Every Tuesday, Second Half honors 2-4 athletes and a team for its accomplishments during the current season.
Have a suggestion for a future High 5? Please offer your suggestions by e-mail to [email protected]. Candidates often will have accomplished great things on the field of play -- but also will be recognized for other less obvious contributions to their teams, schools or the mission of high school athletics as a whole.
Ference, only a 14-year-old freshman, came into the Feb. 4 Canton Invitational at least somewhat under the radar – and left as a favorite to win the MHSAA Division 1 individual championship next month. Ference won the Division 1 competition at Canton with an all-around score for 37.925. Earlier this season, according to a Birmingham Observer & Eccentric report, Ference set Northville’s school bars record with a 9.8.
The Mustangs finish the regular season with a meet tonight at Livonia Churchill and their league championship meet Saturday.
“I love my team, and I want to do well for them. I am motivated by positive encouragement and winning.”
Up next: Ference obviously has a few years to decide what she’ll pursue after high school. But she does hope to continue competing. “I am very determined and ambitious, but my final destination has yet to be determined,” she said. “Gymnastics will always be a part of my life, and hopefully a part of my career.”
I learned the most about gymnastics from: “My high school coach is Erin McWatt, and my main club coach, from Michigan Elite Gymnastics Academy, is Kim Tanskanen. I have been taught by the most talented and dedicated coaches, and I appreciate their love and dedication. They taught me to work hard, and success will follow. They taught me dedication and hard work pays off.”
Hass, a 6-foot-5 point guard, is averaging 30.9 points per game this season and has scored 2,241 total during his four-year high school varsity career. His points total is 10th-best in MHSAA history and just 600 shy of the record set by Mio's Jay Smith from 1976-79. He's also averaging 8.5 rebounds and six assists per game. Pellston is 14-1 and ranked No. 3 in Class D, with a chance to avenge its only loss Wednesday in a rematch with No. 1 Bellaire. Hass has signed with Bucknell.
"I try to get as many assists as I can now. But for my team to be successful, I need to score. We have very talented ball players on this team. But that's one of my roles."
Up next: "One thing I was looking at college for wasn't just the next four years of life, but the rest of my life. If I don't go to the next (basketball) level after college, I'll have an education that will allow me to get an outstanding job anywhere. I'm going into either mechanical engineering or business management."
I learned the most about basketball from: "Definitely my father (Cliff, also his high school coach). He's always pushing me to be better than who I am. I think a lot of kids who are good when they're young, they're just told how good they are. My dad always kept pushing me to work on this, work on other things. ... He always keeps pushing me to be better than I am right now."
I look up to: "I've always wanted to be like Jesus Christ. He'd be my main one, then my dad and my sister (Stephanie, who formerly held the MHSAA girls basketball record for career points).
Just because Shelby moved down into Division 4 for wrestling this season doesn’t meant its road to the MHSAA Finals got easier. Case in point: last week’s District matchup against Hesperia, which had reached the Quarterfinals 11 straight seasons.
But thanks to the Tigers 36-26 win, it won’t be 12. Shelby, ranked No. 4 entering the postseason, got past a major obstacle in downing the No. 3 Panthers, who also had reached the Division 4 championship match three of the last five seasons.
Shelby is seeking its first MHSAA team championship since 1972, but long has been considered a power in the southwestern corner of the state. The Tigers advanced to the Division 3 Quarterfinals in 2009 and lost in Regional Finals the last two seasons and in 2007 – twice by just two points during that time.
Shelby is the only ranked team at its Regional on Wednesday at Blanchard Montabella. The Tigers will face Traverse City St. Francis, and with a win either Sanford-Meridian or Leroy Pine River in the Regional Final.
The Tigers also advanced nine wrestlers from Saturday’ individual District at Hesperia: Junior Nick Bantien (119, fourth place), sophomore David Guerra (125, third), senior Jordan White (135, second), senior Trevor Dezwaan (140, second), senior Houston Jones (145, fourth), senior Dillon Sibley (152, fourth), senior Mason Courtright (171, first), junior Dillion Ankney (215, first) and junior Austin Felt (103, first).
Foster Loyer’s four-season career at Clarkston from 2014-15 through 2017-18 certainly must be considered among the most accomplished in state history as he led the Wolves to back-to-back Class A championships in 2017 and 2018 and is listed in the record book 25 times.
Among Loyer’s most notable entries were 2,325 career points (12th most), 272 career 3-pointers (tied for ninth), records of 119 consecutive free throws and 634 career free throws, a .921 free-throw percentage as a junior (tied for fourth) and .900 career percentage (second), 589 career assists (sixth), 278 career steals (15th) and 102 games played (tied for sixth).
Loyer went on to play at Michigan State and then Davidson.
See below for more recent record book entries for boys basketball.
Four Onaway standouts were added for single-season and/or career records. Jager Mix, who graduated in 2022, was added for 92 steals last season and 225 over his four-season career. Kevin Pearson, a 2021 grad, was added for 81 steals as a senior and 247 over his career. Joe Sigsby, a 2016 grad, was added for 127 steals, and Jadin Mix was added for 124 in 2021-22. Their totals rank ninth and tied for 10th, respectively, on that all-time list. Jager Mix also was added for 967 career rebounds, and Onaway as a team was added for tying the record for most points in a quarter with 49 during the first quarter of a win over Fife Lake Forest Area on Feb. 3, 2022. Jager Mix is playing at Alpena Community College, and Jadin Mix is a senior this school year.
