By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
It’s hard to tell this early how well some of our early risers will play out the final two months of this boys basketball season.
But judging by some of the scores we’ve seen, it fair to believe at least a few are in contention to stay, at least at the league level.
Each week during the regular season, we’ll glance at four teams from each class that have caught our attention. Results and records below are based on schedules posted at MHSAA.com.
East Lansing (6-0) – It’s fair to call East Lansing the best of a strong group in the Capital Area Activities Conference Blue; keyed by standout sophomore Brandon Johns and a strong group of 3-point shooters, the Trojans lead the league and have wins over reigning champion Lansing Everett and CAAC White contender Williamston.
Flushing (4-0) – The Raiders are off to their best start this decade after finishing last season with nine wins over their last 10 games; this winter’s victories are by 20, 13, 38 and 22 points, respectively.
Pontiac (8-0) – The Phoenix is off to its best start since 2010-11 with Oakland Activities Association White play beginning this week; Pontiac was a solid 14-7 a year ago and a league runner-up to Troy Athens, which is in a different division this season.
Rochester Adams (6-0) – Led by scoring machine Spencer Littleson, the Highlanders are off to their best start since 2012-13 with three straight wins by five or fewer points after a fourth in overtime to open this season.
Alma (5-1) – After opening with a loss to Haslett, Alma has run off five straight victories to build a one-game lead in the Tri-Valley Conference Central over Freeland, which the Panthers beat 42-38 on Dec. 15. Alma beat Freeland by a win to claim the league title last season.
Detroit University Prep (7-0) – University Prep has been nearly unstoppable, with Auburn Hills Avondale and Detroit Cass Tech the only opponents to finish within striking distance.
Dowagiac (7-0) – The Chieftains have won back-to-back overtime games over Niles and Edwardsburg after five-point wins over Sturgis and Jackson to end December; they’ve helped erase memories of the team’s three straight losses to close last winter.
Standish-Sterling (4-0) – The Panthers are 4-0 for the first time since 2010-11, and including last year have won nine straight in the regular season – with eight of those nine wins by double digits.
Bad Axe (7-0) – The Hatchets are playing for their second straight league title and are off to a solid start with five double-digit wins but also two close ones – including last week’s 42-41 Greater Thumb Conference West opener over Vassar.
Erie-Mason (6-0) – The Eagles have topped out at 12 wins twice this decade, but find themselves halfway there already and tied early for first in the Lenawee County Athletic Association and with four straight wins by 12 or more points.
Ishpeming (4-0) – The Hematites again got a late start coming off a fourth straight trip to Ford Field for the MHSAA Football Finals, but have caught up quickly; we’ll see how far along they are when they face rival Negaunee on Wednesday.
Lakeview (6-0) – The Wildcats are playing for their third straight league title and face last season Central State Activities Association Silver runner-up Kent City on Friday; Lakeview has had only one game decided by fewer than 10 points so far, last week against Morley Stanwood.
Buckley (5-0) – The Bears improved from a combined three wins from 2012-14 to reach 11-11 last winter, and are continuing the rise as they sit tied for first in the Northwest Conference and with four games scoring at least 76 points.
Crystal Falls Forest Park (6-0) – The Trojans will again have to deal with reigning Class D champion Powers North Central in the Skyline Central Conference West, but they’re gearing up with a streak of four straight wins by at least 20 points.
Ewen-Trout Creek (4-1) – Despite a two-point overtime loss to Houghton on Thursday, Ewen-Trout Creek is in first place in the Copper Mountain Conference Porcupine Mountain standings coming off two straight sub-.500 finishes.
Onaway (4-0) – The Cardinals have been an upper division team in the Ski Valley Conference over the last three seasons, but hope to be a contender this time and look strong so far with wins of 44, 17, 21 and 26 points, respectively.
PHOTO: A Lakeview player, right, works for position during last week’s win against Remus Chippewa Hills. (Click for more photos 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.