'Up North' Powers Add Intrigue in Class D

March 2, 2018

By Dennis Chase
Special for Second Half

TRAVERSE CITY - Can regular-season perfection lead to postseason hardware for the Hillman Tigers?

Will this be the last March Madness hurrah for Frankfort coach Reggie Manville?

Can Buckley, which just pulled off a rare feat, recapture the magic of last season?

Those are three of the intriguing Class D boys basketball storylines in the northern Lower Peninsula as MHSAA tournament play begins next week.


It’s been quite a ride for coach Eric Muszynski and his Hillman Tigers.

With a win at Rudyard tonight, Hillman can clinch its second 20-0 regular season in three years.

The Tigers went 20-0 in 2015-16 and nearly equaled that feat last season before suffering a last-second setback to Lincoln Alcona in the regular-season finale.

“A banked, 3-point shot at the buzzer,” Muszynski said, recalling the 65-62 loss.

That defeat snapped Hillman’s 57-game regular season and North Star League win streaks and 43-game home win streak.

How did the Tigers respond? Well, they’ve started new streaks.

With the girls finishing the regular season 19-1, the two squads posted the best combined record among all schools in the state.

“Exciting basketball, exciting times in Hillman,” Muszynski said.

But the girls campaign came to a sudden end Wednesday in a two-point district loss to Rogers City, a team the Tigers beat twice during the regular season.

Now it’s left to the boys to carry the torch.

The fact this team is on another run comes as no surprise. Muszynski returned four starters, plus sixth man Jared Juergens off a 24-2 team.

Four players average in double figures - Juergens (14.8), point guard Brandon Banks (14.2), forward Andrew Funk (10.7) and 6-foot-4 center Kory Henigan (10.1). The fifth starter, forward Billy Kolcan, is the jack of all trades, averaging 7.5 points and a team-leading 4.2 assists and four steals per game. Funk is a 41 percent 3-point shooter.

Henigan is the only junior.

The girls team also featured a senior-laden lineup. Coach John Kuzewski started four seniors and had six contribute – point guard and scoring leader Lyndsey Ryba, Eve LaFleche, Andrea Taratuta, Kristin Kenyon, Jozie Appelgren and Autumn Jones. Ryba, who averaged 17 points a game, signed with Concordia to play basketball and softball. Brooke Jones was the only junior in the starting lineup.

“The girls played as a team and played with a common goal,” Kuzewski said. “I think the two teams pushed each other to do their best.”

Kuzewski just finished his 12th season as head coach. He replaced Muszynski, who stayed on as the boys coach when the girls season switched to winter.

Muszynski is now in his 13th season with the boys. His teams have taken it to a new level the last five years, sporting a 109-7 record. The Tigers reached the Quarterfinals in 2015 and 2017, but ran into three-time Class D champion Powers North Central.

Muszynski is pulling double duty this winter. He also coaches the school’s third and fourth graders. His oldest son, Ty, is a third-grader.

“I’m coaching at our lowest and highest levels,” he said, laughing. “I’m going from breaking presses and running 50 different sets to teaching kids how to dribble and shoot.

“It’s been really refreshing, honestly. For me as a coach, it’s so rewarding because it allows me to go back to an age when I fell in love with the game. It’s been rejuvenating to go back to square one. I’ve even brought my (varsity) players to the (youth) practices to remind them of what it was like when they fell in love with it, too.

“And the young kids really look up to the older guys. It allows them to dream big.”

If Hillman wins its District, the Tigers would play in a regional at Traverse City Central – instead of going north as in previous years. It’s possible Hillman could face Frankfort in a Regional opener.

“They’re really good,” Muszynski said. “That league (Northwest) is such a grind every night.”

First things first, however.

The boys might be reminded about what happened to the girls this week. Hillman’s District opener is at – you guessed it – Rogers City.


And speaking of Frankfort, Manville is not saying publicly if this will be his last season as head coach.

“I’m still debating,” the 71-year-old insisted. “I’ll wait until the end of the season to make a decision. It’s been a fun season.”

Manville’s coached 32 years, including the last seven at Frankfort, where he’s changed the culture. After Thursday night’s 51-31 win over Onekama, Manville is 128-38 at the Northwest Conference school. His teams have won five Districts, three Regionals and three league titles, sharing the Northwest this season with Maple City Glen Lake and Buckley.

Manville spent most of his coaching career in Flint. He started as an assistant at Flint Northern in 1978, the year the Vikings won the Class A title. He would later coach Flint Southwestern for 13 seasons. His last team, featuring Mr. Basketball runner-up Charlie Bell, was ranked No. 1 in the state after the regular season.

“In Charlie’s senior year we won the Saginaw Valley (League) championship and the Flint city championship,” Manville said. “That was the first time the school had ever done that.

“That (mid-1990s) was the era of the Flintstones. There was some really tremendous basketball (played) back then in Flint.”

After that 1996-97 campaign, Manville, who had his 30 years of teaching in, retired to the Lake Michigan community of Elberta, which flanks Frankfort on Betsie Bay.

“I’m an avid fisherman,” Manville said. “I have a cottage on the Au Sable River in Grayling, where I fly fish almost all summer. Here (on Lake Michigan), I love to fish steelhead salmon. That’s what basically brought me (north) – the fishing.

“I’m either in waders or I have a whistle around my neck.”

Manville, who served as village president in Elberta for four years, has had his health issues. He’s had three heart attacks.

“I feel good right now,” he said. “I’m just getting old, that’s all. I turn 72 in June.”

