Countdown to Calvin: Girls Report Week 2

December 12, 2017

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

The first weeks of girls basketball season give us an opportunity to watch potential new powers emerge – and we’ve already got some candidates.

This week’s “Countdown to Calvin” – powered by MI Student Aid – is filled with teams making strong first impressions, starting with the first two victors mentioned in the “Week in Review” below that earned victories over teams that made it to the final weekend of last season.

These reports are based on results and schedules posted for each school at – to offer corrections, email me at [email protected]

Week in Review

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

1. Howell 51, Ypsilanti Arbor Prep 41 – The Highlanders moved to 4-0 and broke a 26-game regular-season winning streak for Arbor Prep, which lost last season in the Class B championship game.

2. Coldwater 42, Marshall 30 – Coldwater broke Marshall’s 42-game perfect run during the first three seasons of the Interstate 8 Athletic Conference, and after losing to the 2017 Class B semifinalist Redhawks by 15 and 24 last season.

3. East Lansing 52, DeWitt 51 – East Lansing handed DeWitt a one-point loss for the second straight meeting after doing the same in last season’s Class A District Final; DeWitt won the first meeting last season by a point.

4. Negaunee 74, Houghton 44 – The Miners moved to 4-0 with a big win over a Houghton team that won last year’s meeting by a basket and finished 21-2.

5. Flint Hamady 57, Dearborn Henry Ford Academy 38 – The Hawks are off to their usual strong start, but this one was especially impressive with Henry Ford Academy coming off 19 wins last season.

Watch List

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


Battle Creek Harper Creek (3-0) – Harper Creek’s noticeable first week was followed by an important win Friday, 56-53 over Jackson Northwest. The Beavers finished 12-10 overall and fifth in the Interstate 8 Athletic Conference last season, splitting two games with Northwest – which finished runner-up in the league. Harper Creek also opened this season with a win over St. Joseph, 17-5 last winter.

Bay City Western (3-0) – The Warriors improved from 12 to 15 wins over the last two seasons, and made the jump last winter despite an 0-2 start. Two of last December’s defeats were by 10 to Freeland and 19 to Midland; last week Western beat Freeland by two and Midland by seven.


Corunna (2-1) – The Cavaliers did lose to Laingsburg by five to open last week, after also losing to the Wolfpack at the start of 2016-17. But Corunna finished with a 62-57 win over Flint Beecher on Friday and also has a 17-point win so far against Birch Run, last winter’s Tri-Valley Conference East runner-up.

Gladwin (3-0) – The Flying G’s shared last season’s Jack Pine Conference title and already are off to a better start, avenging last winter’s four-point loss to Midland Bullock Creek with a 10-point win last week. Gladwin also has close victories over Farwell and Houghton Lake, the former Farwell’s only loss against three wins.


Marlette (3-0) – The Red Raiders play in a tough Greater Thumb Conference East that includes usual powers Sandusky and Harbor Beach, but early returns make it look like they could factor into the mix. Marlette also started 3-0 last year on the way to finishing 10-10, but last week’s 38-33 win over Millington should be a good sign of things to come. 

Reese (4-0) – We point out the Rockets every season, and with good reason – they went 20-3 last winter. This opening run has included three wins by double digits including by 14 over Millington and 18 over Frankenmuth, and a five-point win last week against Class A Saginaw Arthur Hill.


Kingston (3-0) – Kingston has held two of its first three opponents to single-digit scoring as it looks to repeat as North Central Thumb League champion. The Cardinals went 18-3 last season and get their first chance at avenging those defeats next week against Sandusky.

Ontonagon (2-0) – The Gladiators are hoping to build off last season’s 9-12 finish after winning 16 games the winter before that. They’re off to the right start; last week’s 45-40 win over Baraga avenged an eight-point loss a year ago.

Can't-Miss Contests

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

Wednesday – Portland St. Patrick (3-0) at Laingsburg (4-0) – The Shamrocks also get undefeated Pewamo-Westphalia on Friday, so this will be the first step toward seeing which of these teams will take the lead in the Central Michigan Athletic Conference.

Friday – Farmington Hills Mercy (4-0) at Bloomfield Hills Marian (3-0) – These two as usual find themselves quickly at the top of the Detroit Catholic League Central; Mercy won the league title and Marian was runner-up last season.

Friday – Flint Hamady (4-0) at Goodrich (3-1) – The only loss this season between these annual Genesee Area Conference powers was Goodrich’s to Arbor Prep two weeks ago; Goodrich was first and Hamady second in the GAC Red last season. 

Saturday – Detroit Martin Luther King (0-0) vs. Detroit Country Day (1-1) at Detroit Edison – These two will meet against as part of the Best of Michigan Classic, and most seasons they are in Class A and B, respectively.

Saturday – Ypsilanti Arbor Prep (3-1) vs. Flint Carman-Ainsworth (4-0) at Detroit Edison – These two should find themselves near the top of the first state rankings in Class C and A, respectively, when polls come out next month.

PHOTO: Marlette shut down Millington for a 38-33 victory last week. (Click to see more from Varsity Monthly.) 

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.)