Performance: Unity's Noah Wiswary
March 22, 2019
Hudsonville Unity Christian senior – Basketball
The 6-foot-1 senior point guard entered the final week of the season as Unity Christian’s fourth-leading scorer at 7.8 points per game. But Wiswary led the Crusaders in scoring in their Quarterfinal, Semifinal and championship game wins as the program won its first MHSAA Finals championship, earning Wiswary the Michigan Army National Guard “Performance of the Week.”
Wiswary had 15 points and eight assists in the Quarterfinal as Unity avenged an earlier two-point loss with a 71-45 win over Grand Rapids South Christian. He added 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting against Ludington in a 69-30 Semifinal win, and then 17 points again on 6-of-9 shooting as the Crusaders edged River Rouge 58-55 on Saturday. Wiswary also scored 11 points in Unity’s Regional Final win the week before over Benton Harbor, last season’s Class B champion. His final week of work raised Wiswary’s scoring average to 8.7 ppg for the season, to go with 4.5 assists per game. The varsity’s ball boy before high school, Wiswary finished his career either first or second all-time on Unity’s career assists list – the numbers are being tabulated – and the team was a combined 63-12 during his three seasons on varsity, including 26-2 this winter.
This was the second championship of this school year for Wiswary, a starting defensive back on the football team that won the Division 5 title in the fall. He also plays center field and pitches for the baseball team, and is hoping he’ll continue his basketball career at the college level. Wiswary is undecided where, but plans to study criminal justice in pursuit of a career in law enforcement.
Coach Scott Soodsma said: “If you wanted to look at one key individual who stepped up his game during the tournament run, there is one unanimous choice and it’s him. It’s not that he was always the best player, but where he came from to where he ended was sensational. The kid obviously led us through the tournament. I really was impressed with his hustle at both ends of the floor. He’s always been a pretty good offensive player, and he really turned it up defensively a lot. He’s capable of guarding almost everything, and his leadership, his will to win – he was willing to do whatever it took, and the urgency set in being a senior. … Just the expectation was there. Without an expectation, it’s a lot more difficult to win. When you expect to win rather than hope to win, you think you’ll win. The expectation we are going to win is a huge asset, and I think that’s exactly where he was at – he really believed we were going to win, and he played like that.”
Performance Point: “I just think we took the role as underdog. Last year we lost to Benton Harbor, so we were like, ‘This is our year.’ Nobody really looked at us because obviously there’s Benton Harbor, River Rouge, South Christian, and we were going to just shock the world – and that’s what we did. … I knew we had to turn it up a notch because (there were) only three games left in our season, and my teammates, they got me the ball in the right spots. When I have shooters that other people are worried about, it just got me open way more. I’ve got four shooters on the floor. I’m going to get them the ball. But the opportunity was there. I was open – I was going to shoot it.”
Winner’s mentality: “We’ve been here (to Finals in other sports) before, and nobody really cares – I play good, T.J. (VanKoevering) plays good, nobody really cares as long as we win. If I scored 40 points and we lost, we’d all still be really mad and I’d be mad, but all we wanted to do was win. We had that winning mentality of we just wanted to win. … I thought we could beat Benton Harbor, but I didn’t actually think it was going to happen. Once we beat Benton Harbor I was like, ‘All right, we can beat anyone now.’ We did not have an easy path. In our District we had to beat a good Holland Christian team, and we had to beat them three times in a year which is not easy to do. In the Regional we’ve got play Benton Harbor, which beat us last year by 15, and in the Finals we gotta play River Rouge, which is a historic program. Beating those three teams in a playoff run, and South Christian – who was on a 19-game winning streak – beating those teams on a playoff run, that’s unheard of.”
Multi-sport crossover: “That River Rouge game was physical; it was practically a football game out there half the time. Football prepares you for physicality and footwork and quick spurts on the floor. All three sports – the more experience you have in sports, the more experience you have being on a team and being able to be a leader. And (with) communication – communication is a big part of our team this year.”
