Breslin Bound: Boys Quarterfinal Preview

March 18, 2013

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Tonight's MHSAA boys basketball Quarterfinals include plenty of matchups you'd expect to see during the final week of the season – and a few that will establish clear favorites as we move to Breslin Center this weekend. 

In Class A, powers Detroit Pershing and Romulus have been considered the frontrunners all season and square off for the second time. In Class C, the winner of Detroit Consortium and Flint Beecher likely will be considered the team to beat this weekend. And in Class D, Southfield Christian and Climax-Scotts meet in a rematch of last season's MHSAA Final. 

See below for a quick glance at all 16 games being played this evening. And click here for brackets including tip-off times and sites for every game. 

Class A

Detroit Pershing (25-0) vs. Romulus (24-1): This rematch, held at University of Detroit Mercy, pits what most believe are the two best teams in the state regardless of class. Pershing won the first matchup, 83-76 on Dec. 8, and has continued to stack victories by large margins and close – including by two points in two of the last three games. Get there early for the 5 p.m. tip.

Saginaw (22-3) vs. Ypsilanti (20-4): The reigning Class A champion Trojans have rebounded from a 30-point loss to Romulus on the final night of the regular season to beat all of their tournament opponents by double figures. Ypsilanti is riding a 10-game winning streak and is a combined five points from boasting a 23-1 record.

Detroit Southeastern (19-5) vs. Rochester (21-4): Southeastern might’ve gone a little under the radar following Detroit Public School League frontrunners Pershing and Cass Tech. But the Jungaleers can make a loud statement by beating Rochester and Kentucky recruit James Young, a Mr. Basketball finalist this season.

Grand Rapids Christian (19-6) vs. Muskegon (19-6): The Eagles and standout Drake Harris have been making headlines lately and have bounced back nicely from a 2-4 start this winter. But Muskegon has to come in with some confidence as well after beating Christian 72-48 in their lone meeting Jan. 22. 

Class B

Big Rapids (23-1) vs. Cadillac (20-4): Both of these teams are league champions – Cadillac as one of three that shared in the Big North Conference and Big Rapids after finishing 18-0 in the Central State Activities Association. Both boast high-scoring guards – Big Rapids led by junior Quinn Tyson (21.7 ppg) and Cadillac countering with senior Nick Paquet (15 ppg).

Detroit Country Day (22-3) vs. Flint Powers Catholic (13-12): Country Day is playing to return to the Semifinals for the fourth straight season and is keyed by 6-foot-3 point guard Edmond Sumner (16.1 ppg). Powers is looking to get back for the first time since 2009 and has made a nice run after a 3-8 start under first-year coach Jeremy Trent, formerly of Swartz Creek and Burton Bentley.  

Jackson Lumen Christi (21-3) vs. Detroit Community (16-9): After losing seasons in coach Rich Karasek’s first two, Lumen Christi is having one of its best seasons ever; the Titans are a combined 12 points from being undefeated and eliminated two-time reigning MHSAA champion Lansing Sexton in the Regional. Community’s record is a bit deceiving – four of those losses came to Class A or C Quarterfinalists and two more to out-of-state powers.

Stevensville Lakeshore (24-0) vs. Wyoming Godwin Heights (22-2): Lakeshore is 48-2 over the last two seasons, and another win also would be coach Sean Schroeder’s 400th.  Similarly, Godwin Heights is 46-3 over the last two seasons. One of its losses this winter was to Class A Quarterfinalist Grand Rapids Christian, and the Wolverines beat Class D Quarterfinalist Wyoming Tri-unity Christian. 

Class C

Detroit Consortium (20-3) vs. Flint Beecher (24-1): Consortium has played courageously since coach Al Anderson died unexpectedly a month ago; the Cougars have won all eight games since that night and 19 of their last 20. Now they’ll contend with reigning Class C champion Flint Beecher and Mr. Basketball Monte Morris (21.5 ppg), whose only loss was by seven to Class A favorite Detroit Pershing on Jan. 19.  

Laingsburg (22-2) vs. Beaverton (22-2): This is Beaverton’s fifth Quarterfinal under coach Roy Johnston, who has won 705 games over 39 seasons at four schools and took Beaverton to the Semifinals in 1984. The Wolfpack have made it this far twice before during coach Greg Mitchell’s 24-season career – in 1997 and 2002 – and he’d win his 350th game if Laingsburg advances.    

