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.
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.)
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.