Breslin Bound: Boys Quarterfinal Preview

March 23, 2015

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

At the end of the week, four teams will finish the 2014-15 MHSAA boys basketball seasons with championship victories. 

And of 32 left in the tournament, 23 have a chance to end on a title-clinching win for the first time. 

That's just something to keep in mind as Quarterfinals are played Tuesday all over the state. In addition, the reigning MHSAA boys basketball champions in Class A and Class B are alive for repeats, three more 2013-14 semifinalists have a chance to book return trips to Finals weekend, and all three Mr. Basketball finalists will play, two literally against each other.

See below for a glance at all 16 Quarterfinals. All tip off at 7 p.m. unless noted, with winners advancing to Thursday and Friday's Semifinals at Michigan State University. 

Class A

Lansing Everett (23-2) vs. Muskegon (23-1) at Lansing Eastern's Don Johnson Fieldhouse

This looks like a battle of the state’s elite post players and Mr. Basketball candidates; reigning Class A champion Muskegon with 6-foot-10 Michigan State recruit and Mr. Basketball Deyonta Davis (18.6 points, 15.4 rebounds, 6.7 blocks per game) and Everett with 6-9 Oregon recruit Trevor Manuel (23.5 ppg, 11 rpg, 6.0 bpg). But with those two battling, the other eight on the floor could decide which team moves on – watch for Muskegon 6-5 senior forward Joeviair Kennedy and 6-3 Everett junior guard Jamyrin Jackson.    

Walled Lake Central (20-5) vs. Saginaw Arthur Hill (22-3) at Grand Blanc

Guard Eric Davis, headed to Texas next season, finished runner-up for Mr. Basketball and leads an Arthur Hill team on a 10-game winning streak since falling to Detroit U-D Jesuit on Feb. 7. The Lumberjacks have played three teams still alive so they won't be surprised by much this week, and they've won all of their postseason games by double digits. Walled Lake Central is playing its first Quarterfinal since 1993 after emerging from one of Class A’s strongest Districts. Junior guard Walter Kelser leads, scoring 18 points per game.

Detroit U-D Jesuit (21-3) vs. Clarkston (24-0) at University of Detroit Mercy, 5:30 p.m.

U-D Jesuit is seeking a return to the Semifinals after advancing for the first time ever last season, and is led again by talented junior guard Cassius Winston (22.4 points, 5.7 assists per game). Clarkston is seeking its first Semifinal appearance since 2009, playing in its first Quarterfinal since that same season. The Wolves also are keyed by a standout guard – freshman Foster Loyer, who scored 30 and 35 points, respectively, during last week’s Regional.

Ypsilanti Community (19-4) vs. Detroit Western International (23-0), 7 p.m.

This is Community’s first Quarterfinal as a new school, although coach Steve Brooks led the former Ypsilanti High to the final week in 2013 as well. The Grizzlies won the Southeastern Conference White and advanced by defeating another league champion, Romulus, in the Regional Final. Western is playing in its first Quarterfinal since 1974 and has had only two games in single digits this winter – with wins over U-D Jesuit and Arthur Hill among their most impressive. Junior guard Brailen Neely scores 15.9 points per game to lead three averaging double digits. 

Class B

Otsego (22-3) vs. Milan (23-2) at Marshall, 6:30 p.m.

Milan returns three starters from last season’s Class B championship game, including leading scorers Latin Davis (19.9 ppg) at guard and Nick Perkins (16.8) at center. Its only losses this winter were to Class A U-D Jesuit and Romulus, and it has won 16 straight. Otsego has won more than 20 games for the third time in four seasons under coach Josh Holmes and will play in its first Quarterfinal since 1984. Senior 7-foot center Seth Dugan (19 ppg, 13 rpg) might be one of the most daunting matchups left in the tournament.  

Wyoming Godwin Heights (23-1) vs. Spring Lake (18-7) at Rockford

Godwin Heights is back in a Quarterfinal for the third straight season and 12th time dating to its first appearance in 1929. The Wolverines have beaten three teams still playing this week – including Otsego – and their only loss was to Class C quarterfinalist NorthPointe Christian. Senior 6-5 guard Delaney Blaylock leads with 16.4 points and 10.4 rebounds per game. Spring Lake won its third straight District title earlier this month and now will play in the Quarterfinals for the first time in its history. Junior 6-3 center Keegan George leads the Lakers in scoring at 14.4 ppg.

