Consortium Proves To Be Best in Class C

March 22, 2014

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

EAST LANSING – Detroit Consortium’s boys basketball team fell in a 2011 Semifinal to eventual Class C champion Schoolcraft. A year later, the Cougars’ season ended with a two-point Regional Final loss to eventual title winner Flint Beecher. 

Joshua Jackson was watching – but couldn’t help. He was still in junior high.

But the now-sophomore decided then that when he was old enough, he’d play a part in the Cougars' first MHSAA title. 

Consortium entered this postseason ranked No. 2 in the final Class C poll. With the 6-foot-8 Jackson leading and surrounded by a talented a cast, the Cougars eliminated No. 1 Mount Clements and No. 3 Negaunee this week and finished with a 61-44 championship game win over No. 10 Pewamo-Westphalia on Saturday at the Breslin Center.

“Playing with most of the guys last year, I always had trust in them,” Jackson said. “I just had something to prove, and they wanted to win just like I did. 

“To prove so many people wrong, I know maybe one person picked us to win (over Mount Clemens). I guess they thought overall their team was better than ours. (But) I think we’ve proved people wrong all year winning big games.”

Consortium beat some of the best in finishing 25-2 this winter. 

The Cougars also defeated No. 5 Detriot Allen in their Regional Final, plus ranked Class A Saginaw Arthur Hill, Romulus and Detroit Southeastern, ranked Class B Detroit Country Day and Detroit Douglass, an MHSAA semifinalist in that class.

And that’s some of what coach Tobias Tuomi reminded his players when Consortium led Pewamo-Westphalia only 27-25 in the championship game. 

“We just said to cherish the moment. I told them to appreciate all the work, and it is a heck of an opportunity just to be here,” Tuomi said. “But we didn’t come here to be here. We came to win a state championship. To do that, we’d have to do all the little things we do in practice, things that won us games all season.”

P-W (23-3) was doing them to keep pace during the first half and up until taking a 34-32 lead three minutes into the third quarter. Despite trailing by 11 at the end of the first period, the Pirates drew even heading into the final minute of the first half before senior guard Rudy Smith hit a go-ahead basket to give Consortium the two-point lead at the break. 

But after senior Evan Fedewa’s 3-pointer gave the Pirates that third-quarter advantage, Consortium outscored them 19-3 to take a 51-37 lead with 6:50 to play.

Consortium’s defense tightened and P-W’s shooting percentage fell – from 43 percent from the floor during the first half to 32 percent in the second. Meanwhile, the Cougars upped their offensive output, improving from 42 percent from the floor to 63 over the final two quarters. Senior guard Ronald Booth, in particular, scored 12 of his 14 points during the second half to finish as one of three Consortium players in double figures. 

“We just dug down, got a little more focused,” Tuomi said. “Definitely, (P-W was) taking a lot tougher shots.”

Smith also finished with 14 points for Consortium. Jackson led with 22 points on 9 of 13 shooting – including hitting all three of his 3-point attempts, and also grabbed 13 rebounds.

“For the old guys like me, I saw Earvin Johnson play here at (Lansing) Everett, and I had season tickets when he was (at Michigan State). He’s a similar type of player to him,” P-W coach Luke Pohl said of Jackson. “Whether he’s going to become that kind of player is another story, but he’s really talented. He might be the most talented person our teams have played against. He can see the court real well, passes well … and he’s a really humble kid.”

Senior center Lane Simon scored a game-high 23 points and grabbed seven rebounds for P-W, and senior guard Nick Spitzley finished a four-year varsity career with 10 points and three assists. 

They and nine seniors total brought the Pirates to their first championship game since 1993. Pohl – who graduated from P-W in 1976 and has coached over two tenures since 1995 – called this the best team in school history. It definitely highlighted the Pirates a little more prominently on the statewide basketball map.

“Obviously I wanted to achieve the state championship,” Simon said. “But it feels like we got a lot of respect back."

Consortium did make the Quarterfinals with Jackson last season, again falling by two to Beecher as the Buccaneers went on to repeat as champions. But that was impressive in itself – the Cougars continued on although coach Al Anderson died unexpectedly that February. 

The run also set the stage for things to come.

