Horky's Scoring Helps Manchester Take Flight

By Doug Donnelly
Special for MHSAA.com

January 31, 2019

MANCHESTER – The night before the highest scoring game of Tyler Horky’s life, one of his closest friends was involved in a car wreck.

“It was bad,” Horky said. “He was hit right on the driver’s side door. It was a pretty bad accident. It was life-threatening.”

When Manchester went on the road the next night to play at Vandercook Lake, the 6-foot-1 junior wrote “RH” on his wrist tape in honor of his friend, Michigan Center standout Roger Hayward, the teenager in the crash. Hayward reportedly required multiple surgeries in the days after the wreck.

“We played AAU basketball together,” Horky said. “I was really motivated that night. I thought about the accident a lot that night.”

Once he hit the basketball floor, though, there was little stopping Horky. Manchester fell behind, but Horky led a valiant comeback to push the game into overtime. Although Manchester lost, Horky finished with 47 points and showed he was going to be a force in the Cascades Conference this season.

“Believe it or not, it was a quiet 47,” said Manchester head coach Mike Ahrens. “He also contributed three assists, had six steals and only turned the ball over once. It was a unique, fast-paced game.”

Horky has showed the 47-point outburst wasn’t a mirage. Through 13 games, he’s averaging 26 points a game, and has had nights of 36, 31, 31, 27, 25, 25 and 24 points. Even coach Ahrens was a little surprised at how well Horky is scoring this season.

“I envisioned this kind of game could happen next season,” he said.

Horky has always had the talent. As a freshman, however, he broke his arm and missed the entire season. As a sophomore, coming off the injury, he lacked confidence but still averaged 12 points a game.

“I put in a lot of work in the offseason,” Horky said. “I worked a lot with the team, my travel team and my dad. It’s been a climb. This year it has really opened up for me.”

Horky’s scoring spree began with the season opener when he scored 25 against Clinton.

“Since then, I’ve been facing double and triple teams almost every game,” he said. “Some teams start denying me the ball as soon as I cross halfcourt. My teammates have taken a lot of the pressure off me, both by scoring inside and with ball-handling.

“Our coach does a great job of just letting us play, run the pick-and-roll with our bigs and coming off screens.”

Ahrens said while Horky is a great scorer, that’s not his only strength.

“He gives 110 percent effort in all of our drills,” Ahrens said. “He takes pride on defense and leads by example. He listens really well, which is an underrated skill.”

Ahrens, in his first year coaching at his alma mater, picks a defensive player of the game for all of the Dutchmen contests. Horky has earned that honor four times.

“I sincerely believe he is getting better and better at every practice and every game,” Ahrens said.

This past summer Horky, who plays travel basketball with the Ann Arbor Basketball Academy, attended camps at Grand Valley State University and Central Michigan University.

Horky said his AAU experience – particularly the speed of the game and frequent fast breaks and man-to-man defense – helped prepare him for the Cascades Conference this season.

The league is rugged with state-ranked Hanover-Horton (12-1), Michigan Center (11-2) and Vandercook Lake (10-4). Horky’s Dutchmen check in fourth at 7-6 overall with games against Michigan Center (Feb. 5) and Hanover-Horton (Feb. 8) coming up.

Horky is a three-sport athlete at Manchester and carries a 3.9 grade-point average as a member of the National Honor Society. He is the quarterback on the Dutchmen football team.

“Basketball is probably my favorite but when it’s football season, then it’s only football on my mind,” he said. “Football is special.”

Horky is the son of Corey and Abbie Horky. His father is in the Blissfield High School Athletic Hall of Fame and his mother was a high jumper at the University of Michigan following a multiple-sport career at Onsted High School. He has two younger brothers, ages 9 and 12.

He wants to play college basketball. “My ultimate goal is to try to play basketball at the highest level I can,” he said, noting U-M is his dream hoops destination.

Horky still has to finish out this season and has his senior season ahead of him to continue his scoring and filling out as an all-around basketball player. Ahrens, who has coached at various levels for nearly 40 years, said Horky has what it takes to get to the next level.

