“Showcase Season” gave fans plenty to watch over the holiday break, and plenty to help us look forward to these next two months as we push through the midwinter grind of another boys basketball season.
More than 200 games were played from Dec. 26-30 alone in events on both sides of Mackinac Bridge, and we glance at some of those below and preview some of what to watch as calendar year 2023 gets further underway.
Week in Review
The countdown of last week’s five most intriguing results:
1. Grand Rapids Catholic Central 65, Warren De La Salle Collegiate 55 After opening the season with three defeats, including the third detailed below, reigning Division 2 runner-up GRCC (3-3) earned the most notable victory of the Motor City Roundball Classic over reigning Division 1 champion De La Salle (6-2).
2. Port Huron Northern 70, Hamtramck 69 The Huskies (6-0) followed up a three-point win over Ann Arbor Skyline two days earlier at the Motor City with this strong statement at the North Farmington Holiday Extravaganza.
3. Warren De La Salle Collegiate 38, Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice 34 In a Detroit Catholic League Central where all five teams have realistic MHSAA championship possibilities, every win counts even more – and in this one the Pilots handed Brother Rice (8-1) its lone defeat.
4. Detroit Cass Tech 59, Grand Rapids Northview 42 The Technicians (8-0) dealt the lone loss of the season to Northview (6-1), a Division 1 semifinalist last winter, at the Motor City.
5. Muskegon 81, Grand Rapids Catholic Central 79 (OT) The also-undefeated Big Reds (5-0) had their closest call of the early season with this nail-biter at the Hall of Fame Classic at Reeths-Puffer.
With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each division making sparks:
Detroit Cass Tech (8-0) After coming up just a two-point loss short of making the Division 1 Semifinals last season, the Technicians have completed a second-straight undefeated December. The win over Northview (see above) was of course noteworthy, but also one of seven double-digit victories so far. Also among the early notables was an 81-50 win over Saginaw Heritage at the PSL Holiday Classic. Circle Jan 20, when Cass faces Martin Luther King in a rematch of last season’s runner-up and champion, respectively, from the Public School League Blue.
Grand Haven (7-0) The Buccaneers surged to 18-4 last season and could be in the midst of climbing another step. They finished second in the Ottawa-Kent Conference Red, after splitting with eventual champion Rockford, and won the first meeting with the Rams this winter 59-53 on Friday. A 20-point victory over Dearborn is becoming a nice bonus with Dearborn’s continued success, and Grand Haven also swept its Lakeshore Cup Tournament with what remain the only losses this season for Petoskey and Traverse City St. Francis.
Boyne City (6-1) A season-opening overtime loss to St. Ignace didn’t knock Boyne City off track, as the Ramblers have been undefeated the rest of the way with arguably their most impressive victories back-to-back over Marquette and Negaunee to finish December. Boyne City also avenged its District loss to Sault Ste. Marie with a 16-point victory and downed Elk Rapids 60-57 after falling twice to the Elks during 2021-22 when the Ramblers placed third and Elk Rapids second to Traverse City St. Francis in the Lake Michigan Conference.
Corunna (6-1) The Cavaliers are making last season’s 9-12 finish a distant memory quicky, with their only loss so far to still-undefeated Laingsburg and four wins over teams sitting .500 or better. Along the way Corunna already has avenged two last-season losses to Lake Fenton and another against Detroit University Prep Art & Design. Undefeated Goodrich tonight should provide another helpful measuring stick.
Laingsburg (8-0) The Wolfpack are almost always solid and appear to be moving back toward spectacular with this start. In addition to the win over Corunna (see above), Laingsburg has won its first three league games including by 18 over last year’s Central Michigan Athletic Conference champion Pewamo-Westphalia. That and the 18-point Corunna win are the Wolfpack’s closest victories through the season’s first third.
St. Ignace (6-1) The Saints started out with a special win, 79-74 over Boyne City in overtime, and Monday’s 67-65 loss to Division 2 Gaylord was the first obstacle they’ve met this winter. A 65-60 win over Rudyard remains that opponent’s only loss, and St. Ignace also traveled down for the Motor City Roundball Classic to defeat Center Line 56-51. The Saints are looking to catch Rudyard in the Straits Area Conference after finishing runner-up to the Bulldogs a year ago.
Lake Leelanau St. Mary (8-0) The Eagles followed a Regional Finals run in 2021 with a Semifinals run last season, and they’re rolling again with no win closer than 13 points this winter. St. Mary won the Will Lynch Invitational at Benzie Central, defeating reigning Division 3 runner-up Menominee 63-45 in a semifinal. The Eagles do not play in a league, but their schedule the rest of the way includes several strong small-school teams.
Munising (9-0) The Mustangs haven’t lost more than three games in a season over the last three, and could be headed toward running that streak to four seasons with only one single-digit game so far this winter – a 56-50 win over Ishpeming. Munising’s only losses last season were twice to Powers North Central and once to Rudyard; the Mustangs see Rudyard on Feb. 8 and North Central twice that month.
Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up:
Tuesday – Flint Beecher (6-0) at Flint Hamady (6-0) – In the first of two regular-season matchups this season, Hamady will attempt to end Beecher’s nine-game winning streak in the series.
Thursday – Petoskey (7-1) at Cadillac (6-0) – Early returns in the Big North Conference make these two the likely favorites after Cadillac shared the title and Petoskey tied for third last season.
Thursday – Grand Ledge (5-1) at Okemos (8-0) – In what’s shaping up to be a deep Capital Area Activities Conference Blue, these two are shaping up as top contenders.
Saturday – Benton Harbor (5-1) vs. North Farmington (6-1) at Grand Rapids Ottawa Hills – This may be the premier matchup of the annual MLK Day Hoops Classic.
Saturday – Warren Michigan Collegiate (5-1) vs. Detroit Renaissance (7-3) at Ferndale – This matchup should conclude the Horatio Williams Foundation MLK Freedom Classic in a big way.
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PHOTO Grand Blanc and East Lansing face off during Saturday's Carmody Classic, with the host Bobcats victorious 65-61. (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.