By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
One of the best parts of boys basketball season is how quickly the state’s elite teams begin testing themselves against each other to get an idea where they stand coming into the winter.
As during last season, the weekly Breslin Bound report – powered by MI Student Aid – will look at five results from the previous week that particularly popped, plus a few teams to keep on your radar during the months ahead and five games during the week to come that you might want to check out.
These reports are based on results and schedules posted for each school at MHSAA.com – to offer corrections, email me at [email protected].
Week in Review
The countdown of last week’s five most intriguing results:
1. Rapid River 65, Powers North Central 43 – The Rockets put an end to North Central’s MHSAA-record 84-game winning streak, which began on opening night of the 2014-15 season.
2. Canton 65, Belleville 61 – This opener shook Class A quite a bit with Canton losing to Belleville by 23 last year and the Tigers expected to contend for a spot at Breslin this upcoming March.
3. Detroit Cass Tech 84, Flint Beecher 53 – The Technicians are expected to be among Class A contenders after winning 19 games a year ago, and this was a great sign as reigning Class C champ Beecher no doubt will be in that mix again as well.
4. Clarkston 65, Wayne Memorial 55 – The reigning Class A champ got a nice win over another expected contender before finishing the week with a five-point victory in another test, against Flint Carman-Ainsworth.
5. Hazel Park 86, Detroit East English 72 – The Vikings may have taken a step toward joining the elite with a big win over one of the anticipated best from the Detroit Public School League.
With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each class making sparks:
Canton (2-0) – The Chiefs opened 0-2 a year ago with losses to Detroit Country Day and Belleville, the teams they beat last week. Canton plays in a Kensington Lakes Activities Association Black with expected favorites Wayne and Westland John Glenn, but showed last week it should be right in the mix after finishing third and 13-8 overall in 2016-17.
Mattawan (2-0) – The Wildcats were 7-14 a year ago and haven’t had a winning season this decade. But they couldn’t have gotten off to a better start, opening with a 55-54 win over Paw Paw after falling to the eventual 18-win Redskins by 16 a year ago.
Escanaba (2-0) – Coming off a banner football season, the Eskymos provided some early excitement on the basketball court last week after winning 12 games last winter. Escanaba avenged last year’s 20-point opening night loss with a 60-45 win over Negaunee, which won 20 games last season.
Essexville Garber (2-0) – The Dukes’ 5-16 campaign last winter ended with seven straight losses including by a basket to Bay City John Glenn in the District. The bounce-back began last week with a 25-point win over Pinconning followed by a 14-pointer over the rival Bobcats.
Bad Axe (2-0) – An ability to win close games surely would be beneficial as Bad Axe looks to build on last season’s 10-10 finish. The Hatchets beat both Imlay City and Harbor Beach by three points last week; both opponents finished with winning records last winter.
Detroit Pershing (1-0) – The Doughboys have had three middling seasons since their last 20-win run in 2013-14, but they’re expected to be among the state’s best even as they will play a mostly Class A schedule. Last week’s 81-74 overtime win over 2017 Class D semifinalist Southfield Christian was an impressive way to start.
Ewen-Trout Creek (2-0) – The Panthers’ 6-foot-7 senior Jacob Witt is probably one of the most unknown standout all-around athletes in the state, but he could finish this season with his team making some noise. Ewen-Trout Creek went 14-9 last season and last week avenged a 2016-17 loss to Hancock with a 38-point win.
Rapid River (2-0) – The Rockets not only ended North Central’s streak, but opened with a 56-53 win over Carney-Nadeau, which is coming off a 15-win season. Rapid River was 11-13 last winter after opening with an eight-point loss to Carney-Nadeau and a 53-pointer to the Jets, but the Rockets did close 2016-17 on an 8-4 run.
Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up:
Tuesday – Dansville (2-0) at Pewamo-Westphalia (1-0) – The Pirates regularly are among contenders statewide in Class C, but Dansville and 6-9 Caleb Hodgson surely would love to take their place starting in the Central Michigan Athletic Conference standings.
Thursday – Rapid River (2-0) at Crystal Falls Forest Park (2-0) – These look like early contenders to go after the top Class D spot from the Upper Peninsula as reigning MHSAA champion North Central is expected to fall back toward the pack.
Friday – Saginaw Arthur Hill (0-1) at Saginaw (0-0) – This one rarely disappoints; all three meetings went Saginaw’s way by double digits last season, but that third one did come in a District Final.
Friday – Hazel Park (1-0) at Detroit U-D Jesuit (2-0) – The Cubs are off to another strong start and have a tough game against East English on Tuesday before Hazel Park comes in looking for another big early win.
Sunday – Detroit Pershing (1-0) vs. Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (2-0) at Ecorse – This looks to be the premier game of the Hoopz 4 Hope Classic, as the Eaglets also have a pair of double-digit wins to start this winter.
PHOTO: Lansing Everett was among teams that began 2-0 to start the season last week. (Click for more from HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)
Foster Loyer’s four-season career at Clarkston from 2014-15 through 2017-18 certainly must be considered among the most accomplished in state history as he led the Wolves to back-to-back Class A championships in 2017 and 2018 and is listed in the record book 25 times.
Among Loyer’s most notable entries were 2,325 career points (12th most), 272 career 3-pointers (tied for ninth), records of 119 consecutive free throws and 634 career free throws, a .921 free-throw percentage as a junior (tied for fourth) and .900 career percentage (second), 589 career assists (sixth), 278 career steals (15th) and 102 games played (tied for sixth).
Loyer went on to play at Michigan State and then Davidson.
See below for more recent record book entries for boys basketball.
Four Onaway standouts were added for single-season and/or career records. Jager Mix, who graduated in 2022, was added for 92 steals last season and 225 over his four-season career. Kevin Pearson, a 2021 grad, was added for 81 steals as a senior and 247 over his career. Joe Sigsby, a 2016 grad, was added for 127 steals, and Jadin Mix was added for 124 in 2021-22. Their totals rank ninth and tied for 10th, respectively, on that all-time list. Jager Mix also was added for 967 career rebounds, and Onaway as a team was added for tying the record for most points in a quarter with 49 during the first quarter of a win over Fife Lake Forest Area on Feb. 3, 2022. Jager Mix is playing at Alpena Community College, and Jadin Mix is a senior this school year.
Uchenna Amene was added for 11 steals in a March 7, 2022, game against West Bloomfield Frankel Jewish Academy and for 97 steals total over 25 games. He was a sophomore at Southfield Christian that season and now is a senior at Detroit Catholic Central.
Owen Franklin graduated from Oscoda in 2021 as the school’s all-time leading scorer, and nearly 44 percent of those 1,477 points came on 3-pointers. Franklin made the state career 3-pointers list with 216 over four seasons. He’s playing baseball at Northwood.
Traverse City Christian sophomore Reece Broderick became one of the state’s most accomplished long-distance shooters in just his second year of high school this past winter, drilling 104 3-pointers – good for third-most for one season all-time – over 23 games. He connected on 42 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc.
A pair of Rudyard four-year varsity standouts entered the record book after their graduations in 2022. Tate Besteman made the career rebounds list with 762 over 89 games, and EJ Suggitt made the career 3-pointers list with 215 over the same 89 contests. Besteman played this past season for Mid Michigan College, and Suggitt is playing baseball at Spring Arbor.
Success from 3-point range played a significant role in Mesick finishing 21-1 in 2021-22, as the team made 195 of its 578 attempts – with game highs of 15 twice in wins over Baldwin and Pentwater.
Then-senior Tristan McFolley earned the first listing under single-game rebounds since 2013 with 30 in Detroit Cesar Chavez Academy’s game with Hope of Detroit Academy on Dec. 8, 2022.
