Performance: East Jordan’s Jordan Weber

December 15, 2015

Jordan Weber
East Jordan senior – Basketball

Nine seconds into his team's new season, Weber became East Jordan’s all-time leading scorer. The 6-foot senior guard drilled a deep 3-pointer on his team's first possession against opening-night opponent Mancelona to break the former record of 1,170 points set by Mike Goebel from 1983-86 and earn this week’s Michigan National Guard “Performance of the Week.” (See below for video of his history-making shot and the brief recognition that followed .) He finished with 24 points total in the 66-20 road win.

Heading into tonight’s game against Charlevoix, Weber has 1,193 points and a number of additional school records: 45 points scored in a game, 614 for one season, 91 3-pointers in one season and 208 3-pointers over his four-year varsity career. His 3-pointers last season were the 13th-most in MHSAA history, and with a similar output this winter he’ll finish among the top five on the career list. Weber has played big parts in multiple history-making team accomplishments as well. As a sophomore, he helped Class C East Jordan to its first District championship since 1997 and first Regional championship since 1953. He has a few more similar opportunities ahead. The Red Devils went a combined 36-11 over the last two seasons finishing second and then third in the Lake Michigan Conference – and this winter should again contend for a first league championship since 2000. They also are possible contenders while seeking their first MHSAA championship. 

Weber also plays baseball, and he is ranked eighth academically of 63 students in his graduating class with a 3.66 grade-point average while taking multiple Advanced Placement courses. He has opportunities to continue his basketball and academic career at multiple small colleges in Michigan and Illinois, and would like to eventually study physical therapy.   

Coach (and father) Darrin Weber said: “Jordan has been fortunate to have outstanding teammates. Without the kids he’s played with, none of these accomplishments would have been possible. He has a great understanding of the game, outstanding offseason work ethic and an extremely high competitive drive. He has been the best player I have ever coached."

Performance Point: “Obviously it was an honor to get that. I was preparing for that game just like I was preparing for any other game, but it was in the back of my mind. Going in, I just wanted to win the game. I didn’t want to take over, force myself to get the record. I just let the game get to me, and it happened in the first nine seconds. If I’m open, it’s going up. To become the all-time leader in anything is a big deal, in any level of play, if they are going to stop the game and congratulate you. But it was just that I needed two more points; the dream for me (instead) would be to win the state title.

Title aspirations: “To win a conference title, it’s a lot more important than just to win the District title or anything like that. It means we’re playing better than anyone in the conference the whole year. “(In the MHSAA Tournament,) we’re like a Cinderella team, like an eight seed, nine or 10 seed in the NCAA Tournament. It motivates me just to get that spotlight on the team, small East Jordan down there making it that far.”

Father knows best: “I get two points of view from the same person. There’s the coaching standpoint, and then I go home and talk to him as Dad. He’s hard on me in practice, and I like that. I don’t want a soft coach. Then, to love a father figure in this game I love … he’s coached me since elementary school, and we’ve always been able to connect like that.”

He’s got game: “I’m not just going to sit in the corner and shoot. I’m going to create my shot, going to create shots for other people. I like to get my shot off quickly like (Golden State’s) Steph Curry does. I like to try to attack the rim as hard as (Oklahoma City’s) Russell Westbrook does. Try to, at least.”

Leaving a legacy: “I like to leave something like that, for kids coming up to all want to shoot like Jordan Weber. There’s a little youth program my dad holds every Saturday, and I haven’t missed a Saturday. All the kids love seeing me there … (and I like) to be a role model for little kids.”

– Geoff Kimmerly, Second Half editor

Every week during the 2015-16 school year, Second Half and the Michigan National Guard will recognize a “Performance of the Week" from among the MHSAA's 750 member high schools.