Know your role: “Everybody just did their roles and nobody tried to do more than that. We had shooters, and if they were shooters they would shoot. Rebounders, they would rebound. Passers, they would pass. We just all did our roles, and it meshed really good. My role was to lead everyone. Get the ball to the shooters, if I had to score I’ll score, and push the ball in transition."
Take the lead: “If my guys are hot and doing their thing, I’m just going to let them be. But if they’re struggling, I’m going to be like, ‘You’re still in it. You’re still good.’ I’m going to try to get them an open look as a point guard, get them an easy look under the basket, get their confidence going. Give them a little bump on the back, just try to pick them up. … My coach ever since sophomore year, when I came in (to varsity) he told me I would be a leader. I wasn’t really a leader sophomore or junior year, but he kept pushing on me that I’ve gotta step up, I’ve gotta be more confident in my guys. Senior year I just said hey, I’ve gotta do it now.”
- Geoff Kimmerly, Second Half editor
Every week during the 2018-19 school year, Second Half and the Michigan Army National Guard recognizes 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, and responds 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 protect lives and property of Michigan citizens during a local natural disaster.
Past 2018-19 honorees
March 14: Cam Peel, Spring Lake swimming - Read
March 7: Jordan Hamdan, Hudson wrestling - Read
February 28: Kevon Davenport, Detroit Catholic Central wrestling - Read
February 21: Reagan Olli, Gaylord skiing - Read
February 14: Jake Stevenson, Traverse City Bay Reps hockey - Read
February 7: Molly Davis, Midland Dow basketball - Read
January 31: Chris DeRocher, Alpena basketball - Read
January 24: Imari Blond, Flint Kearsley bowling - Read
January 17: William Dunn, Quincy basketball - Read
November 29: Dequan Finn, Detroit Martin Luther King football - Read
November 22: Paige Briggs, Lake Orion volleyball - Read
November 15: Hunter Nowak, Morrice football - Read
November 8: Jon Dougherty, Detroit Country Day soccer - Read
November 1: Jordan Stump, Camden-Frontier volleyball - Read
October 25: Danielle Staskowski, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep golf - Read
October 18: Adam Bruce, Gladstone cross country - Read
October 11: Ericka VanderLende, Rockford cross country - Read
October 4: Kobe Clark, Schoolcraft football - Read
September 27: Jonathan Kliewer, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern soccer - Read
September 20: Kiera Lasky, Bronson volleyball - Read
September 13: Judy Rector, Hanover-Horton cross country - Read
PHOTOS: (Top) Unity Christian's Noah Wiswary (1) looks for an open teammate during Saturday's Division 2 championship game against River Rouge. (Middle) Wiswary brings the ball upcourt during the Semifinal win over Ludington.
Breslin Bound: 2022-23 Boys Quarterfinal Preview
By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor
March 21, 2023
It finally feels like spring, at least here in East Lansing. And tonight, 32 teams will attempt to build into their spring breaks a trip to Breslin Center.
Below is a glance at all 16 of tonight’s Quarterfinals across four divisions, with all games tipping off at 7 p.m. unless noted. Winners advance to Thursday and Friday’s Semifinals, and we’ll detail the teams more then as we preview those concluding rounds of this year’s tournament.
“Breslin Bound” is powered by MI Student Aid.
Ann Arbor Huron (23-2) vs. Detroit Cass Tech (25-1) at University of Detroit Mercy, 5:30 p.m.
After an early postseason exit last season, 2021 Division 1 runner-up Huron has put together another deep playoff run. Sophomore guard Macari Moore leads three players averaging double-digit scoring at 17 points per game. After winning its first Regional title last season since 1998, Cass Tech is back at the Quarterfinals for a second straight March. Darius Acuff is another super sophomore, also leading three double-digit scorers at 21.6 ppg to go with 5.8 assists per contest.
Grand Blanc (24-2) vs. Rochester Adams (17-8) at Lake Orion
Last season’s runner-up is two wins away from playing for another title, but this time the Bobcats are led by first-year coach Tory Jackson. Seniors Tae Boyd (15.4 ppg) and RJ Taylor (14.3) are a strong 1-2 punch. Adams is coming off its first Regional title in this sport, with junior 6-foot-7 football standout Brady Prieskorn among top contributors for a Highlanders hoops team that has won seven of its last nine games.
Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (14-10) vs. Warren De La Salle (17-8) at University of Detroit Mercy
These Detroit Catholic League Central rivals will meet for the third time, with St. Mary’s winning the first matchup by 17 on Jan. 10 and the reigning Division 1 champion Pilots taking the rematch by 12 on Jan. 31. Sophomore Trey McKenney is a force at 25.5 points and 11.1 rebounds per game for the Eaglets, while Phoenix Glassnor is another sophomore standout leading De La Salle at 18.4 ppg.
Muskegon (24-2) vs. East Lansing (16-9) at Caledonia
East Lansing has won six straight and 12 of its last 14 games, with three of those wins over opponents responsible for four of their losses this winter. Only one starter is a senior, and sophomore Cameron Hutson leads the way at 19.3 ppg. Muskegon is in the midst of a ninth 20-win season over the last decade and earned its first Regional title since 2015. Senior Jordan Briggs (18.7 ppg) has qualified for the MHSAA single-season record list with 84 3-pointers, connecting on nearly 40 percent of his tries from beyond the arc.
Cadillac (22-4) vs. Saginaw (20-6) at Alma
The Trojans are seeking their first Semifinal appearance since 2013 and have lost only to Division 1 opponents this season, with guard Javarie Holliday leading a mostly senior-powered lineup at 15.8 ppg. Cadillac also won its Regional last season and is seeking to return to the Semifinals for the first time since 2015, with 6-6 junior Charlie Howell the leading scorer (15.3 ppg) and rebounder (7.4 rpg).
Ferndale (18-8) vs. Goodrich (22-4) at Lake Orion, 5:30 p.m.
The Eagles are working to reach Breslin and the Semifinals for a third-straight season and have won 13 of their last 14 games while navigating a power-packed schedule again this winter. Senior Chris Williams leads a balanced lineup at 13.5 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. Goodrich is a combined 93-20 over the last five seasons and playing to make the Semifinals for the first time with senior Jack Locey (18.6 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 3.2 apg, 2.0 spg, 45 3-pointers) among those filling the stat sheet.
Hudsonville Unity Christian (18-9) vs. Grand Rapids South Christian (23-3) at Calvin University
These rivals will be filling Calvin for a rematch after South Christian won the regular-season meeting 58-50 on Dec. 16. The bad news for the Sailors is they lost leading scorer Carson Vis (17.7 ppg) to injury in the Regional Final, but senior Jacob DeHaan (13 ppg) leads three others averaging at least 8.9 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Unity has won 11 of its last 12 games, with two-point upsets of Grand Rapids Catholic Central and Grand Rapids Christian along the way. Juniors Trayton Fisher and Colin Neiuwenhuis both average about 11.5 points per game and have combined for 97 3-pointers.
Chelsea (21-5) vs. Romulus Summit Academy (24-2) at Milan
These are two more teams looking to reach the Semifinals for the first time, Summit having played in a Quarterfinal as recently as 2021 and Chelsea’s last trip to the season’s final week in 2000. Juniors Jacob Stephens (22.7 ppg) and Joseph Cabana (22.2) set a strong pace for the Bulldogs. The Dragons have doubled up all four of their postseason opponents so far and done the same in 16 wins total this winter.
Detroit Loyola (25-1) vs. Flint Beecher (21-4) at Waterford Mott
A 67-58 loss to Division 1 Flint Carman-Ainsworth on Jan. 29 remains the only defeat on Loyola’s list this winter. All five starters are seniors, with Dashawn Martin (15.1 ppg) leading three averaging double-figure scoring. Beecher’s losses were to Division 1 and 2 opponents, including three playing tonight. Robert Lee leads a senior-dominated lineup at 24.1 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game as the Bucs attempt to make the Semifinals for a third-straight season.
Laingsburg (25-0) vs. Ecorse (19-4) at Ypsilanti Lincoln
The Wolfpack’s closest game this season was seven points, its Regional Semifinal win against Jonesville, as it attempts to reach Breslin for the first time since 2013. Junior Zander Woodruff is averaging more than a point per minute of playing time, leading at 24.4 ppg. Ecorse is seeking a return trip to the Semifinals and has won 17 of its last 18 games. Senior guard Malik Olafioye also is putting the finishing touches on a high-scoring career.
