Breslin Bound: 2022-23 Boys Report Week 8

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

January 30, 2023

There were so many games of note in Michigan high school boys basketball last week, the original list was 15 strong before we ended up highlighting the five under “Week in Review” below.

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But here’s a quick glance at more:

In something of stunners, Ishpeming Westwood and Adrian Lenawee Christian handed Iron Mountain and Lake Leelanau St. Mary, respectively, their first losses, while Flint Carman-Ainsworth gave Detroit Loyola its first defeat and Kalamazoo Central delivered the same to Mattawan.

Grand Rapids Catholic Central downed South Christian, and Northview got past Grand Rapids Christian to establish leads in Ottawa-Kent Conference divisions, while Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice took the same step ahead in the Detroit Catholic League Central against U-D Jesuit. We highlight Wyoming Tri-unity Christian’s win over Schoolcraft below, but Potter’s House Christian may have shaken up the Alliance League by edging the Defenders three days later.

“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. Ann Arbor Huron 53, Port Huron Northern 50 This matchup of undefeated teams highlighted the Fast Break Invitational at Belleville, with Huron (11-0) earning its third three-point win of the season in sending Northern to 12-1.

2. Detroit Cass Tech 69, Flint Beecher 63 The Technicians (15-0) closed their Downtown Throw Down with the night’s premier matchup; the Bucs fell to 11-3, but all three of Beecher’s losses have come against elite larger opponents during showcase events.  

3. Wyoming Tri-unity Christian 51, Schoolcraft 46 Last season’s Division 4 champion Tri-unity (9-3) edged the reigning Division 3 title-winning Eagles (9-5).

4. Hudsonville 54, East Kentwood 45 The Eagles (10-4) have bounced back from an early deficit in the O-K Red standings to join a first-place tie with the Falcons (9-4) and Rockford.

5. Boyne City 50, Traverse City St. Francis 44 The Ramblers (12-1) broke an 11-game losing streak against the Gladiators (9-2) as the two met with first on the line in the Lake Michigan Conference.

Marshall defenders wall off an Otsego player driving to the basket during a 52-43 win Jan. 6.

Watch List

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


Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice (13-1) The Warriors and U-D Jesuit have risen to the top of another loaded CHSL Central, and Brother Rice’s 68-53 win over the Cubs made it the team to chase the rest of the way. The Warriors followed up with a 55-46 win over Warren De La Salle Collegiate avenging its lone loss of this winter from Jan. 6. Warren Lincoln, Grand Blanc, River Rouge and Kalamazoo Central all have double digit wins this season, but fell to Brother Rice – all but Warren Lincoln by double digits.

Grand Blanc (11-2) The Bobcats also fill their schedule with the state’s elite most weekends, and this one included a 53-50 win over O-K Red co-leader Rockford at the 2K23 Showcase at Aquinas College. Add that to impressive victories over Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, Flint Carman-Ainsworth and Saginaw among others – plus impressive defeats to Brother Rice (see above) and North Farmington (10-1). Grand Blanc and Davison are the only teams without a loss in Saginaw Valley League play, and they meet Friday.


Benton Harbor (11-2) Subtract their losses to the Tigers, and all but one of Benton Harbor’s opponents so far would be .500 or better as that program also lines up top competition all winter long. Benton Harbor’s defeats came to North Farmington (10-1) and Grand Rapids Union (9-3), while the Tigers handed the lone losses this season to Watervliet and Niles Brandywine and earned perhaps their best victory 64-62 over Beecher two weekends ago. Benton Harbor also leads the first-year Lakeland Conference with the rematch against second-place Brandywine on Feb. 17.

Ludington (13-0) The Orioles have averaged nearly 15 wins per season over the last five, so they’re no strangers to success. But they’ve nearly reached that win total already this winter with only a couple of nail-biters. Ludington is coming off a 76-74 overtime win over Traverse City Central, but nine victories have been by double digits including a 63-52 defeat of Whitehall (10-4) that has the Orioles alone atop their new West Michigan Conference Lakes standings.


Saginaw Nouvel (12-3) Few teams with multiple losses have been closer to perfection, as Nouvel’s three defeats were by a combined six points to opponents that are a combined 29-9. Nouvel also has its share of impressive wins, with its latest five-game streak including an 11-pointer over 13-win Chesaning and Saturday’s 77-75 overtime edging of 12-win Bridgeport. The Panthers have a one-game lead on Ithaca in the Tri-Valley Conference 10-2, with that rematch Feb. 24 – but in the meantime, keep an eye out for the Feb. 14 meeting with undefeated Standish-Sterling.

Watervliet (10-1) Aside from that 71-68 loss to Benton Harbor (see above), Watervliet has been almost unstoppable with only Buchanan (one point) and Bridgman (six) coming within single digits of catching the Panthers. They lead the Southwestern Athletic Conference Lakeshore by two games after sharing the title and finishing 19-4 overall last season. The next four games should say a lot as all four opponents have nine wins this season, including reigning Division 3 champion Schoolcraft.


Gaylord St. Mary (12-1) The Snowbirds have won 12 straight since opening with a loss to Hillman, and including a 72-71 overtime victory over Indian River Inland Lakes on Friday. St. Mary also has a 19-point win over Ellsworth and a 15-pointer over Onaway, and both those opponents have reached 10 wins this season. The Onaway win from Jan. 10 has St. Mary atop the Ski Valley Conference standings, with their second meeting Feb. 15 – and before that a nonleague matchup with Lake Leelanau St. Mary (11-1) coming up this Friday.

