Breslin Bound: Boys Report Week 11

February 12, 2019

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

If games are played as scheduled, this week will be a great appetizer for what’s on the way for Michigan high school basketball fans.

The weather isn’t exactly making it easy for the state’s boys teams to finish up their regular-season schedules. But the rewards are in full view now – league championships for some, league tournament titles as well, and for everyone a fresh start with the beginning of District play in two weeks.

Breslin Bound is powered by MI Student Aid and based on results and schedules posted for each school at To offer corrections or fill in scores we’re missing, email me at

Week in Review 

The countdown of last week’s five most intriguing results:  

1. Sterling Heights Stevenson 54, Roseville 45 – In the final game before the league tournament, the Titans avenged an earlier 10-point loss to Roseville and in doing so earned a shared Macomb Area Conference Red championship with the Panthers.

2. Mattawan 48, Kalamazoo Central 47 (OT) – This matched up the first-place teams from the Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference West and East, respectively, after Central finished first and Mattawan second in the former East configuration last season.

3. Belleville 89, Westland John Glenn 86 – A three-team race in the Kensington Lakes Activities Association East might be down to just two with this Belleville win, setting up one of this week’s top matchups discussed below.

4. Grand Rapids Kenowa Hills 76, Muskegon Reeths-Puffer 71 (3OT) – Kenowa Hills likely fell out of the Ottawa-Kent Conference Black title mix by losing to Jenison in its next game, but this win over Reeths-Puffer reset the top of the standings for another of this week’s most anticipated games.

5. Kalamazoo Hackett 69, Schoolcraft 61 – Hackett can clinch the Southwestern Athletic Conference Valley title with its next win after finishing a sweep of Schoolcraft, which hasn’t lost to anyone else this winter.

Watch List

With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each division making sparks:


• Detroit Martin Luther King (15-2) – The Crusaders shared the Detroit Public School League Midtown championship with Cass Tech, their only losses this season to the Technicians in their first of two meetings and then a month ago to now-clinched Oakland Activities Association Red champion Clarkston. King could see Cass Tech a third time in this week’s PSL Tournament final – but first faces West-Town champion Renaissance in the semifinal Tuesday.

• Linden (15-1) – From 5-16 to 9-14 to 13-8 and now this season’s success, Linden has been building. Friday’s 48-35 win over 2018 Flint Metro League co-champ Flushing gave the Eagles a share of this season’s league title – its first conference championship since 1996.


• Harper Woods Chandler Park (14-0) – The Eagles are among three undefeated teams left in Division 2 and won the Charter School Conference title outright after sharing the championship last season. A 51-37 win over 2018 Class C champion Detroit Edison last week cemented Chandler Park’s status as a team to watch over the next month.

• River Rouge (15-1) – The Panthers have won 14 straight since suffering their only loss, by three to King on Dec. 1. River Rouge has clinched a share of the Michigan Metro Athletic Conference Blue title, its third straight league championship and an anticipated first step as the team looks to build on last season’s Class B Semifinals appearance.


• Erie-Mason (12-2) – The Eagles clinched a share of the Lenawee County Athletic Association title Friday with an 80-52 win over reigning champ Hillsdale, and after finishing second to the Hornets last season. Erie-Mason has improved as well on last season’s overall 11-10 record, and with two more wins would tie its most for a season this decade.

• Unionville-Sebewaing (13-0) – The Patriots actually improved to 14-0 with a four-overtime win over Tri-Valley Conference West leader Saginaw Valley Lutheran on Monday. USA is one of six undefeated teams in Division 3 and atop the Greater Thumb Conference West standings as it works for a third straight perfect run through the league schedule.


• Adrian Lenawee Christian (11-3) – The Cougars do not play in a league, but should be intriguing once District play begins. Friday’s 13-point loss to Division 2 Michigan Center was a great game for postseason preparation – as were the other defeats against Division 3 contender Quincy and Ohio’s Toledo Christian. Ten of Lenawee Christian’s wins have come by double digits, with the single-digit victory a one-pointer over Division 1 Monroe.

