Breslin Bound: Girls Report Week 10

February 11, 2020

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

It’s inaccurate, of course, to say this Michigan high school girls basketball season all comes down to this week – but lot will be decided over the next seven days.

League tournaments for those sponsoring them all will be in full swing – with the Detroit Public School League’s champion decided this weekend. More league races remain ever-changing. And on Sunday, for the first time, District brackets will be published with limited seeding separating the top two teams until a possible meeting in the title-deciding final.

So stay tuned. “Breslin Bound” is powered by MI Student Aid and based on results and schedules posted for each school at Send corrections or missing scores to [email protected].

Week in Review

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

1. Michigan Center 65, Grass Lake 55 – The Cardinals avenged a Dec. 18 five-point loss to move into a first-place tie in the Cascades Conference with Grass Lake, and both are among leaders in Division 3 MPR statewide with Grass Lake No. 8 and Michigan Center No. 17.  

2. Sault Ste. Marie 43, St. Ignace 29 – The Straits Area Conference is a two-team race and very well could end with a shared title as the Blue Devils avenged a three-point loss from Dec. 20 in this matchup between the No. 5 team in Division 2 and No. 2 in Division 4 Saints.

3. Grosse Pointe South 50, Macomb Dakota 47 – These Blue Devils moved up to No. 15 in Division 1 MPR and own a share of the Macomb Area Conference Red title, although Dakota can take back a share if GPS falls tonight to rival Grosse Pointe North.

4. East Lansing 57, DeWitt 42 – The Trojans moved up to No. 2 in Division 1 MPR entering this week and took a two-game lead in the Capital Area Activities Conference Blue by finishing a sweep of last season’s co-champ.

5. Muskegon Reeths-Puffer 54, Jenison 51 – The Rockets, No. 17 in Division 1 MPR, avenged a Jan. 10 loss to send Jenison into a first place tie in the Ottawa-Kent Conference Black with Muskegon – and with a rematch against the Big Reds and title opportunity coming up Friday.

Watch List

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


Holt (12-2) Expectations have been high for a while for this current group of Rams, and they’re making good catapulting a team that won nine games two years ago and finished 12-11 last season. Friday’s 51-41 win over Okemos pushed Holt into second place in the CAAC Blue and quite possibly past the Chiefs into the second seed in their District.

Midland Dow (13-2) It’s tough to say Dow needed a minute to get rolling this season given that its only losses were to Howell (11-3) and Midland (14-1). But after sending their entire backcourt to college ball last spring, the Chargers are back to full power with nine straight wins including their last three over the other top-four teams in the Saginaw Valley League Red – Midland, Bay City John Glenn and Saginaw Heritage.


Clare (13-2) Despite falling last week for the second time to second-place Pinconning, Clare continues to lead a Jack Pine Conference featuring five of eight teams that have won at least nine games. The Pioneers finished second in the JPC last season to Houghton Lake, which moved into the Highland Conference this school year, and has a great shot to close this title run. Clare’s final three league games are against teams it beat by an average of 12 points the first time around.

Portland (15-1) The Raiders have won 14 straight since falling to Williamston (12-3) on Dec. 6, and Friday against Lansing Catholic can clinch a share of the CAAC White title – a solid feat considering four of six teams in the league are 10-5 or better. Portland’s defense has been stifling, as it hasn’t allowed more than 30 points in a game in nearly a month – since defeating CAAC Red leader Haslett on Jan. 14


Brooklyn Columbia Central (15-2) The Golden Eagles can clinch a second-straight Lenawee County Athletic Association title Friday at Blissfield and edged the Royals by four points when they met Jan. 10. BCC also beat second-place Ida twice by single digits, but otherwise haven’t been challenged a lot outside of their losses to reigning Division 4 champion Adrian Lenawee Christian (13-1) and Division 2 Parma Western (12-2).

Calumet (11-3) A three-game losing stretch to start calendar year 2020 knocked Calumet off track for a minute, but the Copper Kings are back on their game and have won six straight. They hold a slim lead in the Western Peninsula Athletic Conference West with three league games to play, and have a chance tonight to avenge the first of their losses, to Negaunee (12-3), after falling by 15 in their Jan. 2 meeting.


Allen Park Inter-City Baptist (11-0) The three-time reigning champion Chargers are sitting atop the Michigan Independent Athletic Conference Blue standings with their first of two meetings with second-place Plymouth Christian Academy (12-3) coming up Friday. They also own impressive wins over Division 1 Lincoln Park (10-4) and Division 2 Flat Rock (14-3), with another telling matchup coming up Thursday against Division 3 contender Ypsilanti Arbor Prep (14-4).

Athens (12-2) The Indians downed second-place Bellevue 50-28 last week to extend their lead in the Southern Central Athletic Association West after finishing second to the Broncos a year ago. Since falling on opening night to Battle Creek Calhoun Christian (9-5), Athens’ only other defeat this winter has come to SCAA East co-leader Pittsford (15-1) by seven on Jan. 17. Athens sees the other co-leader Camden-Frontier (15-1) on Wednesday.

Can't-Miss Contests

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

Wednesday – Farmington Hills Mercy (14-1) at Detroit Edison (13-0) – Contenders statewide in Divisions 1 and 2, respectively, face off, with Edison carrying a 38-game winning streak.

Friday – Detroit Cass Tech (15-1) vs. Detroit Renaissance (15-2) at University of Detroit Mercy – The champions of the East and West divisions, respectively, will meet for the first time this season in the Detroit Public School League Tournament final.

Friday – West Bloomfield (11-3) at Clarkton (12-3) – A 73-47 West Bloomfield win in their Jan. 9 meeting has been the difference in the Lakers leading the Oakland Activities Association Red and the Wolves trailing by a game.

Friday – Kent City (15-1) at Morley Stanwood (13-1) – The Eagles can clinch a share of the Central State Activities Association Silver title after also handing Morley Stanwood its lone loss 75-33 on Jan. 21.

Friday – East Kentwood (11-3) at Hudsonville (14-0) – The Eagles won the first meeting 45-41 on Jan. 17 and hold a one-game lead in the O-K Red over the three-time reigning champ Falcons because of it.

Second Half’s weekly “Breslin Bound” reports 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: Portland’s 15-1 run this season has included a sweep of league opponent Ionia. (Click to see more from

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.)