Breslin Bound: 2021-22 Girls Regional Preview

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

March 8, 2022

Breslin is only one more week away. And what a week it's going to be. 

MI Student AidRegional play begins tonight with 128 teams becoming just 32 quarterfinalists by Friday. Check out “Tracking the Tournament” on for every matchup, and see below for some of last week’s most notable District scores and three Regionals in each division to pay special attention to as we move closer to determining this season's champions.

“Breslin Bound” is powered by MI Student Aid.

Week in Review

The countdown of last week’s five most intriguing results: 

1. Fowler 50, Portland St. Patrick 41 The Division 4 reigning champ Eagles (19-3) avenged losses of four and seven (in overtime) to the Shamrocks (21-1) from the regular season. 

2. Portland 45, Lansing Catholic 30 The reigning Division 2 champion Raiders (21-1) made it two straight over the Cougars (19-3) after losing the first meeting in January. 

3. West Bloomfield 46, Bloomfield Hills Marian 35 Both had been building notable momentum over the last few weeks, but the Lakers (20-1) advanced in the final game at Marian (15-7) for legendary coach Mary Cicerone. 

4. Muskegon Western Michigan Christian 61, Hart 47 The Warriors (17-4) won this matchup of league champions, also avenging a 16-point season-opening loss to the Pirates (17-4). 

5. Newaygo 61, Sparta 49 The Lions (21-1), last season’s Division 2 runners-up, won their 15th-straight game by double digits in ending the run for Sparta (19-3).

Regionals at a Glance

These could be among our most competitive brackets. Host sites are in bold:


Byron Center
Muskegon Mona Shores (19-3) vs. Rockford (20-2), Hudsonville (20-2) vs. Byron Center (19-2)

Hudsonville, Mona Shores and Byron Center all were league champions in the Ottawa-Kent Conference, and Rockford was runner-up to Hudsonville in the Red with its only two losses to the reigning Division 1 champion Eagles – who also entered the tournament No. 1 overall in Division 1 MPR. But although Hudsonville has defeated all three of these teams, this hardly will be a breeze. The Eagles defeated Byron Center on Dec. 14 in overtime, 59-56, and that was the Bulldogs’ last loss this season. Mona Shores lost two more times, but avenged both on the way to sharing the O-K Green title with Muskegon Reeths-Puffer.

Alpena (14-9) vs. Midland Dow (21-1), Flint Carman-Ainsworth (18-4) vs. Grand Blanc (17-4)

Dow, Carman-Ainsworth and Grand Blanc finished first, second and third, respectively, in the Saginaw Valley League, while Alpena tied for third in the Big North Conference before putting together a District run that included a win over runner-up Gaylord, a one-point victory over Marquette and a two-pointer over Traverse City Central. Next up for the Wildcats is Dow, a Division 1 semifinalist last season. The Chargers clinched the SVL with a 56-45 win over Carman-Ainsworth on Feb. 22, and surely their rematch is anticipated by most this week. But Grand Blanc has won eight straight since falling back-to-back to Dow and the Cavaliers and also will be tough seeing either or both the second time.

West Bloomfield
Berkley (13-8) vs. Grosse Pointe North (17-5), Farmington Hills Mercy (18-4) vs. West Bloomfield (20-1)

Mercy (No. 4), West Bloomfield (6) and North (11) all finished among the highest in overall Division 1 MPR and won league championships. Mercy also earned a 43-35 win over North back on Dec. 5, the only time any of these teams played each other this regular season – although West Bloomfield advanced with a 46-35 win over Bloomfield Hills Marian, which got past Mercy in overtime three weeks ago. Not only has West Bloomfield not lost since its season opener, it has had only one single-digit game since the start of the calendar year. Don’t look past Berkley, which defeated 2021 Division 1 runner-up Detroit Renaissance by 20 to win their District last week.


Detroit Edison
Detroit Edison (14-3) vs. Redford Westfield Prep (20-1), Carleton Airport (14-8) vs. Romulus (19-2)

Edison and Westfield Prep finished first and second, respectively, in final Division 2 MPR, and this will be their first meeting as both played B teams for Charter School Conference games. Edison’s Ruby Whitehorn is one of four finalists for the Miss Basketball Award and keys a team that lost in-state only to West Bloomfield, 65-62 on Feb. 15. Westfield’s only loss was to Division 3 contender Ypsilanti Arbor Prep, 54-51 on Jan. 13. The other side of the bracket also has plenty of intrigue: Romulus has won 10 straight and is the Western Wayne Athletic Conference champ, while Airport is enjoying its best stretch and avenged two losses to Grosse Ile with a 48-41 District Final win.

