Breslin Bound: 2021-22 Boys Report Week 5
By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor
January 10, 2022
Every basketball season, with little research needed, we can list at least a handful of elite teams we’ll be talking about often as they make their way toward possible March trips to the Breslin Center.
But as we reach mid-January, teams big, small, north, south and all points between are still in the early stages of creating the stories of their seasons. And this week’s report includes a pretty good mix of regulars and others we haven’t highlighted for quite a while.
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Week in Review
The countdown of last week’s five most intriguing results:
1. Flint Beecher 75, Grand Rapids Catholic Central 69 The reigning Division 3 champion Bucs (6-0) ended reigning Division 2 champ GRCC's winning streak at 27 games.
2. Muskegon 84, Benton Harbor 58 This Big Red Classic win moved host Muskegon to 4-0, and it should earn the Big Reds some significant attention as it also was the first defeat for the Tigers (6-1).
3. Orchard Lake St. Mary’s 65, Grand Blanc 62 The reigning Division 1 champ Bobcats may be only 1-3, but at their Classic they gave the Eaglets (4-2) the latter’s toughest challenge so far this season.
4. North Farmington 45, Clarkston 43 The Oakland Activities Association Red is one of the strongest leagues in the state, and this opener was a big first step for the contending Raiders (7-1).
5. Detroit Edison 66, Harper Woods Chandler Park 60 The Pioneers (2-3) have played four teams either unbeaten or with one loss, and Chandler Park (2-1) is one of two teams to which they’ve dealt that first defeat.
With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each division making sparks:
East Lansing (6-1) After opening with a loss to another of the top teams in Division 1, North Farmington (see above), the Trojans have won six straight with four of those victories against teams with winning records. They handed Hamtramck (5-1) its lone loss during the Motor City Roundball Classic after edging Kalamazoo Central by three at Cornerstone University. East Lansing made the Division 1 Quarterfinals last season.
Grand Haven (6-0) The Buccaneers are following up last season’s District title run with a fast start this winter. They defeated Traverse City St. Francis and West to win their Lakeshore Cup at the end of December, and have dealt the lone defeats to St. Francis (5-1) and Muskegon Reeths-Puffer (4-1).
Marshall (6-0) Five of Marshall’s six opponents are sitting .500 or better, making this start even more impressive. But it appears to be a continuation of last season’s surge. The Redhawks finished last winter 10-6 and on a 9-3 run, and Tuesday they get a chance to avenge their season-ending loss with a road trip to Battle Creek Pennfield.
Ovid-Elsie (6-0) The Marauders have won league titles four of the last five seasons, with a runner-up finish in the Mid-Michigan Activities Conference a year ago. They’re back in the thick of things, tied with Chesaning for first at 4-0 in league play and with a 37-31 win over another possible contender in Durand (4-2).
Blanchard Montabella (5-0) The Mustangs already are in line for their best season since 2018-19 after winning seven games a year ago and six the season before. The best victory so far came in mid-December, 51-43 over Mid-State Activities Conference foe Breckenridge, which remains the Huskies’ lone loss. Montabella lost to Breckenridge by seven and 32 last season.
Union City (6-1) The Chargers won six games last season and a combined 10 over the last two. But after opening with a loss to still-undefeated Olivet this winter, Union City has yet to lose again – with a two-point win over Buchanan on Dec. 18 its only single-digit victory of the run.
Ellsworth (7-0) The Lancers are seeking a fifth-consecutive Northern Lakes Conference championship this winter, and they’re off to the right start with five wins by double digits and one of the single-digit victories last week over league foe Mackinaw City. Coming off a District title as well from last season, they’ve gotten rolling again quickly as well; Ellsworth is one of only eight teams statewide that has reached seven wins entering this week.
Ewen-Trout Creek (5-0) The Panthers are playing for a third-straight championship in the Porcupine Mountain division of the Copper Mountain Conference. Among their first five wins are the lone defeat for Wakefield-Marenisco and an avenging of last year’s District Final loss to Bessemer. E-TC opened the calendar year last week with a 35-point win over Dollar Bay, winner of 15 games a year ago.
Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up:
Tuesday – Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (6-0) at Warren De La Salle Collegiate (7-0) – The Detroit Catholic League Central will do some initial sorting out this week, with this one of a handful of contests that could reshape the early standings. (In another, Brother Rice faces Detroit U-D Jesuit on this night.)
Tuesday – Dexter (4-0) at Ann Arbor Huron (4-1) – These are the early co-leaders in a Southeastern Conference Red featuring four teams unbeaten or with one loss.
Tuesday – Alma (6-0) at Freeland (5-0) – Three teams remain undefeated in Tri-Valley Conference 8 play, and Freeland gets the third, Frankenmuth, on Friday.
Tuesday – Napoleon (6-0) at Vandercook Lake (6-0) – These are two of three teams tied for first in the Cascades Conference, and also the only two in the league with overall winning records.
Friday – Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice (6-0) at Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (6-0) – This pits the two Catholic League Central teams that arguably have generated the most buzz.
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PHOTO Orchard Lake St. Mary’s traveled to Grand Blanc on Saturday and won 65-62 in one of the week’s most notable games. (Photo by Terry Lyons.)
St. Clair County Celebrates 1st Mr. Basketball Winner, PHN's Jamison
By Paul Costanzo
Special for MHSAA.com
March 29, 2023
The Jamison family has spent plenty of time over the years driving long distances as Tyler chased his basketball dreams.
