DOLLAR BAY — Small school. Huge tradition.
That’s pretty much the way it is with the boys basketball program at Dollar Bay, a high school of 100 students in this tiny community in the Keweenaw Peninsula.
Dollar Bay completed a perfect regular season Thursday night with a 70-59 victory at Painesdale Jeffers and opened District play Monday with a 47-24 win over Chassell in Class D.
The Blue Bolts (21-0) hope to go deeper into this year’s tournament and next host Baraga in a Wednesday District Semifinal.
A year ago, they reached the Regional opener at Negaunee where they dropped a 75-73 decision to Powers North Central. The Jets then went on to capture their third consecutive Class D title.
“The biggest thing I took from that game is what we can do as a team,” said senior forward Jaden Janke, an all-Upper Peninsula Class D second-team pick last season. “That got us excited for this season. It made us want to work that much harder.”
Senior guard Devin Schmitz, an all-U.P. Class D first-team selection, had similar thoughts.
“We wanted to show we had good Class D teams up here,” he said. “We didn’t have Brandon (Thompson) for that game. Just having all the guys coming back made us excited for this season.”
If the Blue Bolts win the District, they would be shooting for the school’s first Regional crown since 1979.
“To have a successful program at Dollar Bay, it has to start from the ground up,” said coach Jesse Kentala. “The kids love basketball and play it on their days off. It’s really a joy being around these guys every day. In a small community, you get to know the families real well. There’s a lot of basketball history here.”
Pete Dix, a 1994 graduate, holds the all-time career scoring record at Dollar Bay with 1,556 points.
Schmitz scored 30 at Painesdale on Thursday, running his career total to 1,537. But Kentala said the players have always put the team before their personal goals.
“I’ve been coaching for 11 years and these are some of the most competitive practices I’ve seen,” he added. “The strength of our team is we have all five guys working together. This is the most unselfish group of guys I ever coached. For them it’s all about sharing the ball.”
“Our second unit is also real good,” Schmitz added. “Having these guys to practice with helps the starters. It’s kind of like playing with your little brother. They’re going to beat you sometimes.”
Dollar Bay already has some experience playing on a big stage this season. Last month it earned a 51-42 victory over Ewen-Trout Creek in front of a crowd of nearly 3,300 at nearby Michigan Tech.
“We were originally scheduled for Tuesday (Feb. 6) at our place, then we changed it to Wednesday night because nothing else was going on,” said Kentala. “We thought they would draw 1,000-1,500 people. None of us expected that kind of atmosphere. They were at capacity. There were people sitting on the hardwood. That might have been the biggest attendance for a jayvee game in the U.P.”
The contest was heavily promoted by Houghton Daily Mining Gazette sports editor Bryce Derouin and got media attention statewide.
“Bryce promoted the game real well,” said Kentala. “We had two real good basketball teams, programs that have had success for years. I think it was great for both programs.
"Moving the game to Tech is a decision we’ll never regret, and that’s something the kids will remember for the rest of their lives. I even talked to a writer from the Detroit Free Press who did a small article on our team. You can’t help but chuckle when you think about it.”
What was it like playing in front of so many fans?
“It was real exciting,” said Schmitz. “We never played in front of that many people before. It was very loud. We couldn’t hear the coaches. When we went out and saw that many people, we said, ‘This is going to be fun.’ It made us want to dunk before the officials came to the floor. We could feel the building shake. We were lucky to experience that.”
Dollar Bay had a close call two nights later, edging Ontonagon 62-61 on its home floor.
“The week before, (the Ewen-Trout Creek game was) all people were talking about,” said Janke. “We’re trying not to make that game our peak. It was exciting to play at Tech, but we were glad to be on our home floor. Ontonagon has a good team. They’re not to be taken lightly.”
PHOTOS: (Top) Dollar Bay's Devin Schmitz goes up for a layup during Monday’s District win over Chassell. (Middle) Dollar Bay's Jacob Iacono drives to the basket. (Below) This season’s Dollar Bay boys basketball team, after its win Monday. (Top and middle photos courtesy of Bryce Derouin/Houghton Daily Mining Gazette. Below photo courtesy of the Dollar Bay athletic department.)
Foster Loyer’s four-season career at Clarkston from 2014-15 through 2017-18 certainly must be considered among the most accomplished in state history as he led the Wolves to back-to-back Class A championships in 2017 and 2018 and is listed in the record book 25 times.
Among Loyer’s most notable entries were 2,325 career points (12th most), 272 career 3-pointers (tied for ninth), records of 119 consecutive free throws and 634 career free throws, a .921 free-throw percentage as a junior (tied for fourth) and .900 career percentage (second), 589 career assists (sixth), 278 career steals (15th) and 102 games played (tied for sixth).
Loyer went on to play at Michigan State and then Davidson.
See below for more recent record book entries for boys basketball.
Four Onaway standouts were added for single-season and/or career records. Jager Mix, who graduated in 2022, was added for 92 steals last season and 225 over his four-season career. Kevin Pearson, a 2021 grad, was added for 81 steals as a senior and 247 over his career. Joe Sigsby, a 2016 grad, was added for 127 steals, and Jadin Mix was added for 124 in 2021-22. Their totals rank ninth and tied for 10th, respectively, on that all-time list. Jager Mix also was added for 967 career rebounds, and Onaway as a team was added for tying the record for most points in a quarter with 49 during the first quarter of a win over Fife Lake Forest Area on Feb. 3, 2022. Jager Mix is playing at Alpena Community College, and Jadin Mix is a senior this school year.