St. Ignace (22-4) vs. Traverse City St. Francis (22-4) at Gaylord
St. Ignace is playing in its first Quarterfinal since 2001, seeking to reach the Semifinals for the first time since 1983. Junior Jonny Ingalls (22.4 ppg) leads three Saints averaging at least 13, plus he’s dishing 5.4 assists per game. St. Francis has won 11 of its last 12 games with that lone loss to Cadillac (see above) in overtime in the regular-season finale. Senior Wyatt Nausadis has paced the scoring at 20.1 ppg after quarterbacking the football team to a Division 7 runner-up finish in the fall.
Pewamo-Westphalia (19-6) vs. Niles Brandywine (24-2) at Portage Central
Brandywine has reached the final week for the first time with its first Regional title, and its only losses this season remain against Division 2 Benton Harbor. Junior Jaremiah Palmer leads a lineup with four players averaging at least 9.7 ppg at 12.9 per game. P-W is making its second-straight Quarterfinal appearance after edging North Muskegon by three and then Grandville Calvin Christian by two last week. Senior Jamison Eklund is averaging 22.8 points and 7.7 rebounds per game.
Painesdale Jeffers (25-1) vs. Munising (24-1) at Negaunee
The Upper Peninsula is guaranteed to send a one-loss team downstate to the Division 4 Semifinals, and for both programs it would be a first-time trip. Jeffers is playing its first Quarterfinal, and Munising its first since 1954. Junior Levi Frahm leads four Jets scoring in double digits at 20.5 ppg, while senior Kane Nebel is surrounded by a similar balanced attack and leads four double-digit scorers at 15.8 ppg.
Taylor Trillium Academy (21-3) vs. Marine City Cardinal Mooney (15-11) at West Bloomfield
Trillium is another first-time Regional champion, taking this step after falling just a four-point loss shy of reaching the Quarterfinals a year ago. Senior DaMaryon Fishburn is averaging 22.7 points, 9.9 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game for the Wildcats, and junior Keymarryon Fishburn adds 15.3 ppg. Cardinal Mooney has won seven of its last nine games to reach the Quarterfinals for the first time since 2016 and after falling in Regional Finals the last two seasons – avenging the 2022 loss to Genesee Christian to advance. Senior Trent Rice leads three double-digit scorers at 12.9 ppg.
Frankfort (17-8) vs. Hillman (22-4) at Gaylord, 5 p.m.
Frankfort is another team on a nice streak with eight wins over its last nine games including 50-44 over 2022 semifinalist Lake Leelanau St. Mary in last week’s Regional Final. Senior Emmerson Farmer and sophomore Carter Kerby supply the backcourt with between 10-11 ppg apiece. This will be Hillman’s fourth Quarterfinal over the last nine seasons as the Tigers seek their first Semifinal trip. Trenton Taratuta is a big-time scorer averaging 27.4 ppg with 60 3-pointers but also 9.7 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 5.2 steals per game.
Wyoming Tri-unity Christian (20-6) vs. Kalamazoo Phoenix (17-2) at Richland Gull Lake
This is a familiar spot for Tri-unity Christian, the reigning Division 4 champion. All five starters average between 6-13 ppg and four have high games of at least 20 points this season; senior Roy Fogg tops both lists at 13 ppg and 25, respectively. This is new territory for Phoenix, which won one game just two seasons ago but has won 10 in a row heading into this week. Senior Cameron Lewis-Atkins (19.9 ppg) leads five players averaging 11 or more points per game. Phoenix avenged one of its losses, to Eau Claire, in the Regional Semifinal.
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PHOTOS (Top) A fan holds up a sign supporting Painesdale Jeffers between the third and fourth quarters of last week’s Regional Final win over Stephenson. (Middle) Tri-unity Christian’s Roy Fogg pulls in a loose ball during his team’s Regional championship victory over Lansing Christian. (Top photo by Cara Kamps; middle photo by High School Sports Scene.)