Breslin Bound: Boys Report Week 2
December 18, 2017
By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
It's difficult to draw much from the first two weeks of a four-month basketball season.
But it doesn't take long to sense a turnaround coming (see Detroit Mumford below) or a new championship contender on the rise (hello Grand Rapids Catholic Central?). This week's installment includes a few more teams that quickly have made an impression, to carry us through the end of 2017.
Breslin Bound is powered by MI Student Aid, and will return during the first week of January. These reports are based on results and schedules posted for each school at MHSAA.com – to offer corrections, email me at Geoff@mhsaa.com.
Week in Review
The countdown of last week’s five most intriguing results:
1. Grand Rapids Catholic Central 73, Grand Rapids Christian 49 – The Cougars reversed a 39-point loss suffered last season to the eventual Class A runner-up.
2. Hazel Park 74, Detroit U-D Jesuit 63 – Last week a win over Detroit East English got Hazel Park on this list, and this time it’s a double-digit victory over the Cubs (20-4 last season).
3. Dansville 42, Pewamo-Westphalia 34 – The Aggies followed a win over Class B Detroit Osborn with this one over reigning Central Michigan Athletic Conference champion P-W, which beat Dansville by 18 and two points in their meetings last season.
4. Saginaw 69, Saginaw Arthur Hill 61 – The Trojans bounced back from an early-week loss to Detroit Renaissance to beat the rival Lumberjacks for the seventh straight time since falling to them during the 2014-15 postseason.
5. Warren DeLaSalle 77, West Bloomfield 67 – The Pilots have played two of their first three games against teams that made at least the MHSAA Semifinals last season, winning this one over the Class A Lakers.
With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each class making sparks:
Mount Pleasant (3-0) – The Oilers improved to post upper-division finishes in the formerly two-division Saginaw Valley League the last two seasons, going 15-9 overall last winter. All of the SVL will play in one division this winter, and Mount Pleasant is off to a nice start with three double-digit wins including a 22-pointer over a Midland Dow team it split with last season.
Troy (3-0) – The Colts play in a tough Oakland Activities Association Red that includes Clarkston, West Bloomfield and Hazel Park among others, but they could be in the mix after reaching the Quarterfinals (and falling there to West Bloomfield) last winter. Troy finished last week by handing rival Athens its first loss, 66-58.
Detroit Mumford (4-0) – With one more win, Mumford will be halfway to bettering last season’s 9-12 finish. The Mustangs have three straight double-digit wins after beating St. Clair Shores South Lake, Oak Park and Warren Michigan Collegiate on successive days over the weekend.
Spring Lake (3-0) – Back-to-back overtime wins over Class A teams has Spring Lake riding high. The Lakers got past Rockford 48-46 and Grand Haven 69-66 last week as they prepped for the Ottawa-Kent Conference Blue season and powerhouse Grand Rapids Catholic Central – which Spring Lake eliminated in last year’s Regional Final after finishing third to the Cougars in league play.
Houghton Lake (2-0) – They are only two games win, but a 35-28 overtime win over Beaverton on Thursday should have the Bobcats’ spirits high. The Beavers were runners-up in the Jack Pine Conference last season and Houghton Lake came in fifth after losing to Beaverton by 29 and 23.
Iron Mountain (4-0) – The Mountaineers might be the favorites in the Mid-Peninsula Conference after finishing third last winter despite going 2-1 (including a District win) over co-champion Norway. The Knights left the league this year, but Iron Mountain surely still enjoyed taking a 48-40 win from them Friday.
Bear Lake (3-0) – Only two weeks into the season, the Lakers are making some noise in the West Michigan D. They sit atop the conference after opening with a 12-point win over reigning champion Baldwin, and that’s been by far Bear Lake’s closest game. The Lakers finished 15-7 overall and tied for third in the league last season.
Wyoming Tri-unity Christian (4-0) – As usual, Tri-unity will play a wide variety of opponents including many larger to prepare for the postseason, a strategy that frequently pays off. One of the losses it took last year on the way to the Quarterfinals was against Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian, and Tri-unity avenged with a 49-41 win Friday.
Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up:
Tuesday – Flint Hamady (3-0) at Flint Beecher (3-1) – The reigning Class C champion Buccaneers took three from their rivals last season, but one meeting by only four points.
