MHSAA Announces Sites, Schedule Details for Winter Indoor Sports Finals

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

March 10, 2021

The Michigan High School Athletic Association has confirmed sites for its indoor Winter sports championship rounds, including an adjustment for the Individual Wrestling Finals that will allow more fans to attend that event after an increase in spectators limits was put into effect March 5 by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).

The Individual Wrestling Finals previously were announced to be competed in full at Wings Event Center in Kalamazoo. However, a change moving two divisions to Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids will allow for more fans, primarily immediate family, to attend. Previously, wrestlers were to be limited to one spectator per participant; with multiple sites, wrestlers will be allowed multiple spectators each.

Similarly, Van Andel and the Breslin Center in East Lansing will host additional events to allow more fans to attend championship rounds in competitive cheer and girls and boys basketball. Both facilities have capacities of more than 10,000 spectators and may host up to 750 per MDHHS guidelines. 

The Competitive Cheer Finals will move to Breslin Center to allow more fans to attend compared to other venues that were being considered. Semifinals in girls and boys basketball will be split by divisions between Breslin Center and Van Andel Arena, in part to provide for greater attendance and also to keep those rounds scheduled to just two locations instead of spreading games across a number of others.

The following are sites and schedules for Finals weekends for the remaining MHSAA Tournaments this winter, with further updates to be posted to the MHSAA Website:

Girls Basketball
Where:
Division 1 and 3 Semifinals at Breslin Center in East Lansing. Division 2 and 4 Semifinals at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids. All four Finals will be played at Breslin Center.
When: Semifinals are April 7, with Divisions 3 and 4 beginning at 10 a.m. at their respective sites followed by Divisions 1 and 2 at 3:30 p.m. Finals on April 9 will be played at 10 a.m. (D4), 12:30 p.m. (D1), 3 p.m. (D3) and 5:30 p.m. (D2).

Boys Basketball
Where:
Division 1 and 3 Semifinals at Breslin Center in East Lansing. Division 2 and 4 Semifinals at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids. All four Finals will be played at Breslin Center.
When: Semifinals are April 8, with Divisions 3 and 4 beginning at 10 a.m. at their respective sites followed by Divisions 1 and 2 at 3:30 p.m. Finals on April 10 will be played at 10 a.m. (D4), 12:30 p.m. (D1), 3 p.m. (D3) and 5:30 p.m. (D2).

Girls & Boys Bowling
Where:
Division 1 at Thunderbowl Lanes in Allen Park, Division 2 at Century Bowl in Waterford, Division 3 at Jax 60 in Jackson and Division 4 at Super Bowl in Canton.
When: Team Finals are Friday, March 26, and Singles Finals are March 27. Both events begin at 8 a.m.

Competitive Cheer
Where:
Breslin Center, East Lansing
When: Friday, March 26 – Division 3 at 10 a.m., Division 1 at 3 p.m. Saturday, March 27 – Division 2 at 10 a.m., Division 4 at 3 p.m.

Gymnastics
Where:
Rockford High School
When: Team Finals on Friday, March 26, beginning at 2 p.m. Individual Finals on March 27, beginning at noon.

Ice Hockey
Where: USA Hockey Arena
When: Semifinals on Thursday, March 25, for Division 2 beginning at 4:30 p.m., and March 26 for Divisions 1 and 3 with first games for those divisions beginning at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., respectively. All three Finals will be played March 27, at 11 a.m. (D2), 3 p.m. (D3) and 7 p.m. (D1).

Boys Swimming & Diving – Lower Peninsula
Where:
Division 1 at Hudsonville High School, Division 2 at Jenison High School, Division 3 at Hamilton High School (diving) and Holland Aquatic Center (swimming).
When: Diving on Friday, March 26, and all swimming Finals are March 27. Start times are being determined.

Girls & Boys Swimming & Diving – Upper Peninsula
Where:
Marquette High School
When: Diving this Friday, March 12, 2:35 p.m. Swimming is Saturday, March 13, beginning at 11:05 a.m.

Wrestling – Team
Where:
Wings Event Center in Kalamazoo, Divisions 2 and 4 in the Arena and Divisions 1 and 3 in the Valley for pre-Finals rounds. All Finals in the Arena.
When: March 30. Quarterfinals will be followed by Semifinals and Finals, with start times to be determined.

Wrestling – Individual
Where:
Divisions 1 and 3 at Wings Event Center in Kalamazoo. Divisions 2 and 4 at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids.
When: Divisions 2 and 3 on Friday, April 2. Divisions 1 and 4 on Saturday, April 3. Starts times are being determined.

'Invaluable' Hancock Nearing Half-Century of Service to Cheboygan Athletics

By Tom Spencer
Special for MHSAA.com

December 2, 2022

When Cheboygan hosts Ogemaw Heights next week to kick off a new boys basketball season, those attending will see something special.

And really, for Cheboygan and its opponents, it’s nothing new. It’s been going on for five decades.

The special part? Scott Hancock, junior varsity coach and assistant varsity coach, is starting his 47th year coaching at the school. Forty-five of those years have been in the same role he has this season.

“It really just means I’m getting old, but I feel very fortunate to be able to do something that I love for this long,” Hancock, himself a Cheboygan product of 1976, reflected on his tenure. “To be honest, I never really thought about how long I would do it. It’s just something I love doing, so I never really put a number on how long I would do it.”

