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.
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.)
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.