By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
We're only two weeks into this girls basketball season. But there are plenty of teams that already can take pride in strong starts that either are continuing on last season's success or showing a nice turnaround after a rough run.
Some of those are highlighted in this week's report. Remember, what's below isn't any sort of statewide ranking – merely a top-10 list of notables from last week.
Records and results are through Sunday and based on those found at MHSAA.com. Click on Score Center to follow scores throughout the week and enter those of the games you attend.
1. Concord (3-0) – Most of the key pieces to last season’s Class C Semifinalist team are back, and they earned a pair of close wins. Concord edged Michigan Center 36-32 – after also beating Michigan Center in overtime in the District opener last season – and then got past Homer 37-35.
2. L’Anse (4-0) – The Purple Hornets are again off to a nice start – with a bonus. According to the Houghton Daily Mining Gazette, L’Anse’s 60-56 win over Houghton gave Houghton its first loss to a team from the state’s four northernmost counties since Nov. 2, 1999. Click to read more from the Daily Mining Gazette.
3. Westland John Glenn (2-0) – The Rockets got off to a strong start with a 66-34 win over Grosse Pointe North and then a 63-56 victory over Dearborn Divine Child. Divine Child is coming off a trip to the Class B Semifinals.
4. Grand Rapids South Christian (3-0) – Two of the Sailors four losses last season came to Grand Rapids Catholic Central. They haven’t played GRCC yet, but did edge Grand Rapids Christian 50-46 just three days after the Eagles beat GRCC by six.
5. Marshall (3-1) – This returning Class B Quarterfinalist added a strong week to a solid start. First, Marshall topped Richland Gull Lake 48-44 – Gull Lake won its Class A District last year – and then the Redhawks finished the week with a 46-33 win over Battle Creek Central.
6. Pontiac (2-0) – The Phoenix were a .500 team last season, but are off to a quick start thanks to two close wins. Pontiac beat Waterford Mott 49-45 and then Harper Woods Chandler Park 57-55.
7. Manchester (4-0) – The Flying Dutchmen have beaten every opponent by at least 10 points this season, including Onsted 59-40 and Napoleon 64-34 last week. Napoleon entered 3-0.
8. Bloomfield Hills Marian (2-0) – Marian is off to a solid start after beating annual Class A power Canton 44-30. Marian opened by beating Grosse Pointe North two weeks ago.
9. Athens (3-0) – The reigning Class D runner-up is off to a fast start again. Athens opened last week by beating Climax-Scotts 55-44, then survived a close one against Reading, 37-31.
10. Saginaw Heritage (2-2) – The Hawks bounced back from two losses during the first week to even their record by beating Arthur Hill 54-35 and Bay City Western 51-14. Heritage lost to Arthur Hill by 17 in their game last season.
PHOTO: Howell junior Meredith Wood works to get around a defender as the Highlanders pushed toward their first win of the season, 60-48 over Carrollton on Thursday. (Click to see more at HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)
Championship time is quickly approaching this girls basketball season.
We’re still three weeks out from the start of District play. But league contenders are clashing all over the state, with a handful of conferences finishing up their schedules this week and several favorites facing off soon with titles on the line. We make mention of a number of those below.
Week in Review
The countdown of last week’s five most intriguing results:
1. West Bloomfield 59, Detroit Edison 49 Last season, West Bloomfield (15-2) became the first in-state team to defeat Edison (12-3) since 2018 – and the Lakers have become the only one to do so again this winter.
2. Maple City Glen Lake 51, Traverse City St. Francis 45 The Lakers (13-2) are up to No. 2 in Division 4 MPR, while St. Francis (12-2) sits No. 4 in Division 3.
3. Holt 55, DeWitt 53 The Rams (14-2) sit alone atop the Capital Area Activities Conference Blue after sending the Panthers (13-2) into second in a matchup of top Division 1 teams statewide.
4. Hancock 50, Calumet 47 The Bulldogs (13-1) maintained their one-game lead in the Western Peninsula Athletic Conference West with their second win this season over third-place Calumet (11-3). Both are among the top seven statewide in Division 3 MPR.
5. Detroit Edison 44, Farmington Hills Mercy 42 The Pioneers bounced back from the West Bloomfield loss with a pair of close wins, this one over Mercy (14-2) followed by a one-pointer over Grand Rapids Catholic Central on Saturday.
With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each division making sparks:
Muskegon Reeths-Puffer (11-5) After a 2-4 start with those losses to top Division 1 and 2 teams statewide, Reeths-Puffer is 9-3 and tied for first in the Ottawa-Kent Conference Green with Muskegon after edging the Big Reds 56-52 on Friday. That avenged a 14-point loss to Muskegon on Jan. 6, and the Rockets have since gone on an eight-game winning streak. They also opened last week with a 42-39 victory over 11-win Ludington.