Maple City Glen Lake (23-2) vs. Negaunee (23-1): Glen Lake is only a combined four points from being perfect this season, and the run has included beating reigning Class C runner-up Traverse City St. Francis during the regular season and again in the District Final. Negaunee improved to 45-4 over the last two seasons with its Regional title, and also avenged its lone loss, to Class A Marquette.

Schoolcraft (23-2) vs. Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central (22-2): St. Mary Catholic is back in the Quarterfinals for the second time in three seasons, and aside from a pair of losses to Milan is undefeated this winter. Schoolcraft has won three straight Regionals and was the Class C champion in 2011. Guard Luke Ryskamp was his team’s leading scorer that night as a sophomore, and is finishing off one last run.

Class D

Climax-Scotts (24-1) vs. Southfield Christian: This rematch of the 2012 MHSAA Final takes place a couple games earlier and this time at Battle Creek Central, but should be closer than last season’s 76-44 Southfield Christian win. A one-point loss to Mendon is the only flaw on Climax-Scotts’ record, and Southfield Christian has won 17 straight since opening 3-4.  

Cedarville (22-1) vs. Powers North Central (22-3): People still bring up Cedarville’s 3-point fueled run to the 2007 championship, and the Trojans could be back, as their only loss was to another Quarterfinalist, Frankfort. North Central also has a great story – the team won a combined 25 games over coach Adam Mercier’s first four seasons before upping it to 16 each of the last two and 22 this winter.

Lansing Christian (21-3) vs. Beal City (17-7): Both of these teams are hoping to march to a first MHSAA title. The Pilgrims have won 16 straight and boast four players who average double figures scoring. The Aggies will counter with a defensive effort that has held opponents to fewer than 50 points 12 times this season.

Wyoming Tri-unity Christian (23-2) vs. Frankfort (20-5): Tri-unity is back in the hunt for a fifth MHSAA championship and second in three seasons; the Defenders have won 17 straight and as usual against a number of bigger schools. Frankfort has made a major rebound after losing four of its last five during the regular season and counters with 6-3 sophomore David Loney (17.8 ppg). 

PHOTO: Romulus' Juwan Clark gathers a loose ball during a win over Saginaw Arthur Hill last month. (Click to see more at

Hart Teammates Reunite After 80 Years Now as WWII Vets, Great-Grandfathers

By Tom Kendra
Special for

June 7, 2023

Walter “Stretch” Hansen and Harold Tate were good friends and high school basketball and baseball teammates at Hart High School, graduating in 1943.

West MichiganNo one could have guessed that less than two months after graduation (on July 2, 1943), the two friends would head to Fort Custer in Battle Creek, the first stop on their way overseas to fight for their country in World War II.

No one could have imagined how many twists and turns their lives would take over the next 80 years – from the battlefields in the South Pacific, then back to West Michigan where they both were married with children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and now Harold even has a great-great-grandchild.

And, certainly, no one would have believed that the two young boys from Hart – who forged a friendship through high school sports long before the days of computers, microwave ovens and cell phones – would still be alive at the age of 98 for an emotional reunion last month, on May 22, seeing each other for the first time in 80 years and, to cap it off, the reunion took place in their hometown of Hart.

“It was such a great day,” Hansen said about the meeting, which was set up by Muskegon-area World War II historian Richard Mullally.

“We picked right up, talking about sports and the service and everything else.”

The conversation came easy for the two old friends, who played for Hart during a “golden era” at the school – particularly in basketball, as the Pirates won 11 West Michigan Conference basketball titles between 1940 and 1954.

Hansen, left, and Tate reunite for the first time in 80 years on Monday, May 22, 2023, in their hometown of Hart. Perhaps the best team during that time period was Hansen and Tate’s as seniors in 1943. That team lost only once, to rival Scottville (31-25), but more than made up for it with an 80-10 trouncing of the Spartans in the final regular-season game.

Hart then crushed Scottville and Newaygo to win the District championship, only to have Michigan’s prep basketball season stopped abruptly at that point because of World War II.

