Breslin Bound: 2022-23 Boys Report Week 11

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

February 20, 2023

We’re less than a week from taking thousands of results from this season and crunching the numbers to seed the top two teams in 128 MHSAA Boys Basketball Districts. Those will be published Sunday.

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But if you think everything is wrapped up for the regular season, just check out our list of “Can’t-Miss Contests” below.

Those five games top what might end up one of the most exciting weeks of boys hoops this entire winter, and that’s without including Friday’s Detroit Catholic League Cardinal championship game as the top four placers from one of the state’s most competitive leagues will contend over two rounds this week.

“Breslin Bound” is powered by MI Student Aid and based on results and schedules posted for each school at

Week in Review

The countdown of last week’s five most intriguing results:

1. Detroit Cass Tech 74, Detroit Martin Luther King 70 (OT) The Technicians (21-0) followed up a 57-55 win over King (10-7) on Jan. 20 to clinch the Detroit Public School League Tournament title.

2. Grand Blanc 70, Muskegon 62 (OT) Grand Blanc (17-2) is No. 3 in Division 1 MPR and Muskegon (17-2) is No. 4, and it wouldn’t be shocking to see them meet again with much more on the line next month.

3. Flint Beecher 48, Flint Hamady 43 The Bucs (15-3) clinched the Genesee Area Conference Red title outright, finishing a regular-season sweep of the rival Hawks (16-4).  

4. Escanaba 72, Painesdale Jeffers 68 (OT) After falling to Painesdale Jeffers in their Jan. 20 meeting 74-71, the Eskymos (10-6) handed the Jets (17-1) their only defeat.

5. Redford Union 57, Romulus 55 The Panthers (14-5) added this to an overtime win over Romulus (14-5) from Jan. 20 to clinch the Western Wayne Athletic Conference title. 

Watch List

With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each division making sparks:


Lansing Waverly (14-5) The Warriors may have just enjoyed their best week of what’s guaranteed to be their winningest season since 2013-14. They took a one-game lead in the Capital Area Activities Conference Blue by avenging a Jan. 23 loss to Okemos with a 72-53 win Feb. 13, then outlasted Grand Ledge 68-64 in overtime and edged Benton Harbor 76-71 on Saturday. Of 14 victories, 11 have come against teams with winning records – with the losses to Okemos (14-3) and East Lansing (9-8) in league and Detroit Renaissance (12-7), River Rouge (14-5) and Davison (14-6) nonconference.

Oak Park (10-5) In an Oakland Activities Association Red where all five teams have double-digit wins led North Farmington (17-1) and Ferndale (10-6) at the top, Oak Park might not be getting the attention it would otherwise. But the Knights are No. 9 in statewide Division 1 MPR, with four of those losses coming to North Farmington (twice), Ferndale or Clarkston – and with the Clarkston and Ferndale rematches next week. Oak Park would be the second seed in a similarly-strong District if brackets were drawn today.


Croswell-Lexington (15-3) The Pioneers took a major step toward retaining a share of the Blue Water Area Conference title with a 54-45 win Thursday over Richmond (15-2) after falling to the Blue Devils on Jan. 19. Croswell-Lexington and Richmond both have one league loss (to each other), but the Pioneers have one more win and their final three games against the bottom three teams in the BWAC standings. Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port Laker (13-3) tonight should provide another solid test.

Grand Rapids Catholic Central (14-5) The reigning Division 2 runner-up Cougars have bounced back from an 0-3 start with 14 wins over their last 16 games as they’ve moved to the top of the O-K Gold. They can clinch the championship outright Tuesday against second-place Grand Rapids South Christian (16-3), which GRCC defeated 71-67 on Jan. 24. Nine of those 14 wins have come against teams with records .500 or better, paying off in the Cougars also topping their District in MPR.


Brown City (18-1) The Green Devils can clinch the Greater Thumb Conference East title outright Tuesday against second-place Sandusky (12-6), which they defeated 42-37 in their first matchup Jan. 25. Brown City’s only loss came to Laker, 64-61 in its second game this season, and the Green Devils are coming off finishing a regular-season sweep of Ubly after placing second to the Bearcats in the league standings a year ago.  

