Breslin Bound: 2021-22 Boys Report Week 6
By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor
January 17, 2022
Michigan’s boys basketball teams, for the most part, will reach the midpoint of their seasons this week, and 35 teams carry perfect records as we inch toward thinking about the start of March.
MPR – or Michigan Power Ratings – is the tool used to seed the top two teams in every District bracket, and you’ll see a number of references to MPR below as we start considering how teams might be falling into those desired spots. Click for the full boys basketball MPR.
“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 [email protected].
Week in Review
The countdown of last week’s five most intriguing results:
1. Detroit U-D Jesuit 61, Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice 42 As expected, the Detroit Catholic League Central sorted itself out a bit over the week, with the reigning co-champ Cubs (5-2) making their move by handing Brother Rice (7-1) its lone loss.
2. Clarkston 55, Detroit Cass Tech 52 The Wolves (6-2) owned a pair of impressive losses, but with this added a signature early-season win in handing Cass Tech (8-1) its lone defeat.
3. Vandercook Lake 61, Napoleon 54 The Jayhawks (8-0) continued their climb in the Cascades Conference and statewide by dealing Napoleon (7-1) its only loss.
4. Battle Creek Harper Creek 59, Battle Creek Pennfield 41 – Pennfield’s win over then-undefeated Marshall three days earlier would’ve been on this list instead if not for Harper Creek downing the Panthers to create a four-way tie for first in the Interstate 8 Athletic Conference.
5. Detroit Catholic Central 60, Warren De La Salle Collegiate 50 – The Pilots opened the week undefeated and finished it 7-2, DCC improved to 7-1 and moved to the top of the Catholic League Central standings.
With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each division making sparks:
Clinton Township Chippewa Valley (7-1) After closing last season with five wins over their last six games and a District title, the Big Reds have picked right back up with their best start since 2017-18. After suffering that lone loss, to Warren De La Salle Collegiate, on Dec. 21, Chippewa Valley was off two weeks and came back with three wins to start the Macomb Area Conference Red schedule including 45-44 last week over Macomb Dakota.
River Rouge (11-0) The Panthers were the state’s first boys basketball team to double-digit victories, and have put big ones while showing they also can win the close wins (62-61 over Belleville and 61-59 over Warren Fitzgerald, notably). Rouge is led this season by coach Josh Baker, formerly of Southfield Christian who spent the last two seasons as a special assistant at Alabama under former Romulus coach Nate Oats.
Freeland (7-0) The Falcons opened last week tied for first in the Tri-Valley Conference 8 with Alma and Frankenmuth and ended at the top alone after defeating both – 69-57 over the Panthers and 62-40 over the Eagles. No opponent has come closer than Alma’s 12-point margin. Division 1 Alpena (6-2) on Tuesday will present another notable opportunity to shine.
Pontiac Notre Dame Prep (7-2) After breaking a two-season sub-.500 streak in going 10-7 and winning a District title last year, the Fighting Irish opened 1-2 this winter – but they haven’t lost since over a month-long stretch. What’s more, Friday’s 46-45 win over Ypsilanti Arbor Prep avenged a loss from last season, as did the team’s 22-point victory over Rochester on Jan. 7.
Painesdale Jeffers (7-0) The Jets have climbed from eight to 14 to 18 wins over the last three seasons, respectively, with two straight league titles, and this winter seems to be a continuation of last year’s 18-2 run. Ironwood with last week’s 28-point loss came the closest of any opponent this season. Jeffers ran into eventual Division 3 runner-up Iron Mountain last season in a Regional Semifinal and is one to watch again emerging from the Copper Mountain Conference.
Reese (7-1) Four of seven teams in the Greater Thumb Conference West have only one loss overall this season, and Reese sits atop the league after dealing first defeats last week to Bad Axe (6-1) and then Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port Laker (4-1). A major challenge comes up Monday with undefeated Division 2 Croswell-Lexington, but regardless of that result Reese looks like an early challenger in Division 3.
Buckley (5-0) After back-to-back Division 4 runner-up finishes in 2017 and 2018, the Bears rumbled through three straight sub-.500 seasons – but are making distant memories of those this winter. They opened this season with a 61-59 win over reigning Northwest Conference champion Maple City Glen Lake and followed up with a 63-60 edging of Traverse City Christian (4-2). By the end of this week, Buckley could surpass last season’s seven victories.
Mason County Eastern (4-2) While it’s early still, of course, it’s also fair to say Mason County Eastern is rebounding well after going 3-14 a year ago. After falling to White Cloud to open, the Cardinals’ only other defeat was to still-unbeaten Mesick last week – and Mason County Eastern followed up by handing Baldwin its only loss, 56-51 on Thursday.
Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up:
Tuesday – Ferndale (6-2) at North Farmington (9-1) – Not only are they tied for first in the Oakland Activities Association Red, but North Farmington is No. 25 in Division 1 MPR and Ferndale is No. 19 in Division 2.
Tuesday – Parchment (8-0) at Kalamazoo Christian (7-1) – The winner takes over sole possession of first place in the Southwestern Athletic Conference Valley and also should get a nice MPR bump; Parchment is No. 2 in Division 2.
Tuesday – Carrollton (6-0) at Standish-Sterling (8-0) – The co-leaders in the TVC 10 also are Nos. 20 and 15, respectively, in statewide Division 2 MPR.
Tuesday – Rockford (8-1) at Grand Haven (8-0) – Only one other team in the Ottawa-Kent Conference Red still has a winning league record after just three games, making these two possible runaway favorites and the winner of this one the team to chase.
Friday – Powers North Central (8-0) at Menominee (7-1) – These two might be the Upper Peninsula’s best, and likely contenders statewide with Menominee No. 1 in Division 3 MPR and North Central No. 10 in Division 4.
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PHOTO Detroit Cass Tech and Clarkston played a power-packed Division 1 nonleague matchup last week, with the Wolves prevailing 55-52. (Photo by Quintin Love Jr.)
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.)