Breslin Bound: Boys Report Post-Break
January 8, 2013
By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Holiday break and all that comes with it – no school, but plenty of "classics" and "showcases" – has come to an end. But in its wake, we see a little better how some of the state's best stack up heading into league play that will dominate the next two months.
Here are 10 teams that made some of the biggest waves over the last few weeks. Records and scores are based on those submitted to the MHSAA.com Score Center.
1. Saginaw Arthur Hill (7-0) – This is shaping up as the Lumberjacks’ season among powers in the Saginaw Valley Association. Its best win of break definitely came Friday, 75-54 over rival and reigning Class A champion Saginaw High.
2. East Kentwood (6-0) – The Falcons’ run at the Muskegon Hall of Fame Classic was the most impressive among those that played in a holiday event. East Kentwood beat two teams considered elite – Grand Rapids Christian 52-48 and then Muskegon 85-77.
3. Ann Arbor Pioneer (5-2) – The Pioneers have played a nicely-loaded schedule and opened with losses to Detroit Country Day and Holt. But a 62-60 win over Detroit Southeastern highlights a 5-0 run since that also has included two more victories by four points or fewer.
4. Wayland (7-1) – The Wildcats’ turnaround this winter has been a speedy one. They won only six games all of 2011-12 – but have fallen this season only to Wyoming Godwin Heights and by just a point, 72-71.
5. Harbor Beach (6-1) – The bounce-back after winning the Division 8 football title might’ve been too quick for the Pirates, who fell on opening night. But they haven’t lost since, and handed previously-perfect Reese a 58-44 defeat on Thursday.
6. Detroit U-D Jesuit (5-1) – The Cubs appear to be a contender in the Detroit Catholic League Central after beating Warren DeLaSalle 73-62 on Friday. Jesuit’s only loss was by three to Cleveland St. Ignatius earlier last week.
7. Ypsilanti (4-1) – After opening this season with a one-point loss to Wyandotte Roosevelt, the Phoenix have been tough. Best wins were by two in overtime over a solid Saline team and by seven over emerging Detroit Denby.
8. Decatur (7-0) – The Raiders ended last season losing four of their final five games. But they've rebounded nicely, and handed Eau Claire its first loss, 57-54.
9. Hemlock (5-1) – The Huskies look to be back in the hunt in the Tri-Valley Conference Central despite an early loss to Shepherd. Friday’s 49-44 win over Saginaw Nouvel avenged one of their few during last season’s 19-5 run.
10. Sparta (5-2) – The Spartans are riding a four-game winning streak that included one-point wins over Grand Rapids Creston and Muskegon Oakridge. The latter is Oakridge’s lone loss this winter.
PHOTO: Saginaw Arthur Hill's Jalen Adams (14) finishes a powerful slam in his team's win over rival Saginaw High on Friday. (Click to see more at HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)
Ferndale Caps Winter Season with 1st Boys Hoops Title Since 1966
By Dean Holzwarth
Special for MHSAA.com
March 25, 2023
EAST LANSING – One team was going to end a long championship drought in Saturday’s boys basketball Division 2 Final.
Ferndale’s was especially lengthy, and spanned more than five decades.
And now it is no longer.
The Eagles won their first Finals championship in 57 years with a 44-38 victory over Grand Rapids South Christian at Breslin Center.
Ferndale had last won a state title in 1966.
“The drought is over,” Eagles coach Juan Rickman said. “That’s big time, and the biggest part about making it down here was seeing how charged up the community was and the school was so charged up. It’s the greatest feeling to see how vested our community was in our success.”
Ferndale senior Christopher Williams led the way with 16 points and four rebounds.
“It feels great,” Williams said. “Especially since the past four years we’ve been to the same place and lost twice in a row to the same team, and now it feels like weight is lifted off my shoulders.
“We started off the season 1-5, and going till now we knew if we stayed together through adversity then we could do it. And it made it more impactful that it was our coach’s first state title, and that’s what we wanted to do.”
Added senior point guard Cameron Reed, who had a game-high seven assists: “It’s incredibly special. I wasn't born back then, my teammates weren’t born and my coaches weren’t born. It definitely rejuvenated the whole city and community.”
Ferndale led 8-4 at the end of the first quarter, and both teams shot poorly in the first half. The Eagles connected on a paltry 24 percent from the field, and South Christian on 35 percent of its attempts. Nate Brinks drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Sailors a 16-14 halftime lead.
Junior guard Jake Vermaas opened the third quarter with a 3-pointer to make it 19-14, but Ferndale made a charge.
The Eagles sliced the deficit to one (25-24) on a 3-pointer by Trenton Ruth, and Cameron Reed tied it at 28-28 with an acrobatic layup.
“Our team was mentally strong, and I’m so proud of them for their accomplishment,” Rickman said. “Just so committed to the process and just being resilient.”
An 8-2 spurt by Ferndale over the first three minutes of the fourth quarter made it 36-30.
“That was extremely important, and we always want to win the first four minutes,” Rickman said. “And we tried to open up the fourth quarter with what we call a kill; we want to get five straight stops and score on two or three of those possessions so we can build a lead. We did that fairly well against a good team.”
South Christian was attempting to win football and basketball Finals championships during the same school year, and was looking for its first basketball title since 2005.
“It was a really hard-fought game and I thought we played at our speed, but it got away from us a little bit,” first-year Sailors coach Taylor Johnson said.
“But it doesn’t take away from what we accomplished this year. We’ve been through it all, including three season-ending injuries, and to still make it to the state finals is an incredible feat.”
Senior Jacob DeHaan and Vermaas led the Sailors with 14 points apiece, while senior Sam Medendorp added seven points, seven rebounds and four blocked shots.
PHOTOS (Top) Ferndale raises the Division 2 championship trophy Saturday night at Breslin Center. (Middle) Christopher Williams (13) tries to power past South Christian’s Sam Weiss (23) to the rim. (Below) Cameron Reed (0) leads a break for the Eagles.