Wayne Memorial (13-4) The Zebras further solidified their standing atop the Kensington Lakes Activities Association East standings with last week’s 75-57 win over second-place Belleville. That followed up a 44-41 win over the Tigers on Jan. 6, and total Wayne has won 12 straight since a 1-3 start that included two-point losses to Division 1 contenders Detroit Renaissance and Hudsonville and a third defeat to Illinois power Chicago Whitney Young.
Goodrich (14-1) The Martians are locked in another battle atop the Flint Metro League Stars with Lake Fenton and trail the Blue Devils by a game after a 50-44 loss Jan. 20. That’s Goodrich’s only defeat, and they’ll attempt to avenge it in the league finale Feb. 17. In the meantime, the Martians can continue their statewide push upward with 13-win Flushing coming up Wednesday and 15-win Ovid-Elsie next week as well.
Redford Westfield Prep (11-6) The Warriors take on many of the state’s best, evidenced by their No. 8 MPR despite six losses. Westfield has won seven of its last eight games, the lone defeat during that streak 55-53 to still-undefeated Flint Carman-Ainsworth on Jan. 16 – and with perhaps its most notable instate win of the season 46-45 in double overtime Jan. 12 over reigning Division 3 champion Ypsilanti Arbor Prep.
McBain (13-4) The Highland Conference race could go down to the finish, especially after McBain avenged its earlier 17-point loss to second-place Evart with a 51-35 win last week. McBain also has a six-point loss to league leader Lake City from Jan. 20, but can avenge that in the regular-season finale Feb. 23. The Ramblers additionally have a pair of victories over 12-win Beal City and a solid early loss to still-undefeated Division 2 Escanaba.
Ovid-Elsie (15-2) The Marauders haven’t slowed down a bit after last season’s 21-2 finish with league and District titles, the latter in Division 2. This season in Division 3, Ovid-Elsie is up to No. 6 in MPR with a 14-game winning streak since suffering its lone losses early to Pewamo-Westphalia (10-5) and Dansville (15-1). The Marauders handed Mackinaw City its first defeat Saturday, 59-55 on a neutral court, and also has a victory over 14-win Ithaca plus a two-game lead in the Mid-Michigan Activities Conference.
Fowler (11-6) Coming off back-to-back Division 4 championships, Fowler put together a schedule featuring solid-to-strong teams from Divisions 1-4 and sit No. 3 in Division 4 MPR. The losses have come to Midland Dow, Haslett, Lansing Catholic, Kent City and league rivals Dansville and Portland St. Patrick, and the Eagles avenged the Shamrocks defeat 51-44 last week. Fowler will need help to catch Dansville in the Central Michigan Athletic Conference, down two games from the league leader, but will try to get one back from the Aggies on Feb. 14.
Norway (16-1) The Knights are leading the large-school division of the Skyline Central Conference with the likely deciding matchup coming at Bark River-Harris next week. Norway has lost only to Niagara (Wis.), by five two weeks ago, and handed Carney-Nadeau (13-2) one of its losses among other strong work – and after ending last season’s 11-10 run with a 15-point District loss to the Wolves.
Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up:
Tuesday – Coldwater (15-1) at Jackson Northwest (15-1) – The Mounties lead Coldwater by a win in the Interstate 8 Athletic Conference thanks to a 50-46 win in their first meeting Jan. 10.
Tuesday – Utica Ford (14-1) at Grosse Pointe North (13-2) – North has clinched a share of the Macomb Area Conference Red title heading into tonight’s league finale, while Ford won by a large margin in the MAC White.
Thursday – Houghton (13-1) at Hancock (13-1) – As noted above, Hancock leads the West-PAC West by a game – but will face second-place Houghton twice over the next two weeks.
Friday – Standish-Sterling (15-1) at Hemlock (13-3) – Hemlock owns the lead in the Tri-Valley Conference West 10-1 thanks to a 62-31 doubling up in the first meeting Jan. 6. But that remains the Panthers’ lone loss, and they’ve since handed TVC 10-2 co-leader Saginaw Valley Lutheran one of its two defeats.
Friday – Saline (15-2) at Temperance Bedford (16-1) – Saline is first and Bedford second in the Southeastern Conference Red thanks to Saline’s 41-22 win in their first meeting Jan. 27.
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PHOTOS (Top) A trio of Fowler defenders surround a Bath player driving to the basket during a 49-27 win earlier this season; they meet again Thursday. (Middle) Maddie Bradford of Maple City Glen Lake contests a shot by Maggie Napont of Traverse City St. Francis during the Lakers' 51-45 win over the Gladiators last week. (Top photo by Click by Christine McCallister. Middle photo by Rick Sack/TC Rick Photo.)