By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Arguably the biggest individual headline this boys basketball season was made by Allen Park Inter-City Baptist senior Evan Kraatz.
Also one of the all-time assist leaders in MHSAA boys soccer history, Kraatz broke the boys basketball career assists record that had stood since Eric Turner graduated from Flint Central in 1981.
Kraatz finished his career with 803 assists – including 218 this winter – to move to the top of a career list where his father Mark Kraatz (Inter-City Baptist 1982-85) sits fourth. Evan also finished this season with 115 steals – ninth most for one season – to end second on that career list with 358. His dad ranks right behind again, fourth for career steals.
See below for a number of additional recent entries to the MHSAA boys basketball record listings – including a pair from schools no longer in existence – plus a few more for boys soccer and wrestling. Click on the headers to see all entries for those respective sports.
- Ottawa Lake Whiteford senior Colin Lake also finished his career this season among the leaders in steals, just behind Evan Kraatz with 348 to place third on that career list. Lake also finished with 488 free throws over his four seasons – seventh most on the career list in that category – with a fifth-longest streak ever of 42, and he also made the career 3-pointers list with 191. Total, Lake scored 1,925 points during his career and averaged 31.7 per game as a senior.
- Rochester Hills Lutheran Northwest’s Andy Lewis had a triple-double in a 1989 win over Plymouth Christian, tallying 27 points, 12 rebounds and 20 assists as his team won 95-77. His 20 assists tie for fourth-most in one game, and his 197 assists that season tied for 14th on that list.
- Another high assist mark was submitted by a former coach now living in South Carolina for a player who made his mark more than 30 years ago at a high school that no longer exists. Rodney Savage had 19 assists in a 90-79 win for Muskegon West Shore Christian Academy against Covert on Dec. 11, 1982. In fact, the newspaper report from the game compared Savage’s performance to something reminiscent of Eric Turner, mentioned above.
- Grand Rapids Covenant Christian tied for 15th all-time with 193 3-pointers this season, on 527 attempts. Covenant Christian made a game high of 14 and connected on 13 on Feb. 21 against Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian – which with NorthPointe’s nine 3-pointers contributed to a total of 22 that made the list for the most by two teams together.
- Britton-Macon statistics from the 1962-63 and 1963-64 seasons showed Phil Benedict with 532 and 483 rebounds, respectively, those winters – with the 532 third-most on the MHSAA list. Britton-Macon, now part of Britton-Deerfield, won Class D championships both seasons with the 6-8 Benedict at center. His 1,015 career rebounds grabbed during just those two seasons rank ninth on the career list for that stat. He earned a basketball scholarship from Duke University and later transferred to Bowling Green State University.
- Temperance Bedford’s Jeremiah Harris also made the single-season rebounding list this winter with 341.
- Three years after his final high school assist, Dansville’s Jay Witchell has been recognized as the MHSAA career leader in that category. His 38 assists in 2009 and 32 in 2008 rank fifth and tied for 11th, respectively, on the single-season list, and his 106 from 2007-10 are the career record, by one. His 146 career points rank 19th and are just eight fewer than the total by his brother Josh, who graduated from Dansville in 2005. Jay Witchell went on to play at Division III Aurora University in Illinois.
- Josh Wendling and Taylor Krupp finished their high school careers this winter by helping New Lothrop to an MHSAA team championship. They also finished with a few marks in the record book: Krupp made the single-season wins list after going 59-0 this season, and Wendling set the single-season technical falls record with 29. Both finished with more than 200 wins for their careers – Krupp at 218-21 and Wendling at 202-24.
- Fife Lake Forest Area 130-pounder Matthew Elliott finished his high school career this winter with a school-record 160 wins. His 113 career pins also are a school record and made the MHSAA listings in that category.
PHOTOS: (Left) Allen Park Inter-City Baptist’s Evan Kraatz drives past a defender during this winter’s game against Southfield Christian. (Right) Flint Central’s Eric Turner (25) led his team to the Class A championship in 1981. (Kraatz photo courtesy of Inter-City Baptist.)
Na’ja Stokes was part of history as Detroit Cass Tech played its first two seasons of girls lacrosse over the last two years. And her historic achievements as a senior this spring provided the Technicians with their first two entries in the MHSAA record book for her sport.
Stokes made 30 saves – the second-most for a single game in MHSAA history – against Clinton Township Chippewa Valley during a 9-7 overtime win May 10. She finished the season with 207 saves – tying for third-most all-time – in just 14 games played.
Cass Tech as a team, meanwhile, improved from 2-10 its inaugural season to 6-8 this year, with a notable three wins and three one-goal losses over its final six games. Stokes was named to the Division 1 all-state first team.
See below for more recent record book additions in girls lacrosse and 11-player football.
Saline’s Erin Melcher quickly made an impact on the record book this past season, registering nine goals twice in two games over three days – April 11 vs. Novi, and then April 13 vs. Lansing Catholic. She was a senior this spring.
Hudsonville senior Anna Lobbezoo also got on the record board early this season with nine goals April 27 against Lowell. She will continue next season at University of the Cumberlands in Kentucky.
Belleville’s Brayden Lane became the third kicker from his school to be listed, making the single-season list with 52 extra points over 14 games in 2021 and the single-game list with 10 in a win over Wayne Memorial. He’ll be a sophomore this fall.
Despite a 43-28 defeat to Sterling Heights Stevenson last Sept. 2, Utica senior quarterback Darren Welch enjoyed a memorable performance. He made record book lists with 34 completions, 54 attempts and 410 passing yards. He will continue his career at Hillsdale College.
Bloomfield Hills’ Andrew Siepierski became one of 19 players with at least four interceptions in a game when he snagged four against Troy on Oct. 11. The then-senior also scored the go-ahead touchdown that ended up the game-winner in the 21-10 victory.
Schoolcraft quarterback Alex Thole was entered into the record book eight times for accomplishments over his 35 varsity games from 2018-20. Among highlights, his 7,318 career passing yards rank 11th in state history, and his 93 touchdown passes are fifth on that list. He is playing at Tarleton State in Texas.
Morenci’s 60-41 win over Stockbridge last Sept. 2 made the record book for total points scored between two teams – and a few more times for the Bulldogs’ substantial offensive output. Morenci was added for its 630 total yards (just missing the single-game rushing list with 596) and 61 rushing attempts. Senior Carsyn Varga made the single-game rushing TDs list with six.
Quinn Fracassi and Aidan Vaughan opened their senior seasons last fall in big ways by becoming the first of the 2021 season to return kickoffs 99 yards for a touchdown – and against each other’s teams. Fracassi, for South Lyon, and Walled Lake Western’s Vaughan achieved the feat with their teams facing off last Aug. 26. Vaughan is continuing at Wisconsin, and Fracassi at Eastern Michigan.
Frankfort’s Adam Mills also joined the 99-yard kickoff return list, scoring last Oct. 1 against Maple City Glen Lake. He was a senior and will continue at Albion College.
PHOTO Cass Tech goalie Na’ja Stokes makes a save this past season. (Photo courtesy of the Detroit Cass Tech girls lacrosse program.)