Countdown to Calvin: Girls Report Week 9

February 4, 2019

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

It took five days for most teams to get started. But last week ended with a flurry including the first losses of the season for three of Michigan’s girls basketball powers.

And there’s plenty more matchups of that magnitude coming up this week, as we detail below.

Countdown to Calvin is powered by MI Student Aid and based on results and schedules posted for each school at To offer corrections or fill in scores we’re missing, email me at [email protected].

Week in Review

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

1. Midland Dow 52, Saginaw Heritage 48 – The Chargers took control in the Saginaw Valley League Red by handing reigning Class A champ Heritage its first loss this season, breaking the Hawks’ 20-game winning streak.

2. Grass Lake 42, Michigan Center 39 – The Warriors avenged a 27-point December loss to the Cardinals, handing Michigan Center its first defeat while breaking the team’s 25-game Cascades Conference winning streak.

3. Flint Hamady 50, Corunna 42 – Hamady avenged its lone loss, to Corunna in overtime in December, to hand the Cavaliers their first defeat and pull even with them at the top of the Genesee Area Conference Red.

4. Stanton Central Montcalm 67, Ypsilanti Arbor Prep 64 – Tough matchups with Fremont and Kent City among others remain, but this was a major win as the Hornets go for a second straight unbeaten regular season.  

5. Pewamo-Westphalia 69, Detroit Country Day 41 – Reigning Class B champion Country Day may be 5-6, but that’s relative to the incredible schedule it’s playing this season – and that makes this a huge win for the Pirates.

Watch List

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


• Auburn Hills Avondale (12-1) – After falling to West Bloomfield by seven Jan. 4, Avondale trails the Lakers by a win in the Oakland Activities Association White heading into Thursday’s rematch. The Yellow Jackets are looking to add to last season’s shared OAA Blue title and have 10 wins by double digits.

• Coldwater (12-1) – The Cardinals finished second to Jackson Northwest in the Interstate 8 Athletic Conference last season, thanks to two overtime losses to the Mounties, but lead the league this season thanks to a 10-point win in the first meeting between the annual favorites. Coldwater’s lone loss came by four points to one-loss Ann Arbor Pioneer.


• Cadillac (9-1) – The Vikings are unbeaten five games into the Big North Conference schedule, and will play second-place Traverse City West for the first time Saturday. Cadillac won those first five league games all by at least nine points, and the only loss was to Tri-Valley Conference East leader Essexville Garber – quite a turnaround after Cadillac went 3-18 a year ago.

• Whitehall (10-1) – After finishing 11-11 last season, Whitehall can equal and then surpass that win total this week and leads the West Michigan Conference thanks to a triple overtime win over Muskegon Oakridge on Jan. 8. Those two meet again Friday. Whitehall will have the chance to avenge its lone loss to Montague at the end of this month.


• Hemlock (12-0) – The Huskies are playing for their second straight TVC West title after also reaching the Class C Regional Finals last season. Hemlock has won all but one of its league games – and 10 of 12 games total – by double digits, and can clinch the league title outright without help by the end of next week.

• Oscoda (11-0) – The Owls hold a slim lead in the North Star League Big Dipper with a key matchup with second-place Rogers City coming up Thursday. It’s been a solid jump into contention after the team went 13-9 last winter and won just six games two seasons ago.


• Mendon (10-1) – After finishing 8-13 last season, Mendon has nine wins by double digits already this winter. A December loss to Division 3 and undefeated Centreville is all that’s kept the Hornets from sitting atop the Southwest 10 Conference. Those two meet again Friday.

• St. Ignace (14-0) – The Saints appear on their way to a second straight Straits Area Conference title, with a 10-point win over second-place Sault Ste. Marie in their only meeting so far (and the rematch coming up Thursday). Statewide eyes are watching for more wins like those over Reese and Detroit Mumford, with Kingsley and Goodrich coming up over the next three weeks.

Can't-Miss Contests

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

Tuesday – Southfield Arts & Technology (12-1) at Royal Oak (12-0) – First place in the OAA Red is at stake as these two meet for the first time this season, with the only loss between the two a two-pointer by A&T to Saginaw Heritage. 

Thursday – Muskegon Oakridge (10-2) at Muskegon (8-3) – The Big Reds lead their league, and Oakridge could be doing the same by the end of this week. 

Friday – Manton (10-2) at Lake City (11-1) – Manton won the first meeting by three to gain its current one-game lead in the Highland Conference; both could have aspirations in Division 3 as well.

Saturday – Saginaw Heritage (10-1) at Detroit Edison (12-1) – The Hawks are coming off their lone loss, but most would argue these still are the two best teams in the state regardless of division.

Saturday – Kingsley (11-1) at St. Ignace (14-0) – These two will have opportunities later to show they aren’t just among the best in northern Michigan, but statewide as well in Divisions 2 and 4, respectively.  

Second Half’s weekly “Countdown to Calvin” reports are powered by MI Student Aid, a part of the Student Financial Services Bureau 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, including various student financial assistance programs to help make college more affordable for Michigan students. MI Student Aid administers the state’s 529 savings programs (MET/MESP) and eight additional aid programs within its Student Scholarships and Grants division. Click for more information and connect with MI Student Aid on Facebook and Twitter @mistudentaid.

PHOTO: Williamston defenders wall off a Fowlerville player’s attempt to get to the basket during last week’s win over the Gladiators. (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.)