Breslin Bound: Boys Regional Preview
March 5, 2019
By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Just like that, we’re down to 128 boys basketball teams still playing, and only a week away from returning to the Breslin Center to crown this season’s champions.
Regionals begin across the state tonight, and you can keep up with all 32 brackets by clicking “Tracking the Tournament” on MHSAA.com. See below for some of the many District results that made headlines last week, plus a look at three of the most intriguing Regionals in each division.
Breslin Bound is powered by MI Student Aid and based on results and schedules posted for each school at MHSAA.com. To offer corrections or fill in scores we’re missing, email me at [email protected].
Week in Review
The countdown of last week’s five most intriguing results:
1. Grand Rapids Northview 76, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern 75 (3OT) – After falling by 11 and 14 points to Forest Hills Northern to finish second to FHN in Ottawa-Kent Conference White play, Northview ended the Huskies’ season on a last-second putback in Division 1.
2. Wayne Memorial 55, Canton 50 – This may have been only a slight upset in Division 1; Wayne had shared the Kensington Lakes Activities Association East title. But Canton had won the West and league tournament and hadn’t lost since its season opener.
3. Haslett 36, Williamston 33 – The Vikings had finished runner-up to Williamston in the Capital Area Activities Conference Red with losses of six and then 29 to the Hornets before avenging those in Division 2.
4. Traverse City St Francis 59, Maple City Glen Lake 44 – The Lake Michigan Conference champ Gladiators prevailed in Division 3 over the Northwest Conference title-winning Lakers.
5. Midland 63, Mount Pleasant 52 – Fourth-place Midland handed Saginaw Valley League Red champ Mount Pleasant just its second loss and after falling by nine and three (in overtime) in their regular-season meetings.
Regionals at a Glance
These could be among our most competitive brackets. Host sites are in bold:
Holland West Ottawa
Hudsonville (21-2) vs. Grand Rapids Northview (18-4), Muskegon (20-3) vs. East Kentwood (14-9)
Northview took down unbeaten Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern in last week’s District Final, as noted above, and will look to avenge another regular-season defeat after falling to Hudsonville by 10 on Dec. 27. The Eagles went on to clinch the O-K Red title and have won 15 straight, including two over East Kentwood during that run. The Falcons did bounce back from four straight losses to end the regular season by winning their first District title since 2011. And now they get a rematch with Muskegon, which won their Dec. 27 meeting 55-53 and more recently is riding a 16-game unbeaten streak.
Coldwater (17-5) vs. Okemos (20-2), Mattawan (21-0) vs. DeWitt (19-3)
Mattawan is seeking to add its first Regional championship to an already-historic run that included a win over Kalamazoo Central to open last week’s District. DeWitt lived a little less comfortably last week with two overtime wins to stay in the running, but the Panthers have losses to only Okemos (twice) and another District champ Howell this winter. The Chiefs won the CAAC Blue ahead of DeWitt and have lost to only a pair of District champs as well – Haslett and Detroit Catholic Central. But are they catching Coldwater on a warm streak? The Cardinals have won five straight for the third time this season and would love to avenge last season’s Regional Semifinal loss to Okemos.
Detroit Catholic Central (16-6) vs. Wayne Memorial (18-5), Ann Arbor Skyline (15-7) vs. Ypsilanti Lincoln (18-4)
Lincoln is a major draw hosting this Regional, but the Southeastern Conference White champion must be careful starting with a Skyline team that has won eight of its last nine games and didn’t lose its first last season until the Regional Final. Wayne Memorial beat Skyline by five points in a Dec. 4 meeting and went on to share a league title and then stun Canton, as noted above. DCC enjoyed a similar win handing Okemos its first loss, at Okemos, on Jan. 11, and has bounced back after losing three straight heading into the postseason.
Coopersville (12-10) vs. Grand Rapids South Christian (20-3), Muskegon Orchard View (15-7) vs. Grand Rapids Catholic Central (20-2)
It would be easy to jump ahead and expect a Thursday matchup of O-K Gold champion South Christian against Blue title-winner GRCC. But Coopersville surely would love another chance against GRCC after finishing tied for third in the Blue, and Orchard View is surging after winning its first District title in 24 years. If South Christian and GRCC do meet, however, there is some recent history – the Sailors won their Jan. 19 meeting 54-42.
Ida (12-10) vs. Dearborn Divine Child (18-4), Chelsea (16-6) vs. River Rouge (19-2)
This is the next step for a River Rouge team that has been touted highly since making the Class B Semifinals a year ago. The Panthers have lost only to 2018 Class B champion Benton Harbor and Detroit Martin Luther King. But Chelsea has won six of its last seven and shown it can play with the elite with wins over multiple league champions. Ida bounced back from three losses over its final four games to win its District – avenging one of those late defeats against Huron League co-champ Carleton Airport in the process. Divine Child offers intrigue as well; the Falcons won a Regional title last year for the first time since 2011, and could seek some revenge as they went on to fall to River Rouge in the Quarterfinal.