Saginaw Swan Valley (18-4) vs. Belding (19-3), Frankenmuth (20-2) vs. Ovid-Elsie (21-1)

Frankenmuth (No. 5), Ovid-Elsie (No. 11) and Swan Valley (No. 13) were among the top ranked in the final Division 2 MPR. All have impressive records and lost almost entirely to opponents that posted similarly high win totals. Frankenmuth defeated Swan Valley twice on the way to winning the Tri-Valley Conference 8, but Swan Valley’s other losses were to teams that won 17 and 18 games. The Eagles fell to Arbor Prep and Grand Blanc, but defeated Midland Dow. Ovid-Elsie lost to Goodrich but has pairs of victories over 16-game winners New Lothrop and Chesaning, and two of Belding’s defeats were to 19-game winner Sparta.

Marshall (16-6) vs. Portland (21-1), Williamston (17-6) vs. Chelsea (19-3)

The Division 2 reigning champion Raiders finished third in final Division 2 MPR, and Chelsea was fourth. The Raiders got by a significant challenger in No. 7 Lansing Catholic with a 45-30 District Final win; the Cougars had handed Portland its only loss. The Raiders also have an early win over Williamston, by 12, and a mid-January 17-point victory over Chelsea. But to see either again they’ll have to get past Marshall, which finished second in the Interstate 8 Athletic Conference with all but one of its losses to teams that won at least 15 games and two of those defeats to Division 1 contender Parma Western (21-1). Williamston is on an eight-game winning streak that helped result in a league title, and Chelsea also won its league and can boast victories over Marshall and 18-win Battle Creek Lakeview and Tecumseh (twice).


Houghton Lake
Lake City (18-4) vs. Oscoda (15-6), McBain (19-3) vs. Sanford Meridian (20-2)

Meridian is enjoying one of its best seasons in recent memory after going 6-9 last year and 0-21 the season before. The Mustangs won 18 straight before falling to Division 1 contender Midland Dow in the regular-season finale, and they edged Jack Pine Conference rival Farwell for the third time to claim the District title. They’ll see McBain, which won a Highland Conference that had four teams reach 15 wins this season – including runner-up Lake City, which defeated McBain in their first meeting. Oscoda also shared its league title, in the North Star League Big Dipper, and is enjoying an 8-2 stretch.

Reese (18-4) vs. St. Charles (18-3), Sandusky (22-0) vs. Cass City (16-4)

Reese, St. Charles and Sandusky are league champions, and Cass City was the runner-up to the Rockets in the Greater Thumb Conference West but with losses by only three and two points to the league title winner – the latter just two weeks ago. Sandusky is enjoying its best of a long run of excellent seasons and first undefeated this late since 2016-17. St. Charles has four victories over teams that won at least 15 games, and Reese has taken 11 of its last 12 with last week’s District title its first since 2015-16.

St. Ignace
Bark River-Harris (15-6) vs. Calumet (19-2), Maple City Glen Lake (22-0) vs. St. Ignace (20-2)

This loaded Regional includes the No. 2 (St. Ignace), No. 3 (Calumet) and No. 8 (Glen Lake) teams in final Division 3 MPR, and all four were league champions. Calumet defeated St. Ignace and Glen Lake on the way to last season’s Division 3 Semifinals and lost this season only to Division 2 Escanaba and Houghton. The Saints have won 17 straight and avenged one of their defeats this winter, to Sault Ste. Marie. Glen Lake last made the Semifinals in 2018, and its only defeat last season was to the Copper Kings. The Lakers haven’t had a game closer than 10 points since Dec. 7. Bark River-Harris has won 10 of its last 11 games and made a nice statement edging Menominee by four in last week’s District Final.


