Breslin Bound: Boys Report Week 5

January 14, 2020

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

After slightly more than a quarter of the regular season for most Michigan high school boys basketball teams, nearly 10 percent remain undefeated. Many others have fallen just once with midseason approaching. 

Some of that could change this weekend, which could be one of the most exciting of the winter with multiple big-time showcases featuring some of the state's top teams.

Check out some of the matchups that especially pop off the page below, but also see the full schedule on the MHSAA Score Center

“Breslin Bound” is powered by MI Student Aid and based on results and schedules posted for each school at MHSAA.com. Send corrections or missing scores to Geoff@mhsaa.com.

Week in Review

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

1. Hudsonville Unity Christian 50, Holland West Ottawa 48 The reigning Division 2 champion won twice last week by a combined five points, Tuesday handing West Ottawa its only loss and then edging Holland Christian by three Friday.

2. Ann Arbor Huron 47, North Farmington 41 – The River Rats remained unbeaten with another solid win, sending North Farmington to 7-2.

3. Detroit Edison 60, Ferndale 55 – A qualifier for Breslin the last three seasons, the Division 3 Pioneers added another impressive win to a growing list this winter against Division 2 notable Ferndale.

4. Waterford Mott 60, Grand Blanc 57 – Add Mott to Division 1 teams to keep an eye on after this impressive victory at the Oakland County Tip-Off Classic.

5. Escanaba 63, Marquette 56 – The Eskymos sit just 4-4 overall, but 3-0 and first in the Great Northern Conference after this win over the reigning league champion.

Watch List

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

DIVISION 1

Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice (5-2) Just a season after finishing last in the Detroit Catholic League Central with a 0-8 conference record, the Warriors quickly are tied atop the standings after breaking that streak with the weekend’s 79-67 win over Warren De La Salle Collegiate. Brother Rice ended last winter 11-13 overall, but did show a spark winning a District title. The Warriors lost to solid opponents Southfield Christian and Macomb Dakota during the second half of this past December, but otherwise have five double-digit wins.

Wyoming (6-0) The Wolves are looking at a big jump in 2019-20 after last year’s 10-12 finish. They opened the Ottawa-Kent Conference Gold schedule Friday with an 80-72 win over Grand Rapids South Christian, and Wyoming also owns solid early double-digit wins over Grand Rapids Northview and Byron Center. Wyoming was 16-6 and won the Gold only two seasons ago, so a bounce-back shouldn’t stun many.

DIVISION 2

Cadillac (5-0) With wins already over both 2018-19 Big North Conference co-champions Petoskey and Traverse City Central, Cadillac sits atop the standings while seeking its first BNC title since sharing it in 2012-13. Before defeating Petoskey 46-37 on Thursday, Cadillac opened last week with another solid victory 48-42 over nonleague Big Rapids. The nonleague schedule includes unbeaten Mount Pleasant and McBain as well during the final weeks before District play, great prep for a possible postseason run.

Clio (7-0) Make way for the Mustangs. After flipping their 2017-18 finish of 5-15 to go 15-5 last winter, they’ve flown out of the gate. Clio already has avenged a last-season loss to Flushing – 54-50 last week and their only win so far by fewer than 10 points. And after finishing second last season in the formerly one-division Flint Metro League, the Mustangs sit tied for first in the first-year Stars division with also-undefeated Goodrich.

DIVISION 3

Fennville (5-1) The Blackhawks bounced back from their lone loss last week to nonleague Niles Brandywine with a 42-38 win Friday over Gobles that put Fennville first alone atop the Southwestern Athletic Conference Lakeshore. Fennville also has handed reigning champion Coloma its only league loss. The Blackhawks are coming off a third-place Lakeshore finish and 10-11 overall run last winter.

Munising (8-0) The Mustangs won their league and a Division 4 District title last season, but at least for the playoffs will face a different path playing now in Division 3. The start has been similar, if not much better, however. Munising has avenged last season’s early losses to Gwinn and Rapid River and extended its perfect start Monday with an overtime win over Manistique.

DIVISION 4

Frankfort (5-0) The Panthers have picked right back up after last year’s 21-6 run and Division 4 runner-up finish. They’ve already avenged last season’s loss to Onekama with a 51-46 win Dec. 19, and they join Maple City Glen Lake as the two teams undefeated in Northwest Conference play – with Glen Lake coming to Frankfort tonight. Glen Lake defeated Frankfort twice last winter.

Pellston (5-0) Featuring one of the state’s leading scorers in Blake Cassidy, the Hornets are one of two teams unbeaten early in Ski Valley Conference play after winning the league and making the Division 4 Quarterfinals a year ago. They’ve won comfortably but also shown the ability to win close, with a three-point victory over Harbor Springs and one-pointer versus Fife Lake Forest Area – which both sit currently at 4-2.

