If last week’s Districts were an indication, watch out as the final 128 boys basketball teams make their way through the final two weeks of this MHSAA Tournament.
Six of 16 teams that reached the Breslin Center in 2022 saw their 2023 runs end last week. So too did two of the top seven (including No. 1) in this regular season’s Division 1 Michigan Power Ratings (MPR), five of the top 10 in Division 2, two of the top six in Division 3 and two of the top four in Division 4.
Below are glances at five of the most noteworthy results from District week, and a few more details on three Regionals of note in every division.
Week in Review
The countdown of last week’s five most intriguing results:
1. Orchard Lake St. Mary’s 57, Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice 50 The Eaglets (11-10) were the second seed in their District but still sent a shockwave through the entire bracket in upsetting arguably the overall Division 1 favorite Warriors (22-2).
2. Warren Michigan Collegiate 60, Warren Lincoln 55 The Cougars (20-2) took a big step as one of the overall favorites in Division 2 in downing another popular pick in Lincoln (19-5).
3. Menominee 60, Iron Mountain 54 The Maroons (14-10) had some retooling to do this winter after graduating standouts from last year’s Division 3 runner-up finisher, but they’ve won five straight and clinched this District title by avenging a 12-point Feb. 6 loss to the Mountaineers (21-2).
4. Michigan Center 49, Napoleon 46 After losing their first meeting by 17 and their second by only five, Michigan Center (17-7) pulled even and got past the league rival Pirates (22-2) in another Division 3 District Final.
5. Cadillac 56, Hart 32 One of the most competitive Districts in any division was clinched by the Big North Conference co-champion Vikings (20-4), who dealt the Pirates (23-1) their lone loss.
Regionals at a Glance
These could be among our most competitive brackets. Host sites are in bold:
Kalamazoo Central (20-3) vs. East Lansing (14-9), Holt (16-9) vs. Battle Creek Central (16-7)
Longtime power Kalamazoo Central has reached 20 wins for the first time since 2016-17 and is playing for a second-straight Regional title. An intriguing Regional Final could await as a Feb. 23 rematch with longtime rival Battle Creek Central was snowed out after the Maroon Giants won their first meeting 63-51 on Jan. 19. Standing in the way are a pair of teams from the Capital Area Activities Conference Blue, and probably not the ones anticipated. East Lansing finished third in the league but upset champion Lansing Waverly on Friday, and sixth-place Holt eliminated league runner-up Okemos in a District Semifinal.
Holland West Ottawa
Rockford (18-7) vs. Hudsonville (17-7), East Kentwood (18-6) vs. Muskegon (22-2)
A District Final upset also plays into this bracket as Rockford defeated 2022 Division 1 semifinalist Grand Rapids Northview 53-49 on Friday. The Rams next see Hudsonville for the third time after winning the first two matchups by three and one point. Both of those teams finished behind champion East Kentwood in the Ottawa-Kent Conference Red, the Falcons sweeping Rockford and splitting with Hudsonville but winning the second meeting by 12. But amid all of the O-K Red, O-K Green champion Muskegon is arguably the favorite this week – and tonight’s matchup is especially notable as Big Reds coach Keith Guy and Falcons coach Mike Thomas have had tons of success at the championship levels of the MHSAA Tournament.
Detroit U-D Jesuit (20-4) vs. Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (11-10), Troy (18-6) vs. North Farmington (21-1)
This bracket was going to be power-packed no matter what, and features an added storyline after St. Mary’s avenged two defeats to Brother Rice in winning their District Final. Next up is another Catholic League Central power, and the Eaglets and Cubs split this season – St. Mary’s winning by three and then Jesuit winning by 15 in the rematch. On the other side, North Farmington has been considered among a handful of Division 1 favorites all season long. The Raiders have won 17 straight but face a Colts team that’s steadily been rising from six wins two seasons ago to 13 last year. If they both win tonight, this is sure to be brought up before Wednesday: St. Mary’s defeated North Farmington 46-44 in a Regional Semifinal last season.
Bridgeport (20-4) vs. Flint Hamady (18-4), Shepherd (20-4) vs. Saginaw (18-6)
After an uncharacteristic 8-13 finish a year ago, Bridgeport is back and an intriguing contender this week riding an eight-game winning streak. Hamady is another, having reached the Regional Final last season and losing this one only to rival Flint Beecher twice, Detroit University Prep and Division 1 Davison. Shepherd has been a great story enjoying its best season in at least a decade. But a lot of eyes will be on Saginaw High, which is nearing its end as one of the most legendary programs in state history as the school will merge with Arthur Hill in 2024. The Trojans lost to Hamady in a Regional Semifinal last season, but all of their defeats this winter came against strong Division 1 teams.
Kingsford (20-3) vs. Boyne City (20-4), Cadillac (20-4) vs. Standish-Sterling (22-0)
On paper alone, this might be the most competitive Regional in any division. All four are league champions in addition to 20-game winners – and none has faced any of the others this winter. Cadillac emerged as the Regional champ from a similar grouping a year ago, defeating Standish-Sterling along the way, and that remains the Panthers’ only loss over their last 37 games. The Flivvers were 6-15 just three seasons ago but lost to only one instate opponent this season – 21-game winner Iron Mountain twice. Boyne has had several solid wins and good losses as well, and it shared the Lake Michigan Conference title with Traverse City St. Francis, which is still playing in Division 3. Cadillac’s losses all came to Division 1 teams as it shared the Big North Conference title with Traverse City Central.
