Class C Preview: History Will Be Made
March 21, 2018
By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Regardless of which team emerges as Class C champion Saturday, that crowning moment will conclude quite a story.
At the very least, the winner could be celebrating a first MHSAA boys basketball title in more than two decades.
Detroit Edison and Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central both are seeking not just their first MHSAA titles in boys basketball this weekend, but to play in the championship game for the first time.
Grand Rapids Covenant Christian, meanwhile, was runner-up last season at the Breslin Center but hasn’t won a title since 1994. Maple City Glen Lake, if it wins out, would claim its first since 1977.
Class C Semifinals – Thursday
Detroit Edison (15-10) vs. Grand Rapids Covenant Christian (22-4), noon
Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central (25-0) vs. Maple City Glen Lake (23-2), 2 p.m.
Class C Final – Saturday, 4:30 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: 15-10, honorable mention
League finish: Fourth in Detroit Public School League East Division 1
Coach: Brandon Neely, fifth season (69-44)
Championship history: Has never appeared in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 73-46 over No. 3 Unionville-Sebewaing in Quarterfinal, 63-57 (Regional Semifinal) and 82-45 over Detroit Pershing, 59-51 over Class A honorable mention Detroit Cass Tech, 50-48 over Class A honorable mention Detroit Renaissance, 65-48 over Class A honorable mention Belleville, 83-67 over Class D No. 1 Southfield Christian.
Players to watch: Pierre Mitchell, Jr., 6-0 sr. G (15.3 ppg, 3.2 apg); Gary Solomon, 6-5 sr. G (16.2 ppg, 3.3 apg).
Outlook: Edison is making a second straight trip to the Semifinals after winning its second Regional title last week and this season also winning the Detroit Public School League tournament. The team’s record might look just slightly above average, but eight of those losses were to Class A teams including three team ranked among the top five at the end of the regular season and a fourth that will play in the Semifinals on Friday. Mitchell, Solomon and 6-9 senior Deante Johnson (13.1 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 2.2 bpg) also were starters and standouts a year ago.
GRAND RAPIDS COVENANT CHRISTIAN
Record/rank: 22-4, honorable mention
League finish: Does not play in a league.
Coach: Tyler Schimmel, fourth season (71-25)
Championship history: Three MHSAA titles (most recent 1994), Class C runner-up 2017.
Best wins: 53-30 over honorable mention Sanford Meridian in Quarterfinal, 58-48 over honorable mention Dansville in Regional Final, 53-47 over Grand Rapids Christian.
Players to watch: Carson Meulenberg, 6-6 sr. F (15.4 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 3.2 apg); Tyler Cammenga, 5-8 sr. G (9.2 ppg, 64 3-pointers).
Outlook: Four starters from last season’s Class C championship game loss to Flint Beecher have brought Covenant Christian back this weekend. Meulenberg earned some attention with 20 points in last year’s Final, and Cammenga entered the last week of the season with 64 3-pointers for the second straight year. Senior 6-3 guard Nathan Minderhoud (10.7 ppg) is the team’s second leading scorer, and senior 6-4 forward Trenton Koole adds 7.4 ppg, 5.0 rpg and 3.2 apg. All four losses this winter came to Class B teams that finished with at least 17 wins, including semifinalist Grand Rapids Catholic Central.
MAPLE CITY GLEN LAKE
Record/rank: 23-2, No. 5
League finish: Tied for first in Northwest Conference
Coach: Rich Ruelas, third season (56-14)
Championship history: Two MHSAA titles (most recent 1977), one runner-up finish.
Best wins: 66-49 over No. 4 Iron Mountain in Quarterfinal, 66-32 (Regional Semifinal) and 50-37 over No. 9 McBain, 49-29 over honorable mention Manton in District Semifinal, 54-45 and 52-31 over Class D No. 6 Frankfort.
Players to watch: Xander Okerlund, 6-4 jr. G/F (16.1 ppg, 3.1 apg); Cade Peterson, 6-5 sr. F (14.1 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 3.0 apg, 1.6 bpg).
Outlook: A talented group has Glen Lake at the Semifinals for the first time since finishing Class D runner-up in 1996. The only losses were to league rival Buckley, a semifinalist in Class D. Iron Mountain, falling by 17, came the closest to Glen Lake of any opponent so far this postseason. Some of the same players, including quarterback Peterson and senior starting forward Nick Apsey (a running back/linebacker in the fall), took Glen Lake to the Division 6 Football Final in 2016. Sophomore forward Reece Hazelton adds 13.3 ppg.
MONROE ST. MARY CATHOLIC CENTRAL
Record/rank: 25-0, No. 1
League finish: First in Huron League
Coach: Randy Windham, ninth season (181-37)
Championship history: Has never appeared in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 31-28 over No. 6 Kalamazoo Christian in Quarterfinal, 61-56 over honorable mention Hanover-Horton in Regional Final, 56-44 over No. 7 Ottawa Lake Whiteford in District Final.
Players to watch: C.J. Haut, 6-8 sr. F (18.4 ppg, 11.3 rpg, 2.9 bpg); Hunter Kegley, 5-9 jr. G (15.2 ppg, 68 3-pointers)
Outlook: Monroe St. Mary has been on the verge of a championship run with four Quarterfinal appearances this decade and a Semifinal berth in 2013. The Falcons fell to Edison in last season’s Quarterfinal, but haven’t lost a game since. In fact, the last two games were two of only four decided by single digits this season. Junior 6-4 forward Tyler Welch adds another 10.3 points and 6.9 rebounds per game.
PHOTO: Grand Rapids Covenant Christian’s Carson Meulenberg puts up a shot against Flint Beecher during last season’s Class C Final.
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.)