Hoops, Hockey Prep for Playoff Changes

December 12, 2019

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

The introduction of limited seeding at the District level for girls and boys basketball, and a shift in the postseason schedule for ice hockey, are among changes that will be noticed most this season by those who compete in and follow the 12 winter sports for which the Michigan High School Athletic Association sponsors postseason tournaments.

Girls basketball’s first games tipped off Dec. 2, followed by boys basketball openers Dec. 9. This winter, for the first time, the top two teams in every basketball District will be seeded and placed on the opposite sides of their bracket, making the District Final the earliest round they could play each other. Those top-seeded teams will be determined using the Michigan Power Ratings (MPR) computer formula based on regular-season results against other MHSAA Tournament-eligible teams and opponents’ strength of schedule. (Games against out-of-state or non-MHSAA opponents will not count in the MPR formula.)

The MHSAA will draw all brackets 15 days before the start of District play. After the top seeds are determined and separated to opposite sides of the bracket, the draw process will place the remaining teams on the bracket based on a randomly-selected order determined earlier in the season. MPR also was used to similarly seed Districts for boys soccer for the first time this past fall and in the spring for boys lacrosse.

Also undergoing a change this winter, the MHSAA Ice Hockey Tournament will be played over three weeks rather than two as in previous seasons. The traditional dates for the start of the regular season and Finals will remain the same, as will the total number of regular-season games allowed. However, the MHSAA Tournament will begin on the third Monday before the Finals instead of two weeks before, and the extended postseason schedule places the maximum of six games that may be played from the start of Regionals through Finals over 20 days instead of the previous 13.

While those changes will affect tournament structures, a handful of others affecting daily competition will be particularly noticeable as well this winter:

•  As with Lower Peninsula girls swimming & diving season in the fall, a pair of changes for LP boys and Upper Peninsula girls will take effect this winter. For swimmers, the definition of a legal finish has changed to include a competitor touching any part of the finish end of the lane, not just the touch pad. In diving, the degree of difficulty was adjusted for back and reverse somersaults to provide consistency with difficulty of other dives.

•  In hockey, the allowed stick length for a non-goaltender has been extended to 65 inches with a blade no more than 12.5 inches long and between 2-3 inches high. The allowances for a goaltender’s stick also were adjusted – the widened portion up to 28 inches from the heel and to 3.5 inches in width, with a blade at maximum 15.5 inches in length. These changes were made to accommodate the greater average height of today’s athletes. 

•  In girls competitive cheer, non-braced static inversions will be allowed only with the following stipulations: the original base or spotter maintains constant contact with the flyer, prior to the static inverted position the flyer must originate from below shoulder level, and the inversion must dismount to the cheering surface, cradle, any waist-level position or a non-inverted stunt at shoulder level. Also, twists from inversions and inversions released to extended level are illegal.

•  A new rule in wrestling will allow for additional time to evaluate head and neck injuries. If an injury occurs involving the head, neck, cervical column and/or nervous system and an appropriate health care professional is present, that caregiver may request the traditional 90 seconds of injury time be extended up to a maximum of five minutes to evaluate the injury. Before that time expires, the wrestler must be ready and able to continue the match or it will be defaulted.

•  Also for wrestling, a new criteria has been added to the tie-breaking system used when a dual meet finishes in a tied score. The new sixth criteria “f” states that the team giving up the fewest forfeits during a match shall be declared the winner.

The 2019-20 Winter campaign culminates with postseason tournaments beginning with Girls & Boys Skiing Regionals on Feb. 10, and wraps up with the Boys Basketball Finals on March 28. Here is a complete list of winter tournament dates:

Girls Basketball
Districts – March 2, 4 & 6
Regionals – March 10 & 12
Quarterfinals – March 17
Semifinals – March 19-20
Finals – March 21

Boys Basketball
Districts – March 9, 11 & 13
Regionals – March 16 & 18
Quarterfinals – March 24
Semifinals – March 26-27
Finals – March 28

Girls & Boys Bowling
Team Regionals – Feb. 28
Singles Regionals – Feb. 29
Team Finals – March 6
Singles Finals – March 7

Girls Competitive Cheer
Districts – Feb. 21-22
Regionals – Feb. 29
Finals: March 6-7

Girls Gymnastics
Regionals – March 7
Team Finals – March 13
Individual Finals – March 14

Ice Hockey
Regionals – Feb. 24-March 4
Quarterfinals – March 7
Semifinals – March 12-13
Finals – March 14

Girls and Boys Skiing
Regionals – Feb. 10-14
Finals – Feb. 24

Girls & Boys Swimming & Diving
U.P. Girls & Boys Finals – Feb. 15
L.P. Boys Diving Qualification Meets – March 5
L.P. Boys Finals – March 13-14

Team Districts – Feb. 12-13
Individual Districts – Feb. 15
Team Regionals – Feb. 19
Individual Regionals – Feb. 22
Team Quarterfinals – Feb. 28
Team Semifinals & Finals – Feb. 29
Individual Finals – March 6-7

94 Schools Raise Trophies as Part of 2023-24 MHSAA Parade of Champions

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

June 19, 2024

A total of 94 schools won one or more of the 129 Michigan High School Athletic Association team championships awarded during the 2023-24 school sports year, with three teams earning the first Finals championship in any sport in their schools’ histories.

Southfield Arts & Technology celebrated its first MHSAA Finals team championship during the fall, winning the 11-player Division 1 football title. Evart and Watervliet closed this spring by celebrating their first Finals victories, Evart as champion in Division 3 softball and Watervliet as champion in Division 4 baseball.

A total of 25 schools won two or more championships this school year, paced by Marquette’s six won in girls and boys cross country, girls and boys swimming & diving, boys golf and boys track & field. Detroit Catholic Central was next with four Finals championships, and Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood, Farmington Hills Mercy, Grand Rapids Catholic Central and Jackson Lumen Christi all won three. Winning two titles in 2023-24 were Ann Arbor Greenhills, Ann Arbor Pioneer, Bark River-Harris, Clarkston Everest Collegiate, Detroit Country Day, Escanaba, Flint Kearsley, Fowler, Grand Rapids Christian, Hancock, Hudson, Hudsonville Unity Christian, Ishpeming, Negaunee, Northville, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, Rochester Adams, Traverse City Christian and Traverse City St. Francis.

A total of 25 teams won first MHSAA titles in their respective sports. A total of 47 champions were repeat winners from 2022-23. A total of 22 teams won championships for at least the third-straight season, while 11 teams extended title streaks to at least four consecutive seasons. The Lowell wrestling program owns the longest title streak at 11 seasons. 

Sixteen of the MHSAA's 28 team championship tournaments are unified, involving teams from the Upper and Lower Peninsulas, while separate competition to determine title winners in both Peninsulas is conducted in remaining sports.

For a sport-by-sport listing of MHSAA champions for 2023-24, click here (PDF).

The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by more than 1,500 public and private senior high schools and junior high/middle schools which exists to develop common rules for athletic eligibility and competition. No government funds or tax dollars support the MHSAA, which was the first such association nationally to not accept membership dues or tournament entry fees from schools. Member schools which enforce these rules are permitted to participate in MHSAA tournaments, which attract more than 1.4 million spectators each year.