Baraga (20-1) vs. Ontonagon (15-7), Eben Junction Superior Central (14-7) vs. Carney-Nadeau (21-1)

Baraga won its fourth-straight league title, in the Copper Mountain Conference Copper Country division, and lost this season only to Division 2 Houghton. The Vikings finished No. 10 in overall Division 4 MPR and have five and 12-point wins over Ontonagon this winter, although the Gladiators also are league champions after sharing the title in the Porcupine Mountain division. They’ve won 11 of their last 13 games, including avenging three of their defeats. Superior Central had a tough end to the regular season but downed Munising (16-6) to advance to this week and a third matchup with Carney-Nadeau, which won the first two big and has only a two-point loss to Felch North Dickinson keeping it from a perfect record. Carney-Nadeau made the Division 4 Semifinals a year ago.

Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart
Hillman (14-7) vs. Saginaw Nouvel (19-3), Fowler (19-3) vs. Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart (17-4)

The Eagles are the reigning Division 4 champions and finally got past rival Portland St. Patrick in the District Final after losing both regular-season games against the Shamrocks. But things don’t get easier this week – starting with a Sacred Heart team that’s won 11 straight and defeated its Mid-State Activities Conference co-champ Coleman to win last week’s District. On the other side, Hillman was co-champion in the North Star League Little Dipper, and has won 10 of its last 12 games. Nouvel also won a league title, in the Division 3-heavy Tri-Valley Conference 10, and hasn’t lost since opening 1-3 – with one of those early defeats by 16 to Fowler.

Rogers City
Pickford (17-2) vs. Engadine (15-7), Posen (20-1) vs. Harbor Springs Harbor Light Christian (13-7)

Posen is coming off its fifth-straight league and third-straight District championships, with its only loss this season by three to Little Dipper co-champ Hillman. Tonight’s opponent Harbor Light Christian won its first District title since 2017-18 and avenged a loss in clinching last week. Pickford finished No. 7 in overall Division 4 MPR with its only defeats to Division 3 St. Ignace and two wins by 18 over Engadine during the regular season.

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PHOTO West Bloomfield and Bloomfield Hills Marian played in one of the headlining Division 1 District Finals last week. (Photo by Douglas Bargerstock.)

JoBurg 3-Sport Great Capping Career Filled with All-State Honors, Team Trophies

By Tom Spencer
Special for

April 5, 2024

It won’t be hard for Jayden Marlatt to remember opening day on the softball field from any of her four years at Johannesburg-Lewiston.

Northern Lower PeninsulaAs a freshman, she missed the opener due to needing to quarantine. Her sophomore and junior years started on the road because the Cardinals’ field was under construction.  

This season the Cardinals will open up — weather permitting — on their brand-new field, hosting Mio on Monday, April 8.  Marlatt is slated to be the starting pitcher again and add to her school record collection.

While Johannesburg-Lewiston is looking forward to playing on the new diamond, Marlatt and her teammates have high hopes of finishing the season almost 200 miles south. They’re looking to get back to Michigan State University – the site of the Division 4 Semifinals and Final.

The Cards have had their sites on that goal since they fell 4-2 to Mendon in last year’s Semifinal at Secchia Stadium. The loss ended a 30-4-1 campaign that saw the Cardinals play every game on the road for a second consecutive year, but come up only one victory short of a first championship game appearance.

The trip to East Lansing also came after the Cards won the program’s first District title since 2008 and advanced to the Semifinals for the first time since 1981.

“It has been a long two seasons on the road,” said eighth-year head coach Kim Marlatt, noting the team utilized a Little League field for practices during the stretch. “They’ve been putting in a lot of work in the offseason, so it is excited to get going.”

Cardinals’ 1,000-point scorer Marlatt sets up for a free throw attempt. The new field isn’t the only new things this spring. The Cardinals will have a junior varsity team for the first time during the Marlatt’s tenure. The JV squad is coached by Ryan Marlatt, who has been serving the program the past eight years as assistant coach. He also has been the head girls basketball coach at JoBurg the past two seasons.

The Marlatt coaches are the proud parents of Jayden, who continues to garner recognition as perhaps the greatest athlete in Johannesburg-Lewiston’s history. 

The three-sport star had a huge hand in all that JoBurg accomplished last season leading the team in batting average (.670), home runs (13) and runs batted in (61). As the team’s ace pitcher, she collected 249 strikeouts and compiled a 1.32 ERA.

“Jayden has put in the hard work,” Kim pointed out.  “She is a very humble athlete. ‘She doesn’t like to talk about herself. She likes to compete, and she likes to be on the top of her game for her teammates.”

Jayden has been named all-conference and all-state in softball, basketball and volleyball nearly every season over her four years at JoBurg. She’s led her teams to Ski Valley Conference, District and Regional titles along the way.

