Undefeated Mio Poised to Build on Bolt Nation's Proud Hoops Tradition

By Tom Spencer
Special for MHSAA.com

January 20, 2023

Wins, losses and championships may not be what this year’s Mio boys basketball players leave at the top of their footprint when they’re done.

But they certainly could.

“I’m proud to say these boys have gotten many compliments throughout the last couple of seasons as to how they conduct themselves and represent our basketball program, one another, our school, and our community both on — and off — the court,” said head coach Ty McGregor. “This group’s legacy will be more about their high character than records and titles.”

McGregor knows about leaving a legacy. He scored 32 points to lead the Thunderbolts to the 1989 Class D championship. His scoring in the 78-67 deciding win over Beal City allowed Mio to cap a perfect 28-0 season.

He also knows the legacy, perhaps better than most, of Michigan’s all-time boys career scoring leader, Jay Smith, who led Mio to the 1989 Semifinals and a 24-2 record. Smith and McGregor are brothers-in-law. 

Smith, who set the bar while playing before the 3-point line was added to Michigan high school basketball, went on to play and coach at the college level.  Smith recently returned to the University of Michigan basketball program as the director of player personnel and development under Juwan Howard.

McGregor went on to play professionally in Europe and coach with Smith at Grand Valley State and Central Michigan. He also squeezed in two years coaching the Thunderbolts before the college coaching and returning to Mio in 2017.

Today’s Thunderbolts leadership — seniors Austin Fox, Gage Long, Nathan Hurst — have helped Mio to an unbeaten start. 

They also have the Thunderbolts starting to think of capturing a conference title that has eluded them for 13 years.

“We only have 10 total boys in our high school basketball family, so it’s vital all lead and take ownership,” McGregor said. “Our kids show up in the classroom basketball court, so right there is 80 percent of being successful. 

Nathan Hurst (3) looks for an open teammate.“We talk about ‘real-life stuff’ a ton, and a big part of what we’re about is always leaving places better than when we found them,” McGregor continued. “These three seniors will most definitely leave our program a better place when their time here is complete, which makes a highly competitive, overly intense, passionate coach like myself smile!”

Fox, averaging 16.4 points per game, Long at 12.4, and Hurst at 10, are the team’s leading scorers. Long leads the team in rebounding, and Fox tops the steal list.

Sophomore Zeke Morris is right behind the seniors in scoring, rebounding, and steals. Junior Hunter Perez leads the team in assists.

Any and all five Thunderbolts on the court at any moment can drive the team’s success, according to McGregor. 

“I’ve stated all along, we don’t have a superstar or superstars; we do things by committee,” noted McGregor. “In order for us to be successful in any way, ‘by committee’ is how it has to be done. 

“We have five players that on any given night can get us double-digit scoring,” he went on. “Austin Fox, Gage Long and Nathan Hurst clearly do a great job with leadership, but everyone has taken ownership of this team.”

Defending is the team’s top priority, McGregor is quick to point out. His team is currently holding opponents to just 25 points per game.

“We know there will be nights where we will really shoot it in and nights where we can’t throw it in the ocean,” he said. “That’s basketball, but we should never have off nights at the defensive end — that’s all about effort, focus. 

“We are holding true to our priorities thus far,” he continued. “This type of defensive success widens our margin for error in other areas that we don’t have as much control over.”

What the Thunderbolts can control is attitude and effort, and MacGregor views that as the key to their success so far: “Our kids’ attitude and effort have been off the charts. It’s vital we always stay on top of those things.”

The postseason is already on the minds of the Thunderbolts, McGregor acknowledged.

“The postseason is clearly the most important part of the season in our minds,” McGregor said. “We want to continue to hold each other accountable and make daily deposits on preparation, commitment, effort, and attitude, which we hope will pay dividends in March.”

Mio’s style of play may not turn heads, but McGregor believes it gets the job done.

Austin Fox (5) intercepts a pass into the lane. “Unfortunately for our kids and Bolt Nation, their head coach is very black-and-white — he’s not into ‘Top 10’ highlights,” McGregor said. “We play a very fundamental, disciplined style of hoops, doing our best to not over complicate things. 

“We’re more about eliminating mistakes than playing high-risk hoops.”

McGregor’s wife Kristi took over coaching the Mio girls basketball program this season. Mio didn’t have enough players last year to field a girls team.

All of the girls who hoped to play last year still have eligibility – and could end up with the top seed in their District.

Coaching at the same school as his wife has been a spectacular experience, the boys coach said. And, it gives them something else to argue about, Ty McGregor joked.

“It is absolutely awesome to have the opportunity to teach the game of life, the game of hoops, and be a part of Bolt Nation alongside my wife, Kristi,” he said. “It gives us the opportunity to discuss, analyze, and assist one another, all in hopes of teaching kids in our small community to dream big, work hard, and commit to something bigger than themselves.”

The Thunderbolt boys, 7-0 overall and 2-0 in the Big Dipper portion of the North Star League, will resume play Tuesday at Posen.  

“I don’t look at or take much stock in an unbeaten record this early in the season,” McGregor said. “We don’t even discuss it, as we are more concerned with our daily approach to be better than we were the day/game before.”

Tom Spencer is a longtime MHSAA-registered basketball and soccer official, and former softball and baseball official, and he also has coached in the northern Lower Peninsula area. He previously has written for the Saginaw News, Bay County Sports Page and Midland Daily News. 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) Mio’s Gage Long (24) defends during a 57-17 win over Rogers City on Tuesday. (Middle) Nathan Hurst (3) looks for an open teammate. (Below) Austin Fox (5) intercepts a pass into the lane. (Photos by Jessi Fox.)

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.