By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Most if not all MHSAA girls basketball teams have reached the midpoints of their regular seasons, or will do so by this week’s end.
And many of the best we’ve seen so far are winners we’ve come to expect over the years – although this week’s list of teams to note again mixes in some that are shining much brighter in 2014-15 than in the recent past.
Farmington Hills Harrison (7-1) – The Hawks have opened 7-1 for the second straight season, with the only misstep to one-loss Ann Arbor Huron and only one win by fewer than 12 points; Harrison opens Oakland Activities Association Red play Friday against undefeated Rochester Adams.
Gaylord (6-1) – The Blue Devils’ showdown with Traverse City West last week for first place in the Big North Conference was postponed to Jan. 20; regardless, Gaylord earned wins against Cadillac by 15 and Charlevoix by 29 and hasn’t lost since opening night.
Saginaw Heritage (7-0) – The Hawks’ 2013-14 season ended abruptly with an overtime loss to Midland Dow in their District opener, but Heritage has avenged that one already this winter, by 10 points, its closest win as it’s moved to the top of the Saginaw Valley Association North.
St. Johns (6-3) – The Redwings’ losses are to teams with a combined record of 20-3, and they’ve won three straight – defeating Detroit Pershing, followed by 2014 Class A semifinalist Grand Ledge by three last week and then Owosso by 29.
Goodrich (6-1) – The Martians have a combined five regular-season losses dating back to the start of the 2012-13 season, and the lone defeat this season was last month to Class A power Farmington Hills Mercy. All of Goodrich’s wins are by double figures, including 70-46 over second-place Flint Beecher last week in a matchup of the top two teams in the Genesee Area Conference Red.
Holland Christian (5-2) – The Maroons came back strong from a tough loss to Grand Rapids Christian with a 15-point win over East Grand Rapids and a 20-pointer over Hamilton last week – just in time for Friday’s matchup with rival Holland.
Hudsonville Unity Christian (5-1) – Holland Christian’s colleague in the Ottawa-Kent Green hasn’t lost since falling to Grand Rapids Christian before break and owns a 10-point win over reigning Class B runner-up Grand Rapids South Christian and a 29-pointer over Allendale from last week.
Macomb Lutheran North (8-0) – The Mustangs lead the Detroit Catholic League AA in part after last week defeating Pontiac Notre Dame Prep, the only team to beat Lutheran North during the regular season in 2013-14. That 35-16 win matched the other seven all in double figures.
Dryden (6-2) – The Cardinals improved from six wins in 2012-13 to 10 last season and look good to surpass that this winter with a pair of wins last week continuing a three-game streak.
Ithaca (7-0) – Longtime coach Bob Anderson keeps leading winning teams; last week’s 77-37 victory over St. Louis was the 1,130th game of Anderson’s coaching career, girls and boys combined, and he has the Yellowjackets on pace to cruise past last season’s total of 10 wins.
Saginaw Arts & Sciences (5-0) – The Dragons were a solid 14-7 a year ago and continue to improve, with last week’s 53-16 win over Owendale-Gagetown by far their biggest this season and a great way to jump into the Michigan Summit League schedule.
Tawas (9-1) – The Braves have surpassed last season’s 8-11 finish and have a pair of two-point wins – over Class A Bay City Central early and Class D contender Posen 38-36 on Monday.
Felch North Dickinson (4-3) – The Nordics are halfway to last season’s win total of eight and riding a three-game winning streak with the latest 69-46 over Skyline Central Conference opponent Powers North Central.
St. Ignace (6-3) – Never mind the Saints’ three losses; they are to teams that are all in Class C or larger and are a combined 19-4. St. Ignace kicked off the new year with big wins over Class C Charlevoix and Class A Sault Ste. Marie.
Kingston (8-2) – The North Central Thumb League leaders rebounded off a loss to Brown City in that school’s tournament final to beat Peck and Caseville both by more than 30 points last week; Kingston already owns one win against second-place Deckerville, with the rematch scheduled for Jan. 26.
Newberry (8-1) – The Indians are a three-point December loss to Munising from a perfect record this season and opened the new year with a 54-41 win over solid Engadine on Friday; Newberry and St. Ignace face off Thursday for first place in the Straits Area Conference.
PHOTO: Saginaw Heritage’s 44-24 win over Flint Powers Catholic on Jan. 7 was one of the most impressive of its 7-0 start this season. (Click for more from HighSchoolSportsScene.com).
The St. Ignace girls basketball teams is off to a 2-0 start – and great starts and finishes certainly have been the norm over the last 25 seasons under the leadership of head coach Dorene Ingalls and her assistant, and husband, Doug.
Tuesday’s season-opening win over Brimley made Dorene Ingalls 500-94 beginning her 25th season guiding the program – now 501-94 after Thursday’s 63-27 victory over Boyne City. She entered this season 16th on the state list for most girls basketball coaching victories, and seventh among active coaches.
For all 501 wins, Doug Ingalls has been by her side as an assistant within the program – while also serving as boys varsity basketball coach from 1992-2008, 2011-16 and again currently in the fifth season of his latest tenure. His Saints also have opened 2-0, and he has a 355-175 record leading the boys program.
The Ingalls have led the girls program to five MHSAA Finals championships, most recently in Class D in 2015, and four runner-up finishes, most recently in Division 4 in 2019.
Dorene Ingalls received the MHSAA Women In Sports Leadership Award in 2021.
PHOTOS (Top) Doug and Dorene Ingalls, far left and right, respectively, take a photo with 2003 Miss Basketball Krista Clement. (Middle) Dorene and Doug Ingalls. (Photos by David Latva.)