘Don't do that.’ I take feedback from people very personally, and I mean that in a good way. If somebody takes the time to come up and say, ‘You did this well; I think you should change this,’ that means they care about the program also. We all have the same goal in mind, and that's to make the experience good for the high school student and the parents, the fans, that come there.”
Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 28, at St. John Vianney, 2415 Bagley Street in Flint. There will be visitation from 2-8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27, at the Swartz Funeral Home, 1225 West Hill Road, and at the church from 10 a.m. Saturday until the time of the Mass.
The Holly volleyball team played for something bigger tonight
Beloved PA announcer Anthony Coggins died on Friday night from a heart attack
— Brandon Green🍀 (@BGreenReports) October 24, 2023