Benton Harbor (21-1) vs. Otsego (23-0), Hudsonville Unity Christian (21-2) vs. Three Rivers (11-11)
The reigning Class B champion Tigers have been an absolute force, falling only to 2018 Class C champion Detroit Edison while seemingly taking on another state power every weekend. Up steps Otsego, a combined 42-2 over the last two seasons and coming off a league title and its first District championship since 2015. Three Rivers has a great story winning its District after finishing last in Otsego’s Wolverine Conference South. But Unity Christian will provide a formidable challenge after winning the O-K Green and 17 straight games dating back to a two-point loss to South Christian on Dec. 21. Unity also fell to Benton Harbor in last season’s Regional Semifinal.
Sanford Meridian (21-1) vs. Manton (17-4), Oscoda (23-0) vs. Beal City (13-8)
Manton is coming off the Highland Conference co-championship and seeking its second Regional title in three seasons, while Sanford Meridian won the Jack Pine Conference and is seeking to repeat as Regional champ. Theirs is a titanic matchup, but Oscoda may be the favorite this week after entering the postseason as one of four undefeated teams in Division 3. The Owls are seeking their first Regional title since 2000. Beal City can’t be overlooked – the Aggies beat the other Highland co-champ McBain in the District Final to advance.
Madison Heights Madison (20-3) vs. Capac (15-8), Detroit Edison (15-7) vs. Clinton Township Clintondale (16-6)
Last season’s Class C champion Edison is much better than its record might indicate – the Pioneers have played many larger powers this season with wins over Benton Harbor and Canton among others. Clintondale has won seven of its last nine games and hopes to play spoiler, while its Macomb Area Conference Silver rival – and the league champion – Madison Heights Madison is playing for its first Regional title after edging Detroit Pershing 73-71 in last week’s District Final. The Eagles take on a Capac team that has won eight of its last 10 games.
Cassopolis (21-1) vs. Union City (16-7), Niles Brandywine (20-2) vs. Schoolcraft (19-4)
Southwest 10 Conference champion Cassopolis hasn’t lost since Dec. 20 and is on a mission after suffering its only defeat last season in the Regional Final. But opponent Union City has turned around from a 7-14 finish last season and is riding high with eight wins over its last nine games. Brandywine is another league champion and just seven points from a perfect record after falling by four to Coloma and then one to Parchment in its regular-season finale. But to reach Thursday, it must take down a Schoolcraft team that bounced back from a couple of late losses with a pair of close District wins before claiming the championship with a 38-point victory.
Bellevue (22-1) vs. Webberville (16-5), Athens (20-3) vs. Pittsford (20-2)
Bellevue and Athens are plenty familiar with each other after finishing first and second in the Southern Central Athletic Association West – Bellevue winning the first meeting and Athens the second, on Feb. 22. But Webberville will try to spoil the rematch after building much of its record against larger opponents, and Pittsford won the SCAA East and beat Athens by 14 on Feb. 8 (and lost to Bellevue by 10 on Jan 12).
Wyoming Tri-unity Christian (19-3) vs. Marcellus Howardsville Christian (22-1), Muskegon Heights Academy (12-7) vs. New Buffalo (13-9)
Dylan Jergens is making a run at the MHSAA career scoring record but must get Howardsville Christian past an annual power in Tri-unity Christian – both have a loss to Wyoming Potter’s House Christian, and Tri-unity’s losses all were to Division 3 teams. On the other side, New Buffalo finished second in Howardsville Christian’s league and no doubt would like a third try at the Eagles. But Muskegon Heights Academy might be the most overlooked team in this entire division. While the Tigers’ record might not be stunning, they’ve won 11 of their last 12 games and the Lake Michigan Conference title over all larger opponents.
Cedarville (17-5) vs. Posen (15-7), Brimley (23-0) vs. Pellston (21-2)
Brimley finished the regular season as the only undefeated team in Division 4 and is seeking to win a Regional title for the first time since 1995. But Pellston, like Brimley a league champ, has been considered the best in Division 4 at times with its defeats to Division 3 teams that sit a combined 30-13. Posen is surging with nine wins over its last 10 games, and Cedarville has won 11 straight since losing to the league rival Bays for the second time Jan. 15.
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PHOTO: Marquette's Marius Grazulis holds up his team’s Division 1 District championship trophy as his classmates rush the court to congratulate the team on its win over Gaylord. (Photo by Cara Kamps.)
St. Clair County Celebrates 1st Mr. Basketball Winner, PHN's Jamison
By Paul Costanzo
Special for MHSAA.com
March 29, 2023
The Jamison family has spent plenty of time over the years driving long distances as Tyler chased his basketball dreams.
After 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, 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 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.)