Lenawee Christian Earns Saturday Return

March 20, 2014

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

EAST LANSING – From 1998-2001, Adrian Lenawee Christian’s boys basketball team made four MHSAA Quarterfinals and advanced to three Semifinals.

Senior guard Brad Harrah remembers and is reminded every day.

“Every time I come out to practice, I see those banners and they remind me of the last time we were here,” he said. “It just drives our team.”

It helped drive the Cougars on Thursday into an MHSAA Final for the first time.

Lenawee Christian survived a third-quarter comeback by sharp-shooting Cedarville to advance to its first boys basketball championship game with a 67-58 victory in the final Class D Semifinal at the Breslin Center.

“It just means everything to us. As one of our players said, it’s our only option. We don’t have any other option but to come out and win this game and come out and win Saturday,” Harrah said. “Just to get back to where the program was, and take it a step farther, is just incredible.”

The Cougars (21-4) will face two-time defending champion Southfield Christian at 10 a.m. Saturday.

Total, Lenawee Christian has made the season’s final week eight times over the last 17 years. Its last three Quarterfinal runs were stopped by Class D powerhouse Wyoming Tri-unity Christian – but this week the Cougars were able to break through with an overtime win Tuesday over Battle Creek St. Philip. 

Lenawee Christian took a one-point lead Thursday on junior Nick Mewborn’s 3-pointer before the first-quarter horn, and pushed the advantage to 10 by halftime.

But Cedarville (24-2) just needed a few more minutes to heat up.

The Trojans made 8 of 15 shots from the floor during the third quarter, and junior forward Brad Causley scored 15 of his 22 points during the period as Cedarville pulled within 48-47. The Trojans then tied the score 49-49 on another Causley bucket 28 seconds into the fourth quarter.

“Being such an experienced team and having a great tradition, we knew they would have a run and were going to come back,” Lenawee Christian coach Scott McKelvey said. “They have so many great shooters on their team, and we had to weather their run. … I thought we did a great job keeping our composure.”

The key was getting the ball in the post to 6-7 senior forward Kingsley, who finished with 22 points and 16 rebounds. Sophomore 6-7 center Maxwell had 12 points, including the go-ahead basket to break the fourth-quarter tie and another bucket to push the lead back to six with 5:33 to play.

Senior guard Grant Hohlbein also added 15 points and seven rebounds for Lenawee Christian – with six of those points coming in the fourth quarter.

The Trojans also cooled off substantially, making only 2 of 16 shots from the floor during the final period.

“Every coach in America says when you’re making shots, you look good,” Cedarville coach Dave Duncan said. “But I’m proud of our effort – it was a pretty gutsy effort I felt like we played with in the second half.”

Junior guard Joey Duncan also had 22 points for the Trojans and grabbed nine rebounds. Senior center Dann Stenback added 12 points and five rebounds.

Cedarville made its third Quarterfinal in four seasons this week, with the Semifinal berth its first since 2009.

Click for a full box score and video from the press conference.

PHOTO: (Top) Adrian Lenawee Christian’s Nick Mewborn works to find an opening in the Cedarville defense during Thursday’s Class D Semifinal. (Middle) Cedarville's Joey Duncan attempts to drive past a Lenawee Christian defender.

HIGHLIGHTS: (1) Grant Hohlbein keyed an 8-0 fourth quarter run for Adrian Lenawee Christian with a pair of baskets, including this baseline drive. He ended the game with 15 points. (2) Brad Causley had 22 points and nine rebounds for Cedarville in the Class D Semifinal. Here he scores on a putback off a blocked shot.

St. Clair County Celebrates 1st Mr. Basketball Winner, PHN's Jamison

By Paul Costanzo
Special for MHSAA.com

March 29, 2023

The Jamison family has spent plenty of time over the years driving long distances as Tyler chased his basketball dreams.

Bay & ThumbAfter the Port Huron Northern senior achieved one of the biggest ones, they had to put some more mileage on the family vehicle.

As the newly-crowned Mr. Basketball, Jamison was invited to a special presentation during the Boys Basketball Finals this past Saturday afternoon at the Breslin Center. It was an invitation Tyler and his family didn’t hesitate to accept, and the drive from Port Huron to East Lansing was nothing.

But it did cause a pretty big change to some other travel plans.

Tyler and his family were scheduled to fly to Florida on Friday for spring break. That flight had to be canceled, though, and instead, the family made the drive down later.

“There were some jokes about just leaving me and letting me find my own way down there,” Jamison said.

While they joke, there’s nowhere the Jamisons would have rather been Saturday than at the Breslin. As a true basketball family – Tyler’s dad Brian is also the coach at Northern, and his brother Alex was a standout freshman for the Huskies – they have a great appreciation for the Mr. Basketball Award and its significance.