Tuesday – McBain (2-0) at Buckley (1-1) – Although the Bears took a four-point loss on opening night two weeks ago, both of these teams were perfect for the regular season last winter and Buckley is the reigning Class D runner-up.
Wednesday – Grand Rapids Catholic Central (3-0) at Wyoming Godwin Heights (2-0) – By early returns, these are looking like two of the best teams from Grand Rapids and two of the state’s best in Class B as well.
Dec. 26 – Detroit Martin Luther King (2-0) vs. Southfield Christian (2-1) at Cass Tech – Southfield Christian was a last-second basket from playing for the Class D title last season and can see how it stacks up against the Class A Crusaders.
Dec. 29 – Saginaw (1-1) vs. Detroit Cass Tech (2-0) at Detroit Renaissance – There are high expectations for the Technicians, making this matchup with an annual power arguably the most intriguing at the Motor City Roundball Classic.
PHOTO: Spring Lake got past Grand Haven in overtime last week to stay undefeated. (Photo by Tim Reilly)
Ferndale Caps Winter Season with 1st Boys Hoops Title Since 1966
By Dean Holzwarth
Special for MHSAA.com
March 25, 2023
EAST LANSING – One team was going to end a long championship drought in Saturday’s boys basketball Division 2 Final.
Ferndale’s was especially lengthy, and spanned more than five decades.
And now it is no longer.
The Eagles won their first Finals championship in 57 years with a 44-38 victory over Grand Rapids South Christian at Breslin Center.
Ferndale had last won a state title in 1966.
“The drought is over,” Eagles coach Juan Rickman said. “That’s big time, and the biggest part about making it down here was seeing how charged up the community was and the school was so charged up. It’s the greatest feeling to see how vested our community was in our success.”
Ferndale senior Christopher Williams led the way with 16 points and four rebounds.
“It feels great,” Williams said. “Especially since the past four years we’ve been to the same place and lost twice in a row to the same team, and now it feels like weight is lifted off my shoulders.
“We started off the season 1-5, and going till now we knew if we stayed together through adversity then we could do it. And it made it more impactful that it was our coach’s first state title, and that’s what we wanted to do.”
Added senior point guard Cameron Reed, who had a game-high seven assists: “It’s incredibly special. I wasn't born back then, my teammates weren’t born and my coaches weren’t born. It definitely rejuvenated the whole city and community.”
Ferndale led 8-4 at the end of the first quarter, and both teams shot poorly in the first half. The Eagles connected on a paltry 24 percent from the field, and South Christian on 35 percent of its attempts. Nate Brinks drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Sailors a 16-14 halftime lead.
Junior guard Jake Vermaas opened the third quarter with a 3-pointer to make it 19-14, but Ferndale made a charge.
The Eagles sliced the deficit to one (25-24) on a 3-pointer by Trenton Ruth, and Cameron Reed tied it at 28-28 with an acrobatic layup.
“Our team was mentally strong, and I’m so proud of them for their accomplishment,” Rickman said. “Just so committed to the process and just being resilient.”
An 8-2 spurt by Ferndale over the first three minutes of the fourth quarter made it 36-30.
“That was extremely important, and we always want to win the first four minutes,” Rickman said. “And we tried to open up the fourth quarter with what we call a kill; we want to get five straight stops and score on two or three of those possessions so we can build a lead. We did that fairly well against a good team.”
South Christian was attempting to win football and basketball Finals championships during the same school year, and was looking for its first basketball title since 2005.
“It was a really hard-fought game and I thought we played at our speed, but it got away from us a little bit,” first-year Sailors coach Taylor Johnson said.
“But it doesn’t take away from what we accomplished this year. We’ve been through it all, including three season-ending injuries, and to still make it to the state finals is an incredible feat.”
Senior Jacob DeHaan and Vermaas led the Sailors with 14 points apiece, while senior Sam Medendorp added seven points, seven rebounds and four blocked shots.
PHOTOS (Top) Ferndale raises the Division 2 championship trophy Saturday night at Breslin Center. (Middle) Christopher Williams (13) tries to power past South Christian’s Sam Weiss (23) to the rim. (Below) Cameron Reed (0) leads a break for the Eagles.