Breslin Bound: Boys Report Week 1

December 15, 2014

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

A handful of the 16 teams we've glanced at during this week's first Breslin Bound report of the 2014-15 boys season got off the slow starts a year ago. 

They aren't making that mistake again. 

Each week, we’ll look at four teams from each class that stuck out over the previous seven days or the season to that point as we point toward the start of the MHSAA District tournaments March 9.

For schedules of each day’s games statewide and results as we receive them, plus links to each team’s full schedule, results and league standings, click here – and please help us by filling in missing scores or emailing them to [email protected].

Class A

Ann Arbor Skyline (2-0) – The Eagles came back from a 1-3 start last season to make the Class A Quarterfinals, and that’s carried into this winter as they opened by beating Salem 62-56 and then reigning Class D runner-up Adrian Lenawee Christian 57-49.

Canton (2-0) – The Chiefs were solid last season with 15 wins, but a win over Detroit Country Day (54-49 on Friday) generally is a sign a team is capable of bigger things.

Detroit Western International (2-0) – The Cowboys never recovered from a 1-6 start last season in finishing 4-14, but got a jump on this winter opening with a 64-36 win over Chicago Marshall at the Derrick Coleman Classic and following with a 69-57 victory over Saginaw Arthur Hill at the Horatio Williams Classic.

North Farmington (2-0) – The Raiders also got off to a big start in 2013-14 with seven straight wins, and are on the way again after two big wins last week – by 41 over Detroit Collegiate Prep and then 28 over reigning Class D champion Southfield Christian.

Class B

Battle Creek Pennfield (2-0) – The Panthers also were among those who started slowly at 1-3 a year ago; last week’s successful run included a 14-point win over rival Olivet.

Escanaba (2-0) – They Eskymos have improved from five to eight to 17 wins over the last three seasons, respectively, and a 52-50 opening-night win over last season Class C semifinalist Negaunee could be a sign of another jump to come this winter.

Freeland (2-0) – The Falcons’ .500 season a year ago started with a 31-point loss to Carrollton on opening night; a year later, Freeland opened with a 63-47 win over the Cavaliers and a 48-pointer over Pinconning.  

Southfield Bradford (3-0) – The Bulldogs won 19 games last season, and opened their return to Class B this winter with three wins including 57-44 over annual power Detroit Douglass, a Class B semifinalist in 2013-14.

Class C

Blissfield (2-1) – The Royals’ positive start not only provided a serious dent toward surpassing last season’s seven wins, but included a 61-48 victory over Ottawa Lake Whiteford, which beat Blissfield by 22 on opening night of 2013-14.

East Jackson (2-0) – The Trojans went from 17 wins in 2012-13 to two a year ago, but have at least equaled that latter total thanks to a one-point victory over Brooklyn Columbia Central and a seven-pointer against Whitmore Lake.

Houghton Lake (1-0) – The Bobcats didn’t win last season until January and only four times total, so they’re surely happy to get off on a winning foot with two more Jack Pine Conference opponents on the schedule before the new year.

Vassar (2-0) – The Vulcans opened last season with a pair of losses but finished a solid 13-8; they avenged one of those defeats by beating a strong Marlette team 55-53 on Wednesday.

Class D

Marcellus Howardsville Christian (2-1) – The Eagles have had a nice run over the last few seasons and appear off on another, coming back after an opening night loss to Centreville to win the St. Joseph Michigan Lutheran Tip-Off with a 55-10 win over Watervliet Grace Christian and a 71-40 victory over the tournament host.

Mendon (2-0) – The Tigers celebrated their return to Class D last week with a 58-53 win over 2013-14 quarterfinalist Battle Creek St. Philip and then a Berrien-Cass-St. Joseph Conference East-opening win over White Pigeon.

Rudyard (2-0) – The Bulldogs doubled their wins from 2012-13 to 2013-14; they may not be able to do that this winter coming off 13 victories, but got off to a quick start with 59 and 28-point wins last week.

Wyoming Potter’s House Christian (1-1) – Sure, Potter’s House did lose its second game last week, in overtime to annual Class D power Tri-unity Christian (which Potter’s House beat in a District Semifinal last season). But more impressively, the Pumas opened with a 47-46 win over reigning Class C runner-up Pewamo-Westphalia.

PHOTO: River Rouge edged Detroit Cass Tech at the Horatio Williams Classic in one of the top matchups of the first weekend of boys basketball season. (Photo courtesy of the Detroit Public School League.) 

St. Clair County Celebrates 1st Mr. Basketball Winner, PHN's Jamison

By Paul Costanzo
Special for

March 29, 2023

The Jamison family has spent plenty of time over the years driving long distances as Tyler chased his basketball dreams.

Bay & ThumbAfter 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 throws down a dunk.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 CostanzoPaul 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.)