Breslin Bound: Boys District Preview

March 6, 2017

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

In less than three weeks, 16 boys basketball teams will converge on Michigan State University’s Breslin Center to determine four MHSAA titles.

Today, more than 700 teams remain in the hunt.

Our final winter tournament begins tonight as boys hoops Districts tip off all over the state. Switching up the format a bit for our Breslin Bound reports – powered by MI Student Aid – we look below as usual at some of the most eye-catching results from last week, but also three Districts in each class shaping up as the most attention-grabbing heading into our first round.

Week in Review

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

1. New Haven 108, Flint Beecher 104 (3 OT) – It would be hard to find a more exciting regular-season finale than this one between Class B and C favorites; Beecher’s Malik Ellison scored 63 points in trying to reverse the eventual outcome.

2. Grand Rapids Christian 72, Wyoming Godwin Heights 58 – As it’s often said, someone had to lose, and Christian moved on to eventually finish 20-0 while dealing Godwin Heights its only loss this season. The Eagles got their scare Thursday with an overtime two-point win over Kalamazoo Central.

3. Wayne Memorial 47, Walled Lake Central 44 – Wayne closed a nail-biting Kensington Lakes Activities Association Tournament run with this championship game win, its second in three playoff games by three points.

4. Dollar Bay 54, Painesdale-Jeffers 46 – With a loss to the second-place Jets, Dollar Bay still would’ve clinched the Copper Mountain Conference Copper Country title, reportedly its first championship since 1994, but this capped a perfect league run.

5. Morley Stanwood, 59, Big Rapids 56 – The champions of the Central State Activities Association Silver and Gold faced off, with the Silver title winner emerging victorious in this unofficial league final.

Districts at a Glance

These could be among our most competitive brackets. Host sites are in bold:


Grosse Pointe South

Detroit Cass Tech (16-4), Detroit East English (13-5), Detroit Martin Luther King (15-4), Detroit Western International (8-11), Grosse Pointe South (10-10), Hamtramck (13-5).

This could be a remix of the Detroit Public School League Tournament, where Cass Tech beat East English in the semifinal 73-71 and then King in the championship game 59-47. That came after Cass Tech split with Western during the league regular season – and King and East English split this winter as well.

Lansing Everett (at Don Johnson Fieldhouse)

DeWitt (11-9), East Lansing (20-0), Grand Ledge (7-13), Lansing Everett (12-8), Lansing Waverly (13-7).

East Lansing would look to be the strong favorite, and rightfully so especially coming out of the same league as Grand Ledge and Everett. But the Trojans also were undefeated heading into the postseason last winter and were upset in the Regional by Everett, which went on to make the Class A Semifinals.  

Walled Lake Western

Milford (12-8), Walled Lake Central (14-6), Walled Lake Northern (14-6), Walled Lake Western (14-6), White Lake Lakeland (7-13).

Similar to above in the PSL, this could be a redo of the KLAA North race, won by Western by a game over co-runners-up Central and Northern, which both split with Western in league play. Central ended up winning the Lakes tournament championship with a five-point win over Western, which had beaten Northern by one in the semifinals.



Birch Run (7-13), Bridgeport (18-2), Carrollton (10-10), Frankenmuth (18-2), Saginaw Swan Valley (14-6).

The Tri-Valley East championship was split by the host Bearcats and Frankenmuth, with Bridgeport winning their first meeting by 10 and the Eagles winning the second also by 10. Frankenmuth lost only once more over its final 19 regular-season games – in fact, both TVC East champs also lost to Flint Hamady. Swan Valley and Carrollton were third and fourth, respectively, in the TVC Central, and the winner of their opener should provide a challenge.


Algonac (2-18), Armada (9-11), Marine City (3-15), Marysville (14-6), New Haven (19-1), Richmond (16-4), St. Clair (14-6).

New Haven won the Macomb Area Conference Blue title and lost this season only to 2016 Class A semifinalist Macomb Dakota, by six in December. Richmond also is formidable after finishing second in the Blue Water Area Conference but with two painful losses by a combined three points at the end of February that cost the Blue Devils the league title. Marysville was co-league champion in the MAC Silver and runner-up in the MAC Silver-Bronze Tournament.


Adrian (9-11), Brooklyn Columbia Central (10-10), Chelsea (13-7), Hillsdale (20-0), Onsted (15-5), Tecumseh (2-18).

Hillsdale won the Lenawee County Athletic Association with a sweep of Onsted, the first victory in double overtime and the second by only two points. The Wildcats were District champs a year ago. Chelsea finished only fourth in the Southeastern Conference White, but four of six teams in that league won at least 11 games during the regular season, and the Bulldogs are 9-4 since Jan. 7.



Bangor (0-20), Bloomingdale (14-6), Gobles (14-6), Hartford (9-11), Kalamazoo Christian (13-7), Kalamazoo Hackett (19-1).

Rivals Hackett and Christian would meet in a District Semifinal after Hackett swept the series with three and six-point (in overtime) wins on the way to a shared Southwestern Athletic Conference Valley title. Hackett reached the Quarterfinals a year ago. The host Cardinals won the SAC Central after going only 2-18 last season. And Gobles enters as the fourth-place finisher out of the strong SAC Lakeshore.

Flint Hamady

Burton Atherton (13-7), Burton Bendle (14-6), Burton Bentley (9-11), Flint Beecher (15-5), Flint Hamady (14-6), Montrose (11-9), New Lothrop (13-7).

Considering Flint Beecher has won back-to-back Class C championships and four of the last five, it’s easy to lean toward the Buccaneers heavy this week. But this District is stacked with successful teams – as noted above, Hamady handed Class B hopefuls Bridgeport and Frankenmuth losses and fell to Beecher by only four in their second meeting Feb. 3. All of Beecher’s defeats this season came against Class A or B opponents.