Pontiac Notre Dame Prep (11-13) vs. Croswell-Lexington (21-3), Richmond (22-2) vs. Goodrich (20-4)
A third matchup of Blue Water Area Conference co-champions Croswell-Lexington and Richmond could be on the way in the Regional Final, with Richmond winning their first meeting by nine and Cros-Lex the rematch by the same margin. It would seem the Blue Devils have the tougher challenge to set up that opportunity, as Goodrich was one of three co-champions in the Flint Metro League Stars and reached the Regional Final a year ago. But don’t count out the Fighting Irish – they defeated Goodrich in that Regional Final last season (although Goodrich avenged with a 15-point win Jan. 6) and have won five of their last seven while playing 19 games this winter against teams with winning records.
Detroit Edison (15-9) vs. Madison Heights Bishop Foley (12-11), New Haven (17-7) vs. Detroit Loyola (23-1)
Loyola reached the Regional Final last season and lost this season only to Division 1 Flint Carman-Ainsworth, along the way defeating Bishop Foley by 23 and several larger opponents as well. New Haven is the team that defeated Loyola in last year’s Regional Final, and the Rockets are plenty prepared for this week after navigating a schedule that also included mostly Division 1 teams. Edison has played the same; few teams in any division have a more impressive list of losses, and the Pioneers claimed notable wins over River Rouge and Detroit Western coming off a Division 2 Quarterfinal run a year ago. Bishop Foley loaded it up its final weeks of the regular season and defeated 18-win Rochester Hills Lutheran Northwest in their District Final.
Laingsburg (23-0) vs. Jonesville (19-5), Michigan Center (17-7) vs. Leslie (18-6)
The Wolfpack have nearly doubled their victory total from a season ago and downed 18-game winner Ovid-Elsie by 40 in the District Final; Laingsburg has yet to play a single-digit game this season. Jonesville should provide one of its strongest challenges. The Big 8 Conference champion nearly handed 21-game winner Napoleon what would’ve been its first loss, falling to the Pirates by just a basket two weeks ago. After eliminating Napoleon in a District Final, Michigan Center is playing for a second-straight Regional title and opens with a relatively familiar opponent after defeating Leslie 64-55 on Dec. 13. The Blackhawks have won 11 of their last 13 games, however, and five of their losses came to teams that won 20 games or District titles.
Blanchard Montabella (22-2) vs. Grandville Calvin Christian (23-1), Pewamo-Westphalia (17-6) vs. North Muskegon (19-4)
More success this week would just add to a great story for Montabella, which won six games three seasons ago, improved to seven and then jumped to 18-4 last winter before further dominating this one. The Squires, meanwhile, haven’t received a ton of fanfare this season but deserve it – their only loss was to Division 2 Hudsonville Unity Christian on Dec. 9, and they won an O-K Silver that has seen five teams win 14 or more games. P-W finished second to Laingsburg in the Central Michigan Athletic Conference and defeated Calvin Christian during last year’s Regional on the way to reaching the Quarterfinals. The Pirates have won five straight following a three-game losing streak near the end of February. North Muskegon made the Regional Semifinals in 2022 and its Regional Final the season before, and a championship this week would be its first at this level of the playoffs since 2003.
Baldwin (22-1) vs. Wyoming Tri-unity Christian (18-6), Lansing Christian (15-9) vs. Fruitport Calvary Christian (14-9)
Reigning Division 4 champion Tri-unity always seems to be a contender, and this season is no different as the Defenders can boast notable wins over reigning Division 3 champion Schoolcraft and P-W (see above) among others. But Baldwin could be its biggest challenge so far, its only loss to Division 2 Remus Chippewa Hills in mid-January and with a pair of big wins over Mesick (19-5) highlighting its run. On the other side, Lansing Christian has emerged as the smallest school from a Greater Lansing Activities Conference that included Leslie, and after the Pilgrims finished just 5-16 a year ago. Calvary Christian plays in the Alliance League with Tri-unity and opened this surge with its best win, by 23 over Saugatuck to start the final week of the regular season.
Munising (22-1) vs. Rudyard (19-5), Mackinaw City (20-4) vs. Onaway (21-3)
Munising hasn’t played a team with less than a winning record since the last day of January, making its run even more impressive. The Mustangs edged Rudyard 67-64 on Feb. 8, but Rudyard has lost only once since – to Division 1 Sault Ste. Marie – and swept Brimley, the only team to defeat Munising. Mackinaw City and Onaway both won league championships and also faced off twice this season, Mackinaw City winning 76-70 during the first week and Onaway avenging 87-74 in the regular-season finale. The Cardinals went on to win their District games by a combined four points, the championship decider 58-55 over Indian River Inland Lakes, one of two teams with which Onaway shared the Ski Valley Conference title. The win over Mackinaw City was the Comets’ only loss over its last 12 games.
Traverse City West
Gaylord St. Mary (20-4) vs. Frankfort (15-8), Mesick (19-5) vs. Lake Leelanau St. Mary (19-3)
Gaylord St. Mary was the third team that shared the Ski Valley title with Onaway and Inland Lakes, and the Snowbirds have bounced way back from last season’s 10-13 finish. Frankfort has won six of its last seven games and has plenty of experience at this stage, having reached the Quarterfinals in 2021 and the Regional Semifinals last winter as well. Mesick has been making up for some unfinished business from last year when it suffered its only loss in a Division 3 District Final, and Lake Leelanau St. Mary is on a mission as well after reaching the Division 4 Semifinals a year ago. The Eagles have wins over Frankfort by 26 and Gaylord St. Mary by 12 this season.
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PHOTOS (Top) Kingsford's Gavin Grondin (23) goes up for a shot last week while defended by Negaunee's Brodin Bell (20). (Middle) Holt’s Isaiah Foster (4) finds a teammate during the Rams’ win Friday over Mason. (Top photo by Cara Kamps, middle photo by Click by Christine McCallister.)
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.