C-D Preview: Chasing the Champs

March 23, 2016

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Two storylines jump out immediately from this weekend’s MHSAA Class C and D Semifinals at the Breslin Center.

Reigning Class D champion Powers North Central has won 53 straight games – and with two more wins this weekend will tie the fourth-longest streak in MHSAA history and set up a run next winter at Chassell’s record of 65 straight victories.

Reigning Class C champion Flint Beecher, meanwhile, is only going for its fourth championship in five seasons.

Six more teams would love to ruin these scenarios.

All four Class C and D Semifinals will be played Thursday, with all four championship games Saturday. 

Semifinals - Thursday
Class C

Grandville Calvin Christian (20-4) vs. McBain (26-0), 1 p.m. 
Flint Beecher (23-2) vs. Detroit Loyola (21-5), 2:50 p.m.

Class D
Wyoming Tri-unity Christian (20-5) vs. Waterford Our Lady (21-4), 6 p.m. 
Fulton (19-6) vs. Powers North Central (26-0), 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-PLUS. 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 except for Tri-unity Christian’s, which are through 18 games.)

Class C

21-5, honorable mention
League finish: First in Detroit Catholic League AA
Coach: John Buscemi, 12th season (171-75)
Championship history: Has not played in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 58-47 over Hanover-Horton in Quarterfinal, 66-53 over No. 10 Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central in Regional Semifinal, 69-45 over No. 8 Detroit Allen Academy in District Semifinal, 56-49 over Detroit Martin Luther King.
Players to watch: Romari Ennis, 5-11 sr. G (13.4 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 3.2 spg); Dequan Powell, 5-10 sr. G (13.4 ppg, 4.1 rpg).
Outlook: Loyola is no longer just a football school. The Bulldogs built on their third District title in eight seasons with a first Regional championship and will be prepared for more having faced a schedule loaded with larger schools – after falling to Southfield Christian by nine in its opener, Loyola’s other four losses were by a combined eight points to three Class A teams and a Class B. Sophomore guard Pierre Mitchell adds another 11.1 points per game to a balanced starting five.

23-2, No. 2
League finish: First in Genesee Area Conference Red
Coach: Mike Williams, 12th season (229-71)
Championship history: Six MHSAA titles (most recent 2015), four runner-up finishes.
Best wins: 72-45 over honorable mention Ithaca in Quarterfinal, 78-65 over No. 9 Southfield Christian in Regional Final, 68-62 over Flint Hamady in District Quarterfinal, 58-48 over Class B No. 6 River Rouge, 72-69 over Class A No. 6 Detroit East English.
Players to watch: Malik Ellison, 5-8 jr. G (statistics not submitted); Levane Blake, 6-8 jr. C (statistics not submitted).
Outlook: Beecher has returned to the elite and then some under Williams, who will attempt to lead the Bucs to their fourth title in five seasons. Ellison, Blake and 6-4 senior guard Aquavius Burks all started in last season’s Final as well and key a lineup that lost this season only to reigning Class A champion Detroit Western International and current top-ranked Class A Detroit U-D Jesuit.

20-4, unranked
League finish: Third in Ottawa-Kent Conference Silver
Coach: Ryan Stevens, 18th season (269-146)
Championship history: Class C champion 1994, Class B runner-up 1992.
Best wins: 64-42 over No. 5 Kalamazoo Hackett in Quarterfinal, 39-35 over Muskegon Heights in Regional Final, 52-45 over Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian in District Final, 63-52 over Class D No. 8 Wyoming Tri-unity Christian, 59-52 over Hudsonville Unity Christian.
Players to watch: Tony DeWitte, 6-2 sr. G (18.2 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 3.3 apg); Blake Verbeek, 6-9 soph. C (11.7 ppg, 8.3 rpg).
Outlook: Calvin Christian will play in its first Semifinal since the championship season of 1994, with DeWitte pacing a group that has improved eight wins from a year ago. The Squires avenged two of their regular-season losses by beating reigning Class C runner-up NorthPointe during the District, and their other two losses came to reigning Class B champion Wyoming Godwin Heights. Senior guard Braden Stevens adds another 9.4 points and 3.3 assists per game for a lineup that sees all five starters average at least six ppg.

26-0, No. 3
League finish: First in Highland Conference
Coach: Bruce Koopman, 22nd season (408-116)
Championship history: Class C champion 2002, runner-up 2011.
Best wins: 60-55 over No. 7 Beaverton in Regional Semifinal, 61-54 over Class D No. 5 Frankfort, 55-52 over Big Rapids.
Players to watch: Craig Sterk, 6-7 jr. F (15.1 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 2.2 bpg); Cole Powell, 6-3 sr. G (14.4 ppg, 6.0 rpg); Logan Elling, 6-0 jr. G (14.4 ppg, 54 3-pointers).
Outlook: McBain is nearly a regular during the final week of the season and is back in the Semifinals for the first time since 2011 with its best record at this point during Koopman’s impressive run. Only five games have been closer than 10 points, and three of those five came over the last three weeks. In addition to the three double-figures scorers, five more players average between 3-5 ppg in providing the Ramblers with reliable depth.

