Class A Preview: Contenders Peaking

March 22, 2018

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

This weekend’s Class A bracket could be full of surprises. We’ve already had a few.

Not shocking to anyone: Reigning champion Clarkston is back and the team to beat.

But the three that will try include two traveling to the Semifinals for the first time – Holland West Ottawa and Novi – and another, Warren DeLaSalle, that avenged three losses to a nemesis to earn this opportunity.  

Class A Semifinals – Friday
Warren DeLaSalle (19-7) vs. Clarkston (24-1), noon
Holland West Ottawa (24-2) vs. Novi (17-8), 2 p.m.

Class A Final – Saturday, 12:15 p.m.

Tickets cost $10 per pair of Semifinals and $10 per two-game Finals session (Class D and Class A). All Semifinals will be streamed live on 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 and the FOX Sports Go! app. Free radio broadcasts of all weekend games will be available on

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.)

24-1, No. 1
League finish: First in Oakland Activities Association Red
Coach: Dan Fife, 36th season (701-170)
Championship history: Class A champion 2017. 
Best wins: 52-31 (Quarterfinal) and 72-67 over No. 6 Flint Carman-Ainsworth, 48-38 and 70-39 over No. 4 Hazel Park, 66-65 over Wayne Memorial.
Players to watch: Foster Loyer, 6-0 sr. G (25.6 ppg, 6.0 apg, 77 3-pointers); CJ Robinson, 5-11 sr. G (13.8 ppg, 57 3-pointers); Taylor Currie, 6-9 sr. C (13.1 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 1.5 bpg).
Outlook: Coming off its first championship, Clarkston almost assuredly is the favorite again and has been rarely challenged – even when Loyer missed the second Hazel Park game with a knee injury. The only loss came Dec. 28 to formidable Detroit East English, and the only games decided by single digits came against Carman-Ainsworth the first meeting and to league rivals Troy (twice) and West Bloomfield. Loyer, headed next to Michigan State, was named Mr. Basketball on Monday, and Currie is headed to Wisconsin after graduation.

24-2, No. 8
League finish: First in Ottawa-Kent Conference Red
Coach: Steve Windemuller, fifth season (81-32)
Championship history: Has never appeared in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 58-55 over No. 10 East Lansing in Quarterfinal, 46-42 (OT) over No. 9 Muskegon in Regional Final, 45-27 over No. 6 Flint Carman-Ainsworth, 59-49 over Class B No. 7 Grand Rapids Catholic Central.
Players to watch: Tyler Bosma, 6-6 sr. F (17.2 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 2.6 bpg); Xavier Wade, 6-3 sr. G (12.1 ppg, 5.2 apg).
Outlook: This is the longest run in West Ottawa history and included its first Regional title last week. The Panthers are a combined 47-4 over the last two seasons and this winter their only losses came by three to league rival East Kentwood and in the opener to Class B power Wyoming Godwin Heights. The run has been keyed by a number of great athletes who achieve across multiple sports; for example, Bosma will play baseball after graduation at Miami (Ohio), and Wade is headed to Ferris State for both basketball and football. Six players average at least five points per game.

17-8, unranked
League finish: Second in Kensington Lakes Activities Association Gold
Coach: Brandon Sinawi, fourth season (63-32)
Championship history: Has never appeared in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 75-73 over honorable mention Belleville in Quarterfinal, 61-59 over No. 2 Ann Arbor Skyline in Regional Final, 60-58 (District Semifinal) and 61-56 over No. 7 Canton.
Players to watch: Trendon Hankerson, 6-3 sr. G (14.2 ppg); Traveon Maddox, Jr., 6-5 sr. G (17.5 ppg). Outlook: Novi is 16-3 since Hankerson returned from an injury and avenged early-season losses to Skyline and Howell. The Wildcats have won 11 of their last 12, falling only to Grand Blanc in the KLAA tournament final, and last week’s Regional title was the program’s first. Junior 6-4 forward Jiovanni Miles is another big-time scorer, averaging 15.3 points per game with 55 3-pointers entering the week, and 6-9 senior Tariq Woody (10.9 ppg) adds plenty of presence in the middle.

19-7, unranked
League finish: Second in Detroit Catholic League Central
Coach: Greg Esler, 24th season (394-179)
Championship history: Class B runner-up 1982.
Best wins: 63-58 over No. 3 Detroit U-D Jesuit in Quarterfinal, 47-46 over Class C honorable mention Detroit Edison, 69-59 over Class B No. 8 Williamston.
Players to watch: Luke Pfromm, 6-5 sr. F (15.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg); Justin Fisher, 6-4 sr. G (10.6 ppg, 5.3 apg).
Outlook: DeLaSalle has been on the verge of elite all season long and pushed its way in by avenging three losses to U-D Jesuit with the Quarterfinal victory. Three of the Pilots’ losses this season were by a combined five points. Esler has more than 500 win total over a 31-year head coaching career, and Pfromm has plenty of championship experience from quarterbacking the football team to the Division 2 title in the fall. Senior 6-5 forwards Kole Gjonaj (10.7 ppg, 5.1 rpg) and Jordan Winowiecki (9.5 ppg) add more size to the starting lineup.

PHOTO: Holland West Ottawa’s Xavier Wade (0) goes hard to the basket against Grand Haven. (Photo courtesy of the Grand Haven Tribune.)

St. Clair County Celebrates 1st Mr. Basketball Winner, PHN's Jamison

By Paul Costanzo
Special for

March 29, 2023

The Jamison family has spent plenty of time over the years driving long distances as Tyler chased his basketball dreams.

