By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
One week can tell only so much about a season just beginning. But plenty of hopeful Michigan high school boys teams hope last week's successes are an indication of more to come.
Each week during the regular season, we’ll glance at four teams from each class that have caught our attention, and this week's list includes a handful off to bounce-back starts. Results and records below are based on schedules posted at MHSAA.com.
Ann Arbor Pioneer (3-0) – Pioneer improved from six wins two seasons ago to 12 in 2014-15, and is a quarter of the way there again after a week that included a 71-64 overtime win over rival Skyline; Pioneer beat Skyline in the District last year after losing twice to the Eagles during the regular season.
Caledonia (2-0) – The Fighting Scots won close last week, 49-47 over Hastings and 73-67 over Byron Center, a couple of victories worth celebrating as the team works to rebound off a 5-16 finish from a year ago.
Grand Rapids Union (2-0) – After ending 9-13 last winter, Union could be a candidate for significant improvement as well; the Red Hawks opened with a 53-39 win over reigning Class C runner-up Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian and followed with a 54-53 nail-biter over Detroit Loyola.
Lake Orion (2-0) – The improvement has been immediate for the Dragons, who defeated Linden 66-62 and then Romeo 71-52; last season they won three games total and didn’t get their first victory until Feb. 4.
Coldwater (2-0) – Coming off the best football season in school history, the Cardinals are keeping the good times rolling; a year ago, an overtime loss to Marshall in the season’s second game started a 10-game losing streak and Coldwater finished 5-16, but this time the Cardinals followed another opening-night win over Battle Creek Lakeview with an 80-73 win over the Redhawks.
Chelsea (2-0) – Fresh off its first trip to the MHSAA Football Finals, Chelsea (9-13 a season ago) kicked off the winter with a 55-45 win over Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard and 50-39 win over a Milan team that made it to the Class B Semifinals in March.
Croswell-Lexington (1-0) – Last week’s 39-35 victory over Marine City was only one, but significant after the Pioneers finished 5-16 a year ago and didn’t win their first game until Jan. 9. They’ll look to get to 2-0 tonight against Memphis.
Lansing Catholic (2-0) – The Cougars quickly switched gears after a Semifinal football run to open with wins over nonleague rival Okemos (50-44) and Capital Area Activities Conference White rival Williamston (72-69 in overtime), the team it tied for the league title last season.
Addison (2-0) – The Panthers finished a 12-12 season strong last winter with a District title, and started this one similarly by defeating Hudson (44-42) and Quincy (40-37) after losing to Quincy by 40 points the last time they met.
Detroit Allen Academy (1-0) – Detroit Allen played only once last week, but made a statement with a 107-79 win over Class A Southfield; the Wildcats were 11-11 a year ago.
Flint Beecher (3-0) – What a way to start a new season: Beat a local rival in Flint Southwestern (77-49) and raise last season’s championship banner on opening night, then down Montrose 65-41 and Class A Detroit East English 72-69.
Johannesburg-Lewiston (2-0) – A year has made a difference for these Cardinals as well, as they beat Boyne Falls on opening night after losing by 25 to the same opponent in December 2014 on the way to finishing a solid 16-7.
Chassell (2-0) – After starting last season 0-3, the Panthers are off to a quick start to improving on last season’s 7-14 finish. They downed Watersmeet 84-53 and Baraga 64-61 after losing to them by 35 and 23 points, respectively, a year ago.
Hillman (2-0) – The Tigers are hoping to build on last season’s Quarterfinal run, which ended with a loss to eventual champion Powers North Central; they started this time with a 60-43 win over Cedarville, which lost only once last season and beat Hillman by 15 on opening night 2014.
Portland St. Patrick (2-0) – The Shamrocks are seeking their first winning season since 2011-12 and are off to the right start with victories over Morrice (39-34) and Bellevue (52-50). Brandon Schreurer made six 3-pointers against the Broncos.
Rogers City (2-0) – The Hurons started 2-0 last season too en route to 8-13. But if the second win of last week is an indication, this will be different as Rogers City broke 80 points for the first time since 2012 with an 87-54 victory over Posen.
PHOTO: Standish-Sterling also opened 2-0 with a win over Ogemaw Heights followed by this victory over Beal City. (Click for more from HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)
We've got a long way to go before the stories of this season conclude with four MHSAA boys basketball champions crowned March 15 at Michigan State University's Breslin Center.
But the first week of the 2023-24 regular season gave us plenty to fill our first installment of “Breslin Bound” – our official tip-off to following more than 700 boys basketball teams through those final buzzers in East Lansing.
Week in Review
The countdown of last week’s five most intriguing results:
1. Flint Carman-Ainsworth 46, Flint Beecher 44 This was their first meeting since January 2022 and it provided a memorable start as the Cavaliers downed the reigning Division 3 champion.
2. Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice 75, Ferndale 66 These two both have several new contributors, but big things will be expected again as well as Brother Rice regularly contends in Division 1 and Ferndale is the reigning Division 2 champion.