Tawas found its groove from long range Jan. 10 against Oscoda, drilling 22 3-pointers in an 86-31 win. The total tied for fifth-most in one game.
Although Norway felt just short, 40-37, in its District loss to Crystal Falls Forest Park on March 8, Alex Ortman kept the Knights close scoring 20 of his team-high 25 points in the fourth quarter to make the single-quarter scoring list. He’s now a senior.
Kobe Clark has listings in two MHSAA record books, with three for boys basketball joining those he earned for football during his Schoolcraft career. He was added in hoops for 531 career assists and 290 career steals over 94 games from 2016-17 through 2019-20, and also for 82 steals as a senior. Tyler DeGroote also was added to the record book, for scoring 20 points during the first quarter against Delton Kellogg during Schoolcraft’s Jan. 11, 2022, victory. Clark began at Saginaw Valley State for football and now plays basketball and Kalamazoo Valley Community College, and DeGroote is continuing at Rockhurst (Mo.).
Past Detroit Cooley star Larry Fogle has added a seventh record book listing a half-century later. Fogle grabbed 33 rebounds on Jan. 18, 1972, during a win over Detroit Mackenzie. He went on to play at Louisiana and Canisius, and then briefly with the New York Knicks.
Trevon Gunter scored 42 points in Kalamazoo Central’s 84-56 win over Richland Gull Lake on Jan. 17, 2020, including 31 during the third quarter – second-most and just one shy of the record for points during one period. A senior that season, Gunter plays currently at Grand Valley State.
Mark Wittbrodt held the record for consecutive free throws at 70 until 2008, and that entry in the record book has been joined by several others from the Bay City Western star. He was added for his 192 3-pointers, 436 free throws, .842 free-throw percentage and 266 career steals over three seasons from 1991-93, as well as for six single-season accomplishments. He went on to play at Michigan Tech.
Ellsworth’s Jacob Jenuwine tied for 12th on the single-game 3-pointers list when he connected on 11 as part of scoring 39 points total in his team’s Feb. 14 win over Alanson. Jenuwine graduated this spring.
Bellevue senior Dawson Wing capped his three-season varsity career last winter with three entries in the record. He was added for 12 blocked shots in a 2021-22 game against Colon, 107 for the season last winter and 203 blocks over his career. Teammate Caleb Betz, a senior this fall, was added for 12 steals in a game against Athens.
Logan Mansfield capped his Morenci career in a big way last winter. The senior drilled 90 3-pointers over 24 games to earn his school’s first individual record book entry in boys hoops since the 1987-88 season, when John Craig had 132 blocked shots that would have been the second-most recorded at that time. They currently rank 13th.
New Haven earned a pair of record book entries during its March 10 win over Memphis. The Rockets bested their previous single-quarter school record with 41 points during the opening period, and they also made the statewide single-game 3-pointers list with 16.
Whitehall’s Camden Thompson, a junior this fall, earned his first record book entry last winter – and the first for his school in boys basketball. He grabbed 303 rebounds over 21 games.
Grand Rapids Wellspring Prep junior Zeekeal Jackson earned his school's first boys basketball record book entry this past season as well. He made the single-season steals list with 106, over 22 games, and just missed the single-game list with a high of 10.
Jonesville’s Brady Wright was among his team’s leading scorers during his three varsity seasons ending this past winter, but he also was a major contributor defensively. He made the records with a season-high 101 steals over 25 games as a senior, and made the career list with 232 steals over 61 games.
Sophomore Christopher McLavish Jr. made a memorable impact last season with a pair of record book entries. He made the single-quarter points list with 20 in a Feb. 21 game against Flint Powers Catholic, but even more memorable were his 97 3-pointers over 25 games for the season – tying him for 11th all-time on that list.
PHOTO Foster Loyer directs Clarkston's offense during its 2018 Class A Semifinal.