By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
The MHSAA Girls & Boys Basketball Finals the last two weekends showed off many of the best teams and players who took the courts across Michigan this winter.
The championships also provided an opportunity to celebrate a few more accomplishments with the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan “Top Shooters Challenge” contests and MHSAA recognition for leaders past, present and future.
Below are photos from a number of events that took place during quarter breaks and halftimes at Van Noord Arena this past weekend and the Breslin Center two weeks ago.
Top Shooters: This season’s BCAM top shooters contests again recognized the sharpest from the free-throw line and 3-point arc. This past weekend at Calvin College, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern’s Madi Stevenson won the 3-point contest with Pontiac Notre Dame Prep’s Sarah Stuart runner-up, while Saline’s Ella Stemmer won the free throw contest and Manton’s Abby Brown was second.
At Breslin, Mio’s Drew Hess won the 3-point challenge with Kent City’s Eli Carlson second. Zeeland East’s Clayton Dykhouse and Owosso’s Carson Bornefeld tied for the free throw championship.
(See photo above, clockwise from left: Girls free throw finalists, boys free throw finalists, girls 3-point finalists and boys 3-point finalists.)
30th Scholar-Athlete Awards: Farm Bureau and the MHSAA presented 31 honorees with Scholar-Athlete Awards during Boys Finals weekend (one honoree was unable to attend). This year’s selections were honored at a banquet and then on the floor during halftime of the Division 3 Final.
Miss Basketball & Mr. Basketball: Detroit Edison’s Rickea Jackson was recognized on-court as the Miss Basketball Award winner during Saturday’s Division 3 game before leading the Pioneers that evening to their third straight MHSAA title. Mr. Basketball Award honoree Romeo Weems accepted the trophy at Breslin as this year’s top senior on the boys side.
WISL & Forsythe Awards: Adrian Madison athletic director Kris Isom was honored Saturday as this year’s recipient of the MHSAA Women In Sports Leadership Award. The week prior, retired Negaunee and Brimley superintendent Jim Derocher and retired Buchanan, Benton Harbor, Comstock and St. Joseph Lake Michigan Catholic athletic director Fred Smith accepted Charles E. Forsythe Awards. All three were presented by Grand Haven Area Public Schools assistant superintendent Scott Grimes, who serves as president of the MHSAA’s Representative Council.
Battle of the Fans: Representatives from all three finalists from this year’s BOTF VIII – champion North Muskegon with Saginaw Heritage and Buchanan – took to the Breslin floor during the Division 2 Semifinals to receive their banners.
Elections were completed recently to fill positions on the Michigan High School Athletic Association’s legislative body, its Representative Council, with six members receiving re-election from their respective constituencies.
Five of the six re-elected members ran unopposed. Gobles athletic director Chris Miller was re-elected to continue representing Class C and D schools in the southwestern section of the Lower Peninsula, Camden-Frontier superintendent Chris Adams was re-elected to continue representing Class C and D schools in the southeastern section of the Lower Peninsula, and Marquette athletic director Alex Tiseo was re-elected to continue representing Class A and B schools in the Upper Peninsula.
Boyne City High School principal Adam Stefanski also ran unopposed and was re-elected to continue representing junior high/middle schools. Jay Alexander, executive director of athletics for Detroit Public Schools Community District, was re-elected to continue representing Detroit Public Schools. Mt. Morris athletic director Jeff Kline was re-elected from a pool of three candidates to continue in a statewide at-large position.
The Representative Council is the 19-member legislative body of the MHSAA. All but five members are elected by member schools. Four members are appointed by the Council to facilitate representation of females and minorities, and the 19th position is occupied by the Superintendent of Public Instruction or designee. The Council meets three times annually. Five members of the Council convene monthly during the school year to form the MHSAA’s Executive Committee, which reviews appeals of Handbook regulations by member schools.
Additional elections took place to select representatives to the Upper Peninsula Athletic Committee. Negaunee athletic director Paul Jacobson was elected to represent Class A and B schools, and Menominee athletic director Sam Larson was elected to represent Class C schools. Paradise Whitefish Township superintendent/principal/athletic director Vincent Gross was elected to represent Class D schools.
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 1.3 million spectators each year.