Mid-January always is something of a transition time in boys basketball season, and this week’s “Breslin Bound” report reflects that change of focus as we near the midway point.
We highlight top matchups from events honoring Martin Luther King Jr. this weekend, the last showcases for many teams this season as they move into the league schedule grind. And we dive into some of the early conference action as well as that becomes the next chapter for most over the next seven weeks.
Week in Review
The countdown of last week’s five most intriguing results:
1. Ferndale 63, Flint Beecher 52 Playing many of the state’s best, Ferndale has been much better than its 3-5 early record – and this win at its Horatio Williams Foundation MLK Freedom Classic, handing Beecher (8-1) its only loss, says a lot.
2. Warren Michigan Collegiate 64, Detroit Renaissance 55 Another Freedom Classic matchup saw Michigan Collegiate (8-1) add another impressive victory to its first-half run with Renaissance (9-4) having won nine straight heading into the weekend.
3. Muskegon 50, Warren Lincoln 45 The Big Reds (8-0) also earned a big win at the Freedom Classic, as Lincoln (6-3) has been among eye-openers during the season’s first half.
4. Cadillac 68, Petoskey 65 (OT) The reigning Big North Conference co-champ Vikings (7-1) got a major boost with Petoskey (7-3) another favorite this winter.
5. Clarkston 50, Troy 48 – Both stand 8-2 after this matchup, and both could end up Oakland Activities Association champs in their respective divisions.
With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each division making sparks:
Grand Ledge (7-1) Handing Okemos its first loss, 50-47 on Friday, was a big step in the Capital Area Activities Conference Blue – but just the latest of a strong bounce-back from last year’s 9-14 finish. The Comets’ lone loss was in overtime at Petoskey, and Grand Ledge picked up a nice overtime road win two weeks later at Mount Pleasant. Blue co-leader Lansing Waverly comes to Grand Ledge on Thursday.
Grand Rapids Northview (9-1) The Wildcats picked right back up where they left of reaching last season’s Division 1 Semifinal, with their only loss this winter to still-undefeated Detroit Cass Tech. Northview has impressed with some close wins, early by two points over Grand Rapids South Christian, later by three over East Grand Rapids and Saturday by one in overtime over Chicago Hyde Park (15-4) at the Grand Rapids Ottawa Hills MLK Day Hoops Classic.
Big Rapids (6-1) The Cardinals won the last two Central State Activities Association Gold titles and could be lining up for a third-straight championship with the CSAA back to one division this winter. Big Rapids has a nonleague win over Reed City, which is looking like another possible CSAA contender, and defeated former league rival Fremont after splitting with the Packers last season. Big Rapids’ lone loss was to still-undefeated Hart.
Olivet (9-0) The Eagles have gone from five to 13 to 19 wins over the last three seasons, respectively, and they’re on their way again with five wins over teams with winning records. Olivet handed Onsted its only loss, 59-42, on Dec. 29 at Spring Arbor’s Shot Clock Classic, and also avenged one of its two losses from last season with a 67-61 win over Battle Creek Harper Creek.
Detroit Loyola (9-0) Six of the Bulldogs’ nine wins have come against teams with winning records, highlighted by a 69-51 victory over Romulus Summit Academy at the Motor City Roundball Classic that remains Summit’s lone loss. Wins over Division 1 Grosse Pointe South, Fenton and Livonia Franklin also stand out among the notable, and a matchup with Flint Carman-Ainsworth on Jan. 28 at Cass Tech could be another indication of Loyola’s potential in March.
Jonesville (8-1) After starting last season 0-4 before rebounding to 13-8, Jonesville started this season 5-0 with wins over three of the teams that defeated the Comets during the 2021-22 opening string. Jonesville’s only loss this time has come to Reading in the Pat Patterson Classic Pool A final. Jonesville shared the Big 8 Conference title last season with Concord, and it sees the Yellow Jackets for the first time Thursday.
Genesee Christian (7-1) The Soldiers are off to another solid start coming of last year’s trip to the Division 4 Semifinals. The only loss this winter came in mid-December to Division 2 Flint Hamady, and right after Genesee Christian opened with an impressive 60-57 win over Saginaw Nouvel. A strong finish to December included victories over Division 2 Lake Fenton and Division 1 Fenton and Port Huron.
Taylor Trillium Academy (7-0) After finishing 17-4 and just missing a Regional title last season with a four-point loss to Southfield Christian, Trillium is making plenty of noise again. The only single-digit game was a 46-44 win over Division 2 Redford Union at the Mitten Recruit Christmas Classic, and the remaining schedule is filled with mostly Division 2 opponents with Division 1 Detroit Mumford up next today.
Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up:
Tuesday – Grand Haven (9-0) at East Kentwood (6-2) – The Buccaneers have an early one-game edge at the top of the Ottawa-Kent Conference Red, but East Kentwood certainly is among contenders as well.
Wednesday – New Haven (9-1) at Port Huron Northern (8-0) – This could turn into one of the season’s most notable wins for whichever comes out on top, and a great momentum builder as both chase Macomb Area Conference division titles.
Thursday – Croswell-Lexington (8-2) at Richmond (8-1) – Croswell-Lexington was first and Richmond second in the Blue Water Area Conference last season, and they are the only teams still without a loss in league play this winter.
Saturday – Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice (9-1) vs. Kalamazoo Central (7-0) at East Kentwood – This matchup of top Division 1 teams is arguably the headliner of the Gotta Get It Hoops Classic.
Saturday – Romulus (7-1) at Saginaw (10-2) – Few have had more combined success at the statewide level over the last 20 years, and both are off to big starts again.
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PHOTOS (Top) Flint Beecher’s Robert Lee (22) works to find an opening with Ferndale’s Cameron Reed (0) defending Saturday. (Middle) Otsego’s Nicholas Lopez tries for a reverse lay-up during his team’s 63-36 win over Plainwell on Friday. (Photos by Terry Lyons and Gary Shook, respectively.)
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.