C-D Preview: All Eyes on Thursday

March 22, 2017

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

It's rare that Michigan's smallest schools are the headliners of the MHSAA's Boys Basketball Finals. 

But as the final weekend of the tournament gets underway Thursday, the evening session's first game arguably is the most intriguing matchup of the entire event. 

Two-time reigning Class D champion Powers North Central will try to extend the longest active winning streak in the country against a recent three-time champion in Southfield Christian that played in Class C the last two seasons. The Jets have won 81 straight games, breaking the MHSAA record with their 66th straight victory earlier this winter. 

That's just one of what should be an entertaining collection of games in Class C and D this weekend. All four Class C and D Semifinals will be played Thursday, with all four championship games Saturday. 

Semifinals - Thursday
Class C

Detroit Edison PSA (14-11) vs. Flint Beecher (21-5), 1 p.m. 
Grand Rapids Covenant Christian (20-5) vs. Manton (21-4), 2:50 p.m.

Class D
Powers North Central (26-0) vs. Southfield Christian (21-5), 6 p.m. 
Lansing Christian (19-6) vs. Buckley (25-0), 7:50 p.m.

Finals - Saturday
Class A - Noon
Class B - 6:30 p.m.
Class C - 4:30 p.m. 
Class D - 10 a.m.

Tickets cost $8 per pair of Semifinals and $10 per two-game Finals session. All Semifinals will be streamed live on MHSAA.tv on a pay-per-view basis. All four Finals will be broadcast live on Fox Sports Detroit. Free radio broadcasts of all weekend games will be available on MHSAANetwork.com.

And now, a look at the semifinalists in Class C and D. Click on the name of the school to see that team’s full schedule and results from this season. (Statistics are through teams' Regional Finals.) The Boys Basketball Finals are presented by Sparrow Health System.

Class C

14-11, unranked
League finish: Third in Detroit Public School League East Division 1
Coach: Brandon Neely, fourth season (56-33) 
Championship history: Has never appeared in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 61-48 over No. 2 Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central in the Quarterfinal, 66-60 over Detroit Cornerstone Health & Technology in the Regional Final, 57-51 over Detroit Martin Luther King, 99-81 over Class A honorable mention Detroit East English, 68-67 over Detroit Osborn. 
Players to watch: Pierre Mitchell, Jr., 6-0 jr G; Gary Solomon, 6-5 jr. G (Statistics not submitted).
Outlook: Edison won its first Regional title to advance to this week and will now try to follow the example of its girls team, which won the Class C championship last weekend. The Pioneers joined the PSL this season and split with Class A King and East English and Class B quarterfinalist Osborn – and also avenged an earlier 26-point loss to Cornerstone by winning the Regional Final. Solomon made the all-state first team, and Mitchell earned an honorable mention.

21-5, Tied for No. 4
League finish: First in Genesee Area Conference Red
Coach: Mike Williams, 13th season (250-76)
Championship history: Seven MHSAA titles (most recent 2016), four runner-up finishes.
Best wins: 59-57 over Class A No. 6 Detroit U-D Jesuit, 72-57 and 88-63 over Lake Fenton, 63-54, 77-73 and 80-64 (District Quarterfinal) over Flint Hamady. 
Players to watch: Malik Ellison, 5-7 sr. G (23.8 ppg, 64 3-pointers); Jordan Roland, 5-11 sr. G (12.6 ppg); Levane Blake, 6-7 sr. C (7.7 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 3.7 bpg).
Outlook: Beecher has won the last two Class C championships and four of the last five, and enters with the Class C Player of the Year from The Associated Press in Ellison – who with Blake and Roland started in last season’s championship game (Ellison and Blake also started in the 2015 Final). Blake and Roland both earned all-state honorable mentions this season to go with Ellison’s top honor. The losses were all to Class A and B teams, including B semifinalist New Haven (in triple overtime) and reigning champion Detroit Henry Ford

