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
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.
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.)
Record/rank: 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.
Record/rank: 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.
GRANDVILLE CALVIN CHRISTIAN
Record/rank: 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.
Record/rank: 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.
Record/rank: 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.
POWERS NORTH CENTRAL
Record/rank: 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.
WATERFORD OUR LADY
Record/rank: 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.
WYOMING TRI-UNITY CHRISTIAN
Record/rank: 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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)