She’s also been named Player of the Year by multiple publications. And she’s a front runner to be voted the Most Valuable Player of the Ski Valley Conference in softball. Earlier this year, league coaches voted her the MVP for both basketball and volleyball.  

“The Ski Valley never used to vote on an MVP,” Ryan Marlatt said. “Hopefully she can add the triple crown and get softball this year.”

Jayden Marlatt, who has played all three sports all four years, acknowledged softball is perhaps her most treasured, and she’ll continue in that sport at Ferris State. Her career total of more than 500 strikeouts, and her 14 home runs last season, are both JoBurg school records. "I like them all but probably softball,” she confirmed when asked to name her favorite sport.

She averaged 12 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists and four steals per game this winter helping the Cards basketball team to a conference runner-up finish. She was key to JoBurg's ability to put a 12-game winning streak together, and she topped the 1,000-point career mark along the way.

Also a standout in the fall, Marlatt prepares to connect during volleyball season.Her outstanding senior year on the basketball court and this spring’s possibilities nearly vanished as the volleyball season ended.

She suffered what looked to be a serious lower-leg injury in the final game of the JoBurg volleyball season. “She finished in the emergency room,” Kim Marlatt said.  

Diagnosed a high ankle sprain, it was an aggravation to an injury from her junior year in basketball. She wasn’t quite at 100 percent on the basketball court this season until the holiday break. She’s starting the softball season healthy, though.

Before the injury, Jayden led the Cards to their third volleyball conference championship over the last four years. After becoming JoBurg's all-time kills leader during her junior season, and with many of her teammates from her first three seasons graduating, Jayden had to fill a variety of roles while anchoring the offense from her outside hitter spot.

She ended up leading the team in both kills with 421 and digs, with 431, in her final season on the volleyball court. And she is listed among MHSAA’s all-time leaders in kills for a single match and career.

It’s more than Marlatt’s stats that stand out for Kristine Peppin, the school’s volleyball coach the past 15 years.

“It is not about the size of the school or the size of the player, it’s the heart that they have inside,” she proclaimed. “This girl would be a successful player on whatever team she was on. 

“Yes we’re a small school, small town,” she continued. “That kind of leadership and heart and drive to be the best is what’s given her that success.”

Marlatt’s work ethic is second to none, Peppin noted. She never saw Jayden give less than a “1,000” percent in practice or games in her career. 

Marlatt celebrates a trophy win during last season’s Semifinals softball run with parents (and coaches) Kim and Ryan Marlatt.“She’s a super hard worker and extremely modest for the kind of skill she possesses and the success she’s had,” Peppin said. “Her teammates think it’s amazing to be on her team.”

Marlatt’s volleyball skills caught the eye of at least one of her conference opponents’ coaches back in junior high. Ron Stremlow was performing one of his many coaching duties for Fife Lake Forest Area when he first saw Jayden on the volleyball court.

“I could tell then this girl was somebody special,” said Stremlow, who became one of the winningest coaches in state volleyball history with the Warriors. “When she got in high school, it just took off.

“She puts the time into it, and she works hard,” Stremlow continued. “Kids like that get what they deserve – they work for it.”

Stremlow, now retired, also acknowledged he’s enjoyed being able to watch the hard-throwing Marlatt on the softball field the last couple of seasons as Forest Area hosted the Cardinals consecutively due to JoBurg’s lack of a home field.

It’s something he’ll have to travel to do this year though, as JoBurg is scheduled to host the Warriors on April 15.

The Cardinals also will host a Regional on their new field June 8. The winners of District play at Rogers City, Harbor Springs, St. Ignace and Gaylord St. Mary will participate.

To play in the Regional, the Cards will have to emerge from the Rogers City District featuring the host Hurons, Atlanta, Hillman, Onaway, and Posen.

Tom SpencerTom 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) Johannesburg-Lewiston’s Jayden Marlatt drives a pitch during softball season. (2) Cardinals’ 1,000-point scorer Marlatt sets up for a free throw attempt. (3) Also a standout in the fall, Marlatt prepares to connect during volleyball season. (4) Marlatt celebrates a trophy win during last season’s Semifinals softball run with parents (and coaches) Kim and Ryan Marlatt. (Action shots by Dylan Jespersen/Petoskey News-Review; family photo by Breya Domke.)