Breslin Bound: Boys Quarterfinal Preview

March 21, 2016

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

The final week of the 2015-16 boys basketball season finds five undefeated teams among the 32 set to play Quarterfinals on Tuesday. 

And they're joined by a number of others playing in this final week for the first time, or at least the first time in a long time. 

See below for a glance at all 16 Quarterfinals and come back to Second Half all week for team-by-team previews of the semifinalists and coverage of all 12 games plus video highlights from the Breslin Center this weekend. 

All games Tuesday tip off at 7 p.m. unless noted. 

Class A

Ypsilanti Community (22-1) vs. Detroit U-D Jesuit (25-0) at University of Detroit Mercy (5 p.m.)

This might be the spotlight game statewide on this night with a pair of elite seniors facing off – recently-crowned Mr. Basketball Cassius Winston of U-D Jesuit and award finalist Corey Allen of Ypsilanti Community. Allen is averaging just above 23 points per game, while Winston leads the Cubs with 21.2 and 7.2 assists per game. 

Macomb Dakota (25-0) vs. Midland (17-6) at Grand Blanc

Both programs will take significant strides just by stepping on the floor. Dakota, long seen as a Class A contender this winter, will play in its first Quarterfinal, while surprise Midland will make its first appearance since 1979. Junior Jermaine Jackson paces the Cougars at 21 points per game, while senior Payton DeWildt scores 16.7 to lead the Chemics.

North Farmington (22-2) vs. Sterling Heights Stevenson (20-3) at University of Detroit Mercy

North Farmington also is making its first Quarterfinal appearance, also led by a standout guard, senior Billy Thomas at 21 points per game. Stevenson is back in the final week for the first time since 1983, led by a trio of seniors averaging between 11-13 ppg: Mylon Weathers, Vince Ramaci and Luke Lamoreaux.

Lansing Everett (15-10) vs. Hudsonville (19-5) at Lansing Eastern

This Quarterfinal pits two of the biggest upset producers of the Regional Finals – Lansing Everett, which downed undefeated East Lansing after falling to the Trojans twice during the regular season, and Hudsonville, which upended annual power Muskegon. Both are anchored by senior guards, the Eagles by 6-foot-5 Riley Costen (17 ppg) and the Vikings by 6-3 Jamyrin Jackson (16.8 ppg). 

Class B

Detroit Henry Ford (17-6) vs. New Haven (22-2) at St. Clair Shores Lake Shore

Last season’s Class B runner-up, Ford has won 12 of its last 14 games with senior guard James Towns leading the way at 23 points and 5.7 assists per game. New Haven lost to Ford 61-55 in a Quarterfinal a year ago but has a difficult trio to stop in 6-11 senior Innocent Nwoko (10.6 ppg, 10 rpg), 6-4 junior Eric Williams, Jr. (17.5 ppg), and 6-6 freshman Romeo Weems (15.5 ppg, 10.8 ppg, 4.6 apg).

Williamston (20-3) vs. River Rouge (22-3) at Charlotte

Williamston is playing with one of the state’s leading scorers in senior guard Riley Lewis (28.6 ppg) and some added inspiration after coach Jason Bauer left the team recently to undergo cancer treatments. River Rouge has one of the most storied programs in MHSAA history and is seeking to return to the Semifinals for the first time since 1999 and follow up the football team’s runner-up finish in the fall.

Essexville Garber (17-8) vs. Big Rapids (22-2) at Bay City Central

Garber has won Regional titles both seasons under second-year coach Chris Watz, who took over after two seasons as an assistant at Olivet College. Junior forward Demetri Martin (19.5 ppg, 8.8 rpg) leads a Big Rapids team that has won Regional titles three of the last four seasons.

Stevensville Lakeshore (18-7) vs. Hudsonville Unity Christian (16-8) at Vicksburg

Lakeshore is back in its first Quarterfinal since 2013 led by 6-11 senior center Braden Burke, who averages 15.9 points and 10.8 rebounds per game. Unity Christian is playing in its first Quarterfinal since 2008, also keyed by a post player, 6-4 senior forward Mitchel Takens (15.7 ppg, 5.7 rpg). 

Class C

Kalamazoo Hackett (24-0) vs. Grandville Calvin Christian (19-4) at Bangor

Hackett has rarely been tested with only two games in single digits on the way to its first Quarterfinal since 1969. Senior guard Dane Preston leads a solid group of scorers at 18.6 ppg. Calvin Christian is making its deepest run since 2010 and can top 20 wins for the fourth time in eight seasons if senior Tony DeWitte (18.2) and teammates can lock up one more.

McBain (25-0) vs. Ishpeming Westwood (12-12) at Petoskey

McBain has had a number of fantastic runs under 22-year coach Bruce Koopman, but none that’s seen the Ramblers undefeated this late. Craig Sterk, Cole Powell and Logan Eling all score between 14-15 points per game. Westwood’s surprise run has it playing its first Quarterfinal since 2003 while riding the hot hands of an all-senior lineup.

Flint Beecher (22-2) vs. Ithaca (23-2) at Troy Athens

Reigning Class C champion Flint Beecher is playing for its fourth championship in five seasons and riding a 16-game winning streak. Ithaca, meanwhile, is playing in its first Quarterfinal since 1956 – but won’t be intimidated led in part by three starters who played prominent roles on the Division 6 championship football team.  

