Breslin Bound: Boys Report Post-Break

January 8, 2014

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

League games mean more, and the postseason trumps all. But some of the most intriguing matchups of each basketball season take place during holiday break. 

This winter was no different. 

Below is this week's list of 10 boys teams that caught my eye over the last few weeks, based in large part on some impressive wins at showcases around the state. 

(Records are based on results reported to the MHSAA Score Center.)

1. Detroit Consortium (5-0, Class C) – The Cougars have built another impressive start including wins over Detroit Douglass, Saginaw by 30 and Grand Rapids Christian by 35.

2. Muskegon Heights (5-1, Class C) – The Tigers looks to be back among the contenders in their class, with holiday break wins over Benton Harbor and DeWitt both by a point and their only loss by four to Rockford.

3. Taylor Truman (5-0, Class A) – The Cougars have jumped to a quick start and tie for first place in the Downriver League, with their nonleague win over Orchard Lake St. Mary’s arguably the most impressive so far.

4. North Farmington (4-0, Class A) – The Raiders’ perfect start was punctuated by their most recent win, a one-pointer over annual Class B power Lansing Sexton at the Motor City Roundball Classic.

5. Bay City John Glenn (5-1, Class B) – The Bobcats’ lone loss was to solid Class A Okemos, and a two-point win over Flint Powers Catholic last week was a great return to the win column.

6. Otsego (5-1, Class B) – The Bulldogs have beaten all of their in-state opponents by at least nine points; their lone loss was to Ontario’s St. Marguerite d’Youville in the final of the Grand Rapids Catholic Central Tournament.

7. Holt (5-0, Class A) – The Rams can make the argument, with Okemos just behind, as the Lansing area’s best team so far in 2013-14; Holt already owns a win over Lansing Eastern, another contender for the top spot.

8. Troy Athens (5-2, Class A) – The Redhawks have rattled off five straight wins including a two-pointer over Auburn Hills Avondale, and won the championship at the Northville Holiday Tournament.

9. Muskegon Western Michigan Christian (4-1, Class C) – The Warriors have been one of the most impressive small-school teams on the west side of the state, with four wins after an opening loss to Mona Shores; the latest victory was a seven-pointer over Class D power Wyoming Tri-unity Christian.

10. Lawrence (4-1, Class D) – The Tigers won only eight games last season and are halfway to equaling that total thanks in part to a 74-40 win over Climax-Scotts, a quarterfinalist in 2012-13. 

PHOTO: Detroit Consortium (gray jerseys) drove past Saginaw over holiday break and the rest of its opponents so far this season. (Click to see more at

Ferndale Caps Winter Season with 1st Boys Hoops Title Since 1966

By Dean Holzwarth
Special for

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.”

Christopher Williams (13) tries to power past South Christian’s Sam Weiss (23) to the rim.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.”

Cameron Reed (0) leads a break for the Eagles.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.

Click for the full box score.

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.