Bay & ThumbAfter the Port Huron Northern senior achieved one of the biggest ones, they had to put some more mileage on the family vehicle.

As the newly-crowned Mr. Basketball, Jamison was invited to a special presentation during the Boys Basketball Finals this past Saturday afternoon at the Breslin Center. It was an invitation Tyler and his family didn’t hesitate to accept, and the drive from Port Huron to East Lansing was nothing.

But it did cause a pretty big change to some other travel plans.

Tyler and his family were scheduled to fly to Florida on Friday for spring break. That flight had to be canceled, though, and instead, the family made the drive down later.

“There were some jokes about just leaving me and letting me find my own way down there,” Jamison said.

While they joke, there’s nowhere the Jamisons would have rather been Saturday than at the Breslin. As a true basketball family – Tyler’s dad Brian is also the coach at Northern, and his brother Alex was a standout freshman for the Huskies – they have a great appreciation for the Mr. Basketball Award and its significance.

“I had said a while ago, ‘Hey, if we’re still in the tournament, we’ll be playing Friday,” Brian Jamison said. “I even mentioned that it would be a miracle, but Tyler could win Mr. Basketball. Now we’re eating plane tickets and driving down to Florida. But it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and we’re not missing this.”

Jamison was the overwhelming winner of the award, which is named after Hal Schram and given out by the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan. He received 3,058 points in the vote to become its 43rd winner. Curtis Williams of Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice (2,004 points), Kaden Brown of Grand Rapids Catholic Central (1,918), Sonny Wilson of Detroit U-D Jesuit (1,883) and Ryan Hurst of North Farmington (1,811) were the other finalists.

“It was just insane,” Tyler Jamison said. “I can’t even really put into words how I felt – it was just a dream come true, a culmination of all the hard work that’s been put in over the years. My mom was in the other room (when his dad called to tell him), and I just hugged her and we were kind of screaming. The dog was getting riled up. It was fun. There were a few tears shed.”

Jamison throws down a dunk.Jamison, who signed with Fairleigh Dickinson in December, finished the season averaging 26.7 points, 11.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 3.3 steals per game. He was named the Macomb Area Conference White division MVP after leading Northern to the league title and a 20-4 overall record.

Even with all that, winning the most prestigious individual basketball award in the state didn’t seem like a reality.

“We purposely try to play a tough schedule, and we purposely got into some showcases because we wanted people to see, not only him play, but us play,” Brian Jamison said. “We had beaten Skyline and Hamtramck, and went up to Croswell-Lexington and won up there, and I thought, ‘OK, now he’s done it against some of the better teams.’ Up to that point, when we played those tougher teams, he’s always showed out well, but it’s different when you’re not winning them. But at that point, I thought he had a chance. Really, I was just hoping he would get on the list. To win it was kind of above and beyond what I had hoped for.”

On the court, Tyler’s impact on the program was pretty obvious and immediate.

He’s the program’s all-time leading scorer – a record he set as a junior – with 1,763 career points. He also holds Northern records for career rebounds (825), points in a game (59), rebounds in a game (28), career field goals made (638) and career free throws made (439). As a junior, he was named MAC Blue MVP.

Northern did not lose a league game in either of the past two seasons.

But Northern is likely to see future success because of Tyler’s non-statistical impact.

Leading a young team, including a group of star freshmen – his brother Alex, Cam Harju and Amir Morelan – was a major part of Tyler’s job this season.

Northern’s home games were must-see events this winter, as the Huskies were one of Division 1’s top teams, and Tyler was providing nightly highlights and must-see performances. Even in his final game, a loss against Macomb Dakota in the District Final, Jamison treated the standing-room crowd with a 46-point performance and a halfcourt shot at the third-quarter buzzer in a valiant effort.

“That’s the big thing, you want the students and the school community to support you, and they did an amazing job,” Tyler Jamison said. “We also had people from the community that wanted to support us and watch us play. Port Huron High had a really good season, too, and I think both schools in the city had that public support. That’s huge. It makes you feel like you’re playing for more than yourself.”

Among those crowds were the next generation of Huskies, some of whom were coached by Tyler in youth basketball. As he’s the first Mr. Basketball winner from St. Clair County, those kids now have a hometown example of someone who has reached the highest heights.

“I think interest gets sparked when the little kids come to the gym, like, ‘Hey, I want to do that,’” Brian Jamison said. “They want to play for Northern or (Port Huron) High. And with him winning Mr. Basketball, I think it gives kids a little bit of ‘Hey, why not me?’ I do think it helps motivate younger people. We’ve had great crowds at our games. I think the area is excited about basketball. It really is a great basketball area.”

With all of that excitement surrounding him, Tyler had one more challenge after the season – keeping the secret that he had won. He found out six days before the award was announced.

“It was terrible – especially when it’s something of that magnitude,” he said. “You want to tell everyone. You want to tell your friends and family. It was hard to be like, ‘No, I don’t know.’”

Paul CostanzoPaul Costanzo served as a sportswriter at The Port Huron Times Herald from 2006-15, including three years as lead sportswriter, and prior to that as sports editor at the Hillsdale Daily News from 2005-06. He can be reached at [email protected] with story ideas for Genesee, Lapeer, St. Clair, Sanilac, Huron, Tuscola, Saginaw, Bay, Arenac, Midland and Gladwin counties.

PHOTOS (Top) Tyler Jamison, second from left, with his parents and brother, stands with his newly-received Mr. Basketball Award trophy during the ceremony at the Detroit Free Press. (Middle) Jamison throws down a dunk. (Photos courtesy of the Jamison family.)