That 1943 team featured four starters over 6-0, led by the duo of Hansen and Stan Kapulak (both 6-6), Joe Mack (6-2), Lyle Burmeister (6-1) and Stanley Riley (the lone starter under 6-foot at 5-11).

“The newspapers called us ‘The Hart Skyscrapers,’” said Hansen, who will be 99 on Nov. 6. “We were taller than most college teams at that time.”

Hansen and Tate’s friendship continued to blossom on the baseball field, only to have their lives turned upside down shortly after graduation 80 years ago, when all Hart senior boys who had been drafted headed to Battle Creek as a brief staging area on their way to the battlefields of Europe and the South Pacific.

Hansen served in the Army Specialized Training Program and was part of the 52nd Signal Battalion and the 4025th Signal Battalion in the Pacific Theater.

“I had an all-expense paid tour of the South Pacific,” Hansen said with a chuckle. “The Philippines, New Guinea, Okinawa, Hawaii, all over the place.”

Tate did his service in the 24th Infantry Division and the 19th Infantry Regiment, and was stationed in Japan.

During their visit last month, Harold showed off the Japanese Samurai sword and Arisaka rifle which he had sent back from Japan to Hart. The week after their visit, both took part in Memorial Day parades – Hansen in the Lakeside parade in Muskegon and Tate in his 77th Memorial Day service in Hart.

Hansen, who still has a home on a small lake in Holton and lives at a senior care facility in Muskegon, played many years of semi-pro basketball and did some coaching. He worked at GTE and has five children and 10 grandchildren.

Hansen served from 1943 to 1946 as a Sergeant in the Pacific Theater during World War II. Tate served from 1945 to 1946 as a Platoon Sergeant in the Pacific Theater during World War II.“I have been so blessed,” Hansen said, sorting through one of his many scrapbooks. “All five of my kids are great and I have grandkids that are just amazing, everything they are doing. I don’t even know all of their names, but it’s sure been fun watching them.”

Tate returned to Hart after his military service and has been there ever since, at first working as a carpenter with his father and then becoming a rural mail carrier for the U.S. Postal Service, retiring 26 years ago at the age of 72. He has lived in the same home for 75 years and has three children, six grandchildren, seven great-grandkids and now one great-great-grandchild.

Tate laments the demise of his beloved American Legion post in Hart, a town with just over 2,000 residents, as the number of members has steadily declined.

One topic that brings a smile to both of their faces is the recent resurgence of the Hart High School athletic program, which drew media attention not too many years ago for all the wrong reasons – notably a football program which went 24 years without a winning record.

That string was snapped with a 6-3 mark and the school’s first earned playoff appearance last fall.

But that was just the start.

This winter, Hart’s boys basketball team finished the regular season 22-0, the girls basketball team made it to the Division 3 Semifinals at the Breslin Center, wrestling qualified for the Team Finals for the fourth-straight year and competitive cheer placed fourth in Division 4. This spring, the Hart girls track & field team won its second-straight Division 3 Finals team title, and the boys placed fourth.

“It’s a great place to call home, a great place to live, always has been,” said Hansen of his hometown, which got its name from its central position in the “heart” of Oceana County.

And who would have imagined that these two high school teammates could still come home again for a reunion at the age of 98?

Tom KendraTom Kendra worked 23 years at The Muskegon Chronicle, including five as assistant sports editor and the final six as sports editor through 2011. E-mail him at [email protected] with story ideas for Muskegon, Oceana, Mason, Lake, Oceola, Mecosta and Newaygo counties.

PHOTOS (Top) Members of the 1943 Hart High School varsity baseball team gather together, preparing for a team photo. Among those are Harold Gayle Tate (far left) and Walter "Stretch" Hansen, at 6-6 the tallest player in the back row. (Middle) Hansen, left, and Tate reunite for the first time in 80 years on Monday, May 22, 2023, in their hometown of Hart. (Below) Hansen served from 1943 to 1946 as a Sergeant in the Pacific Theater during World War II. Tate served from 1945 to 1946 as a Platoon Sergeant in the Pacific Theater during World War II. (Top photo courtesy of Stretch Hansen. Middle and below photos courtesy of Richard Mullally.)