Nearly all of the MHSAA’s 750 member high schools have a varsity boys basketball team, and “Breslin Bound” highlights the notable performances throughout the state.
But it’s been impossible this season to not turn a lot of attention toward Detroit.
The Detroit Catholic League Central features five teams with overall records of 6-3 or better despite two weeks of matchups against each other. The Detroit Public School League Blue features at least three championship contenders as well. River Rouge is sure to be in the Division 1 mix too, but just lost for the first time to an intriguing Division 3 riser in Ecorse. And as always, the suburbs are loaded with teams with March possibilities.
Week in Review
The countdown of last week’s five most intriguing results:
1. Ecorse 60, River Rouge 58 The Raiders (5-1) are a combined 33-11 over the last three seasons but hadn’t defeated Rouge (12-1) since 2014 and lost last year’s matchup by 11.
2. Detroit Martin Luther King 56, Detroit Cass Tech 51 These two and Renaissance are starting to separate at the top of the Detroit Public School League Blue, with King (9-1) earning a valuable advantage over the Technicians (9-2) as both face Renaissance this week.
3. Menominee 51, Powers North Central 26 The Maroons (9-1) handed the Jets (9-1) their only loss and appear capable of finishing the regular season as the top team in Division 3 MPR.
4. Detroit U-D Jesuit 65, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s 61 Another must-see week of games in the Detroit Catholic League Central concluded with Jesuit (6-3) and Detroit Catholic Central (8-2) tied for first, with the Eaglets (8-2) next.
5. Ferndale 56, North Farmington 49 The Eagles (8-2) won this road matchup for first place in the Oakland Activities Association Red, with North Farmington (10-2) set to make a return trip Feb. 17.
With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each division making sparks:
Detroit Renaissance (9-1) While last season’s 6-8 record wasn’t a good indicator of the team’s ability – Renaissance lost four games by six points or fewer and fell to Detroit U-D Jesuit (11-1) by just a basket in District play – the Phoenix are closing in on guaranteeing their first winning season since 2018-19. They are in the PSL Blue mix (see above) and have scored at least 79 points in their last four games, with a high of 106. They have wins over Romulus Summit Academy North (9-2) and Bloomfield Hills (8-2), with the lone loss by five to Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice (7-2).
Rockford (10-1) The Rams are seeking to repeat in the Ottawa-Kent Conference Red and sit alone in first place after last week’s 62-56 win over Grand Haven (9-1). That one meant even more because Rockford fell twice to the Buccaneers last season on the way to going 15-3 overall. The lone defeat this winter came Dec. 18 against Detroit Catholic Central (8-2).
Grand Rapids Catholic Central (10-1) The Cougars’ perfect run to the Division 2 championship last season featured a lineup that graduated only one senior, making this season’s success predictable but no less impressive. Among the most notable wins were their first three – 48-45 over Grand Rapids Christian, then 80-66 over Detroit U-D Jesuit and 64-59 over reigning Division 1 champion Grand Blanc – and GRCC also has a victory over Ada Forest Hills Eastern, which is second to the Cougars in the O-K Gold. The team’s lone loss came 75-69 to reigning Division 3 champion Flint Beecher.
Kingsford (7-1) The Flivvers’ last Great Northern Conference championship came in 2011-12, and they’ve rarely had an impact on the race since – but that could change over the next six weeks. While Kingsford’s lone loss came to reigning champ Escanaba, 53-50 on Dec. 10, they haven’t allowed another opponent to come closer than 13 points. League leader Menominee is up next, and the Escanaba rematch is Feb. 4.
Flint Beecher (8-1) The Bucs are under new but familiar leadership, with early 2000s star Marquis Gray taking over the program this winter. Through nearly the first half of the season, the reigning Division 3 champion looks headed toward another long run. In addition to the GRCC win (see above), Beecher is again leading the Genesee Area Conference Red and has lost only to Division 1 Martin Luther King – no one but King and GRCC have gotten closer than single digits. The Bucs finish the regular season with Division 1 Flint Carman-Ainsworth and Grand Blanc.
Traverse City St. Francis (7-1) The Gladiators have lost only to Division 1 Grand Haven and have a win over Division 1 Traverse City Central (50-48 in double overtime). St. Francis tied for second in the Lake Michigan Conference last season but opened this one with a 59-40 win over reigning champion Charlevoix. After losing twice to Elk Rapids last year, St. Francis handed the second-place Elks a 50-47 defeat last Tuesday to take over the league lead alone – and also-second place Boyne City hosts St. Francis this Friday.
Deckerville (8-1) The Eagles are closing in on guaranteeing their first winning season since 2016-17, and after going 4-9 a year ago. They own two two-point and one three-point win and join Dryden –Tuesday’s opponent – as undefeated in North Central Thumb League Stars play. The lone loss came to Division 2 Imlay City, a contender in the Blue Water Area Conference.
Rudyard (8-0) Division 4 semifinalists last season, the Bulldogs are among a small group of Upper Peninsula teams that play in multiple leagues – and they lead both the Straits Area Conference and Eastern Upper Peninsula Conference and have wins over the second-place teams from each. Rudyard’s best victory came Saturday, nonleague, as it handed Munising its first defeat 57-34.
Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up:
Tuesday – Detroit U-D Jesuit (6-3) at Detroit Catholic Central (8-2) – The co-leaders in the Catholic League Central meet up for the first time this season.
Tuesday – Richmond (8-1) at Croswell-Lexington (10-0) – The Pioneers have won the last two Blue Water Area Conference titles, and Richmond won two straight before that.
Tuesday – Olivet (10-0) at Lake Odessa Lakewood (8-1) – Both are undefeated in the Greater Lansing Activities Conference, and they split last season’s series.
Friday – Detroit Renaissance (9-1) at Detroit Martin Luther King (9-1) – Depending on Renaissance’s success Tuesday at Cass Tech, this eventually could determine the PSL Blue championship.
Friday – Carrollton (8-0) at Hemlock (7-1) – The Cavaliers are undefeated atop the Tri-Valley Conference 10, but Hemlock’s only loss was to Carrollton 44-43 in the season opener.
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 Davison and Detroit Edison face off earlier this season. (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.