“I had said a while ago, ‘Hey, if we’re still in the tournament, we’ll be playing Friday,” Brian Jamison said. “I even mentioned that it would be a miracle, but Tyler could win Mr. Basketball. Now we’re eating plane tickets and driving down to Florida. But it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and we’re not missing this.”

Jamison was the overwhelming winner of the award, which is named after Hal Schram and given out by the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan. He received 3,058 points in the vote to become its 43rd winner. Curtis Williams of Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice (2,004 points), Kaden Brown of Grand Rapids Catholic Central (1,918), Sonny Wilson of Detroit U-D Jesuit (1,883) and Ryan Hurst of North Farmington (1,811) were the other finalists.

“It was just insane,” Tyler Jamison said. “I can’t even really put into words how I felt – it was just a dream come true, a culmination of all the hard work that’s been put in over the years. My mom was in the other room (when his dad called to tell him), and I just hugged her and we were kind of screaming. The dog was getting riled up. It was fun. There were a few tears shed.”

Jamison throws down a dunk.Jamison, who signed with Fairleigh Dickinson in December, finished the season averaging 26.7 points, 11.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 3.3 steals per game. He was named the Macomb Area Conference White division MVP after leading Northern to the league title and a 20-4 overall record.

Even with all that, winning the most prestigious individual basketball award in the state didn’t seem like a reality.

“We purposely try to play a tough schedule, and we purposely got into some showcases because we wanted people to see, not only him play, but us play,” Brian Jamison said. “We had beaten Skyline and Hamtramck, and went up to Croswell-Lexington and won up there, and I thought, ‘OK, now he’s done it against some of the better teams.’ Up to that point, when we played those tougher teams, he’s always showed out well, but it’s different when you’re not winning them. But at that point, I thought he had a chance. Really, I was just hoping he would get on the list. To win it was kind of above and beyond what I had hoped for.”

On the court, Tyler’s impact on the program was pretty obvious and immediate.

He’s the program’s all-time leading scorer – a record he set as a junior – with 1,763 career points. He also holds Northern records for career rebounds (825), points in a game (59), rebounds in a game (28), career field goals made (638) and career free throws made (439). As a junior, he was named MAC Blue MVP.

Northern did not lose a league game in either of the past two seasons.

But Northern is likely to see future success because of Tyler’s non-statistical impact.

Leading a young team, including a group of star freshmen – his brother Alex, Cam Harju and Amir Morelan – was a major part of Tyler’s job this season.

Northern’s home games were must-see events this winter, as the Huskies were one of Division 1’s top teams, and Tyler was providing nightly highlights and must-see performances. Even in his final game, a loss against Macomb Dakota in the District Final, Jamison treated the standing-room crowd with a 46-point performance and a halfcourt shot at the third-quarter buzzer in a valiant effort.

“That’s the big thing, you want the students and the school community to support you, and they did an amazing job,” Tyler Jamison said. “We also had people from the community that wanted to support us and watch us play. Port Huron High had a really good season, too, and I think both schools in the city had that public support. That’s huge. It makes you feel like you’re playing for more than yourself.”

Among those crowds were the next generation of Huskies, some of whom were coached by Tyler in youth basketball. As he’s the first Mr. Basketball winner from St. Clair County, those kids now have a hometown example of someone who has reached the highest heights.

“I think interest gets sparked when the little kids come to the gym, like, ‘Hey, I want to do that,’” Brian Jamison said. “They want to play for Northern or (Port Huron) High. And with him winning Mr. Basketball, I think it gives kids a little bit of ‘Hey, why not me?’ I do think it helps motivate younger people. We’ve had great crowds at our games. I think the area is excited about basketball. It really is a great basketball area.”

With all of that excitement surrounding him, Tyler had one more challenge after the season – keeping the secret that he had won. He found out six days before the award was announced.

“It was terrible – especially when it’s something of that magnitude,” he said. “You want to tell everyone. You want to tell your friends and family. It was hard to be like, ‘No, I don’t know.’”

Paul CostanzoPaul Costanzo served as a sportswriter at The Port Huron Times Herald from 2006-15, including three years as lead sportswriter, and prior to that as sports editor at the Hillsdale Daily News from 2005-06. He can be reached at [email protected] with story ideas for Genesee, Lapeer, St. Clair, Sanilac, Huron, Tuscola, Saginaw, Bay, Arenac, Midland and Gladwin counties.

PHOTOS (Top) Tyler Jamison, second from left, with his parents and brother, stands with his newly-received Mr. Basketball Award trophy during the ceremony at the Detroit Free Press. (Middle) Jamison throws down a dunk. (Photos courtesy of the Jamison family.)