Essexville Garber (21-4) vs. Cadillac (17-8) at Mount Pleasant

Garber emerged from third in the Tri-Valley Conference East to reach its first Quarterfinal after beating 22-win Goodrich in the Regional Final. Senior 6-4 forward C.J. Glaza leads three scoring in double digits, averaging 16.1 points while grabbing 10.4 rebounds per game. Cadillac got off to a 5-6 start on the way to its fifth straight Quarterfinal, although seven of its losses this season were to Class A teams. The Vikings have advanced to the Semifinals the last two years. Guard Andrew Emington (12.8 ppg) leads a balanced offense and is one of eight seniors.

Detroit Henry Ford (19-5) vs. New Haven (25-0) at Marysville

Henry Ford has gone from 10 to 11 to 19 wins over the last three seasons and has a pair of potent scorers in senior small forward Joshua Davis (17 ppg) and junior point guard James Towns (16.5 ppg). The Trojans will be playing in their first Quarterfinal since 1984. New Haven made the Quarterfinals in 2012 but in two trips has never advanced to the final weekend of the season. Senior 6-6 forward Joshua Harris averages 20.5 points per game and has been key during the perfect run, which included a 22-point win over 21-win Yale in the Regional Semifinal.

Class C

McBain (22-2) vs. Boyne City (20-5) at Gaylord

McBain is back in the Quarterfinals for the first time since 2011 but fourth time in seven seasons. Sophomore 6-6 center Craig Sterk leads four scoring in double digits, averaging 16.5 points per game while grabbing 8.8 rebounds per. Boyne City is headed to the Quarterfinals for the first time since 1990 and after winning a competitive Lake Michigan Conference. Senior forward Corey Redman is the leading scorer at 16.4 ppg.

Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian (19-5) vs. Shelby (23-1) at Zeeland East

NorthPointe Christian rebounded from three losses over its final four regular-season games and will play its second Quarterfinal and first since 2007. Senior guard Preston Huckaby scores 15 points per game to lead four averaging in double digits for the only team to beat Class B contender Godwin Heights this winter. Shelby suffered only one loss, by three to Muskegon Heights in the regular-season finale. But the Tigers beat eventual Class B quarterfinalist Spring Lake by 22 the week before, and eliminated 21-win Laingsburg in the Regional Final.

Hanover-Horton (23-1) vs. Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central (22-3) at Ann Arbor Huron

Hanover-Horton has won 20 or more games 10 times and made five Quarterfinals under 17-season coach Chad Mortimer, and is seeking its first Semifinal berth since 2003. Senior guard Stefan Young averages 13.2 ppg as the lead scorer. St. Mary joins Class B’s Milan from the Huron League and will play in its third Quarterfinal in five seasons, hoping for its second Semifinal berth and led by a pair of standout scorers – senior guard Bryce Windham averages 20.4 ppg and junior forward Stephan Umfress adds 18.6.

Millington (19-5) vs. Flint Beecher (23-1) at Burton Bendle

Millington finished second in the TVC East that produced Class B quarterfinalist Essexville Garber, and the Cardinals are seeking their first Semifinal berth. They’re led by a talented backcourt of junior point guard Shawn Pardee (25.6 ppg) and senior shooting guard Austin LeVan (20.9). Beecher, meanwhile, is playing in its eighth straight Quarterfinal and seeking to return to the Semifinals after missing last season for the first time since 2009. Senior guard Cedric Moten leads three averaging double-digit points at 15.1 ppg. 

Class D

Wyoming Tri-unity Christian (14-10) vs. Morenci (22-2) at Kalamazoo Loy Norrix

Tri-unity Christian has navigated a tough schedule to return to the Quarterfinals for the third time in five years. Three players average nine points or more per game, led by senior 6-8 center Chris Osantowski at 11 ppg. Morenci has played only one Quarterfinal – in 1954 in Class C – but improved steadily from eight to 13 to 22 wins over the last three seasons and has won its last seven games by 12 or more points. Senior guard Austin Sandusky runs the show, averaging 14.1 points and four assists per game.  

