By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Schools have re-opened for 2015. But there’s plenty to review from the end of 2014 as boys basketball teams get ready for their familiar league schedules.
See below for four teams from each class that stuck out over the two-week break. And check out something new from Second Half – we’ll print by class each Monday a list of the undefeated teams left in Michigan and add in those with one and two losses as the season rolls on and the undefeateds are down to just a few. (Click for this week’s list.)
Ann Arbor Huron (6-1) – The River Rats opened this season with an 80-73 loss to Detroit Henry Ford, but haven’t fallen since; they won games as part of three events over the final two weeks of December, including big over Westland John Glenn (72-53) and Battle Creek Central (88-58).
East Kentwood (5-0) – The Falcons were on the verge last season, finishing 13-8 with five losses by six or fewer points; they’ve arrived this winter, if a 58-57 win over reigning Class A champion Muskegon at the Muskegon Sports Hall of Fame Tournament is an indication.
Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central (6-0) – The Rangers are one of three Class A teams that has started 6-0, and they beat Grand Rapids Northview 59-55 to win the Gold division of the Cornerstone University Tournament; Forest Hills Central lost by four to Northview in the final last season.
Walled Lake Western (6-0) – The Warriors are another 6-0 fast starter and built their early run in part by winning the Livonia Franklin Holiday Invitational with a 66-60 win over one-loss Redford Thurston in the championship game.
Gladstone (3-0) – A 1-4 start kicked off an 8-12 finish for the Braves last season, but they’ve reversed directions this winter with Saturday’s 64-62 win over St. Ignace the most impressive of early victories.
Goodrich (5-0) – The Martians boys went a game farther than the school’s stellar girls program last season by reaching the MHSAA Quarterfinals and have made it 12 wins in their last 13 games including a solid 67-65 defeat of Grand Rapids Ottawa Hills on Dec. 30.
Imlay City (5-0) – The Spartans did a final tune-up before beginning defense of their shared Blue Water Area Conference championship by winning their invitational with a 36-34 victory over Marlette in the title game.
New Haven (4-0) – The Rockets' quick start has included wins close (60-57 over Harper Woods Chandler Park) and not so close (76-46 over one-loss Warren Michigan Collegiate to claim their Rocket Classic on Dec. 30).
Hillsdale (5-0) – The Hornets became one of three teams in Class C to open 5-0 by claiming the Pat Paterson/Williams Tournament at Jonesville with victories of 27 and then 62 points; no team has come closer than 12.
Millington (5-0) – The Cardinals’ first of two losses last season didn’t come until the regular-season finale, and they’ve looked similarly impressive early including putting up 101 points in a win over Reese before beating one-loss Vassar 61-45.
Warren Michigan Collegiate (6-1) – The New Haven loss aside, Michigan Collegiate is only two wins from equaling last season’s total and opened the New Haven Rocket Classic with an overtime victory over Mount Clemens.
Union City (5-0) – The Chargers also have made a quick turnaround from last season’s 8-14 run to open with five wins of 22 or more points this winter.
Akron-Fairgrove (4-0) – The reigning Michigan Summit League co-champion will begin league play Tuesday with a flawless record and three victories by 12 or more points.
Bark River-Harris (4-0) – The Broncos already have proven they can win close with a five-pointer over Rock Mid-Peninsula, a two-pointer over Big Bay de Noc and a five-point victory over Stephenson.
Mio (4-0) – The Thunderbolts look to be contenders in the new North Star League Big Dipper division with three league wins and all four so far by 15 or more points.
Waterford Our Lady (6-0) – The Lakers are the lone Class D team at 6-0 and have yet to allow an opponent closer than 13 points – Novi Franklin Road Christian and one-loss Harbor Beach were the only two to put up that challenge.
PHOTO: Laingsburg (in red) clamped the Pewamo-Westphalia offense in defeating the reigning Class C runner-up 42-34 on Dec. 18. (Click for more from HighSchoolSportsScene.com).
Be The Referee is a series of short messages designed to help educate people on the rules of different sports, to help them better understand the art of officiating, and to recruit officials.
Below is this week's segment – Over the Back - Listen
Did you know there is no such thing as “over the back” in basketball? If two players are going for a rebound and the player behind another player is able to grab it over the top of the player in front – that’s not necessarily a foul. He or she did not go over the back.
The player behind another player may have committed a foul such as bumping the player in front, or pushing that player – gaining an advantage to grab the rebound – but that would be whistled for a push or grab. Not over the back.
A taller player or player who can jump higher grabbing a rebound is not a foul. It’s only a foul if they create an advantage by pushing, bumping, or any other kind of illegal contact while in the process of going for a rebound. Fans yell over the back all the time, but an official will never call a foul for going over the back.
Jan. 24: Competitive Cheer Judges - Listen
Jan. 17: More Lines - Listen
Jan. 10: On the Line - Listen
Jan. 3: Basketball Measurements - Listen
Dec. 13: Pregame Dunks - Listen
Dec. 6: Gymnastics Judges - Listen
Nov. 22: Football Finals Replay - Listen
Nov. 15: Back Row Illegal Blocker - Listen
Nov. 8: Swim Turn Judges - Listen
Nov. 1: Soccer Referee Jersey Colors - Listen
Oct. 25: Cross Country Tie-Breaker - Listen
Oct. 18: Soccer Shootouts - Listen
Oct. 11: Safety in End Zone - Listen
Oct. 4: Football Overtime Penalty - Listen
Sept. 27: Kickoff Goal - Listen
Sept. 20: Soccer Timing - Listen
Sept. 13: Volleyball Replays - Listen
Sept. 6: Switching Sides - Listen
Aug. 30: Play Clock - Listen
Aug. 23: Intentional Grounding Change - Listen