3. Lansing Waverly 58, Detroit Martin Luther King 57 Waverly took major strides last season doubling its win total from 2021-22 and could be on the verge of more coming off this impressive victory at the Detroit Douglass Tip-Off Classic.
4. Norway 49, Munising 48 After the Knights gave Munising a tough final regular-season test last season, the Mustangs went on to claim the Division 4 championship. Norway will attempt to build off back-to-back 15-7 seasons starting with this win.
5. Wyoming Tri-unity Christian 64, Grandville Calvin Christian 44 These two combined to finish 46-9 a season ago, when Calvin defeated Tri-unity 63-42 in the regular-season finale (although the Defenders rebounded to finish Division 4 runners-up).
With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each division making sparks:
Rochester Adams (2-0) The Highlanders provided one of the best late-breaking stories of last season, reaching the Division 1 Quarterfinals after finishing fourth of five teams in a strong Oakland Activities Association Red that also featured North Farmington and Ferndale. The momentum started rolling again with wins last week over Milford 52-48 and Macomb L’Anse Creuse North 74-59.
Utica (2-0) Last season’s co-champion in the Macomb Area Conference Blue defeated MAC White reigning champion Port Huron Northern 68-49 in their opener and then Utica Eisenhower 56-41 at the MAC Champions of Champions event at Center Line. Utica improved to 15-7 last season after finishing 7-14 in 2021-22.
Dundee (2-0) After holding its own last season in a strong Lenawee County Athletic Association and finishing 13-12 overall, Dundee is hoping to turn a fast start last week into a climb up the standings with league play starting Friday. The Vikings doubled up East Jackson 52-26 and downed Milan 67-37 to start things off.
Goodrich (1-0) A 22-5 finish last season included a shared championship in the Flint Metro League Stars and a run to the Division 2 Quarterfinals, where the Martians fell by only five to eventual champion Ferndale. The second-to-last of those five losses came to Flint Beecher, 70-55, but Goodrich avenged it Friday with a 58-55 win over the Bucs.
Hillsdale (2-0) The Hornets finished just 4-19 last season, their second sub-.500 in a row. But the turnaround may be starting. Hillsdale is halfway toward last year’s win total after defeating Union City 53-45 and Jonesville 50-40 – and after losing to Union City 52-36 and Jonesville 39-23 last season, with Jonesville going on to finish 19-6.
Royal Oak Shrine Catholic (2-0) This is another team well on its way to bettering last season’s success by Jan. 1. After going 3-19 last winter, Shrine defeated Bloomfield Hills Roeper 48-30 and Utica Ford 55-52 in overtime last week. Ford had defeated the Knights 63-50 last season, and the 55 points Shrine scored this time would have been their second-highest total of 2022-23.
Adrian Lenawee Christian (2-0) Lenawee Christian finished last season on an 11-5 run after a 2-7 start, and might be rolling that right into this season as well after opening with a 74-60 win over Blissfield and 73-58 overtime victory over Hanover-Horton. Blissfield was among teams to deal the Cougars a loss during last season’s tough early stretch. Lenawee Christian is playing in the Tri-County Conference this winter after playing previously as an independent.
Wakefield-Marenisco (2-0) The Cardinals were a solid 13-10 last season, with the final week including a third win over Bessemer as they faced off in a District Semifinal, followed by a third loss to Ironwood in the District championship game. This season’s first week saw the same schedule, but a better outcome – Wakefield-Marenisco edged Bessemer 60-57 and this time defeated Ironwood 48-30. Ironwood was first and W-M third last season in the Copper Mountain Conference Porcupine Mountain.
Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up:
Tuesday – River Rouge (1-0) at Ferndale (1-1) – As noted above, Ferndale was last season’s Division 2 champion, and defeated Rouge 72-60 in last winter’s meeting.
Friday – Kalamazoo Central (0-0) at Battle Creek Central (0-0) – These longtime rivals finished first and third, respectively, in the Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference East last season.
Saturday – Detroit Cass Tech (0-0) at Holt (1-0) – The Rams host the reigning Division 1 champion Technicians in the 4:30 p.m. game of the Moneyball Classic.
Saturday – Grand Rapids South Christian (0-0) vs. Rockford (1-0) at Calvin University – This will be the 10 a.m. opener of The Invite at Calvin University, with the reigning Division 2 runner-up Sailors taking on a Rockford team coming off an 18-win season.
Saturday – Grand Rapids Catholic Central (0-0) vs. Grand Rapids Northview (1-0) at Calvin University – This will cap off The Invite tipping approximately 7:35 p.m. and pitting last season’s Ottawa-Kent Conference Gold co-champion and White outright champion, respectively.
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PHOTOS (Top) A Westland John Glenn player gets to the basket during U-D Jesuit's season-opening 83-48 win over the Rockets. (Middle) Bath defenders surround a Charyl Stockwell player during the Sentinels' 63-55 victory. (Top photo by Olivia B. Photography; middle photo by Click by Christine McCallister.)