Hillman (10-1) That 61-40 win over Gaylord St. Mary kicked off a great first half for the Tigers, who are a 57-54 overtime loss to Division 1 Alpena from perfection. It’s been a strong follow-up after last season’s only loss was to Nouvel in a Regional Semifinal. Only Alcona and Ogemaw Heights have come within single digits of catching the Tigers this winter. Hillman has a one-game lead on Posen in the North Star League Little Dipper thanks to a 62-47 victory Jan. 5 – with the rematch Tuesday.

Can’t-Miss Contests

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

Monday – Powers North Central (9-1) at Iron Mountain (10-1) – Both are coming off their lone defeats this season, but this still features two of the strongest Division 4 and 3 contenders, respectively, in the Upper Peninsula.

Wednesday – Cass City (11-1) at Bad Axe (11-1) – Bad Axe won the first meeting 50-41 on Jan. 6, but winner in this one could take all eventually in the Greater Thumb Conference West as they sit tied atop the standings.

Saturday – North Farmington (10-1) vs. Muskegon (12-0) at Aquinas College – The 2K23 Showcase continues with a pair of contenders in Division 1 topping the ticket with a 5:15 p.m. tipoff.

Saturday – Benton Harbor (11-2) vs. Ann Arbor Huron (11-0) at Aquinas College – These two definitely could take some of the spotlight at Aquinas kicking things off at noon.

Saturday – Grand Blanc (11-2) vs. Cadillac (11-1) at Traverse City St. Francis – The Northern Michigan Showcase has some intriguing matchups as well, and Cadillac could make a major statement for the Big North Conference in arguably the event’s headliner.'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) Davison’s Teon Armstrong (2) pushes the pace against Flint Carman-Ainsworth during an 85-70 win Jan. 24. (Middle) Marshall defenders wall off an Otsego player driving to the basket during a 52-43 win Jan. 6. (Top photo by Terry Lyons; middle photo by Gary Shook.)

Ferndale Caps Winter Season with 1st Boys Hoops Title Since 1966

By Dean Holzwarth
Special for

March 25, 2023

EAST LANSING – One team was going to end a long championship drought in Saturday’s boys basketball Division 2 Final.

Ferndale’s was especially lengthy, and spanned more than five decades.

And now it is no longer.

The Eagles won their first Finals championship in 57 years with a 44-38 victory over Grand Rapids South Christian at Breslin Center.

Ferndale had last won a state title in 1966.

“The drought is over,” Eagles coach Juan Rickman said. “That’s big time, and the biggest part about making it down here was seeing how charged up the community was and the school was so charged up. It’s the greatest feeling to see how vested our community was in our success.”

Christopher Williams (13) tries to power past South Christian’s Sam Weiss (23) to the rim.Ferndale senior Christopher Williams led the way with 16 points and four rebounds.

“It feels great,” Williams said. “Especially since the past four years we’ve been to the same place and lost twice in a row to the same team, and now it feels like weight is lifted off my shoulders.

“We started off the season 1-5, and going till now we knew if we stayed together through adversity then we could do it. And it made it more impactful that it was our coach’s first state title, and that’s what we wanted to do.”

Added senior point guard Cameron Reed, who had a game-high seven assists: “It’s incredibly special. I wasn't born back then, my teammates weren’t born and my coaches weren’t born. It definitely rejuvenated the whole city and community.”

Ferndale led 8-4 at the end of the first quarter, and both teams shot poorly in the first half. The Eagles connected on a paltry 24 percent from the field, and South Christian on 35 percent of its attempts. Nate Brinks drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Sailors a 16-14 halftime lead. 

Junior guard Jake Vermaas opened the third quarter with a 3-pointer to make it 19-14, but Ferndale made a charge.

The Eagles sliced the deficit to one (25-24) on a 3-pointer by Trenton Ruth, and Cameron Reed tied it at 28-28 with an acrobatic layup.

“Our team was mentally strong, and I’m so proud of them for their accomplishment,” Rickman said. “Just so committed to the process and just being resilient.”

Cameron Reed (0) leads a break for the Eagles.An 8-2 spurt by Ferndale over the first three minutes of the fourth quarter made it 36-30.

“That was extremely important, and we always want to win the first four minutes,” Rickman said. “And we tried to open up the fourth quarter with what we call a kill; we want to get five straight stops and score on two or three of those possessions so we can build a lead. We did that fairly well against a good team.”

South Christian was attempting to win football and basketball Finals championships during the same school year, and was looking for its first basketball title since 2005.

“It was a really hard-fought game and I thought we played at our speed, but it got away from us a little bit,” first-year Sailors coach Taylor Johnson said.

“But it doesn’t take away from what we accomplished this year. We’ve been through it all, including three season-ending injuries, and to still make it to the state finals is an incredible feat.”

Senior Jacob DeHaan and Vermaas led the Sailors with 14 points apiece, while senior Sam Medendorp added seven points, seven rebounds and four blocked shots.

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS (Top) Ferndale raises the Division 2 championship trophy Saturday night at Breslin Center. (Middle) Christopher Williams (13) tries to power past South Christian’s Sam Weiss (23) to the rim. (Below) Cameron Reed (0) leads a break for the Eagles.