Cass City (16-1) As noted here, more than one-third of Cass City’s wins have come with go-ahead points during the final seconds – and the halfcourt shot to down Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port 43-42 on Jan. 27 has Cass City sitting a game ahead of Laker in the GTC West standings with the rematch set for Friday. Cass City’s only loss was 50-41 to Bad Axe on Jan. 6, avenged with a 46-45 win Feb. 1. The Red Hawks presently also sit atop a District bracket that includes both Bad Axe and Laker.


Eau Claire (15-4) The Fighting Beavers have clinched a share of the Berrien-Cass-St. Joseph Conference championship after finishing second last season and winning only five games total during the abbreviated 2020-21. They are 11-1 since the start of the calendar year, losing only to Benton Harbor Countryside Academy and avenging that loss Friday to gain the league title share. An 84-68 win over Galesburg-Augusta (15-4) jumps out – and they play again Wednesday – but so too does Eau Claire’s nine games scoring at least 80 points.

Kingston (15-3) After finishing 10-11 and fifth in the North Central Thumb Conference Stars a year ago, Kingston has changed lanes and clinched the championship outright with a 47-39 win over Peck on Friday. A 61-60 double-overtime victory over second-place Dryden three days earlier was more key, and the Cardinals sit No. 10 in statewide Division 4 MPR with all three losses to Division 2 or 3 teams, including Brown City (see above).

Can’t-Miss Contests

Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up: 

Tuesday – Jackson (15-4) at Chelsea (16-2) – This will decide if Chelsea wins the Southeastern Conference White title outright or shares with the Vikings, who won the Jan. 31 matchup 76-69.  

Tuesday – Ovid-Elsie (15-2) at Chesaning (15-3) – They enter tied for first in the Mid-Michigan Activities Conference and will both have one league game remaining. Ovid-Elsie won the Jan. 16 meeting 55-51 in overtime.

Tuesday – Boyne City (17-2) at Traverse City St. Francis (15-3) – The Ramblers have a one-game lead on St. Francis in the Lake Michigan Conference with two games to play, and after winning their first meeting 50-44 on Jan. 24.

Friday – Hudsonville (14-5) at East Kentwood (14-5) – These two have risen to the top of a tightly-packed O-K Red race and could decide the championship outright if they both also win Tuesday. Hudsonville won 54-45 when they met Jan. 27.

Friday – Ferndale (10-6) at North Farmington (17-1) – North Farmington is No. 1 in Division 1 MPR, Ferndale is No. 1 in Division 2, and the Raiders lead the Eagles by a game in the OAA Red. North Farmington won 50-48 on Jan. 31.'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 and find more information on Facebook and Twitter @mistudentaid.

PHOTO North Branch earned its best win this season Tuesday, 65-63 over Millington. (Photo by Terry Lyons.)

E-TC's Witt Bulldozing Path from Small Town to Football's Biggest Stage

By Jason Juno
Special for

June 28, 2024

Ewen-Trout Creek graduate Jake Witt is playing for a spot on the Indianapolis Colts’ 53-man roster. The memories of high school sports, and the impact they’ve had on his journey to the NFL, have stuck with him through his college days and even now as a professional.

Made In Michigan and Michigan Army National Guard logosThe 300-plus receiving yards he went for in a game against the eventual 8-player state champion back in 2017. 

The regular-season basketball game where 3,276 fans turned out to watch his Panthers play just a few months later.

The teamwork prep sports taught him. The family atmosphere he got to be a part of on the high school football team.

“Football was definitely the sport I felt the most family-type feeling with it,” Witt said earlier this week after fishing on Erickson Lake while back in the Upper Peninsula before training camp begins next month. “That’s what drew me back to wanting to play football in college, was my opportunity in high school to play and getting that feeling with the guys and that family-oriented feel.”

Witt played two years of high school football. He lined up exclusively at wide receiver for Ewen-Trout Creek as a junior and then was more of a blocking tight end when E-TC and Ontonagon joined forces as a co-op program when he was a senior.

He ultimately decided to play basketball first in college, at Michigan Tech. But two of his three finalists were football opportunities.

“Obviously playing basketball from second grade on, people would probably assume that I would want to play basketball in college,” Witt said. “I think that just goes to show that football in those two years had a big impact and obviously it led me to where I am when I played at Northern and where I am today.”

Witt played only one year of basketball at Tech. He transferred to Northern Michigan University to attend as a student only before being talked into playing football. 

He was initially a tight end there before moving to tackle because of injuries during a game against Ferris State. He dominated, not allowing a sack or even a quarterback pressure against what was considered the best Division II defensive line in the country. 