“He not only pushes himself, but will push teammates as well,” he said. “He truly understands there is more to the game than just scoring.”

Doug Donnelly has served as a sports and news reporter and city editor over 25 years, writing for the Daily Chief-Union in Upper Sandusky, Ohio from 1992-1995, the Monroe Evening News from 1995-2012 and the Adrian Daily Telegram since 2013. He's also written a book on high school basketball in Monroe County and compiles record books for various schools in southeast Michigan. E-mail him at DougDonnelly@hotmail.com with story ideas for Jackson, Washtenaw, Hillsdale, Lenawee and Monroe counties.

PHOTO: Manchester junior Tyler Horky brings the ball upcourt. (Photo by Doug Donnelly.)

Father & Son Seidl Have Much to Discuss, Notes to Compare From Perfect Starts

By Doug Donnelly
Special for MHSAA.com

February 7, 2023

Matt and Derek Seidl have a lot to talk about these days.

Southeast & BorderThe father and son duo both have highly-ranked, undefeated basketball teams going into the first full week of February, something neither of them saw coming.

“We were hoping for a season like this, but you never think about winning this many in a row,” said Matt Seidl, the father and head coach of the 15-0 Olivet Eagles. “When our season ended last year, we knew our top seven players would all be returning.”

About 50 miles south of Olivet, in Jackson County, Derek Seidl has the Napoleon Pirates off to a 14-0 start. They are sitting on top of the Cascades Conference.

“We have a really talented group right now,” Derek said. “We were 19-3 last year and brought six guys back. Having that experience has been very valuable.”

Olivet is ranked No. 2 in MPR in Division 2 while Napoleon is No. 9 in Division 3. Both are top-10 teams in the latest Associated Press polls as well.

Matt Seidl, 60, graduated from Ypsilanti Lincoln High School in 1981 and went to Eastern Michigan University to become a sportswriter. He didn’t begin teaching until he was in his early 30s, but, by then, was already a veteran coach.

“It was getting difficult because I was always leaving my job to go coach,” he said. “I decided to go and get my teaching degree.”

He wound up in the classroom, which enabled him to dive deeper into coaching. He spent several years coaching at the middle school and high school levels, boys and girls, with stops at places like Pinckney, Ypsilanti, Manchester, Willow Run and Romulus. He was the JV boys basketball coach at Dexter when his son, Derek, made the team as a freshman.

Senior Brayden Wine makes a move toward the basket for the Eagles.By then, Derek already knew he would be on the bench one day as a coach.

“I played for my dad in youth travel stuff, and he was on staff for one year my freshmen year of high school,” Derek said. “He was a varsity coach all growing up. I was always at games. I loved talking to him about the game, the strategy of it, the Xs and Os. Even when I was younger, I thought about coaching someday. Growing up if you would have asked me what my dream job was, it would have been a teacher and coach.”

Derek, 27, graduated from Dexter in 2014. He played four years of college basketball at Lawrence Tech University. After getting his master’s degree and teaching degree, he got his first coaching job as an assistant coach at Chelsea, under Josh Tropea, who also had coached with Matt.

Derek’s first teaching and head coaching job came at Springport in 2019-20. This is his third year at Napoleon.

“It’s been a really good fit here,” Derek said. “Before I started looking into the job, I barely knew anything about Napoleon. It has worked out well.”

Matt is also the athletic director at Olivet. If he would have had his way, Derek would be coaching at Olivet.

“Derek did a really good job at Springport, and we had an opening and he interviewed and was recommended for the job, but before they offered it to him, Napoleon hired him,” Matt said. “He would have been the perfect choice to teach math and coach basketball.”

With Derek no longer in the running, Matt came out of coaching retirement and was named head coach.

“It was going to be a one-year deal, sort of a band-aid to get us to the next year,” he said.

Instead, Matt’s stayed on and put together quite a successful team. The Eagles have gone 47-6 since the start of the 2020-21 season. This year’s team has taken a big step.

