Breslin Bound: 2022-23 Girls Report Week 3

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

December 19, 2022

We’ve gained some early insights on local races and statewide superiority as we near the end of the first month of this girls basketball season – but perhaps the most eye-opening play will be tipping off between now and when the ball drops to ring in 2023.

MI Student Aid

We enjoyed another telling week of mostly nonleague play across the state – including a matchup of potentially the best two teams regardless of division. There’s more of that to come as these next two weeks are filled with holiday hoops events – and we’ll catch up on those when “Breslin Bound” returns the first week in January.

“Breslin Bound” is powered by MI Student Aid and based on results and schedules posted for each school at

Week in Review

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

1. Ypsilanti Arbor Prep 66, West Bloomfield 62 The most intriguing matchup of this season so far saw the reigning Division 3 champion Gators (3-1) edge the reigning title holder in Division 1 West Bloomfield (3-2) during the Arbor Prep Ice Breaker.

2. Chelsea 64, Portland 27 The Bulldogs (5-0) put together their biggest win to avenge two losses from last season against the Raiders (4-2), including their season-ender in a Regional Final.

3. Lake Fenton 51, Grosse Pointe North 33 Lake Fenton’s impressive 6-0 start has arguably its most impressive win so far, as the Norsemen (5-1) also have shown plenty of potential.

4. Hudsonville 48, Wayne Memorial 46 The Eagles (4-2) have navigated a strong nonleague schedule so far, as has Wayne (1-3) with this West Michigan Spotlight matchup its second-straight two-point defeat.  

5. East Grand Rapids 61, Redford Westfield Prep 56 The Pioneers (5-1) also pulled out a close win during the “Spotlight” at Aquinas College, against another program in Westfield playing a loaded December slate.

Watch List

With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each division making sparks:


Farmington Hills Mercy (5-0) The Marlins annually are one of the top teams in Division 1, but this has been their best start since 2019-20. Along the way, they’ve handed the only losses so far to Rochester and Northville. Mercy is the reigning Detroit Catholic League Central champ and will begin an attempt at a repeat run Jan. 6 against the other likely favorite, Ann Arbor Father Gabriel Richard.

Mattawan (4-1) Last season’s 13-9 finish included a run of six wins and a District championship over Mattawan’s final seven games, and the trending upward has continued. After an opening loss to East Grand Rapids – which has quickly established itself as a top team in Division 1 – the Wildcats have won four straight.


Haslett (5-0) The Vikings have averaged 16 wins per season over the last four, and regardless of the additional two games on the schedule beginning this winter they have looked early like a contender to match or exceed that solid level of success. They’ve defeated all five opponents by double digits, including Parma Western (21-2 last season), Jackson Northwest and last week Williamston. The Northwest win was the season opener, and the Mounties haven’t lost again.

Saginaw Swan Valley (4-0) All four of Swan Valley’s opponents so far have continued to maintain records of .500 or better, with Hemlock otherwise undefeated. The Vikings finished 19-5 a year ago and second in the Tri-Valley Conference 8, with three losses (including in the Regional Final) to Frankenmuth – and those two will meet for the first time this season the first Friday of 2023.


Blissfield (7-0) The Royals have plowed through the first one-third of their schedule, winning those seven games by an average of 34 points per victory. Blissfield finished an impressive 17-6 last season, and has avenged three of those losses defeating Erie Mason 68-30 and Brooklyn Columbia Central 47-27 after losing to the latter twice last winter.  

Farwell (6-0) The Eagles are building on a 15-7 finish and second place in the Jack Pine Conference from last season. Their latest win was 29-24 on Friday over Gladwin, one of the JPC teams they split with last winter, and their first matchup with reigning champion Sanford Meridian is Jan. 13 as they look to avenge three 2021-22 losses to the Mustangs that were all by six points or fewer.


Martin (5-0) The Clippers are on the right track coming off last season’s 11-12 finish. They started 5-1 last winter as well before a tough stretch, but this month’s work has already included avenging 2021-22 losses to Kalamazoo Hackett Catholic Prep and Gobles. The 39-35 Hackett win is their only single-digit victory so far.

Onaway (4-0) The Cardinals are halfway already to equaling last season’s eight wins, and they’ve done so with a pair of major highlights along the way. The 41-20 season-opening victory over Posen avenged three defeats from last winter, and Thursday’s 45-39 victory over Johannesburg-Lewiston avenged two more losses from 2021-22.

Can’t-Miss Contests

Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up: 

Wednesday – Ypsilanti Arbor Prep (3-1) at Chelsea (5-0) – Both are noted above and seen as potentially dominant teams this season in Divisions 3 and 2, respectively.

Wednesday – Imlay City (7-0) at Goodrich (5-0) – Both will be facing potentially their strongest early test, although Imlay City also has a tough one against Frankenmuth tonight.

Dec. 29 – St. Ignace (4-0) vs. Ann Arbor Huron (3-2) at Redford Westfield Prep – This Motor City Roundball Classic matchup provides a solid challenge for both, especially the Division 4 Saints as they play through a string of larger opponents.

Dec. 29 – Detroit Country Day (3-2) vs. Detroit Renaissance (3-0) at Westfield Prep – This is another Motor City matchup, and will tip off barely 24 hours after Country Day plays Rockford at the same event.

Dec. 30 – Lake Fenton (6-0) at Detroit Cass Tech (3-0) – Both have games to play before this meeting, but both also are pushing for the opportunity to enter 2023 undefeated.'s weekly “Breslin Bound” previews and reviews are powered by MI Student Aid, a part of the Office of Postsecondary Financial Planning located within the Michigan Department of Treasury. MI Student Aid encourages students to pursue postsecondary education by providing access to student financial resources and information. MI Student Aid administers the state’s 529 college savings programs (MET/MESP), as well as scholarship and grant programs that help make college Accessible, Affordable and Attainable for you. Connect with MI Student Aid at and find more information on Facebook and Twitter @mistudentaid.

PHOTO St. Louis faced Ithaca in a matchup of Tri-Valley Conference 10 teams Friday; Ithaca won 61-41. (Click for more from High School Sports Scene.)

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.)