The Michigan Army National Guard provides trained and ready forces in support of the National Military Strategy, respond as needed to state, local, and regional emergencies to ensure peace, order, and public safety. The Guard adds value to our communities through continuous interaction. National Guard soldiers are part of the local community. Guardsmen typically train one weekend per month and two weeks in the summer. This training maintains readiness when needed, be it either to defend our Nation's freedom, or protecting lives and property of Michigan citizens during a local natural disaster. 

Previous 2015-16 honorees
Dec. 8: Kaitlyn Geers, Kent City girls basketball – Read

PHOTOS: (Top) East Jordan's Jordan Weber unloads a shot during a game last season; he set his school's career scoring record last week against Mancelona. (Middle) Weber, right, poses with his dad and coach Darrin Weber. (Photos courtesy of the Weber family.)

Championship Experience from Coach's Point of View Unimaginable, Unforgettable

By Dean Holzwarth
Special for

April 4, 2024

WYOMING – As the final buzzer sounded, it was all I could’ve imagined – and more.

West Michigan

In the weeks leading up to March 16 and the Division 4 championship game, I experienced every emotion possible as I envisioned what it would feel like to be an assistant coach on the bench at Michigan State’s Breslin Center as the Wyoming Tri-unity Christian boys basketball team achieved its ultimate goal.

In my first year as the junior varsity coach at Tri-unity, I had been on the varsity bench for a majority of the season, assisting legendary coach Mark Keeler and fellow assistants Brent Voorhees, Bob Przybysz and Mike Kaman.

I was there encouraging, motivating and supporting the varsity team. It was a role I embraced, and had become accustomed to over my almost 30 years coaching high school basketball.

I started coaching in 1995 as Jim Ringold gave me my first opportunity as the freshmen girls coach at Wyoming Kelloggsville High School. I would then coach Kelloggsville’s freshmen boys team for eight seasons, while also coaching the freshmen girls at Grandville High School. I would also coach the junior varsity teams at both schools.

I love coaching. I have a passion for it. I’ve always enjoyed getting the most out of my players while creating a bond between player and coach.

When girls basketball season moved from fall to winter joining the boys in 2007-08, I stayed at Grandville. I spent 21 seasons there before stepping down.

I still wanted to coach, and I heard that the Tri-unity junior varsity position was available. I had always respected and liked Keeler and was excited for the prospect of joining a perennial powerhouse.

I didn’t really know about Tri-unity growing up in the Wyoming Park school district. But as a young kid, I would rush home and eagerly await the afternoon delivery of the Grand Rapids Press. I would quickly find the sports page and read it from front to back, hoping one day to see my byline.

I began writing for the Press’ sports department in 1997. It was my dream job. And that’s also when I first started covering Tri-unity boys basketball.

I remember watching eventual NBA all-star Chris Kaman, along with Bryan Foltice and others play for this little Christian school and have unbridled success under Keeler.

MHSAA Tournament runs became the norm for the Defenders. They won their first Finals title in 1996, and they would claim four more over the next 26 years. They also had six runner-up finishes.

Tri-unity’s assistant coaches, including Holzwarth (second from right), monitor the action.I was sitting on media row writing for in 2022 when Brady Titus led Tri-unity to its fifth state championship.

I never thought that two years later I would be on the coaching staff as the Defenders pursued another one. But there I was.

I knew this year’s team had the potential to be special.

Tri-unity had returned four of its five starters from a year ago, after suffering a heart-breaking two-point loss to Munising in the Division 4 Final.

Eight seniors were on the roster. The team had a mix of talented guard play, senior leadership, size and depth. We had shooters and we played great defense, a trademark of Keeler’s teams.

This was the year, and that heaped lofty expectations on Keeler and the team. It was basically “state championship or bust.” Anything less would be considered a disappointment.

Keeler wanted it badly, and I knew the players did as well. I think they felt the pressure at times of living up to the expectations that had been set.

We had several lopsided wins, but also had a few tough losses to Division 2 and Division 3 teams – Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central, Wyoming Lee, Grandville Covenant Christian and Schoolcraft – all talented teams that I think made us better despite falling short.

As the postseason started, there was anxiety and excitement.

