By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
It’s all relative until they meet each other on the court, of course.
A total of 22 teams remain undefeated. Bump that number to 55 counting teams that sit 10-2 or better. See below for crazy scoring stats for two of those high-achieving teams. And yet, every game is an opportunity – see Almont (8-3) handing Richmond (12-1) its first defeat Friday after Hemlock (6-5) did the same to Sanford Meridian (10-1) on Tuesday
Week in Review
The countdown of last week’s five most intriguing results:
1. River Rouge 66, Flint Beecher 61 – A matchup of two MHSAA championship favorites, Division 2 River Rouge improved to 10-1 while sending Division 3 Beecher to 11-1 at the Horatio Williams Freedom Classic.
2. Muskegon Reeths-Puffer 63, Muskegon 59 (OT) – This is less an upset than a rarity because Reeths-Puffer is 11-1, but Muskegon won last season’s two meetings by 32 and 10 points.
3. Oxford 49, Pontiac 46 – Unbeaten Oxford gained a slight edge in the Oakland Activities Association Blue standings by handing Pontiac its first defeat; the rematch is Feb. 19.
4. Detroit U-D Jesuit 74, Detroit Catholic Central 62 – The Cubs made it a league season sweep of the surging Shamrocks and can clinch a share of the Detroit Catholic League Central title with a win Tuesday.
5. Detroit Martin Luther King 50, Detroit Cass Tech 48 – Both went on to lose Saturday showcase games, but this one pulled King into a tie for first in the Detroit Public School League Midtown after the Crusaders had fallen to Cass Tech by 14 on Dec. 18.
With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each division making sparks:
• Clarkston (10-2) – The two-time reigning Class A champion graduated Mr. Basketball last spring and saw the third-winningest coach in state boys basketball history retire. But after opening this season with two losses, the Wolves have won 10 straight including over King on Saturday.
• Walled Lake Northern (11-0) – After finishing fourth last season, Northern appears to be closing in on the Lakes Valley Conference title with five straight double-digit league wins including one against second-place Waterford Mott. The Knights also will equal last season’s overall win total with their next victory.
• Benton Harbor (12-0) – The reigning Class B champion continues to roll, winning big most nights but also showing it can hold on for close victories. The Tigers edged Ferndale 90-81 at the Mayweather Basketball Classic on Saturday and also have wins over Henry Ford, Saginaw and Indiana contender South Bend Riley.
• Otsego (12-0) – The Bulldogs are outpacing the competition by an average of 25 points per game. They sit first in the Wolverine Conference North after the first run through the league schedule as they look to repeat in the league and improve on last year’s 19-2 overall finish.
• Madison Heights Madison (11-1) – Madison bounced back from starting last week with its lone loss, to Warren Lincoln, by beating Clinton Township Clintondale 88-84 in overtime to clinch a share of the Macomb Area Conference Silver title. It’s the Eagles’ second straight, and they can make it outright with a win over Eastpointe on Tuesday.
• Pewamo-Westphalia (12-0) – The Pirates were supposed to trail at least Dansville this season in the Central Michigan Athletic Conference after finishing second to Laingsburg a league ago. But P-W made it a season sweep of the Aggies with a 60-56 win last week and beat second-place Laingsburg by 33 in their first meeting.
• Flint International Academy (6-4) – The overall record isn’t stunning, but the reigning champion Phoenix lead the North Central Thumb League Stars thanks to a 12-point win over two-loss Kingston in December. The four losses came to nonleague opponents now a combined 41-7, including undefeated Brimley and Division 2 Bridgeport and Richmond.
• Marcellus Howardsville Christian (11-0) – A 41-point win over second-place New Buffalo last week gave Howardsville a two-game lead in the Berrien-Cass-St. Joseph Conference White. And that win has been the norm: the Eagles are winning by an average of 42 points per victory.
Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up:
Friday – Beaverton (9-2) at Sanford Meridian (10-1) – Despite being stunned last week by Hemlock, that was nonleague and Meridian still leads the Jack Pine Conference with Beaverton just a game back.
Friday – Athens (11-0) at Bellevue (12-0) – The Broncos finished three games ahead of Athens a year ago to win the Southern Central Athletic Association West. The margin looks to be closer this time regardless of which team wins the title. Bellevue’s wins are all by double digits, and Athens has 10 victories by 10 or more.
Friday – Redford Thurston (7-4) at Redford Union (8-4) – They’re tied atop the Western Wayne Athletic Conference standings after Thurston won by eight in their first meeting in early December but fell Friday to Dearborn Heights Crestwood.
Saturday – Benton Harbor (11-0) vs. Detroit Edison (7-4) at North Farmington – The headliner of the Prep Ball Classic showcases a matchup of reigning champs, Benton Harbor in Class B (as noted above) and last season’s Class C winner Edison.
Saturday – Detroit U-D Jesuit (9-2) at Flint Beecher (11-1) – Beecher just suffered its only loss (see above), and Division 1 Jesuit’s defeats have been pretty strong as well to Division 2 contender New Haven and Chicago power Morgan Park.
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PHOTO: Gwinn's Tucker Taylor (32) – who needs four points to reach 1,000 for his career – considers his options last week while Ishpeming's Darius Yohe (22) defends. (Photo by Cara Kamps.)
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.