By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
The girls basketball regular season reached the midpoint last week with its share of surprises but also performances as expected so far.
Powers like Pittsford and Saginaw Heritage rolled through the first half 10-0 – the Hawks are discussed quite a bit in this week’s Breslin Bound report powered by MI Student Aid. But we also have more improved achievers to highlight, including one of our smallest schools that calls the northern Lower Peninsula home.
Week in Review
The countdown of last week’s five most intriguing results:
1. Marshall 41, Jackson Northwest 40 – A one-point win over its Interstate 8 Athletic Conference rival helped start Marshall’s surge last season to the Class B title, and history seems to be repeating itself to this point.
2. Pewamo-Westphalia 38, Laingsburg 31 – The previously-undefeated Wolfpack was the talk of the Central Michigan Athletic Conference and Class C statewide, but the Pirates have moved ahead in both conversations with this win.
3. Midland Dow 52, Midland 51 – One-loss Dow survived an early scare against the rival Chemics as it looks to challenge Saginaw Heritage again in the Saginaw Valley League North.
4. Detroit Country Day 67, Flint Hamady 28 – Handing Class C contender Hamady its first loss in this way was another indication that most of Class B is chasing the undefeated Yellowjackets.
5. East Kentwood 47, Caledonia 42 – The Falcons moved into first place alone in the Ottawa-Kent Conference Red with a win that should prove key even though it came near the start of the league season.
With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each class making sparks:
Dearborn (7-2) – The Pioneers had a tough stretch over the holidays with an overtime loss to Belleville and another defeat to neighbor Dearborn Divine Child. But they opened the winter by handing Northville its only loss this season, and a 60-48 win over Robichaud on Friday was similarly impressive.
Saginaw Heritage (10-0) – After winning its first 15 games last season, Heritage is off to a similar start with nine wins by at least 25 points. Coming up Tuesday is Midland Dow – the team that broke last season’s streak and with which the Hawks shared the Saginaw Valley League North title.
Hamilton (8-1) – Aside from a four-point overtime loss to Hudsonville, Hamilton has been perfect as it looks to improve from last season’s runner-up finish in the O-K Green. A 50-37 win over second-place Holland Christian on Friday put the Hawkeyes in first alone.
Kalkaska (5-0) – The Blazers might be lined up for a special season after finishing second a year ago in the Lake Michigan Conference to Traverse City St. Francis. Kalkaska downed St. Francis 61-51 on Saturday to take over first place.
Adrian Madison (8-1) – A Regional finalist last season, Madison has been on a tear again since falling to Lenawee Christian in its opener. The Trojans are back in first place in the Tri-County Conference and have seven double-digit wins.
Blissfield (8-2) – Ida was one of our featured Class B teams last week, but Blissfield moved into first place in the Lenawee County Athletic Association by handing the now second-place Bluestreaks their first loss 52-49 on Friday. Blissfield's defeats were to 2016 Class B semifinalist Bay City John Glenn and one-loss Class A Utica Ford.
Engadine (7-1) – The Eagles have improved from three, to seven, to 11, to 14 wins over the last four seasons and could take another step this winter. The lone loss came in their opener to Munising, which they see again next week.
Bear Lake (6-2) – Friday’s 38-33 win over Pentwater gave Bear Lake as many wins as last season. And the Lakers should contend in the West Michigan D League as well, with a victory already over contender Custer Mason County Eastern.
Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up:
Tuesday – Saginaw Heritage (10-0) at Midland Dow (8-1) – For all of the reasons mentioned above, this is one of the biggest games in Class A during the regular season.
Tuesday – Bloomfield Hills Marian (7-2) at Farmington Hills Mercy (7-2) – A Class A contender regularly comes out of the Detroit Catholic League Central, and these are the best so far of a strong group.
Tuesday – Stevensville Lakeshore (7-1) at Edwardsburg (6-1) – This nonleague matchup could be telling for both Class B hopefuls and likely will be closer than last season’s Lakeshore 19-point win.
Wednesday – Bellaire (6-1) at Gaylord St. Mary (6-1) – These two are tied for first in the Ski Valley Conference and among the north’s elite in Class D.
Thursday – New Boston Huron (7-1) at Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central (6-1) – SMCC, third place in the Huron League, gets the co-leaders back to back taking on Huron after facing Carleton Airport (6-1) on Tuesday.
NOTE: The Clarkston/Detroit Martin Luther King game Monday also would have made this list but had begun before this report was published.
PHOTO: Saginaw Heritage guard Moira Joiner (4) protects the ball during the Hawks’ game last month against Solon, Ohio. (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.)