• Pittsford (14-2) – The Wildcats can clinch the Southern Central Athletic Association East title with a win over second-place Camden-Frontier on Thursday, and after defeating two-loss Athens 64-50 on Friday. Since falling to Britton-Deerfield in the season opener, Pittsford’s only other loss came to still-unbeaten Bellevue.

Can't-Miss Contests

Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up:  

Tuesday – Muskegon (12-3) at Muskegon Reeths-Puffer (14-2) – This could end up deciding the O-K Black title; Reeths-Puffer won the first meeting 63-59 in overtime, and the Big Reds are 8-0 since that heartbreaker.

Tuesday – Belleville (11-5) at Wayne Memorial (13-3) – The winner will clinch a share of the KLAA East title with only one more league game remaining for both teams.

Tuesday – Detroit Martin Luther King (15-2) vs. Detroit Renaissance (14-3) at Cass Tech – Renaissance finished a perfect run through the PSL West-Town and is seeking to make the league tournament final after falling by two in last season’s semi.

Friday – Williamston (16-1) at Haslett (11-3) – With Williamston arguably the Lansing area’s best boys team, Haslett has been forgotten a bit but can move into a first-place tie in the Capital Area Activities Conference Red if it can avenge a six-point January loss.

Saturday – River Rouge (15-1) at Benton Harbor (16-1) – Division 2 has 12 teams with one or fewer losses this season, and these two certainly are in the mix to meet again next month at Breslin Center with the championship on the line. Benton Harbor beat River Rouge 60-49 during last season’s Semifinals.

Second Half’s weekly “Breslin Bound” reports are powered by MI Student Aid, a part of the Student Financial Services Bureau located within the Michigan Department of Treasury. MI Student Aid encourages students to pursue postsecondary education by providing access to student financial resources and information, including various student financial assistance programs to help make college more affordable for Michigan students. MI Student Aid administers the state’s 529 savings programs (MET/MESP) and eight additional aid programs within its Student Scholarships and Grants division. Click for more information and connect with MI Student Aid on Facebook and Twitter @mistudentaid.

PHOTO: Negaunee's Drew DuShane (23) drives to the basket as Ishpeming's Jacob Kugler (44) defends during Friday's 56-48 Miners win. (Photo by Cara Kamps.)

For Their Teams, For Each Other, St. Mary Seniors Team Up 2 More Times

By Tom Spencer
Special for

March 17, 2023

Shawn Bramer and Dylan Barnowski, as middle schoolers, attended the MHSAA Boys Basketball Finals every year.

Northern Lower PeninsulaLast year, they nearly played in the Division 3 title game – falling in a Semifinal but almost making a dream come true for the then-juniors and their Lake Leelanau St. Mary coach, Matt Barnowski, also Dylan’s father.

That dream began for some when the boys were coached by Matt as third graders, and they made serious strides last season. Before last winter, the last time the Eagles had won a Regional championship was 1950 – and no St. Mary boys basketball team had reached the Semifinals. Bramer and Dylan Barnowski – along with current seniors Jack Glynn, Drew Thompson and Nick Linguar – had high hopes of making more history this winter.

The dream ended Wednesday night with a Regional Final loss to Frankfort, which St. Mary had defeated 54-41 during the regular season. This time, the Eagles were faced with a large number of K-12 students succumbing to illness – with all five of its starters at least somewhat sick – as nearly a third of the school’s tiny enrollment was out of school the day after the loss to the Panthers.

But you won’t hear any of the players or coaches making excuses. They give all the credit to Frankfort, and they’re ready to move on. And many in the LSM family know reaching the Regional Finals this season and Breslin Center in 2022 had absolutely no probability had Bramer and Barnowski not made an iron-clad agreement last summer. 

Eagles coach Matt Barnowski coaches up his team during last week’s Regional Semifinal win over Mesick.The two friends vowed to help each other despite their personal, opposing challenges.

Barnowski and Bramer, through LSM’s cooperative agreement with Suttons Bay, went 3-for-3 playing in 8-Player Division 1 Football Finals during their first three years of high school. But through last summer Barnowski, who quarterbacked the Norseman, had no interest in football.  