Hanover-Horton (23-2) vs. Detroit Loyola (20-5) at Tecumseh

Hanover-Horton has won 15 straight District titles and returned to the Quarterfinals last season, advancing all the way to a Semifinal against Beecher. Loyola is known much more for football as a regular finalist at Ford Field, but will make its first Quarterfinal appearance in hoops after downing 18-win Detroit Allen Academy and Riverview Gabriel Richard and 21-win Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central along the way. 

Class D

Wyoming Tri-unity Christian (19-5) vs. Adrian Lenawee Christian (17-7) at Coldwater

Wyoming Tri-unity Christian has been a near-regular during the final week, but is seeking to advance to the Semifinals for the first time since 2013. Senior guard Willie Otole leads at 15.1 ppg. After finishing Class D runner-up in 2014, Lenawee Christian fell to .500 last winter, but is back in contention led by sophomore 3-point ace Trey Helinski (14 ppg).

Waterford Our Lady (20-4) vs. Marine City Cardinal Mooney (17-7) at West Bloomfield

Our Lady brings back three starters this week from the team that missed the Class D Final a year ago by a point – including senior guard Andrew Kline (18.5 ppg). Cardinal Mooney will make its second Quarterfinal appearance and first since 2010, led by sophomore guard Daniel Everhart at 17.2 ppg.

Fulton (18-6) vs. Bellaire (24-1) at Traverse City West, 6 p.m.

The Pirates will play in their second straight Quarterfinal and are led by senior guard Colton Antes, who is set the graduate as one of the top 3-point shooters in MHSAA history. Bellaire’s only loss this season was to eventual 20-win Class C East Jordan. The Eagles start four seniors and rely on three more off the bench.

Onaway (21-4) vs. Powers North Central (25-0) at Sault Ste. Marie

Onaway has put together an impressive rise, adding to its win total the last five seasons under coach Eddy Szymoniak after the team went 1-20 in 2011 in his debut. The Cardinals could add their biggest highlight yet by taking down reigning champion North Central, which hasn’t lost since 2015. 

PHOTO: Ypsilanti Community takes on Macomb Dakota in one of the state's most anticipated Quarterfinals on Tuesday. (Photo by Betsy Howell.)

Second-Half Surge Sends Tri-unity Christian to 3rd-Straight Final

By Keith Dunlap
Special for

March 23, 2023

EAST LANSING — The Defenders will once again have a chance to do just that.

In what has become a usual rite of March during longtime head coach Mark Keeler’s 36-year tenure, the Wyoming Tri-unity Christian Defenders are once again headed for the Division 4 boys basketball championship game following a 54-37 win over Frankfort in a Semifinal on Thursday.

Making its third-straight appearance in a Final and 11th in school history, Tri-unity Christian will attempt to repeat as champion when it faces Munising in the 10 a.m. title game Saturday. 

Junior Owen Rosendall scored 13 points and senior Roy Fogg added 11 on Thursday to lead Tri-unity Christian (22-6), which will go for its sixth Finals win. 

“At the beginning of the year, we had some ups and downs in the season,” Rosendall said. “But we stuck to it and kept working.”

Tri-unity Christian got it done mainly by dominating the board, collecting a 41-22 rebounding advantage.  

Emmerson Farmer (0) gets a hand up high as Owen Rosendall puts up a jumper.“I think our quickness on the boards outdid their size,” Keeler said. “I was really happy with how explosive we were on the boards.”

The discrepancy even surprised Frankfort head coach Dan Loney, who said rebounding has been a strength of his team all year. 

“Going into the game, I would not have guessed they would have outrebounded us like that,” Loney said. “It’s one thing we’ve done well all year. I think honestly a lot of that came from their guard play. When their guards got to the rim (and) our bigs stepped over to help, their bigs were there to get their missed layups.”

Sophomore Carter Kerby led all scorers with 21 points to pace Frankfort (18-9). 

“It was a fun season for sure. We look forward to the future,” Loney said. 

Tri-unity Christian separated itself in the third quarter after Frankfort cut the lead to 29-26 with 4:40 to go in the period.

From there, Tri-unity Christian ended the third on an 11-1 run to take a 40-27 lead into the fourth quarter.

“We have a little more depth, and it helped,” Keeler said. “We were really trying to push the ball, and we were really trying to pressure them on defense. I think we wore them down a little bit.”

The Defenders continued to grow the lead in the fourth, taking a 48-32 advantage with 4:17 remaining after a 3-pointer by Rosendall and a basket by Akais Giplaye. 

Tri-Unity Christian forced Frankfort into 12 turnovers and 38.9-percent shooting from the field while committing only six turnovers itself.

“We played great defense,” Keeler said. “That is what I was really happy about. We made them work for everything they had.”

Tri-unity Christian got off to a good start, taking a 16-8 lead after the first quarter before Frankfort settled in during the second. 

Frankfort outscored Tri-unity Christian 13-9 in the second quarter to cut its deficit to 25-21 by halftime. 

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS (Top) Tri-unity’s Jordan VanKlompenberg (3) puts up a shot over the outstretched arm of Frankfort’s Xander Sauer on Thursday. (Middle) Emmerson Farmer (0) gets a hand up high as Owen Rosendall puts up a jumper.