Uchenna Amene was added for 11 steals in a March 7, 2022, game against West Bloomfield Frankel Jewish Academy and for 97 steals total over 25 games. He was a sophomore at Southfield Christian that season and now is a senior at Detroit Catholic Central.
Owen Franklin graduated from Oscoda in 2021 as the school’s all-time leading scorer, and nearly 44 percent of those 1,477 points came on 3-pointers. Franklin made the state career 3-pointers list with 216 over four seasons. He’s playing baseball at Northwood.
Traverse City Christian sophomore Reece Broderick became one of the state’s most accomplished long-distance shooters in just his second year of high school this past winter, drilling 104 3-pointers – good for third-most for one season all-time – over 23 games. He connected on 42 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc.
A pair of Rudyard four-year varsity standouts entered the record book after their graduations in 2022. Tate Besteman made the career rebounds list with 762 over 89 games, and EJ Suggitt made the career 3-pointers list with 215 over the same 89 contests. Besteman played this past season for Mid Michigan College, and Suggitt is playing baseball at Spring Arbor.
Success from 3-point range played a significant role in Mesick finishing 21-1 in 2021-22, as the team made 195 of its 578 attempts – with game highs of 15 twice in wins over Baldwin and Pentwater.
Then-senior Tristan McFolley earned the first listing under single-game rebounds since 2013 with 30 in Detroit Cesar Chavez Academy’s game with Hope of Detroit Academy on Dec. 8, 2022.
Tawas found its groove from long range Jan. 10 against Oscoda, drilling 22 3-pointers in an 86-31 win. The total tied for fifth-most in one game.
Although Norway felt just short, 40-37, in its District loss to Crystal Falls Forest Park on March 8, Alex Ortman kept the Knights close scoring 20 of his team-high 25 points in the fourth quarter to make the single-quarter scoring list. He’s now a senior.
Kobe Clark has listings in two MHSAA record books, with three for boys basketball joining those he earned for football during his Schoolcraft career. He was added in hoops for 531 career assists and 290 career steals over 94 games from 2016-17 through 2019-20, and also for 82 steals as a senior. Tyler DeGroote also was added to the record book, for scoring 20 points during the first quarter against Delton Kellogg during Schoolcraft’s Jan. 11, 2022, victory. Clark began at Saginaw Valley State for football and now plays basketball and Kalamazoo Valley Community College, and DeGroote is continuing at Rockhurst (Mo.).
Past Detroit Cooley star Larry Fogle has added a seventh record book listing a half-century later. Fogle grabbed 33 rebounds on Jan. 18, 1972, during a win over Detroit Mackenzie. He went on to play at Louisiana and Canisius, and then briefly with the New York Knicks.
Trevon Gunter scored 42 points in Kalamazoo Central’s 84-56 win over Richland Gull Lake on Jan. 17, 2020, including 31 during the third quarter – second-most and just one shy of the record for points during one period. A senior that season, Gunter plays currently at Grand Valley State.
Mark Wittbrodt held the record for consecutive free throws at 70 until 2008, and that entry in the record book has been joined by several others from the Bay City Western star. He was added for his 192 3-pointers, 436 free throws, .842 free-throw percentage and 266 career steals over three seasons from 1991-93, as well as for six single-season accomplishments. He went on to play at Michigan Tech.
Ellsworth’s Jacob Jenuwine tied for 12th on the single-game 3-pointers list when he connected on 11 as part of scoring 39 points total in his team’s Feb. 14 win over Alanson. Jenuwine graduated this spring.
Bellevue senior Dawson Wing capped his three-season varsity career last winter with three entries in the record. He was added for 12 blocked shots in a 2021-22 game against Colon, 107 for the season last winter and 203 blocks over his career. Teammate Caleb Betz, a senior this fall, was added for 12 steals in a game against Athens.
Logan Mansfield capped his Morenci career in a big way last winter. The senior drilled 90 3-pointers over 24 games to earn his school’s first individual record book entry in boys hoops since the 1987-88 season, when John Craig had 132 blocked shots that would have been the second-most recorded at that time. They currently rank 13th.
New Haven earned a pair of record book entries during its March 10 win over Memphis. The Rockets bested their previous single-quarter school record with 41 points during the opening period, and they also made the statewide single-game 3-pointers list with 16.
Whitehall’s Camden Thompson, a junior this fall, earned his first record book entry last winter – and the first for his school in boys basketball. He grabbed 303 rebounds over 21 games.
Grand Rapids Wellspring Prep junior Zeekeal Jackson earned his school's first boys basketball record book entry this past season as well. He made the single-season steals list with 106, over 22 games, and just missed the single-game list with a high of 10.
Jonesville’s Brady Wright was among his team’s leading scorers during his three varsity seasons ending this past winter, but he also was a major contributor defensively. He made the records with a season-high 101 steals over 25 games as a senior, and made the career list with 232 steals over 61 games.
Sophomore Christopher McLavish Jr. made a memorable impact last season with a pair of record book entries. He made the single-quarter points list with 20 in a Feb. 21 game against Flint Powers Catholic, but even more memorable were his 97 3-pointers over 25 games for the season – tying him for 11th all-time on that list.
PHOTO Foster Loyer directs Clarkston's offense during its 2018 Class A Semifinal.