20-5, unranked
League finish: Does not play in a league.
Coach: Tyler Schimmel, third season (48-20)
Championship history: Class D champion in 1994, 1993 and 1973. 
Best wins: 51-50 over Muskegon Heights Academy in the Regional Final, 56-52 (2OT) over No. 7 Pewamo-Westphalia in the Regional Semifinal, 80-67 over Class D No. 8 Lansing Christian, 61-47 over Spring Lake. 
Players to watch: Carson Meulenberg, 6-6 jr. F (13.4 ppg, 6.5 rpg); Benji Kuiper, 6-0 sr. G (10.6 ppg, 49 3-pointers, 5.1 apg).
Outlook: Covenant Christian is back at the Semifinals for the first time since 1994 and for the first time ever as a Class C school. The Chargers played a regular-season schedule filled with larger schools, making their streak of 13 wins over their last 14 games especially impressive. Kuiper earned an all-state honorable mention and distributes to a starting lineup with four juniors. In addition to Kuiper’s sharp-shooting, teammate Tyler Cammenga had 64 3-pointers entering the week; he and forward Trenton Koole both add 9.1 ppg.

21-4, unranked
League finish: Second in Highland Conference
Coach: Ryan Hiller, 11th season (123-119)
Championship history: Class C (Lower Peninsula) champion 1946, Class C runner-up 1996.  
Best wins: 51-49 (OT) over Negaunee in the Quarterfinal, 54-48 over No. 1 McBain in the Regional Final, 58-32 over Beaverton, 52-48 over Petoskey, 76-72 over Traverse City West. 
Players to watch: Jayden Perry, 5-7 jr. G (16 ppg, 53 3-pointers); Hunter Ruell, 5-8 jr. G (12.7 ppg, 3.6 apg, 50 3-pointers). 
Outlook: Manton’s only two losses over its last 17 games were to undefeated Buckley and McBain, which Manton then upset during the tournament. The Rangers have increased their win total for four straight seasons. Perry earned an all-state honorable mention and has the most attempts among a trip of sharp shooters – in addition to Perry and Ruell, sophomore guard Trevor Salani also had 48-pointers entering the week and averages 11 points per game.

Class D

25-0, No. 4
League finish: First in Northwest Conference
Coach: Blair Moss, fourth season (53-36)
Championship history: Has never appeared in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 48-37 over Wyoming Tri-unity Christian in the Quarterfinal, 50-38 and 56-41 over No. 8 Frankfort, 77-73 over Manton, 78-39 and 63-60 over Maple City Glen Lake.
Players to watch: Denver Cade, 6-2 jr. G (21 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 3.6 apg); Austin Harris, 6-3 jr. C (18.5 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 5.5 apg, 2.4 bpg).
Outlook: Buckley has advanced to its first Semifinals with only two wins by fewer than 10 points this season and without a senior in the starting lineup. The Bears set the tone with a District title in 2016, and have simply dominated led by Cade, an all-state first-team selection, and honorable mention pick Harris. Those two also had combined for 103 3-pointers heading into this week, both making more than half their attempts from behind the arc. Junior guard Joe Weber adds another 10.9 points and 3.5 assists per game.

19-6, Tied for No. 8
League finish: Tied for first in Greater Lansing Activities Conference
Coach: Chris Mustaine, first season (19-6) 
Championship history: Has never appeared in an MHSAA Final.  
Best wins: 63-36 over Webberville in the District Semifinal, 74-63 over Olivet, 54-39 over Wyoming Tri-unity Christian, 56-42 over Leslie.
Players to watch: Matt Havey, 6-1 sr. G (17.9 ppg, 58 3-pointers); Preston Granger, 6-4 sr. C (15.4 ppg, 7.2 rpg).
Outlook: Lansing Christian is back at the Breslin Center for the first time since 2013 and after bouncing back from a brief lull at the end of the regular season. The Pilgrims dropped three of their final four games before the playoffs, but stormed back to win all of their tournament games by at least 10 points. Havey is an impressive shooter; the all-state first-teamer was hitting 42 percent of his 3-point tries entering the week. Granger also earned an all-state honorable mention, and senior guard Forrest Bouyer adds 10 points, 6.2 assists and 3.9 steals per game.

