By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
After a one-year hiatus in 2017, the annual Reaching Higher showcases of Michigan’s top high school basketball players will return for their ninth year July 17 at Milford High School in Highland Township.
More than 200 athletes with aspirations to play at the college level will train and scrimmage under the tutelage of high school coaches from across the state and in front of college coaches expected to represent a number of NCAA, NAIA and junior college programs.
An educational effort by the Michigan High School Athletic Association and the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan, the Reaching Higher experience includes classroom sessions for student-athletes and their parents as well as on-court drills and scrimmaging. The events aim to give athletes a vision of what it takes to become a college basketball player and also succeed in college life.
Participants in the program were selected by a committee of BCAM members based on nominations by its member coaches. Click for complete lists of expected attendees.
The boys event begins at 11 a.m. on July 17, with scrimmages running from 1-3:30 p.m. The girls event begins at 3 p.m., with scrimmages from 5-7:30 p.m. Speakers for the boys session include Travis Bader, a standout at Okemos High School and Oakland University who played professionally this past season in Greece. Girls session speakers include Crystal Bradford, who starred for Inkster High and Central Michigan University and was selected in the first round of the 2015 WNBA Draft by the Los Angeles Sparks; she played professionally this past season in Israel.
Longtime coach Dave Ginsberg will speak with athletes about social media and the recruiting process during both sessions; he coached at a number of Michigan high schools and also was an assistant men’s basketball coach at Central Michigan University for 16 years, and he currently serves as the secretary/treasurer of the National High School Basketball Coaches Association. Longtime high school and college coach Marc Comstock – currently the boys basketball coach at Hudson High School – and recently retired Saginaw Valley State University athletic director Mike Watson will conduct sessions with parents during players’ drill and practice sessions.
The St. Ignace girls basketball teams is off to a 2-0 start – and great starts and finishes certainly have been the norm over the last 25 seasons under the leadership of head coach Dorene Ingalls and her assistant, and husband, Doug.
Tuesday’s season-opening win over Brimley made Dorene Ingalls 500-94 beginning her 25th season guiding the program – now 501-94 after Thursday’s 63-27 victory over Boyne City. She entered this season 16th on the state list for most girls basketball coaching victories, and seventh among active coaches.
For all 501 wins, Doug Ingalls has been by her side as an assistant within the program – while also serving as boys varsity basketball coach from 1992-2008, 2011-16 and again currently in the fifth season of his latest tenure. His Saints also have opened 2-0, and he has a 355-175 record leading the boys program.
The Ingalls have led the girls program to five MHSAA Finals championships, most recently in Class D in 2015, and four runner-up finishes, most recently in Division 4 in 2019.
Dorene Ingalls received the MHSAA Women In Sports Leadership Award in 2021.
PHOTOS (Top) Doug and Dorene Ingalls, far left and right, respectively, take a photo with 2003 Miss Basketball Krista Clement. (Middle) Dorene and Doug Ingalls. (Photos by David Latva.)