“We wanted to sit and sob and cry about it, but at the end of the day we knew that what he wanted was for us to win a state championship more than anything,” Jackson said. “So we knew that was something that we had to do.” 

Click for a full box score and video from the press conference.

PHOTOS: (Top) Detroit Consortium’s Rudy Smith pushes down the floor as Pewamo-Westphalia’s Nick Spitzley gives chase during the Class C Final. (Middle) The Pirates’ Lane Simon goes strong to the basket for two of his game-high 23 points. 

HIGHLIGHTS: (1) Joshua Jackson follows a miss with a big dunk for Detroit Consortium in the fourth quarter of its Class C championship game against Pewamo-Westphalia. Jackson finished with 22 points and 13 rebounds in leading his team to the win. (2) Some nice passing by Pewamo-Westphalia sets up Evan Fedewa for a 3-pointer to give the Pirates a 34-32 lead in the third quarter against Detroit Consortium in the Class C title game.

Ferndale Caps Winter Season with 1st Boys Hoops Title Since 1966

By Dean Holzwarth
Special for

March 25, 2023

EAST LANSING – One team was going to end a long championship drought in Saturday’s boys basketball Division 2 Final.

Ferndale’s was especially lengthy, and spanned more than five decades.

And now it is no longer.

The Eagles won their first Finals championship in 57 years with a 44-38 victory over Grand Rapids South Christian at Breslin Center.

Ferndale had last won a state title in 1966.

“The drought is over,” Eagles coach Juan Rickman said. “That’s big time, and the biggest part about making it down here was seeing how charged up the community was and the school was so charged up. It’s the greatest feeling to see how vested our community was in our success.”

Christopher Williams (13) tries to power past South Christian’s Sam Weiss (23) to the rim.Ferndale senior Christopher Williams led the way with 16 points and four rebounds.

“It feels great,” Williams said. “Especially since the past four years we’ve been to the same place and lost twice in a row to the same team, and now it feels like weight is lifted off my shoulders.

“We started off the season 1-5, and going till now we knew if we stayed together through adversity then we could do it. And it made it more impactful that it was our coach’s first state title, and that’s what we wanted to do.”

Added senior point guard Cameron Reed, who had a game-high seven assists: “It’s incredibly special. I wasn't born back then, my teammates weren’t born and my coaches weren’t born. It definitely rejuvenated the whole city and community.”

Ferndale led 8-4 at the end of the first quarter, and both teams shot poorly in the first half. The Eagles connected on a paltry 24 percent from the field, and South Christian on 35 percent of its attempts. Nate Brinks drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Sailors a 16-14 halftime lead. 

Junior guard Jake Vermaas opened the third quarter with a 3-pointer to make it 19-14, but Ferndale made a charge.

The Eagles sliced the deficit to one (25-24) on a 3-pointer by Trenton Ruth, and Cameron Reed tied it at 28-28 with an acrobatic layup.

“Our team was mentally strong, and I’m so proud of them for their accomplishment,” Rickman said. “Just so committed to the process and just being resilient.”

Cameron Reed (0) leads a break for the Eagles.An 8-2 spurt by Ferndale over the first three minutes of the fourth quarter made it 36-30.

“That was extremely important, and we always want to win the first four minutes,” Rickman said. “And we tried to open up the fourth quarter with what we call a kill; we want to get five straight stops and score on two or three of those possessions so we can build a lead. We did that fairly well against a good team.”

South Christian was attempting to win football and basketball Finals championships during the same school year, and was looking for its first basketball title since 2005.

“It was a really hard-fought game and I thought we played at our speed, but it got away from us a little bit,” first-year Sailors coach Taylor Johnson said.

“But it doesn’t take away from what we accomplished this year. We’ve been through it all, including three season-ending injuries, and to still make it to the state finals is an incredible feat.”

Senior Jacob DeHaan and Vermaas led the Sailors with 14 points apiece, while senior Sam Medendorp added seven points, seven rebounds and four blocked shots.

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS (Top) Ferndale raises the Division 2 championship trophy Saturday night at Breslin Center. (Middle) Christopher Williams (13) tries to power past South Christian’s Sam Weiss (23) to the rim. (Below) Cameron Reed (0) leads a break for the Eagles.