After the Port Huron Northern senior achieved one of the biggest ones, they had to put some more mileage on the family vehicle.
As the newly-crowned Mr. Basketball, Jamison was invited to a special presentation during the Boys Basketball Finals this past Saturday afternoon at the Breslin Center. It was an invitation Tyler and his family didn’t hesitate to accept, and the drive from Port Huron to East Lansing was nothing.
But it did cause a pretty big change to some other travel plans.
Tyler and his family were scheduled to fly to Florida on Friday for spring break. That flight had to be canceled, though, and instead, the family made the drive down later.
“There were some jokes about just leaving me and letting me find my own way down there,” Jamison said.
While they joke, there’s nowhere the Jamisons would have rather been Saturday than at the Breslin. As a true basketball family – Tyler’s dad Brian is also the coach at Northern, and his brother Alex was a standout freshman for the Huskies – they have a great appreciation for the Mr. Basketball Award and its significance.
“I had said a while ago, ‘Hey, if we’re still in the tournament, we’ll be playing Friday,” Brian Jamison said. “I even mentioned that it would be a miracle, but Tyler could win Mr. Basketball. Now we’re eating plane tickets and driving down to Florida. But it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and we’re not missing this.”
Jamison was the overwhelming winner of the award, which is named after Hal Schram and given out by the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan. He received 3,058 points in the vote to become its 43rd winner. Curtis Williams of Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice (2,004 points), Kaden Brown of Grand Rapids Catholic Central (1,918), Sonny Wilson of Detroit U-D Jesuit (1,883) and Ryan Hurst of North Farmington (1,811) were the other finalists.
“It was just insane,” Tyler Jamison said. “I can’t even really put into words how I felt – it was just a dream come true, a culmination of all the hard work that’s been put in over the years. My mom was in the other room (when his dad called to tell him), and I just hugged her and we were kind of screaming. The dog was getting riled up. It was fun. There were a few tears shed.”
Jamison, who signed with Fairleigh Dickinson in December, finished the season averaging 26.7 points, 11.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 3.3 steals per game. He was named the Macomb Area Conference White division MVP after leading Northern to the league title and a 20-4 overall record.
Even with all that, winning the most prestigious individual basketball award in the state didn’t seem like a reality.
“We purposely try to play a tough schedule, and we purposely got into some showcases because we wanted people to see, not only him play, but us play,” Brian Jamison said. “We had beaten Skyline and Hamtramck, and went up to Croswell-Lexington and won up there, and I thought, ‘OK, now he’s done it against some of the better teams.’ Up to that point, when we played those tougher teams, he’s always showed out well, but it’s different when you’re not winning them. But at that point, I thought he had a chance. Really, I was just hoping he would get on the list. To win it was kind of above and beyond what I had hoped for.”
On the court, Tyler’s impact on the program was pretty obvious and immediate.
He’s the program’s all-time leading scorer – a record he set as a junior – with 1,763 career points. He also holds Northern records for career rebounds (825), points in a game (59), rebounds in a game (28), career field goals made (638) and career free throws made (439). As a junior, he was named MAC Blue MVP.
Northern did not lose a league game in either of the past two seasons.
But Northern is likely to see future success because of Tyler’s non-statistical impact.
Leading a young team, including a group of star freshmen – his brother Alex, Cam Harju and Amir Morelan – was a major part of Tyler’s job this season.
Northern’s home games were must-see events this winter, as the Huskies were one of Division 1’s top teams, and Tyler was providing nightly highlights and must-see performances. Even in his final game, a loss against Macomb Dakota in the District Final, Jamison treated the standing-room crowd with a 46-point performance and a halfcourt shot at the third-quarter buzzer in a valiant effort.
“That’s the big thing, you want the students and the school community to support you, and they did an amazing job,” Tyler Jamison said. “We also had people from the community that wanted to support us and watch us play. Port Huron High had a really good season, too, and I think both schools in the city had that public support. That’s huge. It makes you feel like you’re playing for more than yourself.”
Among those crowds were the next generation of Huskies, some of whom were coached by Tyler in youth basketball. As he’s the first Mr. Basketball winner from St. Clair County, those kids now have a hometown example of someone who has reached the highest heights.
“I think interest gets sparked when the little kids come to the gym, like, ‘Hey, I want to do that,’” Brian Jamison said. “They want to play for Northern or (Port Huron) High. And with him winning Mr. Basketball, I think it gives kids a little bit of ‘Hey, why not me?’ I do think it helps motivate younger people. We’ve had great crowds at our games. I think the area is excited about basketball. It really is a great basketball area.”
With all of that excitement surrounding him, Tyler had one more challenge after the season – keeping the secret that he had won. He found out six days before the award was announced.
“It was terrible – especially when it’s something of that magnitude,” he said. “You want to tell everyone. You want to tell your friends and family. It was hard to be like, ‘No, I don’t know.’”
Paul Costanzo served as a sportswriter at The Port Huron Times Herald from 2006-15, including three years as lead sportswriter, and prior to that as sports editor at the Hillsdale Daily News from 2005-06. He can be reached at [email protected] with story ideas for Genesee, Lapeer, St. Clair, Sanilac, Huron, Tuscola, Saginaw, Bay, Arenac, Midland and Gladwin counties.
PHOTOS (Top) Tyler Jamison, second from left, with his parents and brother, stands with his newly-received Mr. Basketball Award trophy during the ceremony at the Detroit Free Press. (Middle) Jamison throws down a dunk. (Photos courtesy of the Jamison family.)