Waterford Our Lady (24-0) vs. Genesee Christian (17-6) at West Bloomfield

Our Lady will play in its first Quarterfinal since 1993. The team is a combined 41-6 in two seasons under coach Paul Robak and led by a pair for sharp-shooting 6-4 guards – senior Nick Robak averages 23.6 points per game and has made 63 3-pointers, and junior Andrew Kline averages 13.2 points and 6.6 assists per game and has 42 treys. Genesee Christian has played in one other Quarterfinal, in 2006. The Soldiers should be ready for another tough opponent after facing a number of larger schools this season playing as an independent. Seniors Travis Rose and Logan Mowry key a productive frontcourt; Rose averages 14.9 points, 7.2 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 3.9 steals per game, with Mowry at 14.8 points and 7.2 rpg.    

Fulton (20-4) vs. Frankfort (22-2) at Cadillac

Fulton is back in the Quarterfinals for the first time since finishing Class D runner-up in 2011, and similar to that season can cause damage from behind the 3-point arc. The Pirates have made 209 3-pointers, with junior guard Colton Antes drilling 74 and senior Gregg Jones, the team’s leading scorer (16.9 ppg), connecting on another 54. Frankfort is playing in its third straight Quarterfinal and is led by the standout from last season’s Semifinal run. Senior 6-3 center David Loney sets the pace at 18.8 points and 8.9 rebounds per game for the Northwest Conference champ.

Hillman (23-1) vs. Powers North Central (24-0) at Sault Ste. Marie

Hillman has won at least 21 games the last two seasons and three of the last seven, but will play in its first Quarterfinal having lost this season only to Cedarville in the opener Dec. 9. Three players combine to average 50 points per game, led by senior guard Mason VanPamel at 25 ppg. Powers North Central will play in its third straight Quarterfinal and again is a high-powered scoring force – the Jets have put up at least 80 points seven times and more than 70 in 15 games. Sophomore guard Jason Whitens leads four averaging 9.9 ppg or more with 16.4.

PHOTO: Detroit Henry Ford guard James Towns, here against Detroit East English earlier this season, has played a big part in his team’s first Quarterfinal run since 1984. (Photo courtesy of the Detroit Public School League.)

St. Clair County Celebrates 1st Mr. Basketball Winner, PHN's Jamison

By Paul Costanzo
Special for

March 29, 2023

The Jamison family has spent plenty of time over the years driving long distances as Tyler chased his basketball dreams.

Bay & ThumbAfter the Port Huron Northern senior achieved one of the biggest ones, they had to put some more mileage on the family vehicle.

As the newly-crowned Mr. Basketball, Jamison was invited to a special presentation during the Boys Basketball Finals this past Saturday afternoon at the Breslin Center. It was an invitation Tyler and his family didn’t hesitate to accept, and the drive from Port Huron to East Lansing was nothing.

But it did cause a pretty big change to some other travel plans.

Tyler and his family were scheduled to fly to Florida on Friday for spring break. That flight had to be canceled, though, and instead, the family made the drive down later.

“There were some jokes about just leaving me and letting me find my own way down there,” Jamison said.

While they joke, there’s nowhere the Jamisons would have rather been Saturday than at the Breslin. As a true basketball family – Tyler’s dad Brian is also the coach at Northern, and his brother Alex was a standout freshman for the Huskies – they have a great appreciation for the Mr. Basketball Award and its significance.

“I had said a while ago, ‘Hey, if we’re still in the tournament, we’ll be playing Friday,” Brian Jamison said. “I even mentioned that it would be a miracle, but Tyler could win Mr. Basketball. Now we’re eating plane tickets and driving down to Florida. But it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and we’re not missing this.”

Jamison was the overwhelming winner of the award, which is named after Hal Schram and given out by the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan. He received 3,058 points in the vote to become its 43rd winner. Curtis Williams of Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice (2,004 points), Kaden Brown of Grand Rapids Catholic Central (1,918), Sonny Wilson of Detroit U-D Jesuit (1,883) and Ryan Hurst of North Farmington (1,811) were the other finalists.