26-0, No. 1
League finish: First in Skyline Central Conference West
Coach: Adam Mercier, 11th season (186-78)
Championship history: Class D champions 2016, 2015 and 1984.
Best wins: 74-61 over No. 3 Hillman in the Quarterfinal, 75-73 over Dollar Bay in the Regional Semifinal, 76-29, 84-52 and 79-60 (District Final) over No. 7 Bark River-Harris.
Players to watch: Jason Whitens, 6-5 sr. G (22.6 ppg, 11.1 rpg, 6.1 apg, 3.1 spg); Dawson Bilski, 6-3 sr. G (19.7 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 4.0 apg).
Outlook: North Central has now won 81 straight games, including through two straight Class D title runs. Whitens was named Class D co-Player of the Year by The Associated Press and was a Mr. Basketball Award finalist, and Bilski also made the all-state first team. They’ve both started on all three Breslin teams, while senior guard Bobby Kleiman (10.6 ppg) was a main sub the last two seasons and senior guard Marcus Krachinski (10.6 ppg) played a big role off the bench during last season’s run. A number of players also were part of the last two 8-player football MHSAA champions. Bilski will continue next season at Michigan Tech, and Whitens is choosing from a number of college options.

21-5, No. 2
League finish: First in Michigan Independent Athletic Conference Blue
Coach: Josh Baker, sixth season (110-18)
Championship history: Class D champions 2014, 2013 and 2012.
Best wins: 64-42 over No. 10 Fowler in the Quarterfinal, 72-65 over North Farmington, 87-77 over West Bloomfield, 73-55 over Detroit Cornerstone Health & Technology.
Players to watch: Bryce Washington, 6-3 jr. G (18.5 ppg, 7.0 rpg); Brock Washington, 6-4 sr. G (13.1 ppg, 6.6 rpg).
Outlook: Southfield Christian played in Class C the last two seasons and won two District titles, and returns to Class D with plenty of star power again. Washington was named co-Player of the Year with Whitens, and Brock Washington also made the all-state first team. Sophomore guards Harlond Beverly (12.4 ppg) and Caleb Hunter (11.6) also offer scoring punch, and all four had at least 22 3-pointers this season entering this week. Three losses came to Class A teams, and the other two came to teams in Class B including one to semifinalist River Rouge. 

PHOTO: Powers North Central's Bobby Kleiman (21) drives around a Bark River-Harris defender during their first matchup this season. (Photo by Paul Gerard)

Breslin Bound: 2022-23 Boys Quarterfinal Preview

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

March 21, 2023

It finally feels like spring, at least here in East Lansing. And tonight, 32 teams will attempt to build into their spring breaks a trip to Breslin Center.


MI Student Aid

Below is a glance at all 16 of tonight’s Quarterfinals across four divisions, with all games tipping off at 7 p.m. unless noted. Winners advance to Thursday and Friday’s Semifinals, and we’ll detail the teams more then as we preview those concluding rounds of this year’s tournament.

“Breslin Bound” is powered by MI Student Aid.

Division 1

Ann Arbor Huron (23-2) vs. Detroit Cass Tech (25-1) at University of Detroit Mercy, 5:30 p.m.

After an early postseason exit last season, 2021 Division 1 runner-up Huron has put together another deep playoff run. Sophomore guard Macari Moore leads three players averaging double-digit scoring at 17 points per game. After winning its first Regional title last season since 1998, Cass Tech is back at the Quarterfinals for a second straight March. Darius Acuff is another super sophomore, also leading three double-digit scorers at 21.6 ppg to go with 5.8 assists per contest.

Grand Blanc (24-2) vs. Rochester Adams (17-8) at Lake Orion

Last season’s runner-up is two wins away from playing for another title, but this time the Bobcats are led by first-year coach Tory Jackson. Seniors Tae Boyd (15.4 ppg) and RJ Taylor (14.3) are a strong 1-2 punch. Adams is coming off its first Regional title in this sport, with junior 6-foot-7 football standout Brady Prieskorn among top contributors for a Highlanders hoops team that has won seven of its last nine games.

Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (14-10) vs. Warren De La Salle (17-8) at University of Detroit Mercy

These Detroit Catholic League Central rivals will meet for the third time, with St. Mary’s winning the first matchup by 17 on Jan. 10 and the reigning Division 1 champion Pilots taking the rematch by 12 on Jan. 31. Sophomore Trey McKenney is a force at 25.5 points and 11.1 rebounds per game for the Eaglets, while Phoenix Glassnor is another sophomore standout leading De La Salle at 18.4 ppg.

Muskegon (24-2) vs. East Lansing (16-9) at Caledonia

East Lansing has won six straight and 12 of its last 14 games, with three of those wins over opponents responsible for four of their losses this winter. Only one starter is a senior, and sophomore Cameron Hutson leads the way at 19.3 ppg. Muskegon is in the midst of a ninth 20-win season over the last decade and earned its first Regional title since 2015. Senior Jordan Briggs (18.7 ppg) has qualified for the MHSAA single-season record list with 84 3-pointers, connecting on nearly 40 percent of his tries from beyond the arc.

Division 2

Cadillac (22-4) vs. Saginaw (20-6) at Alma

The Trojans are seeking their first Semifinal appearance since 2013 and have lost only to Division 1 opponents this season, with guard Javarie Holliday leading a mostly senior-powered lineup at 15.8 ppg. Cadillac also won its Regional last season and is seeking to return to the Semifinals for the first time since 2015, with 6-6 junior Charlie Howell the leading scorer (15.3 ppg) and rebounder (7.4 rpg).

Ferndale (18-8) vs. Goodrich (22-4) at Lake Orion, 5:30 p.m.

The Eagles are working to reach Breslin and the Semifinals for a third-straight season and have won 13 of their last 14 games while navigating a power-packed schedule again this winter. Senior Chris Williams leads a balanced lineup at 13.5 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. Goodrich is a combined 93-20 over the last five seasons and playing to make the Semifinals for the first time with senior Jack Locey (18.6 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 3.2 apg, 2.0 spg, 45 3-pointers) among those filling the stat sheet.

Hudsonville Unity Christian (18-9) vs. Grand Rapids South Christian (23-3) at Calvin University

These rivals will be filling Calvin for a rematch after South Christian won the regular-season meeting 58-50 on Dec. 16. The bad news for the Sailors is they lost leading scorer Carson Vis (17.7 ppg) to injury in the Regional Final, but senior Jacob DeHaan (13 ppg) leads three others averaging at least 8.9 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Unity has won 11 of its last 12 games, with two-point upsets of Grand Rapids Catholic Central and Grand Rapids Christian along the way. Juniors Trayton Fisher and Colin Neiuwenhuis both average about 11.5 points per game and have combined for 97 3-pointers.

Chelsea (21-5) vs. Romulus Summit Academy (24-2) at Milan

These are two more teams looking to reach the Semifinals for the first time, Summit having played in a Quarterfinal as recently as 2021 and Chelsea’s last trip to the season’s final week in 2000. Juniors Jacob Stephens (22.7 ppg) and Joseph Cabana (22.2) set a strong pace for the Bulldogs. The Dragons have doubled up all four of their postseason opponents so far and done the same in 16 wins total this winter.

Tri-unity Christian’s Roy Fogg pulls in a loose ball during his team’s Regional championship victory over Lansing Christian.

Division 3

Detroit Loyola (25-1) vs. Flint Beecher (21-4) at Waterford Mott

A 67-58 loss to Division 1 Flint Carman-Ainsworth on Jan. 29 remains the only defeat on Loyola’s list this winter. All five starters are seniors, with Dashawn Martin (15.1 ppg) leading three averaging double-figure scoring. Beecher’s losses were to Division 1 and 2 opponents, including three playing tonight. Robert Lee leads a senior-dominated lineup at 24.1 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game as the Bucs attempt to make the Semifinals for a third-straight season.

Laingsburg (25-0) vs. Ecorse (19-4) at Ypsilanti Lincoln

The Wolfpack’s closest game this season was seven points, its Regional Semifinal win against Jonesville, as it attempts to reach Breslin for the first time since 2013. Junior Zander Woodruff is averaging more than a point per minute of playing time, leading at 24.4 ppg. Ecorse is seeking a return trip to the Semifinals and has won 17 of its last 18 games. Senior guard Malik Olafioye also is putting the finishing touches on a high-scoring career.