Can't-Miss Contests

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

Tuesday – Maple City Glen Lake (5-1) at Frankfort (5-0) – These are the main contenders in the Northwest Conference, and Frankfort is looking to avenge multiple losses from last season to the reigning champion Lakers.  

Friday – Detroit Douglass (7-1) at Detroit Martin Luther King (7-2) – This is likely to decide the champion in the Detroit Public School League East; King won last year’s meeting by 19.

Saturday – Benton Harbor (7-1) vs. Grand Rapids Catholic Central (5-1) at Ottawa Hills – This rematch of the 2018 Class B championship game highlights the annual Floyd Mayweather Classic.

Saturday – Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (6-0) vs. Flint Beecher (6-1) at Ferndale – These contenders in Divisions 1 and 3, respectively, face off in one of the top matchups at the Freedom Classic.

Saturday – Muskegon (3-1) at Ferndale (3-2) – This Freedom Classic matchup features two highly-regarded teams that could break out as January continues to roll along.

Second Half’s weekly “Breslin Bound” reports are powered by MI Student Aid, a part of the Office of Postsecondary Financial Planning 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. MI Student Aid administers the state’s 529 college savings programs (MET/MESP), as well as scholarship and grant programs that help make college Accessible, Affordable and Attainable for you. Connect with MI Student Aid at www.michigan.gov/mistudentaid and find more information on Facebook and Twitter @mistudentaid.

PHOTO: Muskegon fell Jan. 4 to Chicago Curie, its only defeat this season. (Photo by Tim Reilly.)

Ferndale Stays Course, Finds Way to Season's Final Day After 57-Year Wait

By Dean Holzwarth
Special for MHSAA.com

March 24, 2023

EAST LANSING – The third time was the charm for the Ferndale boys basketball team.

After back-to-back losses in Division 2 Semifinals, the Eagles got over the hump with a 65-60 win over Saginaw on Friday at Breslin Center.

Ferndale used a late 10-0 run to reach the Finals for the first time in 57 years. The top-ranked Eagles will have the opportunity to play for a long-awaited title Saturday against the winner of South Christian and Romulus Summit Academy.

Ferndale last won a boys basketball championship in 1966. 

Trojans coach Juan Rickman said there was a different mindset this year compared to the prior two that ended in setbacks against Grand Rapids Catholic Central. 

“This year they were way more locked in,” he said. “When we got here the first time during COVID, we were playing GRCC right around the corner from their school (at Van Andel Arena) and last year was our first year at the Breslin.

The Eagles’ Christopher Williams dunks during his team’s Semifinal win.

“I  thought we had a lot of emotion last year and we weren't at our best, but this year they knew what to expect and they executed and it was business as usual. It was just another game for us on a bigger floor.”

Ferndale (20-8) started the season 1-5, but always knew its potential to make a tournament run.

“We never panicked throughout the season, and we always said as soon as we get somewhat healthy and as soon as we get our guard play together to play a lot smarter, then we are going to start winning,” Rickman said. “We were losing close games, but our ceiling was so high that I knew we could do that.”

Ferndale nearly squandered its chance for another game after leading by 10 early in the third quarter as Saginaw mounted a second-half rally.

The Trojans led 55-51 in the fourth quarter, but the Eagles scored 10 consecutive points to go up 61-55.

Senior Christopher Williams, who recorded a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds, had back-to-back buckets during the run.

“We just stayed the course, just like our season,” Rickman said. “We were up, and then they came back, but we stayed the course.”

Senior Caleb Renfroe led Ferndale with 16 points, while senior Cameron Reed finished with 12 and Jaden Hardiman had 10.

“Chris definitely got going, and when he has a motor he’s hard to stop,” Reed said. “They went on that run, but we knew we had to stay the course. Basketball is a game of runs, so we just had to stay the course and ride the roller coaster.” 

The Eagles led 12-8 after a foul-filled first quarter and extended their advantage to 32-24 at the half. Ferndale took advantage of its opportunities from the free throw line and knocked down 12 of 16 in the first half.

The Trojans (21-7) forged a furious third-quarter surge and outscored Ferndale 22-12 to snare the momentum and the lead, 46-42.

Senior Javarie Holliday scored 15 of his game-high 20 points in the third quarter and was 4 of 8 from beyond the 3-point line.

It was Saginaw’s first trip to the Semifinals since 2013. 

“It was a hard-fought game, and Ferndale came out ready to play,” Trojans coach Julian Taylor said. “I thought we took their best punch in the first half, and we came out ready in the second half. Basketball is a game of spurts and I thought we made our run, but we just made a few mistakes down the line in the fourth quarter that really cost us the game.”

Junior Brandon McCune added 17 points for Saginaw. He knocked down five 3-pointers.

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS (Top) Ferndale’s Cameron Reed (0) pushes the pace as Saginaw’s DaRon Sherman (2) trails Friday. (Middle) The Eagles’ Christopher Williams dunks during his team’s Semifinal win.