Drew and Jake Southland now have to help their struggling father onto the basketball court at Mona Shores.
But they know it wasn’t too long ago that Scot Southland was carrying the load for the Sailors’ basketball program.
“People tell me all the time about how good he was,” Drew Southland said of his father, the all-time leading scorer in Mona Shores basketball history with 1,113 career points, who is now battling an even tougher opponent in multiple sclerosis.
“I try to live up to it. He is such an inspiration, with his positive attitude. I try not to complain about anything in my life, that’s for sure.”
Drew, a 6-foot-1 senior, and his team are having a difficult season so far, losing eight in a row before bolting out to a 38-6 halftime lead Tuesday and then cruising to a 64-41 win over visiting Grand Rapids Union. Drew scored a game-high 20 points for the Sailors (2-8).
Jake, a sophomore who is the same height as his brother at 6-1, is the leading scorer and rebounder for the Shores junior varsity, which evened its record at 5-5 on Tuesday, also with a win over GR Union. He scored a season-high 35 points in a loss against Whitehall on Feb. 20.
Win or lose, the Southland boys are always there for their dad, who turned 50 in January. Scot made first-team all-conference in the Ottawa-Kent Conference Red as both a junior and senior, graduating in 1989. He was also a two-time Muskegon Chronicle All-Area selection and averaged better than 20 points per game his senior year.
The first signs of his MS showed up during college, but the symptoms of the progressive nerve disease have become more pronounced in recent years, preventing him from working and even walking on his own. Drew and Jake are always there to help him in and out of his wheelchair and into the family’s van.
“I don’t mind it one bit,” said Jake. “I know he would be taking care of me if it was the other way around. My dad is so good to me and so supportive in everything, so helping him around is really the least I can do.”
The Southland family is a fixture at all of Mona Shores’ home games.
Scot is always there at the end of the bleachers on the baseline, with his high school sweetheart and wife, Steffanie, close by his side. Other regulars, when tickets are available with COVID-19 restrictions, are his daughter Mason, his mother Joanne Southland and his mother-in-law Mary Golin.
Joanne has been going to games at Mona Shores for years as her three boys – Ted, Kip and Scot – worked their way through the system. Kip was a standout basketball player, but his best sport was baseball, as he went on to start at shortstop for Central Michigan University during the mid-1980s and later played in the San Francisco Giants farm system.
Scot started some varsity football games at quarterback, but of the three Southland boys, he was the one who left the biggest mark on the hardcourt.
He was a three-year varsity starter at a time when sophomores rarely started on the varsity, especially at a Class A school. As a junior, he led the Sailors to 13 wins and a rare District championship. As a senior, he became the first Mona Shores basketball player to score 1,000 points – a milestone that the humble, quiet standout wasn’t even cognizant of until after the fact.
“He is out there to set the best example he can,” then-Mona Shores coach John Adams told The Muskegon Chronicle in 1989 about Scot, his senior captain. “He is the All-American, apple pie kid. He’s the perfect role model for the program.”
The strong athletic genes run deep in the family, tracing back to Scot’s maternal grandfather Pete Petroskey, a welterweight boxer who won more than 180 professional fights. Petroskey went on to train some of the best boxers to ever come out of Muskegon, including Kenny Lane and Phil Baldwin, and was inducted into the Muskegon Area Sports Hall of Fame in 2002.
Scot’s athletic achievements continued after high school, as he led the Muskegon Community College basketball team to a runner-up finish at the junior college national tournament in 1990. He later walked on to the University of Arizona football team and made the roster as a backup quarterback.
Scot did some coaching when his kids were younger, but his disease has prevented him from coaching in recent years. He is now the No. 1 fan and encourager for Drew and Jake, as well as Mason, who is having a good year for the Mona Shores eighth-grade girls basketball team.
“The Southland family is very special to Mona Shores basketball,” explained Mona Shores varsity coach Brad Kurth, who missed two games after the death of his mother but returned to guide the Sailors to victory Tuesday night. “Drew and Jake are everything that you can ask for as a coach. They just compete. They go out and give you everything that they have.”
The Mona Shores athletic program has changed drastically since the late 1980s when Scot Southland was leading the Sailors in football and basketball.
Back then, the Sailors struggled to win any games on the football field, but were highly competitive with the likes of Muskegon and Grand Haven in basketball. Now, the Sailors rarely lose a football game and basketball has been looking up at those aforementioned programs over the past 10 years.
Perhaps no single player has been more affected by the unsettled basketball program as Drew, who has had a different varsity head coach in each of his four years at the high school – as the program has had six head coaches over the past eight years.
“It’s been hard with the different coaches, but I hate making excuses,” said Drew, one of just four seniors on the Shores roster. “We can play much better than we have.”
Through it all, Drew has worked tirelessly to improve his game, waking up early to come in and shoot almost every morning, and still hopes to play college basketball.
Jake, who plays wide receiver and defensive back for the Shores football team and was moved up to the varsity for the team’s recent Division 2 championship run, hopes to be part of a basketball resurgence at Shores over the next two years.
The Sailors have plenty of height and youth on their front line in juniors Donovan Russell (6-8) and Ethan Krueger (6-6) and sophomore Parker Swartz (6-4). With Jake and many other talented players set to move up to the varsity full-time next year, he is hoping to engineer a basketball breakthrough – much like his father did during his junior year of high school.
Jake turned some heads when he got moved up to the varsity for Saturday’s game against Wyoming. In less than two minutes of action, he scored five points and grabbed two rebounds.
“Drew and Jake just love to be out on the basketball court,” said Mona Shores junior varsity coach Tyler VanBergen. “The love that their dad has for the game flows through the whole family.”
Love for the game of basketball, along with humility and a strong work ethic, are not the only gifts Scot has given to his children.
Watching their father handle his illness with grace and a positive attitude – while never wallowing in self-pity or taking his frustrations out on them – has given all three of them a perspective on life which most kids their age simply don’t have.
“I’ve learned from watching him that life isn’t fair,” Jake said. “I mean, I would love to be able to play 1-on-1 against him, but instead we have to do other things. We watch a lot of movies together and talk about them. Doing that with him has really given me a passion for movies, and I’d love to work in film or directing someday.”
Tom Kendra worked 23 years at The Muskegon Chronicle, including five as assistant sports editor and the final six as sports editor through 2011. E-mail him at [email protected] with story ideas for Muskegon, Oceana, Mason, Lake, Oceola, Mecosta and Newaygo counties.
PHOTOS: (Top) Muskegon Mona Shores’ Drew Southland works to get up a shot during a game against Muskegon last season. (Middle) Scot Southland was a standout for Mona Shores before graduating in 1989. (Below) Scot, as a member of the Sailors, and younger son Jake who is playing this season on junior varsity. (Top photo courtesy of Local Sports Journal; additional photos courtesy of Southland family.)
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.