Concord (15-5), East Jackson (7-13), Hanover-Horton (17-3), Jackson Lumen Christi (3-17), Michigan Center (20-0), Napoleon (15-5), Vandercook Lake (12-8).

Hanover-Horton has won 15 straight District titles, the longest streak in Michigan, but will have plenty of challenges beginning tonight against Vandercook Lake. Michigan Center is perfect for the regular season reportedly for the first time – and beat Hanover-Horton by 19 and 13 this winter. Even then, Michigan Center would have to get through whichever wins between Napoleon and Concord just to reach the championship game.



Baraga (0-20), Chassell (11-9), Dollar Bay (16-4), Lake Linden-Hubbell (6-14), Ontonagon (12-8), Painesdale-Jeffers (16-4)

With two-time reigning Class D champ Powers North Central roaming a similarly-stacked District at Stephenson, this might be the most competitive in the Upper Peninsula this week. Dollar Bay and Painesdale-Jeffers would meet in a Semifinal – as noted above, Dollar Bay won the Copper Country title this season with victories of seven and eight over the Jets. The Bays did lose to Ontonagon at the start of January (and win the rematch in February), and play them first in an opener tonight.


Bear Lake (14-6), Brethren (11-9), Buckley (20-0), Fife Lake Forest Area (11-9), Mesick (1-18), Onekama (9-11).

Buckley, of course, would be considered the favorite and won a District title a year ago. But Bear Lake, Brethren and Forest Area all have winning records and are on the other side of the bracket, and will try to take advantage of any possible letdown. Bear Lake finished second in the West Michigan D League.

Byron Center Zion Christian

Byron Center Zion Christian (12-8), Holland Calvary (14-6), Wyoming Potter’s House Christian (13-6), Wyoming Tri-unity Christian (12-8)

The Alliance League title was shared by Calvary and Potter’s House, with Zion Christian a close third only a game back – but Tri-unity Christian plays in the league only for girls basketball, not boys. The Defenders own an 11-point win over Potter’s House from the start of the season and a 10-pointer over Calvary two weeks ago, and took most of its losses from schools in the other three classes. They made the Class D Semifinals in 2016.

PHOTO: A Flint Beecher player deflects a Corunna shot during their matchup earlier this season. (Click to see more from Varsity Monthly.)

Beecher Earns Opportunity to 'Complete the Task' with Semifinal Win

By Keith Dunlap
Special for

March 23, 2023

EAST LANSING — Flint Beecher and Ecorse entered their Division 3 Semifinal on Thursday with at least one common thread of motivation. 

Both lost in last year’s Semifinals, so both the Buccaneers and Raiders were looking to leave Breslin Center with some vindication. 

Ultimately, Beecher was the team that did so, earning a 64-54 win over Ecorse and advancing to its seventh championship game since 2012.

Senior guard Robert Lee and senior forward Kevin Tiggs both scored 17 points to lead the way for Beecher (23-4). 

“We’re not satisfied with this,” Beecher head coach Marquise Gray said. “This is just one part of completing the task.” 

The difference in the game turned out to be that Beecher simply had more depth, which eventually wore down Ecorse. 

Beecher featured an eight-player rotation, while Ecorse, with the exception of one substitution late in the third quarter, played its starters throughout until the game got away late. 

“We figured we would wear them down,” Gray said. “Looking at their bench, we saw that they didn’t have a deep bench. But the focus, energy and effort was on us, and us executing defensively and offensively.”

The Bucs’ Kevin Tiggs Jr. (1) pulls in a rebound while Ecorse’s Deontae Jude (11) also grabs for the ball.A big reason why Ecorse was short-handed was because one of its best players, senior Kenneth Morrast, was out after suffering a broken wrist in a Regional Final. 

Ecorse head coach Gerrod Abram said he believes his team would have won this weekend’s championship if his squad was at full strength, but also heaped praise on Beecher and its playmakers. 

Abram said before Morrast’s injury, his squad didn’t play any zone all year. But after he was injured, Abram said his team had to adjust on the fly and start playing a zone defense that he didn’t want to employ, but had to in order to keep players out of foul trouble. 

Senior Malik Olafioye scored 22 points, and sophomore point guard Darrien Reddick scored 14 to lead Ecorse (20-5). 

“Extremely proud of the effort we put out,” Abram said. “We knew it was going to be a big task with the way they play. We gave everything that we had. We just ran out of gas at the end.”

Beecher took a 40-34 lead into the fourth quarter, but Ecorse scored the first five points of the fourth to cut Beecher’s lead to one with 6:10 remaining in the game. 

The Buccaneers answered, going on a 9-0 run to grab a 49-39 lead with 4:30 left. 

Ecorse closed to within seven at 51-44 with 3:37 remaining following a 3-pointer by Reddick, but Beecher responded with four straight points to take a 55-44 lead with 2:42 remaining. 

Beecher ultimately punctuated the win on a flying dunk by Lee with 1:09 remaining. Lee was also fouled on the dunk, and he made the free throw for a three-point play to give Beecher a 60-48 lead. 

“What I really focused on was just trying to get my teammates involved,” Lee said. “Not try to force shots. Just let the game come to me.” 

Now, Beecher will turn its focus to reclaiming its status as the best in the state.

“That’s something we have talked about, remembering the feeling that we had last year when we didn’t complete the job,” Gray said. “Guys have been taking it to heart. It’s not a rite. You have to earn your way here. It’s not a given.”

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS (Top) Flint Beecher’s Robert Lee Jr. (22) sends a pass into the post during Thursday’s Semifinal win over Ecorse. (Middle) The Bucs’ Kevin Tiggs Jr. (1) pulls in a rebound while Ecorse’s Deontae Jude (11) also grabs for the ball.