This has been one of the most competitive Northwest Conference races in history. Frankfort lost twice to Glen Lake, Glen Lake lost twice to Buckley and Buckley lost twice to Frankfort.

“Go figure,” Buckley coach Blair Moss said.

Frankfort (18-2) boasts a veteran cast with five seniors in the starting lineup and two others in the rotation. Jaylon Rogers and Matt Loney, who played on varsity as freshmen, are the scoring leaders; Rogers is over 1,200 career points, Loney is closing in on 1,000.

Griffin Kelly and Matt Stefanski - who signed to play football at Northern Michigan and Grand Valley State, respectively – are key cogs as well. Kirk Meyers, the quarterback on Frankfort’s team which reached the Division 8 Regional Finals, rounds out the starting five.

“We’re talented,” Manville said. “We’ve talked about potential the whole year. Potential is great, but it’s like I’ve always said, it’s the championships you win (that define your legacy). Sometimes, talent doesn’t always win.”

The Panthers’ championship quest started Thursday night at Onekama, a team that came into that contest with five losses – two to Buckley, two to Glen Lake and one to Frankfort.

“Onekama’s a really good team,” Manville said. “There’s a misconception our league is weak (after the top three teams). It’s not.”

Frankfort, meanwhile, has proven itself outside the league, too. A month ago, the Panthers snapped McBain’s 59-game regular-season win streak. McBain was ranked No. 1 in The Associated Press’ Class C poll at the time. Back in December, Frankfort edged Traverse City St. Francis, which went on to run the table in the Lake Michigan Conference.

Manville said the team’s goal is to win at least 23 games, which would set a school record. And 23 wins would put the Panthers in the Quarterfinals, a win away from the coveted Final Four. Frankfort reached the Semifinals in 2014.

“It remains to be seen what teams (in the Northwest Conference) are peaking and have a chance to make that run to the Breslin because everybody wants to get to the Final Four,” Manville said. “That’s the big deal.”

But there are no givens.

A year ago, Frankfort had its five-year District title streak end with a two-point loss to Suttons Bay.

And if the Panthers claim a District next week, there’s a potential showdown with unbeaten Hillman in the Regional opener.

“That would be a doozy,” Manville said.


When Joey Weber went over 1,000 career points last week in a win over Kingsley, he became the third Buckley senior to accomplish that feat.

Turns out, that appears to be quite rare.

“I’ve never heard of anything like that,” Bears coach Blair Moss said. “You get one, you might get two, but three? That’s crazy.

“I don’t know where you would look (to find out), but I don’t think it’s happened often.”

Glen Lake’s Don Miller, who has been coaching high school basketball since the early 1970s, agreed.

When asked if he could recall it happening previously, Miller responded, “Three in the same class? No.”

Denver Cade and Austin Harris had earlier eclipsed the milestone at Buckley. Cade was the school’s all-time leader with 1,704 points heading into Thursday’s game at Suttons Bay, a 95-75 win. Harris was at 1,417, Weber 1,020.

“When it’s all said and done, they’ll probably be around 4,500 points amongst the three,” Moss said.

Miller had three players on the same team surpass 1,000 career points – Mark Swierad, Rich Baillergeon and Geof Kotila in the 1970s - but Swierad was in a different graduating class.

In fact, Baillergeon (2,144) and Kotila (1,639), Miller said, once had the state record for most points by two classmates before it was broken by Saginaw Buena Vista’s Mark Macon and Shawn Randolph.

Moss scored 1,558 in his playing days at Benzie Central. He graduated in 1974 before the 3-point line was introduced. He had a classmate, Tom Drobena, go over 1,300.

Buckley was on the other end of the 1,000-career point mark Tuesday night when Manton’s Hunter Ruell hit six 3-pointers en route to a 20-point performance in the Rangers’ 75-62 win over the Bears. Ruell’s last triple put him over 1,000.

Buckley finished the regular season 15-5 with Thursday’s win, a year after the Bears went 26-1 and finished runners-up to Powers North Central in Class D.

The Bears, who returned all five starters, started slowly, dropping two games before Christmas break.

“At the beginning of the year I thought we were a little complacent,” Moss said. “Our attitude was we’re just going to show up and win. I said, ‘Gentlemen, that’s not the way it works. What we did last year is last year.’

“We set the bar, and this year everybody was shooting for us. We got everybody’s best game.”

Buckley beefed up its schedule. The losses came against Kalamazoo Hackett, McBain and Manton – all Class C teams that finished the regular season 17-3 – and twice to Frankfort (18-2). The Bears beat Manton, a Class C semifinalist last March, earlier in the season and handed Class C Glen Lake (18-2) its only losses.

“It’s made us better,” Moss said of the schedule.

The Bears are battle-tested – and not just in basketball. This same group played a pivotal role as Buckley reached the Division 4 Semifinals in soccer last fall.

Dennis Chase worked 32 years as a sportswriter at the Traverse City Record-Eagle, including as sports editor from 2000-14. He can be reached at [email protected] 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) Hillman’s Brandon Banks looks for an opening during a game this season. (Middle top) Hillman’s Kristin Kenyon puts up a shot over AuGres-Sims defenders. (Middle below) Frankfort coach Reggie Manville instructs his team during a game this season. (Below) Buckley’s 1,000 point scorers: Austin Harris, Joey Weber and Denver Cade. (Hillman photos courtesy of the Alpena News, Frankfort photo courtesy of Nicole Lamerson, Buckley photo courtesy of Ron Stremlow.)

Clarkston's Loyer Leaves All-Time Legacy with 25 Record Book Listings

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

September 22, 2023

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.

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.