Bramer, meanwhile, had been nursing a quad tendon injury since his sophomore football season and battling two bad knees but was thinking he could suffer though football and sit out the basketball season to recover. The all-state running back experienced training difficulties and even had his strength training severely hampered.

Football was king for Bramer, and he also loved basketball too. Basketball is number one to Barnowski. The longtime friends decided cut a deal to help each other — and their teammates — out.

“I was kind of on the edge,” said Bramer, who plays with braces on both knees. “After talking to each other, we both ended up just playing. 

“I really shouldn’t be playing sports, but I couldn’t miss out playing with my friends,” he continued. “We just figured it was our last season so we might as well just do it.”

Dylan Barnowski and Brammer also teamed up during successful football careers. Barnowski had been considering ending his football days immediately after the Norse fell short in their third-straight trip to the Finals, at Superior Dome in Marquette in Fall 2021. That loss was at the hands of Adrian Lenawee Christian 31-20.

The Norseman graduated most of their offensive and defense lines last spring and expected to be small in numbers. Until this fall, they had lost only one regular-season game on their way to three straight title game appearances. This year they finished 3-5.

The big linemen losses — Barnowski’s protection — was forcing him to weigh his injury risk against having a senior basketball season.

“We did it for each other,” Barnowski said. “I talked with Shawn, and we knew we had a big community behind us and it would be hard for them if we just quit. 

“I knew we weren’t going to have the same powerhouse team we had,” he continued. “We weren’t very good this year, but we still had a blast.”

This week’s loss put an end to the possible Breslin championship finish, but it left the friends happy with the decision to play both sports. The Eagles finished 20-4.

Barnowski led St. Mary in scoring. He averaged better than 20 points a game with more than seven rebounds and five assists. Bramer averaged just under 15 points per game, and almost 10 rebounds.

The two big men each scored 11 in the season-ending loss. Thompson scored 14. This year’s senior-dominated team likely will be remembered for its basketball success for some time. Barnowski, Bramer and Glynn experienced only one loss in District play over their four seasons.

“It’s a really special groups of kids,” Coach Barnowski said. “These kids kind of transformed St. Mary’s basketball.  

St. Mary’s seniors, from left: Shawn Brammer, Jack Gwynn, Dylan Barnowski, Drew Thompson and Nick Linguar. “They’ve really built the program,” he continued. “It’s been a roller coaster ride.”

Bramer and Dylan Barnowski also played baseball in the past for the Eagles, but that likely won’t happen this spring. Barnowski plans to golf, and Bramer expects to sit the spring season out and heal.

“We’ll never forget these last four years of varsity we played,” Barnowski said. “I‘ve decided to go a more relaxing route, and I’m going for some golf.”

With their Breslin dream over, the friends are ready to enjoy the St. Mary’s community support and move on. They’re bummed so many were sick in the end but won’t use it as an excuse.

“Hats off to Frankfort,” Barnowski said. “They did an incredible job of shutting us down.”

Bramer agreed.

“They just played their game better than we did,” he said. “They took the lead at the end of the third quarter, and it was a battle from there.”

Tom SpencerTom Spencer is a longtime MHSAA-registered basketball and soccer official, and former softball and baseball official, and he also has coached in the northern Lower Peninsula area. He previously has written for the Saginaw News, Bay County Sports Page and Midland Daily News. He can be reached at with story ideas for Manistee, Wexford, Missaukee, Roscommon, Ogemaw, Iosco, Alcona, Oscoda, Crawford, Kalkaska, Grand Traverse, Benzie, Leelanau, Antrim, Otsego, Montmorency, Alpena, Presque Isle, Cheboygan, Charlevoix and Emmet counties.

PHOTOS (Top) St. Mary’s seniors Dylan Barnowski, left, and Shawn Bramer hold up the team’s District championship trophy last week. (2) Eagles coach Matt Barnowski, center, and assistant Sander Scott coach up their team during last week’s Regional Semifinal win over Mesick. (3) Dylan Barnowski and Bramer also teamed up during successful football careers. (4) St. Mary’s seniors, from left: Shawn Bramer, Jack Glynn, Dylan Barnowski, Drew Thompson and Nick Linguar. (Sideline photo by Tom Spencer; player photos by Emmerson Lamb Photography.)