Undefeated Brimley Primed for Big Time

By John Vrancic
Special for MHSAA.com

February 8, 2019


BRIMLEY — Rankings are nice, but the Brimley boys are looking for more as they roll through this basketball season.

The Bays, ranked No. 1 statewide in Division 4 by The Associated Press, improved to 16-0 with a 72-46 triumph over St. Ignace on Tuesday.

Brimley’s run has continued a progression that saw the varsity finish 5-16 in 2014-15 and then add to its win total every season over the next three – going 20-5 and winning a District title last winter.

“Part of the reason for our success is team chemistry,” said 6-foot-3 junior guard Zach Gross. “We went undefeated from the fifth grade on. We’re excited about the ranking, but that only motivates us to work harder. We know there’s a target on our back. Everybody wants to beat the No. 1 team in the state.”

The Bays are well aware of the challenges in store for them during the postseason, where expectations will be high to match that top ranking.

The U.P. has enjoyed a wave of success in the smallest-school bracket especially this decade (the classification changed from Class D to Division 4 beginning this school year). North Central won three straight Class D titles from 2015-17 and also made the Semifinals in 2013. Dollar Bay made the Semifinals last season, following appearances as well by Eben Junction Superior Central in 2011, Carney-Nadeau in 2012 and Cedarville in 2014. Cedarville also made the Quarterfinals last season, losing to Dollar Bay, and has won six Regional titles over the last 10 years.

Brimley took a major step toward assuming a place among the elite, clinching the Eastern Upper Peninsula Conference title last week, outpacing Cedarville and Engadine after finishing second to the Trojans last season.

“Rudyard, Engadine and Cedarville have the strongest teams, which helps us get ready for the tournaments,” Gross said. “Rudyard has a very good defensive team, and Engadine has a run-and-gun offense. They (Engadine) have Andrew Blanchard, who’s a senior guard and a great athlete.”

Brimley posted an 89-78 victory at Rudyard on Friday. The Bays also defeated the Bulldogs 80-74 at home Dec. 13.

“Rudyard played a great game here,” said Brimley coach Joel Moore. “That was our closest game, although we had one guy injured. Another was sick and Marcus (Harris) was cramping up. Engadine was probably our toughest game (in a 79-67 victory Jan. 25). They match up with us pretty well. They can score in bunches.”

The Bays have shown on numerous occasions they also can score in bunches, which was evident in their 104-70 victory at Engadine on Dec. 6.

“The transition game is our strength,” said Harris, a 5-10 senior guard. “We have a lot of speed. We’re kind of an explosive team. We’re capable of putting up 90 points on any given night.”

Brimley is also aware of the possibility of teams taking the air out of the ball as DeTour attempted Nov. 30 when the Bays won 83-49.

“They tried to go with a delay offense,” said Harris. “We jumped on them early, then it was 13-13 after the first quarter. I think that prepares you a bit. There’s always a chance we could see that in the District.”

“If we see that in the District, I think we’ll be prepared for it,” 6-0 senior forward Hunter Lipponen added. “Our transition game has worked well. We don’t have the real big guy, so everybody has to be able to handle the ball. We have the ball handlers. We also have the speed, and we try to utilize that.”

A victory over Bay Mills Ojibwe Charter in the District opener Feb. 25 at Rudyard would set up a third meeting with Engadine two nights later. The District championship game is set for March 1.

“Ojibwe plays with a lot of pride and heart,” said Moore. “We can’t overlook anybody. Sometimes the hardest thing is to get out of the District because the teams are very familiar with each other. We have to stay humble and hungry. We can’t put much stock into the rankings.”

But the Bays can take confidence from what they’ve accomplished so far.

Brimley opened its season on a positive note, winning 73-49 at Cedarville.

“We hadn’t done that in about 15 years, which kind of set the tone,” Lipponen said. “Cedarville runs a 1-3-1 and 2-2-1 zone press and a half-court trap. You have to be able to make the right passes.”

Brimley visits Newberry tonight, and after Pickford for Parents Night on Feb. 15 hosts Harbor Springs Harbor Light Christian and travels to Sault Ste. Marie to close the regular season.

If the Bays win the District, they could potentially see Cedarville for the third time or Ski Valley Conference leader Pellston in the Regional. At that point, Brimley would be seeking its first Regional title since 1995, when it won its fourth in six seasons.

“Pellston is pretty good,” said Lipponen. “We saw them at team camp. They have a big guy underneath who has some very nice footwork.

“It’s very exciting. But we have to take it one game at a time.”

PHOTOS: (Top) Senior Tristen Lyons brings the ball up court during Brimley’s first game this season against Newberry, an 83-55 win Dec. 19. (Middle) Senior Dylan Carrick unloads a 3-point try against Superior Central in a 69-57 win Dec. 15. (Photos courtesy of the Brimley athletic department.)

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.