Breslin Bound: 2021-22 Boys Report Week 8
By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor
January 31, 2022
This week we welcome February, five weeks to go in the boys basketball regular season and 19 teams bringing undefeated records into both.
That’s always impressive, of course, given the state’s 700 varsity teams total and competitiveness throughout one of Michigan’s most-played high school sports. Two of those unbeaten teams play in Division 1, eight play in Division 2, three in Division 3 and six in Division 4 – and we highlight three during this week’s “Breslin Bound” report.
“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 Martin Luther King 74, Detroit Renaissance 70 The Crusaders (11-1) enter the final week of the Detroit Public School League Blue schedule in position to clinch thanks in part to this win over the formerly co-leading Phoenix (9-3).
2. Grand Blanc 64, Flint Carman-Ainsworth 63 The Bobcats (6-4) are the last team undefeated in Saginaw Valley League play thanks to this win over the second-place Cavaliers (6-4).
3. Maple City Glen Lake 64, Benzie Central 58 The Lakers (9-3) handed Benzie its first defeat, in the process moving into a tie for first in the Northwest Conference with the Huskies (10-1) and with their rematch scheduled for Feb. 25.
4. Orchard Lake St. Mary’s 47, Warren De La Salle Collegiate 34 The Detroit Catholic League Central continues to reshuffle weekly, now with St. Mary’s (9-2) and Detroit U-D Jesuit tied for first but every team within a game of the lead and the Pilots (9-3) tied for most overall wins among league teams.
5. Detroit University Prep 57, Carrollton 56 The Panthers (4-6) have to be one of the best sub-.500 teams in Michigan, mostly recently handing Carrollton (10-1) its first loss, and after defeats by six or fewer points to Benton Harbor, Detroit Renaissance and Carman-Ainsworth.
With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each division making sparks:
Bloomfield Hills (10-2) The Black Hawks are undefeated aside from a pair of losses at December’s Motor City Roundball Classic, to Detroit Renaissance and Detroit Catholic Central (8-3), which actually help fill out a strong body of work overall. Six of Bloomfield Hills’ wins are against teams .500 or better, and the Black Hawks also have an early upper hand as they seek to repeat as Oakland Activities Association White champions.
Muskegon (10-0) There are plenty of highlights to rattle off from the Big Reds’ start. After finishing second in the Ottawa-Kent Conference Green last year, Muskegon is two games ahead of the rest atop the league standings. The Big Reds avenged two losses from last season to reigning league champ Zeeland East with Friday’s 58-42 win, and Muskegon also has handed Benton Harbor (11-1) its only defeat, 84-58 on Jan. 8. Only Reeths-Puffer, the second-place team in the Green, has gotten closer than 11 points.
Battle Creek Pennfield (9-2) The Panthers’ first run to the MHSAA Finals was one of the feel-good stories of the abbreviated 2020-21 season, and they could be finding their footing again after a couple of mid-January league losses to Battle Creek Harper Creek (9-3) and Coldwater (9-1). Those came immediately after Pennfield handed Marshall (11-1) its only loss. The Panthers will have plenty of opportunities to show what they can do with six games coming up against teams with at least nine wins so far, including rematches with all three of those league foes plus a home game with Benton Harbor.
Hudsonville Unity Christian (12-0) The Crusaders appear on their way to a sixth-straight league title, with a two-game lead in the O-K Blue after the first run through the league schedule. Only one opponent – Grandville Calvin Christian (see below) in a 78-76 Unity win on Dec. 10 – has gotten closer than 10 points. The Crusaders defeated the second and third-place teams in the Blue by 10 and 31 points, respectively, last week.
Grand Rapids Covenant Christian (10-2) The Chargers haven’t stopped moving coming off of last season’s Quarterfinal run. Generally playing larger schools, they did avenge a 2021 loss to Wyoming Tri-unity Christian so far with the only losses to Division 2 Unity and Forest Hills Eastern (9-3) in December. Covenant doesn’t play in a league, but did claim a Cornerstone University Holiday Tournament title with wins over Division 2 Allendale and Division 1 Muskegon Mona Shores.
Grandville Calvin Christian (8-3) The Squires continue to put distance between themselves and an 0-3 start that concluded with an overtime loss to Covenant (see above). Calvin defeated former co-leader Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian 75-62 on Friday to move into first place alone in the O-K Silver. Also bringing context to that winless start – the first two defeats came to Division 2 Holland Christian (7-5) and Unity.
Clarkston Everest Collegiate (8-2) The Mountaineers are coming off their second loss, to Genesee Christian (10-2), but defeats have been few lately as Everest is a combined 23-5 over the last two years. The Mountaineers lead the Detroit Catholic League Intersectional #2 as they look to extend their league title streak to three, and they have notable wins over Marine City Cardinal Mooney (9-3) and Ypsilanti Arbor Prep (9-4).
McBain Northern Michigan Christian (10-0) The Comets are only one game into the second half of the Highland Conference schedule but already three games ahead of the field as they pursue what would be a first league title in at least a decade. It’s been an impressive rise for NMC, which broke a seven-season streak of sub-.500 finishes by going 12-3 (and also winning a District title) a year ago.
Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up:
Tuesday – East Lansing (10-3) at Williamston (12-0) – The leaders of the Capital Area Activities Conference Blue and Red, respectively, match up with the winner likely considered the Lansing area’s best.
Tuesday – Dearborn (10-1) at Belleville (7-3) – Belleville has a one-game lead on Dearborn in the Kensington Lakes Activities Association East thanks to a 63-43 win on Jan. 4.
Friday – Kalamazoo Central (9-4) at Richland Gull Lake (8-4) – Gull Lake won the first meeting, 78-75 in overtime Dec. 16, and they’re tied atop the Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference East
Friday – Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (9-2) at Detroit Catholic Central (8-3) – St. Mary’s won the first meeting 75-64 and could begin breaking up the tightly-packed league standings with a big week that starts on the road at De La Salle.
Saturday – Ferndale (8-2) vs. Muskegon (10-0) at Cornerstone University – Contenders in Divisions 2 and 1, respectively, face off at the RedHawk Challenge.
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 A pair of Carman-Ainsworth defenders wall off the passing lanes during last week’s 64-63 loss to Grand Blanc. (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.)