By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
EAST LANSING – Perseverance and patience anchored the explanation as pride in the Detroit Public School League flowed Saturday evening at the Breslin Center.
The great majority of the conference’s nearly 30 MHSAA boys basketball championships have been won over the years in Class A. Most of the league’s schools lately have played in Class A and B.
And from Class C this weekend emerged the latest PSL champion, Detroit Edison, which entered the postseason with a .500 record but more than ready to run after weathering a regular-season schedule loaded with larger opponents.
Edison completed its first MHSAA title run with a 53-38 win over Maple City Glen Lake, the Pioneers’ 12th victory over its final 13 games this winter.
“We didn’t struggle the whole year. We played in the toughest league, the PSL,” Edison senior Pierre Mitchell, Jr., said. “We won the PSL championship; the state run was a little easier than the PSL playoffs. We just had to click at the right time.”
Edison (17-10) became the fourth team to enter the playoffs with a record of .500 or worse and win an MHSAA boys basketball title, joining 1933 Grand Haven and 1967 Menominee in Class B and 1969 Marquette Baraga in Class D. The Pioneers also became the third to enter with double-digit losses and win it all – Menominee was 6-10 (in part because of four forfeits) at the end of the 1967 regular season and finished 13-10, and Baraga was 8-10 in 1969 and finished 16-10.
Edison finished fourth during its regular season in the PSL’s East Division 1, which also included Class A Detroit East English and Martin Luther King, Class B Osborn and Class C Pershing. But the Pioneers won the PSL tournament title by beating Pershing plus Class A Cass Tech and Class B Mumford and Renaissance.
The early losses weren’t by design, of course, but Edison didn’t employ its full attack until late in the season to keep opponents from being able to scout everything that might be coming their way during the playoffs.
“To go 2-6 (in the league) was a big disappointment, but we always understood that everyone makes it to the playoffs,” Pioneers coach Brandon Neely said. “I was very optimistic that once we got into the playoffs, we were going to be a tough team.”
Glen Lake (24-3) was a formidable final opponent. The Northwest Conference co-champion led the first seven minutes Saturday and then most of the first three of the second half.
With 4:58 to go in the third quarter, Mitchell made a free throw to tie the score at 25-25 and then missed his second. Glen Lake senior forward Cade Peterson came down with the rebound – by also twisted his right ankle as his foot came down on the foot of an Edison player behind him.
Peterson left the game, and 20 seconds later Mitchell drilled a 3-pointer to give the Pioneers a 28-25 lead. Starting with his basket, they finished the period on a 14-6 run. Edison pushed the lead to double digits three minutes into the fourth quarter, even as Peterson returned to the floor.
“He does it all. He defends, he scores, he attacks, he rebounds at both ends, and he’s our leader on the floor,” Glen Lake coach Rich Ruelas said of Peterson, who finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds. “When you take that away – and we’ve been resilient all year – obviously he’s pretty important to our team.
“Cade was our rock this year and just led us every step of the way. … He wants to win as badly as anyone I’ve ever met.”
Junior guard Xander Okerlund led the Lakers with 19 points and seven rebounds as they played in their first MHSAA championship game since 1996 and first ever in Class C and making all three previous Final appearances in Class D.
Mitchell finished with 17 points and three steals, making 6 of 12 shots from the floor. Senior guard Gary Solomon made 7 of 14 shots for 16 points to go with four steals. Senior center Deante Johnson and junior forward Brian Taylor, Jr., both had 10 points, Johnson with 11 rebounds and Taylor with three steals as well.
“We had a tough season, but these guys preserved and continued to dig in,” Neely said. “And it was very gratifying to see these guys reap the benefits of hard work. They’ve grown as men and they understand what it takes to get to the next level whether it’s in basketball, whether it’s in school, whatever needs to be done. These guys understand when you’re dedicated to something and commit yourself, you can be successful.”
Edison also became the fourth school to celebrate boys and girls MHSAA basketball championships during the same school year; the Pioneers' girls won their second straight Class C title last weekend. Edison joined the Detroit Country Day teams of 1989-90 and 1995-96, Flint Northern's teams of 1994-95 and Flint Northwestern's teams of 1983-84 and 1984-85 in that achievement.
PHOTOS: (Top) Detroit Edison’s Deante Johnson approaches for a dunk during Saturday’s Class C Final at the Breslin Center. (Middle) Glen Lake’s Cade Peterson goes up for a shot while Edison’s Brian Taylor, Jr., defends.
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.