“It was just insane,” Tyler Jamison said. “I can’t even really put into words how I felt – it was just a dream come true, a culmination of all the hard work that’s been put in over the years. My mom was in the other room (when his dad called to tell him), and I just hugged her and we were kind of screaming. The dog was getting riled up. It was fun. There were a few tears shed.”

Jamison throws down a dunk.Jamison, who signed with Fairleigh Dickinson in December, finished the season averaging 26.7 points, 11.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 3.3 steals per game. He was named the Macomb Area Conference White division MVP after leading Northern to the league title and a 20-4 overall record.

Even with all that, winning the most prestigious individual basketball award in the state didn’t seem like a reality.

“We purposely try to play a tough schedule, and we purposely got into some showcases because we wanted people to see, not only him play, but us play,” Brian Jamison said. “We had beaten Skyline and Hamtramck, and went up to Croswell-Lexington and won up there, and I thought, ‘OK, now he’s done it against some of the better teams.’ Up to that point, when we played those tougher teams, he’s always showed out well, but it’s different when you’re not winning them. But at that point, I thought he had a chance. Really, I was just hoping he would get on the list. To win it was kind of above and beyond what I had hoped for.”

On the court, Tyler’s impact on the program was pretty obvious and immediate.

He’s the program’s all-time leading scorer – a record he set as a junior – with 1,763 career points. He also holds Northern records for career rebounds (825), points in a game (59), rebounds in a game (28), career field goals made (638) and career free throws made (439). As a junior, he was named MAC Blue MVP.

Northern did not lose a league game in either of the past two seasons.

But Northern is likely to see future success because of Tyler’s non-statistical impact.

Leading a young team, including a group of star freshmen – his brother Alex, Cam Harju and Amir Morelan – was a major part of Tyler’s job this season.

Northern’s home games were must-see events this winter, as the Huskies were one of Division 1’s top teams, and Tyler was providing nightly highlights and must-see performances. Even in his final game, a loss against Macomb Dakota in the District Final, Jamison treated the standing-room crowd with a 46-point performance and a halfcourt shot at the third-quarter buzzer in a valiant effort.

“That’s the big thing, you want the students and the school community to support you, and they did an amazing job,” Tyler Jamison said. “We also had people from the community that wanted to support us and watch us play. Port Huron High had a really good season, too, and I think both schools in the city had that public support. That’s huge. It makes you feel like you’re playing for more than yourself.”

Among those crowds were the next generation of Huskies, some of whom were coached by Tyler in youth basketball. As he’s the first Mr. Basketball winner from St. Clair County, those kids now have a hometown example of someone who has reached the highest heights.

“I think interest gets sparked when the little kids come to the gym, like, ‘Hey, I want to do that,’” Brian Jamison said. “They want to play for Northern or (Port Huron) High. And with him winning Mr. Basketball, I think it gives kids a little bit of ‘Hey, why not me?’ I do think it helps motivate younger people. We’ve had great crowds at our games. I think the area is excited about basketball. It really is a great basketball area.”

With all of that excitement surrounding him, Tyler had one more challenge after the season – keeping the secret that he had won. He found out six days before the award was announced.

“It was terrible – especially when it’s something of that magnitude,” he said. “You want to tell everyone. You want to tell your friends and family. It was hard to be like, ‘No, I don’t know.’”

Paul CostanzoPaul Costanzo served as a sportswriter at The Port Huron Times Herald from 2006-15, including three years as lead sportswriter, and prior to that as sports editor at the Hillsdale Daily News from 2005-06. He can be reached at [email protected] with story ideas for Genesee, Lapeer, St. Clair, Sanilac, Huron, Tuscola, Saginaw, Bay, Arenac, Midland and Gladwin counties.

PHOTOS (Top) Tyler Jamison, second from left, with his parents and brother, stands with his newly-received Mr. Basketball Award trophy during the ceremony at the Detroit Free Press. (Middle) Jamison throws down a dunk. (Photos courtesy of the Jamison family.)