Junior Bo Lincoln, a 5-foot-11 junior point guard, leads the team in scoring (17.1 points per game), assists (3.6 per game), steals (3.0 per game) and free throw percentage at 78 percent.

Drew Priddy, a 6-5 senior center, is averaging about eight points and seven rebounds a game, and junior guard Bryce Wine is averaging nine points a game and leads the team in 3-pointers.

“We had quite the youth movement a few years ago,” Matt said. “We go 8-9 deep now and have a lot of experience. Having those young guys play a couple years ago is paying off.

“We are a good team, but we’re not a 70-possessions-a-game type of team. We know who we are.”

Derek Seidl instructs his players. Derek also knows plenty about his dad’s team.

“I definitely keep track of them,” he said. “We talk on the phone on a daily basis – 30 minutes about Napoleon and 30 minutes about Olivet. We bounce things off each other. We run a lot of the same stuff as far as systems. We’re very connected on things.”

Matt and Derek’s teams tried to have a good old-fashioned scrimmage, or exhibition, last year but – with Derek’s team ahead – Matt received two technicals and got kicked out of the game. It’s a fun story for both to tell now.

“That was wild,” Derek said. “It was a cool thing we had going. We were winning so I was enjoying it, but that put a whole different spin on the situation.”

Matt said they probably won’t do that again. Probably.

“My wife said no,” he said. “Derek and I have talked about it, but I don’t know that it would ever happen.”

Derek said one day he’d like to coach with his father.

“I’m very energetic and into it, just like he is,” Derek said. “There are some similarities. I played for him and watched him a lot. I try and pull some of the things he does, being prepared. We get along super well. I don’t know if I could trust him to not get technical fouls.”

He’s kidding, of course.

Napoleon has a core group of four players with a ton of experience.

Devonta Habern is a 5-11 junior who is on the varsity for the third year and runs the show at point guard. Six-foot-5 senior Trent Jester is one of the best big men in the conference. University of Michigan baseball commit Grant Bradley is a three-year varsity starter and outstanding athlete. Holden Vanpoppel is an all-state track athlete who has turned into a pretty good basketball player.

“Grant is super steady and having a great year,” Derek said. “He looks like he’s been in the weight room since he was 5 years old. He can guard anybody. Vanpoppel is an unbelievable run and jump athlete. All four of these guys are averaging in double figures. They are really good athletes who have invested in the program and put the time in.”

“We’ve got a very talented group,” Derek said. “They are a little looser than I am. I tend to be very calculated, kind of analytical and serious. They like to goof around a little bit. They keep me even-keeled. They know when to get serious. It’s good for me to have a group like that.”

Derek said his squad wants to exceed expectations this year.

“We talk about that after every game – don’t be satisfied just because we are undefeated,” Derek said. “There is plenty more to accomplish. Last year we went 18-2 in the regular season and 19-3 overall, but we didn’t win a league or a District. Our guys have bought into that mindset. That’s helped us get to where we are.”

Matt is keeping a close eye on not only his team, but Derek’s as well.

“I probably get more stressed watching his games,” he said. “I’m really proud of what he has been able to do.”

Doug Donnelly has served as a sports and news reporter and city editor over 25 years, writing for the Daily Chief-Union in Upper Sandusky, Ohio from 1992-1995, the Monroe Evening News from 1995-2012 and the Adrian Daily Telegram since 2013. He's also written a book on high school basketball in Monroe County and compiles record books for various schools in southeast Michigan. E-mail him at DougDonnelly@hotmail.com with story ideas for Jackson, Washtenaw, Hillsdale, Lenawee and Monroe counties.

PHOTOS (Top) Father Matt, left, and son Derek Seidl are leading undefeated boys basketball teams this season at Olivet and Napoleon, respectively. (Middle) Senior Brayden Wine makes a move toward the basket for the Eagles. (Below) Derek Seidl instructs his players. (Olivet photos courtesy of Olivet High School; Napoleon photos by Jeff Steers/JTV.)