Uchenna Amene was added for 11 steals in a March 7, 2022, game against West Bloomfield Frankel Jewish Academy and for 97 steals total over 25 games. He was a sophomore at Southfield Christian that season and now is a senior at Detroit Catholic Central.
Owen Franklin graduated from Oscoda in 2021 as the school’s all-time leading scorer, and nearly 44 percent of those 1,477 points came on 3-pointers. Franklin made the state career 3-pointers list with 216 over four seasons. He’s playing baseball at Northwood.
Traverse City Christian sophomore Reece Broderick became one of the state’s most accomplished long-distance shooters in just his second year of high school this past winter, drilling 104 3-pointers – good for third-most for one season all-time – over 23 games. He connected on 42 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc.
A pair of Rudyard four-year varsity standouts entered the record book after their graduations in 2022. Tate Besteman made the career rebounds list with 762 over 89 games, and EJ Suggitt made the career 3-pointers list with 215 over the same 89 contests. Besteman played this past season for Mid Michigan College, and Suggitt is playing baseball at Spring Arbor.
Success from 3-point range played a significant role in Mesick finishing 21-1 in 2021-22, as the team made 195 of its 578 attempts – with game highs of 15 twice in wins over Baldwin and Pentwater.
Then-senior Tristan McFolley earned the first listing under single-game rebounds since 2013 with 30 in Detroit Cesar Chavez Academy’s game with Hope of Detroit Academy on Dec. 8, 2022.
Tawas found its groove from long range Jan. 10 against Oscoda, drilling 22 3-pointers in an 86-31 win. The total tied for fifth-most in one game.
Although Norway felt just short, 40-37, in its District loss to Crystal Falls Forest Park on March 8, Alex Ortman kept the Knights close scoring 20 of his team-high 25 points in the fourth quarter to make the single-quarter scoring list. He’s now a senior.
Kobe Clark has listings in two MHSAA record books, with three for boys basketball joining those he earned for football during his Schoolcraft career. He was added in hoops for 531 career assists and 290 career steals over 94 games from 2016-17 through 2019-20, and also for 82 steals as a senior. Tyler DeGroote also was added to the record book, for scoring 20 points during the first quarter against Delton Kellogg during Schoolcraft’s Jan. 11, 2022, victory. Clark began at Saginaw Valley State for football and now plays basketball and Kalamazoo Valley Community College, and DeGroote is continuing at Rockhurst (Mo.).
Past Detroit Cooley star Larry Fogle has added a seventh record book listing a half-century later. Fogle grabbed 33 rebounds on Jan. 18, 1972, during a win over Detroit Mackenzie. He went on to play at Louisiana and Canisius, and then briefly with the New York Knicks.
Trevon Gunter scored 42 points in Kalamazoo Central’s 84-56 win over Richland Gull Lake on Jan. 17, 2020, including 31 during the third quarter – second-most and just one shy of the record for points during one period. A senior that season, Gunter plays currently at Grand Valley State.
Mark Wittbrodt held the record for consecutive free throws at 70 until 2008, and that entry in the record book has been joined by several others from the Bay City Western star. He was added for his 192 3-pointers, 436 free throws, .842 free-throw percentage and 266 career steals over three seasons from 1991-93, as well as for six single-season accomplishments. He went on to play at Michigan Tech.
Ellsworth’s Jacob Jenuwine tied for 12th on the single-game 3-pointers list when he connected on 11 as part of scoring 39 points total in his team’s Feb. 14 win over Alanson. Jenuwine graduated this spring.
Bellevue senior Dawson Wing capped his three-season varsity career last winter with three entries in the record. He was added for 12 blocked shots in a 2021-22 game against Colon, 107 for the season last winter and 203 blocks over his career. Teammate Caleb Betz, a senior this fall, was added for 12 steals in a game against Athens.
Logan Mansfield capped his Morenci career in a big way last winter. The senior drilled 90 3-pointers over 24 games to earn his school’s first individual record book entry in boys hoops since the 1987-88 season, when John Craig had 132 blocked shots that would have been the second-most recorded at that time. They currently rank 13th.
New Haven earned a pair of record book entries during its March 10 win over Memphis. The Rockets bested their previous single-quarter school record with 41 points during the opening period, and they also made the statewide single-game 3-pointers list with 16.
Whitehall’s Camden Thompson, a junior this fall, earned his first record book entry last winter – and the first for his school in boys basketball. He grabbed 303 rebounds over 21 games.
Grand Rapids Wellspring Prep junior Zeekeal Jackson earned his school's first boys basketball record book entry this past season as well. He made the single-season steals list with 106, over 22 games, and just missed the single-game list with a high of 10.
Jonesville’s Brady Wright was among his team’s leading scorers during his three varsity seasons ending this past winter, but he also was a major contributor defensively. He made the records with a season-high 101 steals over 25 games as a senior, and made the career list with 232 steals over 61 games.
Sophomore Christopher McLavish Jr. made a memorable impact last season with a pair of record book entries. He made the single-quarter points list with 20 in a Feb. 21 game against Flint Powers Catholic, but even more memorable were his 97 3-pointers over 25 games for the season – tying him for 11th all-time on that list.
PHOTO Foster Loyer directs Clarkston's offense during its 2018 Class A Semifinal.