Country Day Will Play for 9th Title

March 22, 2013

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

EAST LANSING – Detroit Country Day coach Kurt Keener said he doesn’t get hung up on numbers, like the ninth MHSAA title his team could claim Saturday.

For this group of Yellowjackets, it would be the first. And that’s what counts most of all.

Country Day has come to Breslin Center and left without a championship the last two seasons. But for the first time since winning Class B in 2010, the Yellowjackets will play in the championship game – thanks to a 73-42 Semifinal win Friday over Cadillac.

“It would mean everything to me,” Country Day senior Austin Price said. “The last two years we came up here expecting to win and fell short. It would be great to end on a high note and win my last game as a high school basketball player.”

Top-ranked Country Day will face either Wyoming Godwin Heights or Detroit Community for the title at 6:30 p.m. Saturday.

In terms of Finals experience, few programs could sit on further ends of the spectrum.

While Country Day is a Breslin regular, Cadillac (21-5) made its first appearance in an MHSAA Semifinal. 

Country Day’s last two Finals weekend visits ended with Semifinals losses to eventual champion
Lansing Sexton. But these Yellowjackets have a different look than some of their most recent teams, with a smaller lineup and a style Keener tells his players should be more track meet than golf match.

That speed became tough for Cadillac to handle immediately, as Country Day (24-3) jumped to a 22-10 lead by the end of the first quarter. The Vikings committed nine turnovers during the first eight minutes.

But they wouldn’t be run off. Cadillac pulled within 26-20 midway through the second quarter.

“At 26-20 we had the game where we wanted it,” Cadillac coach Jeff McDonald said. “We wanted it to be close and give ourselves a puncher’s chance.”

But they ran out of punches soon after, as Country Day went on a 14-2 run and never led by fewer than 10 points over the final 18 minutes.

Junior Edmond Sumner led the Yellowjackets with 30 points on 9 of 15 shooting, and also had six steals. Senior Mory Diane added 11 points.

Of Cadillac’s 26 turnovers, 21 were Country Day steals.

“Defensively, they don’t make mistakes. And obviously they like an uptempo game. They like to gamble on defense,” Vikings senior Nick Paquet said. “We like to slow it down, make it a halfcourt game. We allowed ourselves to play a little faster than we wanted to, and that hurt us.”

Paquet led Cadillac with 18 points and four steals. Junior Jalen Brooks added 15 points and a game-high seven rebounds.

Click for the full box score. 

PHOTOS: (Top) Detroit Country Day's Edmond Sumner pushes the ball upcourt Friday while Cadillac's Jalen Brooks (2) and Lewis Finch (15) give chase. (Middle) Brooks makes a strong move to the basket during the Semifinal. (Photos by Hockey Weekly Action Photos.)

Ferndale Stays Course, Finds Way to Season's Final Day After 57-Year Wait

By Dean Holzwarth
Special for

March 24, 2023

EAST LANSING – The third time was the charm for the Ferndale boys basketball team.

After back-to-back losses in Division 2 Semifinals, the Eagles got over the hump with a 65-60 win over Saginaw on Friday at Breslin Center.

Ferndale used a late 10-0 run to reach the Finals for the first time in 57 years. The top-ranked Eagles will have the opportunity to play for a long-awaited title Saturday against the winner of South Christian and Romulus Summit Academy.

Ferndale last won a boys basketball championship in 1966. 

Trojans coach Juan Rickman said there was a different mindset this year compared to the prior two that ended in setbacks against Grand Rapids Catholic Central. 

“This year they were way more locked in,” he said. “When we got here the first time during COVID, we were playing GRCC right around the corner from their school (at Van Andel Arena) and last year was our first year at the Breslin.

The Eagles’ Christopher Williams dunks during his team’s Semifinal win.

“I  thought we had a lot of emotion last year and we weren't at our best, but this year they knew what to expect and they executed and it was business as usual. It was just another game for us on a bigger floor.”

Ferndale (20-8) started the season 1-5, but always knew its potential to make a tournament run.

“We never panicked throughout the season, and we always said as soon as we get somewhat healthy and as soon as we get our guard play together to play a lot smarter, then we are going to start winning,” Rickman said. “We were losing close games, but our ceiling was so high that I knew we could do that.”

Ferndale nearly squandered its chance for another game after leading by 10 early in the third quarter as Saginaw mounted a second-half rally.

The Trojans led 55-51 in the fourth quarter, but the Eagles scored 10 consecutive points to go up 61-55.

Senior Christopher Williams, who recorded a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds, had back-to-back buckets during the run.

“We just stayed the course, just like our season,” Rickman said. “We were up, and then they came back, but we stayed the course.”

Senior Caleb Renfroe led Ferndale with 16 points, while senior Cameron Reed finished with 12 and Jaden Hardiman had 10.

“Chris definitely got going, and when he has a motor he’s hard to stop,” Reed said. “They went on that run, but we knew we had to stay the course. Basketball is a game of runs, so we just had to stay the course and ride the roller coaster.” 

The Eagles led 12-8 after a foul-filled first quarter and extended their advantage to 32-24 at the half. Ferndale took advantage of its opportunities from the free throw line and knocked down 12 of 16 in the first half.

The Trojans (21-7) forged a furious third-quarter surge and outscored Ferndale 22-12 to snare the momentum and the lead, 46-42.

Senior Javarie Holliday scored 15 of his game-high 20 points in the third quarter and was 4 of 8 from beyond the 3-point line.

It was Saginaw’s first trip to the Semifinals since 2013. 

“It was a hard-fought game, and Ferndale came out ready to play,” Trojans coach Julian Taylor said. “I thought we took their best punch in the first half, and we came out ready in the second half. Basketball is a game of spurts and I thought we made our run, but we just made a few mistakes down the line in the fourth quarter that really cost us the game.”

Junior Brandon McCune added 17 points for Saginaw. He knocked down five 3-pointers.

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS (Top) Ferndale’s Cameron Reed (0) pushes the pace as Saginaw’s DaRon Sherman (2) trails Friday. (Middle) The Eagles’ Christopher Williams dunks during his team’s Semifinal win.