Class D 

19-6, unranked
League finish: Second in Central Michigan Athletic Conference
Coach: Todd Walden, 19th season (249-178)
Championship history: Class D runner-up 2011.
Best wins: 51-41 over No. 6 Bellaire in Quarterfinal, 66-54 over Baldwin in Regional Semifinal, 55-42 over Fowler in District Final.
Players to watch: Colton Antes, 6-0 sr. G (19.4 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 2.9, apg, 92 3-pointers); Caleb Walden, 5-11 jr. G (9.3 ppg, 44 3-pointers).
Outlook: Fulton is making its third Semifinal appearance in six seasons and second straight, and like a year ago is dangerous to every opponent because of its ability to shoot from the perimeter – Antes will finish this winter with entries on the MHSAA single-season and career lists for 3-pointers. All of the losses were to Class C teams, and the Pirates have won 10 of their last 11 games overall.

26-0, No. 1
League finish: First in Skyline Central Conference West
Coach: Adam Mercier, 10th season (158-78)
Championship history: Class D champions 2015 and 1984.
Best wins: 75-52 over Onaway in Quarterfinal, 75-45 (Regional Final), 64-61 and 68-54 over No. 4 Crystal Falls Forest Park, 79-54 over No. 6 Lake Linden-Hubbell in Regional Semifinal, 60-48 and 64-60 over Menominee.
Players to watch: Jason Whitens, 6-5 jr. G (22.2 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 5.8 apg); Dawson Bilski, 6-2 jr. G (15.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 4.9 apg, 3.1 spg, 2.0 bpg).
Outlook: Powers North Central hasn’t lost since the 2014 Quarterfinals and shows no signs of slowing with its two leading players both juniors. As makes sense for a team averaging 76 points per game, Whitens and Bilski get plenty of help – junior Bobby Kleiman adds 10.5 points, while seniors Troy Ekberg and Morgan Cox round out the starters at 8.4 and 7.3 ppg, respectively, and top-scoring junior sub Marcus Krachinski averages 6.9. The only scare came in the four-point win over Menominee; the Jets have won their tournament games by an average of 35 points per.  

20-4, No. 3
League finish: First in Detroit Catholic League Intersectional #1
Coach: Paul Robak, third season (63-10)
Championship history: Has never played in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 52-46 (Quarterfinal) and 61-58 over Marine City Cardinal Mooney, 58-46 and 48-46 over Royal Oak Shrine, 83-68 over Macomb Lutheran North.
Players to watch: Andrew Kline, 6-4 sr. G (18.5 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 5.7 apg, 3.1 spg); Devin Senerius, 6-2 sr. G (11.9 ppg, 4.1 rpg).
Outlook: After making the Semifinals last season for the first time since 1993, Our Lady is back for a second straight year and with three starters returning after finishing a point from making its first championship game. The Lakers bounced back big this time after losing the final two games of the regular season. Senior forward Clay Senerius joined Devin and Kline as starters in 2015 and averages 6.3 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game, while freshmen guard Noah Robak averages 9.2 and three others average 4-6 ppg.

20-5, tied for No. 8
League finish: Does not play in a league.
Coach: Mark Keeler, 29th season (546-168)
Championship history: Four MHSAA titles (most recent 2011), four runner-up finishes.
Best wins: 54-43 over Adrian Lenawee Christian in Quarterfinal, 65-60 (District Semifinal) and 41-39 over honorable mention Wyoming Potter’s House Christian, 58-57 (OT) over Lansing Christian.
Players to watch: Willie Otole, 6-0 sr. G (15.1 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 2.9 apg); Braydon Sherrod, 6-2 jr. F (10.2 ppg, 7.6 rpg).
Outlook: Tri-unity is back at Breslin after last finishing runner-up in 2013, and with a team featuring only two seniors in Otole and starting guard Javi Cuevas. The Defenders have won 10 of their last 11 after falling to Class C semifinalist Grandville Calvin Christian on Feb. 12, with the only loss since to Class A Grand Rapids Kenowa Hills. Junior guard Collin Rosendall adds another 11.1 points per game.

The Boys Basketball Finals are presented by Sparrow Health System.

PHOTO: Powers North Central locks down Onaway's offense during Tuesday's Quarterfinal win. (Photo by Paul Gerard.)

Clarkston's Loyer Leaves All-Time Legacy with 25 Record Book Listings

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

September 22, 2023

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.

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.