D2 Preview: Historic Opportunities Ahead

March 21, 2019

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

From the opening tip this season, Detroit Edison has been considered arguably the top high school girls basketball team in Michigan – and potentially on its way to being remembered as one of the best in this state all-time.

But this weekend’s three other semifinalists will do everything in their power to end the Pioneers’ two-season championship run – in hopes of carving out their place in history instead.

Haslett has beaten three ranked opponents since the start of the playoffs. Freeland annually is considered one of the best in formerly Class B, now Division 2. And unbeaten Hamilton has put together one of the state’s most impressive two-year runs on the way to the Semifinals for the first time.

Division 2 Semifinals  Friday
Freeland (23-2) vs. Hamilton (25-0), 5:30 p.m. 
Haslett (19-6) vs. Detroit Edison (25-1), 7:30 p.m.

Division 2 Final – Saturday, 6:15 p.m.

Tickets cost $10 per pair of Semifinals and $10 per two-game Finals session (Divisions 3 and 2). All Semifinals will be streamed live on MHSAA.tv and viewable on a pay-per-view basis. All four Finals will be broadcast live on Fox Sports Detroit and streamed live on FoxSportsDetroit.com and the FOX Sports app. Free radio broadcasts of all weekend games will be available on MHSAANetwork.com.

Below is a glance at all four semifinalists. Click on the name of the school to see that team’s full schedule and results from this season. (Statistics are through teams' Regional Finals.)

25-1, No. 1
League finish: Does not play in a league.
Coach: Monique Brown, eighth season (125-37)
Championship history: Class C champion 2018 & 2017.
Best wins: 79-49 over No. 9 Harper Woods Chandler Park in District Semifinal, 64-51 and 74-62 over Division 1 No. 6 Wayne Memorial, 57-51 over Division 1 No. 2 Bloomfield Hills Marian, 41-37 over Division 1 No. 3 Saginaw Heritage, 64-52 over Division 1 No. 10 Muskegon, 54-39 over Division 3 No. 1 Pewamo-Westphalia.
Players to watch: Rickea Jackson, 6-3 sr. G (22.1 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 1.1 bpg); Gabrielle Elliott, 5-10 jr. G (17.4 ppg, 2.9 apg, 2.8 spg).
Outlook: Edison opted up a division this winter after winning Class C the last two seasons and has beaten most of the best in Division 1 as well – the team’s only loss was to Ohio power Columbus Africentric. Jackson, who will play next at Mississippi State, was named Miss Basketball earlier this week, and Elliott and sophomore Damiya Hagemann (14 ppg, 8.1 apg, 4.1 spg) could very well be candidates for the award the next two seasons, respectively.

23-2, No. 7
League finish: First in Tri-Valley Conference Central
Coach: Tom Zolinski, 12th season (243-49)
Championship history: Class C champion 1998.
Best wins: 59-51 over No. 3 Stanton Central Montcalm in Regional Final, 60-46 over honorable mention Corunna in Regional Semifinal, 58-38 over Goodrich, 61-57 over Bay City Western.
Players to watch: Kadyn Blanchard, 5-10 jr. F (14.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 2.8 spg); Alyssa Argyle, 5-9 sr. F (10.9 ppg, 51 3-pointers, 3.4 apg).
Outlook: Freeland is back at the Semifinals for the second time in three seasons and third time this decade after winning its eighth league, 11th District and fifth Regional titles under Zolinski’s leadership. The Falcons have won all of their games during this tournament run by at least eight points. Argyle earned an all-state honorable mention last season, and senior guard Lily Beyer adds 12.3 ppg and had 39 3-pointers entering the week.

25-0, No. 3 (tied)
League finish: First in Ottawa-Kent Conference Green
Coach: Dan VanHekken, 16th season (225-129)
Championship history: Has not played in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 60-39 over No. 2 Edwardsburg in Regional Semifinal, 42-40 over Grand Rapids Catholic Central, 48-43 over Comstock Park.
Players to watch: AJ Ediger, 6-2 soph. F (20.2 ppg, 9.7 rpg, 3.3 spg); Bria Schrotenboer, 5-10 sr. G (11.4 ppg, 4.0 apg, 2.9 spg).
Outlook: Hamilton made the Quarterfinals last season for the first time, and this weekend is making its first trip to the Semifinals. The Hawkeyes are up to 71-4 over the last three seasons with three league and three District titles as well during that time. Hamilton hasn’t played a single-digit game since the Comstock Park win Jan. 11. Schrotenboer earned an all-state honorable mention last season and is part of a deep lineup that after Ediger has five players averaging at least four points per game.

