Breslin Bound: Boys Report Week 8
February 4, 2020
By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Whether it was last week’s Upper Peninsula matchup of statewide Division 3 contenders or the Saturday night showcase of recent MHSAA Finals champions, this boys basketball season at the start of February already has taken on a tournament-time atmosphere.
That should only continue to build this week as league races get more intense and state powers meet again for another big event in the Grand Rapids area.
“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. Benton Harbor 73, Ypsilanti Lincoln 51 – The marquee matchup of the Grand Rapids Redhawk Classic saw the Tigers move up to No. 5 in Division 2 MPR with this win over the reigning Division 1 champion Lincoln, which was No. 1 in Division 1 last week but fell to No. 6.
2. Orchard Lake St. Mary’s 65, Hudsonville 47 – The Eaglets took back the top spot in Division 1 MPR by handing Hudsonville its first loss, also at the Redhawk Classic.
3. Iron Mountain 69, Negaunee 51 – A full house watched the unbeaten Mountaineers hand the Miners their first loss; they meet again in the regular-season finale March 5.
4. Erie Mason 70, Onsted 67 (2 OT) – The Eagles, with their lone Lenawee County Athletic Association loss by a basket to Blissfield nine days prior, moved back into a tie for first with this win over another co-leader.
5. Muskegon 77, Saginaw 74 – The Big Reds remain unbeaten against in-state competition with this Redhawk Classic nail-biter their third victory by three points or fewer this winter.
With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each division making sparks:
Clarkston (10-1) The cast mostly has changed since the Wolves’ back-to-back Class A titles in 2017 and 2018, but second-year coach Tim Wasilk has Clarkston on a nine-game winning streak and atop the Oakland Activities Association Red standings with recent wins over second-place Ferndale and third-place (tied) North Farmington and West Bloomfield. The team’s only loss was to Orchard Lake St. Mary’s on Dec. 20; Clarkston also owns wins over Detroit Martin Luther King and Flint Carman-Ainsworth.
Flint Southwestern (10-1) The Jaguars are riding a 10-game winning streak after winning a combined seven games over the last two seasons. Their lone loss this winter was to Burton Bendle (10-2) in the season opener, and they handed Croswell-Lexington its only defeat, 53-50, on Dec. 27. Another major test comes tonight against undefeated Bridgeport, and Flint Beecher (11-1) also will provide a valuable measuring stick Feb. 18.
Grand Rapids Catholic Central (11-1) A six-point loss Dec. 17 to still-undefeated Grand Rapids Christian is all that’s kept GRCC from perfect as well this winter – and the Cougars actually entered this week with the top MPR in Division 2, two spots ahead of the Eagles. That’s a credit to GRCC’s body of work, which includes handing the only defeats to Otsego (12-1) and River Rouge (12-1) and nine wins total over teams with records above .500. Saturday’s Floyd Mayweather Classic matchup with Benton Harbor will be the game of the week in this state.
Goodrich (11-1) The Martians’ 46-44 win over Flint Metro League Stripes leader Linden last week arguably was their most impressive of the season, although it also followed up a 45-point win over Clio (11-2). Goodrich leads the Metro League Stars division by two games over the Mustangs and see them again Feb. 28. The Martians’ only loss was a close one, 61-58 in overtime to Carman-Ainsworth (8-4) on Jan. 21.
Detroit Edison (7-3) The Pioneers’ position atop Division 3 MPR is a nod to its impressive schedule and wins over Waterford Mott (10-2) and Detroit Douglass (12-3). Division 1 Clarkston and Detroit Martin Luther King are among opponents coming up, but Edison is plenty familiar with the big powers after losing just 53-50 to still-unbeaten Ann Arbor Huron and 75-58 to Ypsilanti Lincoln. That third defeat came Dec. 16 against reigning Division 4 champion Southfield Christian, 61-52.
Schoolcraft (12-0) The Eagles are making a run at a second-straight season with at least 20 wins, with only a 58-56 overtime victory over Hopkins in the season opener finishing closer than 14 points. Schoolcraft sits atop the Southwestern Athletic Conference Valley standings, two games ahead of second-place Kalamazoo Christian thanks in part to a 51-37 victory Jan. 10. The Eagles also own a win over reigning league champion Kalamazoo Hackett Catholic Prep, 53-26 on Jan. 7
Munising (12-1) The Mustangs are contending with Bark River-Harris atop the Skyline Central Conference Large schools division and defeated Small schools leader Powers North Central 67-31 to close last week. Munising is seeking a fourth-straight league title and hosts Bark River-Harris tonight. The Mustangs also handed Pickford its only loss, 57-47 on Dec. 28, and its only defeat came in a low-scoring 35-20 matchup with Crystal Falls Forest Park on Jan. 16.
Pickford (9-1) Pickford has matched last season’s success after finishing 2018-19 at 9-11. The Panthers have only the loss to Munising during an otherwise unbeaten run. They’ve handed defeats to three nine-win teams – Dearborn Advanced Tech, Rudyard and Pellston – and the 55-54 victory over Advanced Tech was one of two one-pointers Pickford has held on to claim this winter.
Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up:
Tuesday – Portage Central (10-0) at Kalamazoo Central (7-3) – The leaders of the Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference West and East, respectively, face off.
Tuesday – Flint Southwestern (10-1) at Bridgeport (12-0) – This kicks off a week for the Bearcats that also will include games against Unionville-Sebewaing (9-1) and Frankenmuth (9-1).
Wednesday – Beaverton (8-2) at Sanford Meridian (10-2) – The co-leaders in the Jack Pine Conference will meet a second time after Beaverton won the first 40-38 on Dec. 17.
Saturday – Benton Harbor (11-1) vs. Grand Rapids Catholic Central (11-1) at Ottawa Hills – As noted above, this is the game of the week statewide and a potential preview of a playoff showdown.
Saturday – Grand Blanc (10-3) at Muskegon (10-1) – This also could foreshadow a postseason matchup as these are two of the best in Division 1.
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PHOTO: Iron Mountain's Foster Wonders drives to the basket while being defended by Negaunee's Drew Lindberg (23), Will Luke (14), and Chas Kumpula (5) near the end of the second quarter of last week’s matchup. (Photo by Cara Kamps.)
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.