Breslin Bound: Boys Report Week 1

December 12, 2012

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Michigan’s top boys basketball teams traditionally waste little time each December seeing how they match up against the rest of the elite.

And last week proved no different, as major matchups and a few upsets in the Detroit and Grand Rapids areas no doubt caused some re-ranking in those regional pecking orders. 

Below is a look at 10 teams who stuck out with their play last week. It isn't a state ranking – merely one of the week's notable performances. 

Records and results are based on what has been reported to the Score Center.

1. Detroit Pershing (2-0) – The Doughboys have been considered by most one of the top two teams heading into the season, along with Romulus. Pershing beat Romulus 83-76 and also downed River Rouge – another elite team – 68-48 during opening week.

2. Muskegon Heights (2-0) – Heights may have gone through a number of changes over the last year, but it remains elite on the court. The Tigers opened with a 74-50 win over Way Point, then defeated reigning Class A runner-up Rockford 60-59.

3. Grand Rapids South Christian (2-0) – The Sailors opened with a 54-42 win over Wyoming before notching a solid upset of 2012 Class A Quarterfinalist Grand Rapids Christian, 69-63.

4. Romulus (1-1) – The Eagles may have fallen to Pershing already. But they also opened with a 69-67 win over Dearborn Heights Robichaud – which earlier in the week beat Westland John Glenn, another considered among the elite heading into the season.

5. Holt (2-0) – The Rams have been more spoiler than contender of late in the powerful Capital Area Activities Conference Blue, but they could be back in the hunt. Holt opened with a 54-51 win over Lansing Waverly and followed by beating Lansing Eastern 69-60.

6. St. Joseph (2-0) – The Bears were a middling 11-10 last season, but opened this winter with two solid victories. They beat usual power Kalamazoo Central 73-65 and followed with a 53-37 win over Portage Northern.

7. Brown City (2-0) – Dan Blemaster was the point guard on the DeWitt team that made a surprise run to the 2004 Class B Final, and he has opened his coaching career with a pair of wins. Brown City beat Peck 37-33 and Armada 70-56.

8. Bloomfield Hills Andover (2-0) – Andover is playing its final season before merging with Lahser next fall. And after finishing 10-11 last season, the Barons got it going right last week with a 51-46 win over Farmington and a 78-48 victory over Cranbrook-Kingswood.

9. Muskegon (2-0) – The Big Reds are expected to do big things under coach Keith Guy, who came over from Heights this fall. So far, so good, with a 60-45 win over Holland West Ottawa and a 70-67 victory over Benton Harbor.

10. Grand Rapids Catholic Central (1-1) – The Eagles lost a tough one at the end of the week, 69-66 to Zeeland West. But they opened with a 77-67 win over Grand Rapids Christian.

PHOTO: Saginaw, last season’s Class A champion, opened last week with a 78-60 win over Mount Pleasant. (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.