Get Prepped for a Fantastic Finale

May 24, 2013

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

We love this time of year. And not just because school is nearly out for summer.

There’s little argument that the week ahead is the most exciting of each MHSAA school year. And you’ll want to set your bookmarks for and Second Half for updated results and coverage not just next week – but through the rest of this spring season.

The Score Center is our home for scores from all District softball, baseball and soccer games, which begin Tuesday. You also can view real-time brackets for every District by going to the “Sports” page for each, and updated brackets for lacrosse by visiting our girls and boys pages for that sport as well.

In the Lower Peninsula, we’ll have same day or next morning results as golf Districts are played, and first-day results from next weekend’s Girls Tennis Finals on May 31 – followed by final results at the conclusion of play June 1. We’ll post Finals results for Upper Peninsula golf and tennis as we receive them Wednesday and Thursday, and then results for all seven Lower and Upper Peninsula Track and Field Finals as they come in June 1.

But results are only the start. As we have during the fall and winter, Second Half will provide coverage including photos from every MHSAA Final – beginning with Wednesday’s Upper Peninsula Girls and Boys Golf and Boys Tennis Finals. Keep an eye on Second Half throughout the week, or follow the Second Half feed on the cover page of

Transfer rule clarification

We released Monday the actions our Representative Council took earlier this month at its Spring Meeting, including an addition to the athletics-related portion of our transfer rule. Based on some questions we’ve received and read, here’s some further explanation of what will be installed for 2014-15:

The longer period of ineligibility for athletes who transfer because of athletics is not new. This has previously existed for cases in which a school could prove that it lost a student to another school purely for sports-related reasons.

What’s new is what must be proven and by whom for the longer ineligibility period to take effect. Now, a school that lost a student does not have to file a report with the MHSAA for the case to be considered. As long as one of a set of offending activities can be verified – including practicing, competing or training with a member of the new school’s coaching staff during summer or non-school sports activities or seasons – that student will have to sit 180 days instead of the usual period of roughly a semester. The 15 exemptions that allow a student to be eligible immediately – like making a full move to a new district or a student’s school closing – may still apply.

So, to conclude: The longer athletics-related ineligibility period is not new, just how athletics-related transfers are considered and reported. Click to read the full release.

Kickoff is coming

And that means we’re collecting varsity football schedules.

In fact, we have most of them thanks to our athletic directors, their secretaries, coaches and many others who chip in to help us keep complete and accurate information throughout the season.

But there are still plenty of steps in getting ready for August – and a huge one is locking down correct leagues for our teams this season, especially as schools continue to switch things up.

Check out your school’s schedule page by click on the “Schools” button in the menu bar at the top of and searching for your school. Once on the school page, click the blue “Boys” button next to football. The schedule will appear in the middle of the page, with standings to the left.

See an error in a schedule or the standings? Email me at I thank you in advance.

Kramer’s words of wisdom

Long before Roy Kramer served as athletic director at Vanderbilt University, commissioner of the Southeastern Conference and creator of the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) for Division I college football, he coached multiple sports at East Lansing High School.

He recently was named winner of this year’s Duffy Daugherty Award, given in honor of the former Michigan State University coach to a valued coach or contributor to college football. The award, presented in East Lansing, is among those recognized by the College Football Hall of Fame.

Kramer finished his acceptance speech with a stirring endorsement of the sport that brought the crowd of more than 300 to its feet. If you’re a fan, former or current player or coach, see below.

PHOTO: Athletes race toward the finish of a relay during this spring's Alma College Invitational. (Click to see more at

Ferndale Caps Winter Season with 1st Boys Hoops Title Since 1966

By Dean Holzwarth
Special for

March 25, 2023

EAST LANSING – One team was going to end a long championship drought in Saturday’s boys basketball Division 2 Final.

Ferndale’s was especially lengthy, and spanned more than five decades.

And now it is no longer.

The Eagles won their first Finals championship in 57 years with a 44-38 victory over Grand Rapids South Christian at Breslin Center.

Ferndale had last won a state title in 1966.

“The drought is over,” Eagles coach Juan Rickman said. “That’s big time, and the biggest part about making it down here was seeing how charged up the community was and the school was so charged up. It’s the greatest feeling to see how vested our community was in our success.”

Christopher Williams (13) tries to power past South Christian’s Sam Weiss (23) to the rim.Ferndale senior Christopher Williams led the way with 16 points and four rebounds.

“It feels great,” Williams said. “Especially since the past four years we’ve been to the same place and lost twice in a row to the same team, and now it feels like weight is lifted off my shoulders.

“We started off the season 1-5, and going till now we knew if we stayed together through adversity then we could do it. And it made it more impactful that it was our coach’s first state title, and that’s what we wanted to do.”

Added senior point guard Cameron Reed, who had a game-high seven assists: “It’s incredibly special. I wasn't born back then, my teammates weren’t born and my coaches weren’t born. It definitely rejuvenated the whole city and community.”

Ferndale led 8-4 at the end of the first quarter, and both teams shot poorly in the first half. The Eagles connected on a paltry 24 percent from the field, and South Christian on 35 percent of its attempts. Nate Brinks drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Sailors a 16-14 halftime lead. 

Junior guard Jake Vermaas opened the third quarter with a 3-pointer to make it 19-14, but Ferndale made a charge.

The Eagles sliced the deficit to one (25-24) on a 3-pointer by Trenton Ruth, and Cameron Reed tied it at 28-28 with an acrobatic layup.

“Our team was mentally strong, and I’m so proud of them for their accomplishment,” Rickman said. “Just so committed to the process and just being resilient.”

Cameron Reed (0) leads a break for the Eagles.An 8-2 spurt by Ferndale over the first three minutes of the fourth quarter made it 36-30.

“That was extremely important, and we always want to win the first four minutes,” Rickman said. “And we tried to open up the fourth quarter with what we call a kill; we want to get five straight stops and score on two or three of those possessions so we can build a lead. We did that fairly well against a good team.”

South Christian was attempting to win football and basketball Finals championships during the same school year, and was looking for its first basketball title since 2005.

“It was a really hard-fought game and I thought we played at our speed, but it got away from us a little bit,” first-year Sailors coach Taylor Johnson said.

“But it doesn’t take away from what we accomplished this year. We’ve been through it all, including three season-ending injuries, and to still make it to the state finals is an incredible feat.”

Senior Jacob DeHaan and Vermaas led the Sailors with 14 points apiece, while senior Sam Medendorp added seven points, seven rebounds and four blocked shots.

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS (Top) Ferndale raises the Division 2 championship trophy Saturday night at Breslin Center. (Middle) Christopher Williams (13) tries to power past South Christian’s Sam Weiss (23) to the rim. (Below) Cameron Reed (0) leads a break for the Eagles.