St. Ignace (22-4) vs. Traverse City St. Francis (22-4) at Gaylord

St. Ignace is playing in its first Quarterfinal since 2001, seeking to reach the Semifinals for the first time since 1983. Junior Jonny Ingalls (22.4 ppg) leads three Saints averaging at least 13, plus he’s dishing 5.4 assists per game. St. Francis has won 11 of its last 12 games with that lone loss to Cadillac (see above) in overtime in the regular-season finale. Senior Wyatt Nausadis has paced the scoring at 20.1 ppg after quarterbacking the football team to a Division 7 runner-up finish in the fall.

Pewamo-Westphalia (19-6) vs. Niles Brandywine (24-2) at Portage Central

Brandywine has reached the final week for the first time with its first Regional title, and its only losses this season remain against Division 2 Benton Harbor. Junior Jaremiah Palmer leads a lineup with four players averaging at least 9.7 ppg at 12.9 per game. P-W is making its second-straight Quarterfinal appearance after edging North Muskegon by three and then Grandville Calvin Christian by two last week. Senior Jamison Eklund is averaging 22.8 points and 7.7 rebounds per game.

Division 4

Painesdale Jeffers (25-1) vs. Munising (24-1) at Negaunee

The Upper Peninsula is guaranteed to send a one-loss team downstate to the Division 4 Semifinals, and for both programs it would be a first-time trip. Jeffers is playing its first Quarterfinal, and Munising its first since 1954. Junior Levi Frahm leads four Jets scoring in double digits at 20.5 ppg, while senior Kane Nebel is surrounded by a similar balanced attack and leads four double-digit scorers at 15.8 ppg.

Taylor Trillium Academy (21-3) vs. Marine City Cardinal Mooney (15-11) at West Bloomfield

Trillium is another first-time Regional champion, taking this step after falling just a four-point loss shy of reaching the Quarterfinals a year ago. Senior DaMaryon Fishburn is averaging 22.7 points, 9.9 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game for the Wildcats, and junior Keymarryon Fishburn adds 15.3 ppg. Cardinal Mooney has won seven of its last nine games to reach the Quarterfinals for the first time since 2016 and after falling in Regional Finals the last two seasons – avenging the 2022 loss to Genesee Christian to advance. Senior Trent Rice leads three double-digit scorers at 12.9 ppg.

Frankfort (17-8) vs. Hillman (22-4) at Gaylord, 5 p.m.

Frankfort is another team on a nice streak with eight wins over its last nine games including 50-44 over 2022 semifinalist Lake Leelanau St. Mary in last week’s Regional Final. Senior Emmerson Farmer and sophomore Carter Kerby supply the backcourt with between 10-11 ppg apiece. This will be Hillman’s fourth Quarterfinal over the last nine seasons as the Tigers seek their first Semifinal trip. Trenton Taratuta is a big-time scorer averaging 27.4 ppg with 60 3-pointers but also 9.7 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 5.2 steals per game.

Wyoming Tri-unity Christian (20-6) vs. Kalamazoo Phoenix (17-2) at Richland Gull Lake

This is a familiar spot for Tri-unity Christian, the reigning Division 4 champion. All five starters average between 6-13 ppg and four have high games of at least 20 points this season; senior Roy Fogg tops both lists at 13 ppg and 25, respectively. This is new territory for Phoenix, which won one game just two seasons ago but has won 10 in a row heading into this week. Senior Cameron Lewis-Atkins (19.9 ppg) leads five players averaging 11 or more points per game. Phoenix avenged one of its losses, to Eau Claire, in the Regional Semifinal.

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PHOTOS (Top) A fan holds up a sign supporting Painesdale Jeffers between the third and fourth quarters of last week’s Regional Final win over Stephenson. (Middle) Tri-unity Christian’s Roy Fogg pulls in a loose ball during his team’s Regional championship victory over Lansing Christian. (Top photo by Cara Kamps; middle photo by High School Sports Scene.)