Breslin Bound: 2022-23 Boys Report Week 7

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

January 23, 2023

We're midway through another basketball season – which means not only increased focus on league title races but also many more people watching the daily movement of the MHSAA's Michigan Power Ratings used to seed the top two teams in each District and place them on opposite sides of the bracket.

MI Student Aid

An explanation of how MPR is calculated and full lists for all four divisions can be found clicking here. We also reference MPR much more below and will continue to do so moving forward over the next six weeks, as every game added into the equation makes MPR a more accurate representation of what teams are accomplishing this winter.

“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. Benton Harbor 64, Flint Beecher 62 Benton Harbor (9-2) opened a big week by handing Watervliet its first loss and closed it by handing Beecher (9-2) its second in this nail-biter at the GottaGetIt Hoops Classic at East Kentwood.

2. Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice 67, Kalamazoo Central 50 Also at the GottaGetIt Hoops Classic, Rice (11-1) continued its run through top competition by handing Kalamazoo Central (9-1) its lone defeat.

3. Detroit Cass Tech 57, Detroit Martin Luther King 55 The Technicians edged their rivals to move to 12-0, a win that’s more key than what’s on paper as King’s 2-5 record includes losses to several of the state’s best.

4. Saline 62, Chelsea 60 Another two-point game saw the Hornets (8-3) hand Chelsea (10-1) its first defeat this season.

5. Grand Rapids Christian 63, Warren De La Salle Collegiate 58 Another strong matchup at East Kentwood saw the Eagles improve to 7-2 with a close win over the reigning Division 1 champion Pilots (7-5).

 Otsego and Paw Paw met last week as Otsego went on to a 71-42 victory.

Watch List

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


Muskegon (10-0) The Big Reds have put it all together so far to build on last season’s 20-3 finish, even avenging one of those few losses by downing Ferndale 62-51 at its Muskegon Basketball Showcase two weeks ago. Also among impressive wins was an 81-79 overtime thriller against 2022 Division 2 runner-up Grand Rapids Catholic Central and a 50-45 victory over Warren Lincoln, both also at showcase events. A matchup with North Farmington (see below) is coming up Feb. 4.

North Farmington (8-1) A one-point loss to Warren Lincoln at the Dec. 17 Northville Showcase is all that separates North Farmington from a perfect record, and the Raiders have moved into the top spot in Division 1 MPR this week. The schedule has been loaded, with wins also over Benton Harbor, Grand Blanc, Hamtramck, Detroit King and Detroit Edison among others.


Onsted (9-2) Coming off a 22-1 finish that saw its only loss in a Regional Semifinal to eventual Division 2 champion Williamston, Onsted is impressing again with its only in-state defeat to still-unbeaten Olivet in the Dec. 29 Shot Clock Classic at Spring Arbor. (The other defeat was last week to Ohio contender Rossford at the MLK Day Classic in Toledo.) Onsted also has handed Clinton one of its two losses and has a two-game lead on the field in the Lenawee County Athletic Association.

Standish-Sterling (10-0) The Panthers also have built a quick two-game lead in their league, the Tri-Valley Conference 10-1, after tying with Carrollton for a TVC division title last season. Standish-Sterling opened this winter with a 44-32 victory over the Cavaliers, and is riding a solid string this calendar year starting with a win over Tawas and lately including victories over Reed City in overtime and by 17 over league opponent Millington.


Iron Mountain (9-0) Seven of nine opponents Iron Mountain has faced so far are .500 or better, and the Mountaineers have downed 60 percent of the Great Northern Conference defeating larger Kingsford, Escanaba and Gladstone over the last three weeks. Iron Mountain also has a win over Ishpeming Westwood, which like Kingsford handed the Mountaineers two defeats last season. More tests are on the way including Negaunee on Tuesday and undefeated Powers North Central on Jan. 30.

Michigan Center (7-4) Even with four losses, Michigan Center is up to No. 4 in Division 3 MPR, with those defeats to Onsted (see above), undefeateds Olivet and Napoleon, and eight-win Division 2 Croswell-Lexington. Meanwhile, the Cardinals are just a game behind Napoleon in the Cascades Conference standings with strong nonleague wins over Concord, Leslie and Reading. They see Napoleon again Feb. 16.


Painesdale Jeffers (10-0) A 74-71 win over Escanaba on Friday put an exclamation point on a great start as Painesdale Jeffers has played only two single-digit games despite five opponents that remain .500 or better and a sixth that’s south of .500 because of a loss from the Jets. Jeffers also won last week over Ewen-Trout Creek, which with Escanaba were two of four teams to hand the Jets defeats as they finished 18-4 a year ago.

Traverse City Christian (8-2) Two losses by a combined four points are all that’s kept Traverse City Christian from a perfect start, and those defeats were to Onekama (6-3) and Gaylord St. Mary (10-1) – two of six opponents that remain .500 or better. A pair of wins over Marion and others over Ellsworth and Harbor Light Christian are notable, as was a 66-63 win over Buckley that avenged a pair of defeats from last season.

Can’t-Miss Contests

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

Tuesday – Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice (11-1) at Detroit U-D Jesuit (10-1) – These two join Orchard Lake St. Mary’s atop the Detroit Catholic League Central with one loss apiece, and Jesuit hosts the Eaglets on Friday.

Tuesday – Traverse City St. Francis (8-1) at Boyne City (10-1) – These are the only two left without a Lake Michigan Conference defeat as Boyne attempts to dethrone the reigning champion Gladiators.

Thursday – Clarkston (10-3) at North Farmington (8-1) – North Farmington swept last season’s two meetings and may have to again to stay atop a loaded Oakland Activities Association Red.

Friday – Grand Rapids Christian (7-2) at Grand Rapids Northview (10-1) – Northview has a one-game lead on Christian in the Ottawa-Kent Conference White standings after the pair split last season’s meetings on the way to Northview winning the title.

Sunday – Flint Beecher (9-2) at Detroit Cass Tech (12-0) – The Technicians host the Bucs as part of their Downtown Throw Down, with this 7:45 p.m. game capping the event.'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.

PHOTOS (Top) New Lothrop's Jaden Curry (44) looks for an open teammate while Frankenmuth defends during the Eagles' 75-45 win. (Middle) Otsego and Paw Paw met last week as Otsego went on to a 71-42 victory. (Photos by Terry Lyons and Gary Shook, respectively.)

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.)