He stayed at tackle for what was left of that season and then all of his final year at Northern. Despite his limited time at the position, he had the attention of NFL scouts and entered the draft. The attention reached a fever pitch during his pro day at Central Michigan when he wowed with his athleticism. His 9.92 Relative Athletic Score, a way to measure players’ athletic testing while accounting for their size, was one of the best for an offensive tackle prospect since it began being used in 1987.

Witt, right, umpires a baseball game last summer.He was drafted with the 236th pick, in the seventh round, by the Colts in 2023. 

His first training camp was cut short due to a hip injury, and he was then placed on season-ending injured reserve. But he’s back healthy and ready to go. He practiced at second-string left tackle during the offseason camp this spring and now hopes to earn a spot on the 53-man roster with training camp set to begin in a month.

“I want to go into training camp, play well and then play well enough to where they can’t release me off the 53,” Witt said. “The next goal is to play in a game. And I think that will start with special teams, that will start with field goal. And then from there, obviously, everybody is one week of great practice away from playing with the offense, one injury away from playing in a game with the offense.”

Those who watched him during his high school days in the U.P. likely wouldn’t be at all surprised to see that happen.

Witt is still the only receiver to go for 300 or more receiving yards in 8-player football in state history, according to the MHSAA record book. And he did it twice, a 325-yard game against Eben Junction Superior Central as a junior and the 305-yard performance against Crystal Falls Forest Park as a senior.

The Ontonagon co-op team had mostly stuck to running the ball that season, but looked for Witt through the air against the eventual state champion Trojans.

“I think it was 345 (yards), I think they sent in the wrong number,” Witt said. “That was one game where we switched things up with our offensive attack and threw the ball a lot more, and it ended up paying off for us very well. We were down big at halftime, and we pushed back and we were in a battle with them in the second half. It was a great game. We didn’t end up winning, but it was a lot of fun.”

He enjoyed both years of high school football – even while mostly blocking on the line as a senior despite having shown previously to be a more-than-capable receiver.

Witt warms up during the Indianapolis Colts’ rookie camp in May 2023.“A lot of the offense wasn’t focused on me anymore, which was great,” Witt said. “It made me a much more well-rounded football player. It made me a much better athlete, it gave me a better perception on things as a football player versus just being a receiver. I think both years were great for different reasons.”

Witt said every sport he played in high school was beneficial to him going forward. Basketball, for example, taught him teamwork and coordination. 

“And just relationship building is huge; for me, it helped me move on to the professional football level,” he said.

No high school game was quite as memorable for him as that regular-season basketball game at Michigan Tech on a chilly Wednesday night in Houghton.

Ewen-Trout Creek and Dollar Bay were tied atop the U.P. small-school poll. With that type of matchup, and the chance for fans in the Copper Country to see the 6-7 Witt and his above-the-rim play that’s pretty unique in the U.P., the game was moved from Dollar Bay’s tiny gym to Michigan Tech. (He wasn’t quite 300 pounds like he is now, but he was close – and he came into that game averaging 27 points and 16 rebounds per game with no one able to match his size and strength.)

They expected a crowd; they got 3,276. The latest arriving fans had to sit on the floor on the baseline.

“You don’t see that very much in Division 4 basketball even in the playoffs,” Witt said. “Just having that atmosphere, and especially having it between two of the best U.P. teams at the time, and having the storyline that was behind the game was great – and one of the most memorable events to this day still for me.”

Witt is looking forward to the challenge of training camp and achieving his goals in Indianapolis. But he’s not rushing away a U.P. summer. 

He helped out at last week’s U.P. Football All-Star game. He was happy to provide insight for any players headed off to play college ball, and they helped the Marquette County Habitat for Humanity with the finishing touches on one of their houses.

Over the next month, he’ll still be training, going over the playbook and doing position skill work. As happy as he was to help out last week, he’s happy to be on the lake again, too, fishing like a normal Yooper.

“That’s what I’ve been trying to do, that and train,” Witt said. “Just trying to destress before I get back into it.”

PHOTOS (Top) At left, Jake Witt played for Ewen-Trout Creek during a 2018 basketball game at Michigan Tech, and at right Witt takes a photo with area youth baseball players last summer. (Middle) Witt, right, umpires a baseball game last summer. (Below) Witt warms up during the Indianapolis Colts’ rookie camp in May 2023. (Photos by Jason Juno.)