By Geoff Kimmerly
Special for Second Half
Soon we’ll be celebrating District, Regional and Finals champions in boys basketball.
Take, for example, Burton Bentley, which clinched its first league title in 41 years earlier this month after going 9-12 a year ago. Or Okemos, which made an impressive yet at least a little bit unexpected closing run mentioned more below. Last week had a few more surprise wins too that could make storylines more interesting as we get into tournament mode.
Week in Review
The countdown of last week’s five most intriguing results:
1. Novi 71, Canton 56 – The Wildcats have rattled off six straight wins and with this one not only earned a spot in the Kensington Lakes Activities Association championship game, but also handed Canton its only loss this season.
2. Okemos 64, East Lansing 56 – Okemos had beaten the Trojans without star Brandon Johns on Jan. 19, but this win over East Lansing with him clinched for the Chiefs the outright Capital Area Activities Conference Blue title.
3. Maple City Glen Lake 53, Frankfort 47 – This tied things up at the top of the Northwest Conference with Glen Lake, Frankfort and Buckley in line to share the title with one last league game to play.
4. Ishpeming 53, Iron Mountain 47 – Second place Ishpeming can’t catch Iron Mountain in the Mid-Peninsula Athletic Conference, but on this night the Hematites handed the Mountaineers their lone defeat this winter.
5. Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood 52, Madison Heights Bishop Foley 36 – After going 12-10 last season, Cranbrook is 18-1 and won the Catholic League C-D tournament title with this victory.
With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each class making sparks:
Detroit U-D Jesuit. (16-3) – The Cubs are Detroit Catholic League Central and A-B tournament champs again, and haven’t lost a game instate since Dec. 15. Jesuit opened this season with a four-point overtime win over Detroit Edison, and will see now-Detroit Public School League champ Edison again Thursday in an Operation Friendship game.
Flint Carman-Ainsworth (17-2) – The Cavaliers won the Saginaw Valley League by three games and gave reigning Class A champion Clarkston one of its few challenges this season, falling by just five on Dec. 7. The only other loss came to Holland West Ottawa (17-2), and nonleague wins over Grand Blanc (16-3), Detroit Renaissance (11-5) and Flint Hamady (13-5) should have Carman-Ainsworth prepared as well.
Detroit Voyageur (18-0) – The Cougars are an intriguing team to watch over the next few weeks coming off Michigan Metro Athletic Conference division and tournament championships and with a win as well over Ypsilanti Arbor Prep (14-4). The Gators and MMAC Black runner-up Detroit Community (10-5) are the only opponents that have come within single digits.
Grand Rapids Catholic Central (16-1) – Considered a Class B contender from the start this season, GRCC has lost only to another in Wyoming Godwin Heights. The Cougars since have won 13 straight and all by double digits, including a pair against Spring Lake (15-4).
Hanover-Horton (16-2) – The Comets have clinched a share of the Cascades Conference title after tying for second last season, and are well on their way to equaling or bettering last year’s 19-4 overall finish. Only second-place Michigan Center (15-2) has come within single digits during Hanover-Horton’s 12-game winning streak.
Kalamazoo Christian (18-1) – The Comets have built on last season’s surprising run to the Quarterfinals with a perfect one through the Southwestern Athletic Conference Valley. The only loss came to SAC Lakeshore winner Coloma (17-2), 58-52 on Jan. 23.
Ellsworth (16-3) – Friday’s win over Vanderbilt clinched a shared Northern Lights Conference title for Ellsworth, which improved from finishing runner-up a year ago. The Lancers haven’t had a game closer than 28 points since falling Jan. 26 in their second meeting this season with eventual league co-champ Wolverine (16-1).
Flint International Academy (17-2) – In its first season in the conference, International can clinch the North Central Thumb League Stars championship outright Tuesday against Kinde-North Huron and has won 12 straight including avenging an earlier loss to second-place Dryden (12-6). Two more big wins have come over Kingston (16-3).
Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up:
Tuesday – Waterford Mott (16-3) at White Lake Lakeland (15-4) – Both have doubled their win totals from last season, and Mott can clinch the inaugural Lakes Valley Conference title outright.
Thursday – Hazel Park (17-1) at Clarkston (17-1) – The Wolves won the first meeting big, but a Hazel Park return favor would mean a shared Oakland Activities Association Red title as long as neither trips up Tuesday.
Thursday – Grand Rapids Catholic Central (16-1) at Holland West Ottawa (17-2) – These league champions get one more tune up before going their separate ways for the tournament.
Thursday – Benton Harbor (18-1) at Wyoming (15-4) – The Wolves also are a league champ and can get one more test before the Class A tournament against this Class B favorite.
Thursday – Novi (12-7) at Grand Blanc (16-3) – The KLAA championship game will pit Gold champion Grand Blanc against the runner-up Wildcats for the third time after winning the first two meetings.
PHOTO: Okemos, here against Grand Ledge, clinched a league title last week by finishing a season sweep of East Lansing. (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.