Frankfort Hoops Staff Bolstered by Past Stars Giving Back in Banktson, Kreski

By Tom Spencer
Special for

July 18, 2023

Veteran Frankfort girls basketball coach Tim Reznich will have a couple of true superstars on his bench this winter.

Made in Michigan is powered by Michigan Army National Guard.They don’t have MHSAA eligibility remaining, but they should really help the Panthers. They’ve used up their college eligibility as well.

They are Lindsey (Pettit) Banktson, a 2008 graduate of Portland High School and all-state forward, and Presley (Hudson) Kreski, a 2014 product of Wayland High School and all-state guard. And, they are now serving as assistant coaches for Frankfort.

Banktson has been on Reznich’s bench 10 years, and Kreski is headed for her first at Frankfort. Kreski has been on women’s basketball coaching staffs at Western Michigan University and Central Michigan University since her playing days.

“I have always felt very fortunate in my situation at Frankfort,” Reznich said. “I have felt like we have always been able to provide our players with the resources and opportunities to excel at basketball, if that is what they wanted to do.   

“When Lindsey came those resources increased, and now adding Presley to the mix just brings everything over the top,” he continued. “Our players are already starting to realize it.”

Kreski, who will be teaching health and physical education at Frankfort, and Banktson, now a physician assistant with Crystal Lake Clinic, are excited to work together and with Reznich this winter as he begins his 22nd season at the helm of the Panthers.

“I’ve loved coaching with Rez the past 10 seasons and am just as excited for season number 11,” said Banktson, who went on to play basketball and softball at Ferris State University. “Every year, the night before our first day of practice, is always like Christmas Eve for me.

“I can’t sleep and I can’t wait for my alarm to go off to head to the gym to start our 2-a-days,” she continued. “I am so grateful to coach with Rez and learn from him.”

"Kreski directs the offense during her time at Central Michigan."

Kreske too is eager to work with Rez after getting involved with the Panthers in summer ball. 

After Wayland, Kreski went on to an illustrious playing career Central Michigan where she won the NCAA 3-point contest in 2019.  She also played with the Seattle Storm of the WNBA before playing professionally overseas in Poland.  

“I am really excited to be at Frankfort and helping the team out,” Kreski said. “The girls work really hard and want to get better. 

“Tim is a great coach, and I am looking forward to working with him and sharing my knowledge of the game as well as learning from him.”

Frankfort is coming off a District championship in 2022 and a District title loss to eventual Division 4 champion Glen Lake in 2023.

Reznich says the Panthers have already noted keys to success just by being around Kreski and Banktson. Reznich, who guided Frankfort to back-to-back Class D championships in 2005 and 2006, admits he may have softened up a bit on his players over the years. Conditioning will be a top priority this year. 

“They (Kreski and Banktson) have the first-hand experience of the benefits of pushing yourself hard and not cutting corners,” Reznich said. “Our players will be in the best shape of their lives when those two are finished with them.”  

And Banktson is happy to pass on her high school experience to the Panthers. She graduated in 2008 as the Lansing State Journal’s “Female Prep Athlete of the Year” after shining in three sports and leading Portland to the season’s final weekend in two.

“As a player, high school athletics taught me a lot about hard work and dedication,” she said. “High school sports taught me that you have to put in the extra work if you want to be great. 

“You have to be in the gym getting extra shots outside of practice, you have to be at the field getting extra reps on the weekends,” she continued. “If you work hard and give everything you’ve got to develop your game, you will be successful.”

Kreski recalls fondly her high school days working hard and having fun with her friends and teammates, along with making deep runs in the tournament.

“High school sports is the truest form of competition,” Kreski said. “It starts with a community who supports everyone from a young age and involves all the friends and family you grew up with. 

“High school sports help guide young people into leaders, teaching them how to work hard and be disciplined.”

Kreski led CMU to Sweet 16 her junior year. She is the all-time leading scorer at CMU (2,309) and career assist leader (643). Central won the Mid-American Conference three times during her days with the Chippewas. She married Gage Kreski after that chapter of her career was done.

Banktson met her husband Max Banktson at Ferris State, where he played football. They moved to Frankfort, where Max was born and raised. They have a 3-year-old son named Briggs and a 6-month old daughter named Landyn.

Both Reznich and Banktson express respect and appreciation for their coaching together. They’ve been on the same page with game plans and scouting reports, and they expect it will continued with Kreski aboard.

“Rez and I really work well together,” Banktson said.  “He has always respected me as a player and coach and has given me so much autonomy with our teams.

“He is always open to my input when it comes to running certain drills in practice, putting in new offenses, or adding defensive schemes,” she continued. “He trusts me to handle our subbing during games.”

Reznich agrees.

“I have always appreciated Lindsey’s perspective on what the girls are doing on the court,” he said.  “It is going to be a lot of fun and exciting to add Presley’s ideas. 

“We have always treated the regular season as practice for the tournament, making adjustments and tweaking things,” he continued.  “I can’t wait to see the end product this year.”

The Banktson family: From left, Landyn, Max, Lindsey and Briggs.Banktson was a three-sport, four-year varsity player at Portland earning a combined 12 varsity letters in basketball, softball and volleyball. She helped the Raiders win league, District and Regional titles. Her teams reached MHSAA Semifinals for softball twice and basketball once.

It doesn’t take much to get her back in game mode.

“I can still remember the feeling of adrenaline getting ready in the locker room with my teammates, running out to our warm up music, and battling on the court each game,” she said. “I am thankful for my teammates who, when on the court, were so unselfish. We just wanted to win.”

She hopes to continue to instill greatness in the Panthers.

“I always tell the girls, ‘We were tough’ —  not just physically but mentally,” she said. “We had a type of swagger – we played like we knew the bullseyes were on our back, and every game we had to fight to stay at the top. 

“We took pride in wearing that Portland Raider jersey,” she continued. “I just want to instill that same mental toughness and swagger into my girls here at Frankfort.”

Having a pair of women who played now coaching and serving as mentors is beneficial on a personal level as well.

“I feel like I can relate to players on a personal level,” Banktson said. “I always try to be a good role model for them and someone they can come to with anything. 

“I’m their biggest cheerleader but also not afraid to hold them accountable and help steer them down the right paths of life.”

And Banktson has learned how she might have coached herself.

“I would push myself to continue to work on my right hand, because everyone in the gym knows I’m a lefty,” she said with a smile.

2023 Made In Michigan

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PHOTOS (Top) Lindsey Banktson plays at Portland in 2008 and stands for a celebratory photo with Frankfort’s District champion last season. Presley Kreski plays for Wayland in 2014 and more recently served on Central Michigan's coaching staff. (Middle) Kreski directs the offense during her time at CMU. (Below) The Banktson family: From left, Landyn, Max, Lindsey and Briggs. (Photos of Banktson courtesy of Lindsey Banktson. CMU photo courtesy of CMU sports information. Wayland photo courtesy of Joel Bissell,

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.)