Class B Preview: Can't-Miss Matchups
March 21, 2018
By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Class B could feature the most entertaining matchups of this weekend’s Boys Basketball Finals at Michigan State University’s Breslin Center.
From one side of the bracket will emerge a longtime power – Benton Harbor, seeking its first title in more than a half century, or 14-time winner River Rouge.
On the other side, reigning champion New Haven is coming off its first MHSAA title and looking to repeat led by star junior Romeo Weems – who will surely get some time facing Grand Rapids Catholic Central standout Marcus Bingham, Jr., as the latter works to lead his team to its first Finals championship in this sport.
Class B Semifinals – Friday
Benton Harbor (25-1) vs. River Rouge (23-1), 5:30 p.m.
New Haven (26-0) vs. Grand Rapids Catholic Central (23-2), 7:30 p.m.
Class B Final – Saturday, 6:45 p.m.
Tickets cost $10 per pair of Semifinals and $10 per two-game Finals session (Class C and Class B). All Semifinals will be streamed live on MHSAA.tv and viewable on a pay-per-view basis. The Class D, A and C championship games will be broadcast live on Fox Sports Detroit, while the Class B Final will be shown on Fox Sports Detroit on a delayed basis at 10:30 p.m. Saturday. All four championship games will be streamed live on FoxSportsDetroit.com and the FOX Sports Go! app. Free radio broadcasts of all weekend games will be available on MHSAANetwork.com.
Below is a glance at all four semifinalists. 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.)
Record/rank: 25-1, No. 3
League finish: Does not play in a league.
Coach: Corey Sterling, sixth season (112-37)
Championship history: Three MHSAA titles (most recent 1965), seven runner-up finishes.
Best wins: 71-51 over No. 8 Williamston in Quarterfinal, 67-52 over honorable mention Hudsonville Unity Christian in Regional Semifinal, 77-49 (District Semifinal) and 55-46 over honorable mention Coloma.
Players to watch: Carlos Johnson, 6-6 soph. F (18.3 ppg, 13.1 rpg, 5.2 apg, 3.1 bpg); Shawn Hopkins, 6-4 sr. F (15.7 ppg, 11.4 rpg, 3.1 apg).
Outlook: Benton Harbor was Class B runner-up in 2014 and made the Semifinals a year ago, and Johnson and Hopkins starred for last season’s team as well. Senior guard Elijah Baxter (9.7 ppg, 6.7 apg) also started last season. Senior guards Dennie Brown and Devan Nichols both average just above 10 ppg as well, and total six players this winter average at least 8.8. The only loss was to Class A Hazel Park, which finished 18-3.
GRAND RAPIDS CATHOLIC CENTRAL
Record/rank: 23-2, No. 7
League finish: First in Ottawa-Kent Conference Blue
Coach: T.J. Meerman, fifth season (73-43)
Championship history: Has never appeared in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 63-52 (Regional Semifinal), 80-39 and 59-40 over honorable mention Spring Lake, 73-49 over Grand Rapids Christian, 90-84 over Detroit Country Day.
Players to watch: Marcus Bingham, Jr., 6-11 sr. F (16.8 ppg, 10 rpg, 3.7 bpg); Jacob Polakovich, 6-8 sr. F (14.2 ppg, 10.5 ppg).
Outlook: GRCC has won at least 20 games for the second straight season and upped its win total the last four under Meerman on the way to its first Semifinal since 1992. Bingham was a Mr. Basketball Award finalist and is plenty to handle – but he has lots of help as well. In addition to Polakovich in the post, junior guard Darrell Belcher is putting up 14 points per game, and junior guard Austin Braun is averaging 7.8 points and 7.5 assists per game.
Record/rank: 26-0, No. 1
League finish: First in Macomb Area Conference Blue
Coach: Tedaro France II, 10th season (185-57)
Championship history: Class B champion 2017.
Best wins: 78-72 over No. 5 Bridgeport in Quarterfinal, 92-74 over Detroit Country Day in Regional Final, 81-70 over Class C honorable mention Flint Beecher, 82-62 over Warren DeLaSalle, 74-57 over St. Clair Shores South Lake.
Players to watch: Romeo Weems, 6-7 jr. G/F (23.5 ppg, 11.8 rpg, 5.7 apg, 5.1 spg, 2.5 bpg), Tavares Oliver, Jr., 6-0 sr. G (16.8 ppg, 3.2 apg, 65 3-pointers).
Outlook: New Haven is in the Semifinals for the second straight season and second time ever – and has won 52 straight games. Weems nearly had a quintuple-double this season and will be one of the most anticipated players for fans this weekend. Senior forward Ashton Sherrell (15.7 ppg, 8.5 rpg) and junior guard Ronald Jeffery III (12 ppg, 3.1 apg) round out the majority of an offense outscoring opponents by 32 points per game.
Record/rank: 23-1, No. 4
League finish: First in Michigan Metro Athletic Conference Blue
Coach: Mark White, second season (47-3)
Championship history: 14 MHSAA titles (most recent 1999), five runner-up finishes.
Best wins: 50-43 over honorable mention Detroit Old Redford in Regional Final, 59-44 over Dearborn Divine Child in Quarterfinal, 75-32 over St. Clair Shores South Lake in Regional Semifinal, 48-42, 56-45 and 77-45 over Harper Woods. Players to watch: Jayvien Torrance-Jackson, 6-1 sr. G; Bralin Toney, 5-10 jr. G. (Statistics not submitted.).
Outlook: River Rouge is back at the Semifinals for the second straight season and after a one-point overtime last time loss kept it from a first championship game berth since 1999. Torrance-Jackson not only is the only starter back from that team, but also the only senior on this one. Toney also saw time off the bench in last season’s Semifinal and joins him in the backcourt, while the frontcourt includes two 6-6 post players. The lone loss this winter was to Class D semifinalist Southfield Christian.
PHOTO: New Haven’s Romeo Weems puts up a block as Bridgeport’s Charles Garrett drives during Tuesday’s Quarterfinal. (Photo by Terry Lyons.)
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.
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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.)