As the campaign starts, though, he has thoughts of coaching high school basketball for six and possibly seven decades before he hangs it up. He has coached his sons — Nick, who owns the Cheboygan career steals record; and Brian, the leader in career made 3-pointers — and now he’s looking forward to the possibility of coaching his two grandchildren, Landon Gahn and Lincoln Hancock.

“Well, all I can say is I have a grandson that is 3 years old, and I would love to hang around coaching until he graduates,” Hancock said of how long he thinks he’ll stay in coaching. “I have loved every year. 

“I have coached with a lot of great coaches who are all great friends to this day.”

Included among those coaches are his two sons, who served as assistants for Cheboygan, and Jason Friday, the current varsity coach who also played for Hancock during the early 1990s – a time when Hancock briefly stepped in to fill a varsity coaching vacancy after the sudden departure of the previous head coach.

Friday, who also serves as the school’s athletic director, is not at all surprised his former coach is still in the game. It became a factor in Friday’s decision to take over the boys program three years ago.

“If you're a boy who grew up in Cheboygan, there's a good chance that Scott coached you in something,” Friday said. “He has a grandson who is in eighth grade, and he wants to coach him.

“So yes, I knew he was going to be around for several more years.”

And next week, Friday will be thrilled to have Hancock alongside him on the court as Cheboygan opens up with the Falcons.

“Today, I don't look at Scott as one of my former varsity coaches — he's a friend,” Friday said. “We're friends more than anything, and that makes coaching even more fun for me.   

“Most importantly, having someone on the bench that you can trust is invaluable.”

Hancock, second from left, confers last season with assistant Matt Mylnarchek, head coach Jason Friday and player Dylan Balazovic. Hancock, who was helping with the boys program when Friday was coaching the Cheboygan girls team, began expecting to coach with his former player some time ago.

“I was very fortunate to have both my sons be assistant coaches for our varsity program,” said Hancock, who also has served decades coaching baseball and keeping stats for the football program. “But as far as being head coach, I always thought Jason would take over at some time.

“It’s awesome to have a former player running our program, but it is no surprise,” he continued. “Jason has always been a student of the game and is very detailed, and what he does, our program is in great hands.”

The mutual trust the coaches share has really benefited the Cheboygan student-athletes.

“I think it is important to have a JV coach who the head coach can trust that he has bought in to all of the beliefs of the head coach’s program,” Hancock noted. “Being loyal to your varsity coach and doing what’s best for your program is the most important aspect of JV coaching.

“And, getting kids to buy in to what it takes to play the game the right way.”

That’s one of the strengths Hancock brings to the basketball program, Friday singled out.

“Coach Hancock does a tremendous job teaching the fundamentals, but also does a great job communicating with the boys, making each one feel valued, even those who don't play as much,” Friday said. “He's at every practice.

“If there's an emergency and I need to step out for a minute and put my AD hat on, he can run practice and we don't miss a beat,” Friday continued. “He has a tremendous knowledge of the game and is a coach anyone would love on their bench.”

Hancock, who assists another former player, Kevin Baller, coaching the baseball team, has no thoughts of getting back into a varsity coaching position.

“I have no plans to coach at the varsity level, and the reason is because I have the best of both worlds by coaching JV,” said Hancock, who sees the 3-point shot as the biggest change in the game during his tenure. “Every coach that I have worked for lets me be involved with the varsity, so really I get to be involved in both.”

Friday recalls wishing as a player that Hancock had stayed at the helm when he took over temporarily. But, he loves having him coach with him today.

“After our junior season, we were told he was going back to JV,” Friday said.  “We tried to convince him to stay for one more year, but he wanted to go back.

“There's no way I could be varsity basketball coach and athletic director without having a JV coach like Scotty.”

Off the court successes in life are just as importance as athletic endeavors, Hancock indicated. In fact, those give him the most pride.

“Probably helping kids with off-the-court issues makes me feel better than anything,” he said. “Also hearing from the kids that I’ve coached after they graduate and how much they enjoyed their JV year.”

There aren’t many – if any – parent, player or community member names on a complaint list from Hancock’s first five decades, and there’s not likely to be any more in however many years are ahead.

“When you’ve coached in the same small town for nearly 50 years, you’d expect to have a few people upset with you, but not Scotty,” said Friday. “You can’t find a person who says something bad about him. 

“He’s extremely well-respected,” he continued. “You absorb his passion and love of the game just by being around him, and all of Cheboygan should be thankful (for) how much he's done for our community.”

Tom Spencer is a longtime MHSAA-registered basketball and soccer official, and former softball and baseball official, and he also has coached in the northern Lower Peninsula area. He previously has written for the Saginaw News, Bay County Sports Page and Midland Daily News. He can be reached at tomspencer@chartermi.net with story ideas for Manistee, Wexford, Missaukee, Roscommon, Ogemaw, Iosco, Alcona, Oscoda, Crawford, Kalkaska, Grand Traverse, Benzie, Leelanau, Antrim, Otsego, Montmorency, Alpena, Presque Isle, Cheboygan, Charlevoix and Emmet counties.

PHOTOS (Top) Cheboygan assistant boys basketball coach Scott Hancock offers some pointers during a scrimmage last week. (Middle) Hancock, second from left, confers last season with assistant Matt Mylnarchek, head coach Jason Friday and player Dylan Balazovic. (Photos courtesy of Jared Greenleaf/Cheboygan Daily Tribune.)