By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
The third week of this Michigan high school boys basketball season was topsy-turvy, to say the least.
The first month of the season always includes a lot of sorting out as top teams face off in nonleague play – and in the end, of course, the most important games are when those teams potentially meet again at the end of the winter.
But after how some of the state’s best took turns defeating each other last week, we might have a hard time knowing what to expect down the road.
Week in Review
The countdown of last week’s five most intriguing results:
1. Okemos 63, Rockford 29 – The headliner of the Battle of I-96 Classic at Grand Rapids Ottawa Hills went to Okemos, which moved to 6-0 with its second-biggest victory of the season.
2. Rockford 65, Muskegon 47 – This Friday night stunner of the annually contending Big Reds was set for the top spot on this list until Saturday’s matchup with the Chiefs; Rockford fell to Muskegon by 16 a year ago.
3. Grand Rapids Catholic Central 50, Grand Rapids Christian 45 – The was expected to be the big game of the week for the Cougars, but wasn’t even their closest as they then survived with a two-point overtime win over Grand Rapids Covenant Christian on Friday.
4. Detroit U-D Jesuit 57, Grand Blanc 44 – The Cubs have had one of the toughest early schedules in the state, and this win was made more impressive when Grand Blanc beat Flint Carman-Ainsworth by 10 to end the week.
5. Ann Arbor Skyline 66, Belleville 56 – The Eagles came back from a loss earlier in the week to Sterling Heights Stevenson to win their fifth straight against Belleville, which rebounded last season to make the Class A Quarterfinals.
With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each division making sparks:
• Grand Rapids Northview (3-0) – The Wildcats have held on through three overtimes over their last two games to keep a perfect start intact, the most recent Friday in a 77-69 win over always-powerful Wyoming Godwin Heights. Northview is looking to take another step after improving five wins to 15-7 last winter.
• Utica Eisenhower (5-0) – The Eagles have nearly equaled last season’s seven wins and haven’t played a game in single digits since defeating Romeo by five on opening night. Eisenhower can make an even louder statement tonight against another quick starter in Sterling Heights Stevenson.
• Alma (6-0) – The Panthers are off to another fast start in trying to build on last season’s league and District championships. Alma has three double-digit wins but also has pulled out victories of six or fewer points against Fowlerville, Frankenmuth (in overtime) and Carrollton.
• Williamston (6-0) – The Hornets can make an argument as the Lansing area’s best team and have high aspirations after going 22-3 and falling to eventual champion Benton Harbor in the Quarterfinals last season. Despite needing overtime against Howell last week, Williamston is winning this winter by nearly 19 points per game.
• Carson City-Crystal (5-0) – The Eagles have shared three straight Mid-State Activities Conference championships and already own a one-win advantage in the league standings this winter thanks to a 47-41 win over reigning co-champ Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart two weeks ago. A 46-35 win over Division 2 Lansing Eastern last week was eye-catching.
• Hanover-Horton (5-0) – League titles and 20-win seasons are frequent accomplishments for the Comets, and they appear on the way toward chasing both again. Hanover-Horton took a big step toward repeating as Cascades Conference champ with a 66-56 win over reigning league runner-up Michigan Center last week – the Comets’ closest game so far.
• Bessemer (4-1) – The Speedboys fell from sharing a league title two seasons ago to finishing third last winter, but look like the team to chase in the Copper Mountain Conference’s Porcupine Mountain division again. Bessemer handed 2017-18 Class D semifinalist Dollar Bay a 73-60 loss last week, Dollar Bay’s first regular-season defeat since Feb. 17, 2017.
• Carney-Nadeau (4-0) – The Wolves frequently are league title contenders but might be the team to beat in the Skyline Central Conference Small-school division. Although the 61-43 win Thursday against Powers North Central did not count in the league standings, it was a good sign against the reigning league champ.
Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up:
Tuesday – Detroit Martin Luther King (2-0) at Detroit Cass Tech (3-1) – The last time these two met, King advanced in last season’s District with a two-point overtime win. They are back in the same league this winter.
Tuesday – Clinton Township Clintondale (5-0) at Madison Heights Madison (6-0) – It’s early in the Macomb Area Conference Silver, but this could end up one of the most meaningful games of the league schedule.
Tuesday – Utica Eisenhower (5-0) at Sterling Heights Stevenson (4-1) – Noted above as well, this could be telling as the MAC Red gets rolling. League foes Roseville and Macomb Dakota also are off to strong starts.
Tuesday – Escanaba (3-1) at Marquette (4-2) – Marquette swept Escanaba to win last season’s Great Northern Upper Peninsula Conference title by one victory.
Wednesday – Wyoming Godwin Heights (1-3) at Grand Rapids Catholic Central (3-0) – Against strong competition, Godwin Heights is off to a slow start. But it’s all relative, and GRCC won’t take the Wolverines lightly.
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PHOTO: Alma is off to an unbeaten start this winter, earning a victory last week over Essexville Garber. (Click to see 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.