Breslin Bound: 2023-24 Boys Report Week 7

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

January 15, 2024

Friday’s winter storm swept away most of this weekend’s boys basketball games, but plenty of our season-long story got told before the snow fell and temperatures dipped below zero.

MI Student Aid

And as this week begins, we’re officially into the second half of the 2023-24 championship pursuit, with league competition especially heating up gyms all over the state.

“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. Orchard Lake St. Mary’s 70, Detroit Catholic Central 56 The latest most notable matchup of the week in the Catholic League Central saw St. Mary’s (8-1) hold onto the top spot against a DCC team that at 8-3 is emerging to join the other four Michigan teams as a Division 1 title contender (more on that below).

2.  Benton Harbor 72, Niles Brandywine 59 The Tigers (11-0) not only remain undefeated but moved into first alone in the Lakeland Conference by breaking the tie at the top of the standings with Brandywine (9-2).

3. East Lansing 69, Lansing Waverly 62 The Trojans (9-0) also remain perfect as they work to separate in a loaded Capital Area Activities Conference Blue where Waverly (8-3) also is a challenger.

4. Detroit Cass Tech 88, Detroit Renaissance 85 The reigning Division 1 champion Technicians (9-0) followed up a two-point win over Macomb Dakota with this one to stay among the undefeated in the Detroit Public School League Blue, but Renaissance (8-4) could still play a big role in deciding the eventual champion.

5. Cadillac 36, McBain 33 Cadillac (9-0) survived its toughest challenge of an undefeated start in handing McBain (7-1) its only loss this winter.

Grandville’s Xander Sorokin (0) defends the lane as Grand Blanc’s Tommy Pickens makes his move during the Bulldogs’ 57-44 victory Jan. 6. 

Watch List

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


Detroit Catholic Central (8-3) The loss to St. Mary’s noted above was just a slight slowdown during an otherwise eye-opening start under first-year coach Tory Jackson, most recently of Grand Blanc, who took over a team that finished 11-11 a year ago. The Shamrocks followed the St. Mary’s loss by defeating Detroit U-D Jesuit 71-63 to knock the Cubs out of a tie for first in the Catholic League Central, and they’ve handed lone losses this winter to Okemos and Riverview Gabriel Richard with more impressive wins over Waverly, Davison and Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice.

Hudsonville (7-2) After finishing second to East Kentwood in the Ottawa-Kent Conference Red last season, Hudsonville’s first opportunity this winter against the Falcons on Friday was postponed. But the Eagles have prepped well for whenever that contest is made up, most notably handing Muskegon Reeths-Puffer its lone loss and taking defeats from unbeaten Grand Rapids Christian and then Grand Rapids South Christian by only four, 48-44. The Reeths-Puffer win and a 62-46 victory over Byron Center avenged losses from last season, when Hudsonville finished 18-8.


Romulus Summitt Academy North (9-1) This has become an annual level of success for Summit, a Division 2 semifinalist last season and 20-game winner three in a row. The lone loss so far was to one-loss Riverview Gabriel Richard, 58-55, and came just a few days after the Dragons handed Ypsilanti Lincoln what remains its only defeat, 60-38. A matchup Tuesday against Detroit University Prep is lining up to decide the Charter School Conference Gold championship.

Yale (9-1) The Bulldogs have jumped for four to 10 to 16 victories over the last three seasons, respectively, and sit alone atop a Blue Water Area Conference with six teams total boasting winning records. The challenges are on the way this week in Almont and reigning co-champion Croswell-Lexington. But Yale has shown to be up for them, with a 72-34 win over the other co-champ, Richmond, and its only loss 52-51 to Utica Ford. The Bulldogs also have a 71-53 win over Greater Thumb Conference East leader Harbor Beach.


Charlevoix (9-1) Back-to-back wins over reigning Lake Michigan Conference co-champions Boyne City and Traverse City St. Francis over the last 10 days are more proof the Rayders are well along on a bounce-back from last season’s 6-18 finish. Charlevoix also defeated last season’s Northwest Conference champion Maple City Glen Lake, 52-45, and the only loss came 54-52 to Grayling, with that rematch set for Jan. 26.

Jackson Lumen Christi (7-1) The Titans made quite a jump from 3-18 two seasons ago to 14-10 last winter, and they’re on track to blow past that improvement as well. Lumen Christi has begun its first season in the Catholic League AA 3-0 and also picked up a nice win 72-65 over Michigan Center during break. Perhaps notably, that victory followed up the team’s lone loss, 69-65 to Adrian Lenawee Christian, and a 53-32 victory over Jackson Northwest on Jan. 6 avenged two of the defeats from last season.


Dryden (9-1) The Cardinals finished second in the North Central Thumb League Stars last season and have been difference-makers in the league the last several years, winning it in 2020-21. They’ve got the upper hand again this winter thanks to a 61-50 win last week over reigning champion Kingston, which swept Dryden a season ago. The only loss came Dec. 1 against Mt. Morris, and Dryden bounced back with a two-point win over Almont and a one-pointer over Webberville to start an eight-game winning streak.

Munising (8-3) The Mustangs’ run to their first Finals championship was one of the stories of last season, and a lineup that included three sophomores on the way to Breslin Center is showing well during the encore. Munising lost by a point to Norway in its season opener and by three to one-loss Pickford in overtime also before break, and then to Ishpeming Westwood near the end of the calendar year. But the Mustangs edged emerging Crystal Falls Forest Park 47-46 last Monday and total have four wins over teams with winning records and a fifth over an opponent that otherwise would be above .500.

Can’t-Miss Contests

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

Tuesday – Grand Rapids Northview (6-0) at Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central (10-1) – Although Friday’s matchup with Grand Rapids Christian was postponed, that just turned Northview’s attention to FHC, which with the Wildcats and Eagles is undefeated early in the Ottawa-Kent Conference White.

Tuesday – Kingsford (10-1) at Iron Mountain (9-0) – These neighbors are among a few leading the argument for best teams in the Upper Peninsula, and this is their first of two meetings with the second Feb. 13.

Friday – Belleville (7-3) at Dearborn (9-0) – Reigning co-champion Dearborn is joined by Belleville and Wayne Memorial among those undefeated early in Kensington Lakes Activities Association East play.

Saturday – East Lansing (9-0) at East Kentwood (5-2) – The host Falcons will finish up their Gottagetit Hoop Classic with arguably the most exciting matchup of the day and to close a week that includes first meetings with O-K Red challengers Grandville and Rockford.

Saturday – Warren Lincoln (7-1) vs. Grand Rapids Christian (7-0) at East Kentwood – This 7 p.m. game at the Gottagetit Classic rivals the above as the showcase game of the day, with the only loss between these two Lincoln’s to Orchard Lake St. Mary’s two weeks ago.'s weekly “Breslin Bound” previews and reviews are powered by MI Student Aid, a division within the Department of Lifelong Education, Advancement, and Potential (MiLEAP). 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 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) Munising's Jack Dusseault (22) drives toward the basket while being defended by Ishpeming's Ethan Corp during the Mustangs’ 54-48 win Dec. 28. (Middle) Grandville’s Xander Sorokin (0) defends the lane as Grand Blanc’s Tommy Pickens makes his move during the Bulldogs’ 57-44 victory Jan. 6. (Top photo by Cara Kamps; middle 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.)