19-6, unranked
League finish: Second in Capital Area Activities Conference Red
Coach: Ross Baker, third season (37-20)
Championship history: Class B runner-up 2015.
Best wins: 46-44 over No. 5 Chelsea in Quarterfinal, 51-43 over No. 8 Jackson Northwest in Regional Final, 44-42 over No. 6 Williamston in the District Final.
Players to watch: Ella McKinney, 5-10 sr. G (13.7 ppg. 7.2 rpg); Imania Baker, 6-2 jr. C (7.2 ppg, 5.9 rpg).
Outlook: At full strength for the postseason, the Vikings have soared – the win over Williamston avenged a pair of losses from the league season, and the win over Jackson Northwest avenged a third defeat. Baker had played in just 17 games and sophomore forward Skyla Nosek 15 heading into this week – Baker starts at center and Nosek (7.8 ppg) is the team’s second-leading scorer and comes off the bench. Junior forward Olivia Green (7.7) also augments a balanced lineup, and senior guard Hannah Homan is another top sub and added 6.7 ppg and had 52 3-pointers coming into this week.

PHOTO: Detroit Edison’s Ruby Whitehorn defends against Center Line during their Regional Final last week. (Photo courtesy of C&G Newspapers.)

In Memoriam: Tony Coggins (1971-2023)

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

October 24, 2023

The MHSAA and Holly school communities are grieving this week after the sudden loss of Tony Coggins, a shining light in his educational community and an enthusiastic supporter of school sports as a public address announcer for several of our largest championship events.

But while that cheerful tone has been quieted, it surely will not be forgotten by the many fortunate to enjoy an event in the presence of that voice and the joyfulness he brought into every arena, press box and classroom.

Coggins, 51, died Saturday. He is survived by his wife Kristy and children Emma and Bradlee, among several family and friends from his local and greater sports communities.

Tony CogginsHis career as a PA announcer began during his freshman year of high school in 1985, when his father Dale Coggins – Flushing’s athletic director at the time – couldn’t find anyone else to announce middle school football games. That was 39 years ago, and this fall Tony Coggins was in his 24th announcing at Holly, where he taught and served as an administrator in addition to his role as “Voice of the Holly Bronchos” for football, basketball, baseball, softball, volleyball, competitive cheer and swimming & diving over the years.

Coggins has been a mainstay among MHSAA Finals PA announcers over the last decade in football, basketball, softball and most recently volleyball. He lent his voice to college sports at University of Michigan as well. “Tony was a huge part of our Finals events. It’s hard to imagine it being the same without him,” MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl said.

As part of the run-up to the MHSAA public address announcers clinic in 2018, Coggins said this about what drew him to the microphone:

“I have zero athletic ability whatsoever, which is interesting because my father was an all-state running back. But I enjoy being involved, and I've always been the one for history and statistics and knowing what's going on,” Coggins said. “This is a way for me to be involved. It's a way for me to use a talent I've been given; public speaking has always come pretty naturally for me.

“So I worked at my craft to get better. I got better from watching the people around me, from studying the people I like, and the people – if I saw someone I didn’t care for – I'd make a note and say to myself, ‘Don't do that.’ I take feedback from people very personally, and I mean that in a good way. If somebody takes the time to come up and say, ‘You did this well; I think you should change this,’ that means they care about the program also. We all have the same goal in mind, and that's to make the experience good for the high school student and the parents, the fans, that come there.”

Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 28, at St. John Vianney, 2415 Bagley Street in Flint. There will be visitation from 2-8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27, at the Swartz Funeral Home, 1225 West Hill Road, and at the church from 10 a.m. Saturday until the time of the Mass.