We were one of the favorites, but it wouldn’t be easy. We would have to earn each of the seven victories needed to win it all.

First came a District title, but then we had to play a quality Fowler team in its home gym in the Regional Semifinal. This was a game we knew would be a challenge – and it was.

We led by only one at halftime after a 7-0 run to end the second quarter. The score was tied 33-33 in the fourth quarter before senior Lincoln Eerdmans made a key 3-pointer to spark our victory.

As we went through the handshake line, several Fowler players said, “Good luck in the Finals.”

Our defense played extremely well in the Regional Final and state Quarterfinal to secure our team another trip to the Breslin.

St. Ignace was our opponent in the Semifinal, and we had to face a senior guard who could do it all – Jonny Ingalls. He lived up to the hype. He was good, and we didn’t have any answer for him in the first half. We trailed by one, only to fall behind by seven late in the third quarter.

Was this the end? Were we going to fall one game short of our goal?

Holzwarth and the coaching staff greet Keaton Blanker (4) as he comes off the floor. We were down by five points in the fourth quarter, but junior guard Keaton Blanker, and others, rose to the occasion. We rallied to win a tight one, and now we were one win away from a Division 4 title.

The night before the championship game, we stayed at a hotel in East Lansing as we had the first game of the day at 10 a.m. We had a team dinner, and the players seemed relaxed and eager to close out the season the way they had intended.

There was one thing that worried me. We were playing Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart. A team we had played in the second game of the season and defeated by 30 points.

Would we be overconfident? I had no idea. They were a different team now, but so were we. Anything could happen.

Keeler gave a spirited and emotional pregame speech. In last year’s loss to Munising, he felt like the team played not to lose, and this season his big thing was “I want to win.” He said it to every starter that Saturday morning during the final moments in the locker room before tipoff, asking all five individually to say it back – which they did, the first one quietly but followed by teammates replying louder and louder as everyone got fired up and “I want to win” rang through the locker room. I think it inspired all of us.

After a competitive first quarter, we started to find our rhythm and expanded the lead. We were ahead by double-digits at the half, and a state title was within our grasp. Senior Wesley Kaman buried a 3-pointer in the final seconds of the third quarter to give us a 20-point cushion. It was at that point I knew we were going to win.

All five starters reached double-figure scoring, led by Jordan VanKlompenberg with 19 points and Owen Rosendall with 14. That balance was intentional and a successful sign for our team all season.

The exhilaration of winning was intoxicating. I loved watching the boys celebrate something they had worked so hard to accomplish. I will never forget their faces. I looked to my right from my seat on the bench and watched them running onto the court, just wearing their joy. They were just elated.

I was so happy for Keeler, a devout Christian who is respected by so many people in high school basketball circles. I learned so much from him this season. The way he approaches each game, his competitiveness. He instills his strong faith in his players and understands that the game of basketball is a bridge to a higher purpose.

Keeler is the fourth-winningest coach in state boys basketball history with a record of 694-216, and will be the winningest active coach next winter as all-time leader Roy Johnston retired from Beaverton at the end of this season.

The tournament run was one of the best coaching experiences I have had, and I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to be a part of a state championship season.

Dean HolzwarthDean Holzwarth has covered primarily high school sports for Grand Rapids-based WOOD-TV for five years after serving at the Grand Rapids Press and MLive for 16 years along with shorter stints at the Ionia Sentinel and WZZM. Contact him at [email protected] with story ideas for Allegan, Kent and Ottawa counties. 

PHOTOS (Top) The Wyoming Tri-unity Christian bench, including the author (far right) and head coach Mark Keeler (middle), celebrate a 3-pointer late in the Defenders’ Division 4 championship win over Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart. (Middle) Tri-unity’s assistant coaches, including Holzwarth (second from right), monitor the action. (Below) Holzwarth and the coaching staff greet Keaton Blanker (4) as he comes off the floor. (Photos by Hockey Weekly Action Photos.)