Breslin Bound: Boys Report Week 9
February 5, 2013
By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Being successful in the MHSAA Tournament can be all about playing well at the right time.
Some of the records for teams on this week's list of high performers aren't too pretty. But if these teams can keep up their strong play the rest of this month, postseason foes better beware.
Results and overall records below again are drawn from our MHSAA Score Center. The Breslin Bound report will not be published next week but will return Feb. 18
1. Saginaw Valley Lutheran (10-4) – The Class C Chargers beat two strong B teams, Bridgeport and Saginaw Swan Valley, in Tri-Valley Conference crossovers last week; Valley Lutheran had lost to Bridgeport by 24 on opening night.
2. Macomb L’Anse Creuse North (12-1) – The Crusaders have won 11 straight to take control in the Macomb Area Conference Red and last week finished a sweep of Macomb Dakota.
3. Battle Creek Central (11-2) – The Bearcats' two losses came over a four-game span to Richland Gull Lake and Holt; they avenged the first by beating Gull Lake 50-45 on Friday.
4. Covert (9-2) – The Bulldogs weren't their usually-powerful selves in finishing 11-13 last season, but they've won five straight and could soon eclipse last year’s win total.
5. East Jackson (9-4) – The Trojans have bounced back from three straight losses with four straight wins, including victories over solid Napoleon and Vandercook Lake.
6. Cass City (9-4) – The Red Hawks need one more win to tie last season’s total and are second in the Greater Thumb Conference West; they got one win closer to first by beating league leader Reese 52-47 last week.
7. Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (6-7) – Don’t forget about the Eaglets despite their sub-.500 record; St. Mary’s has won four of its last five and beat Detroit Catholic League Central leader Detroit U-D Jesuit 77-72 last week.
8. Powers North Central (9-2) – The Jets have won five straight and beat Carney-Nadeau 52-49 last week to avenge their first loss of this season.
9. Williamston (7-6) – The Hornets have been up and down, starting 0-3, and now winning three straight for a second time. This streak includes a victory over impressive Class A DeWitt last week.
10. Paw Paw (8-5) – The Redskins have won four straight and five of their last six, and during this streak avenged an opening-night loss to Vicksburg with a 17-point victory.
PHOTO: Class C Saginaw Valley Lutheran got two wins over Class B teams during last week's league crossovers. (Click to see more at HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)
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.