By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
It’s hard to tell this early how well some of our early risers will play out the final two months of this boys basketball season.
But judging by some of the scores we’ve seen, it fair to believe at least a few are in contention to stay, at least at the league level.
Each week during the regular season, we’ll glance at four teams from each class that have caught our attention. Results and records below are based on schedules posted at MHSAA.com.
East Lansing (6-0) – It’s fair to call East Lansing the best of a strong group in the Capital Area Activities Conference Blue; keyed by standout sophomore Brandon Johns and a strong group of 3-point shooters, the Trojans lead the league and have wins over reigning champion Lansing Everett and CAAC White contender Williamston.
Flushing (4-0) – The Raiders are off to their best start this decade after finishing last season with nine wins over their last 10 games; this winter’s victories are by 20, 13, 38 and 22 points, respectively.
Pontiac (8-0) – The Phoenix is off to its best start since 2010-11 with Oakland Activities Association White play beginning this week; Pontiac was a solid 14-7 a year ago and a league runner-up to Troy Athens, which is in a different division this season.
Rochester Adams (6-0) – Led by scoring machine Spencer Littleson, the Highlanders are off to their best start since 2012-13 with three straight wins by five or fewer points after a fourth in overtime to open this season.
Alma (5-1) – After opening with a loss to Haslett, Alma has run off five straight victories to build a one-game lead in the Tri-Valley Conference Central over Freeland, which the Panthers beat 42-38 on Dec. 15. Alma beat Freeland by a win to claim the league title last season.
Detroit University Prep (7-0) – University Prep has been nearly unstoppable, with Auburn Hills Avondale and Detroit Cass Tech the only opponents to finish within striking distance.
Dowagiac (7-0) – The Chieftains have won back-to-back overtime games over Niles and Edwardsburg after five-point wins over Sturgis and Jackson to end December; they’ve helped erase memories of the team’s three straight losses to close last winter.
Standish-Sterling (4-0) – The Panthers are 4-0 for the first time since 2010-11, and including last year have won nine straight in the regular season – with eight of those nine wins by double digits.
Bad Axe (7-0) – The Hatchets are playing for their second straight league title and are off to a solid start with five double-digit wins but also two close ones – including last week’s 42-41 Greater Thumb Conference West opener over Vassar.
Erie-Mason (6-0) – The Eagles have topped out at 12 wins twice this decade, but find themselves halfway there already and tied early for first in the Lenawee County Athletic Association and with four straight wins by 12 or more points.
Ishpeming (4-0) – The Hematites again got a late start coming off a fourth straight trip to Ford Field for the MHSAA Football Finals, but have caught up quickly; we’ll see how far along they are when they face rival Negaunee on Wednesday.
Lakeview (6-0) – The Wildcats are playing for their third straight league title and face last season Central State Activities Association Silver runner-up Kent City on Friday; Lakeview has had only one game decided by fewer than 10 points so far, last week against Morley Stanwood.
Buckley (5-0) – The Bears improved from a combined three wins from 2012-14 to reach 11-11 last winter, and are continuing the rise as they sit tied for first in the Northwest Conference and with four games scoring at least 76 points.
Crystal Falls Forest Park (6-0) – The Trojans will again have to deal with reigning Class D champion Powers North Central in the Skyline Central Conference West, but they’re gearing up with a streak of four straight wins by at least 20 points.
Ewen-Trout Creek (4-1) – Despite a two-point overtime loss to Houghton on Thursday, Ewen-Trout Creek is in first place in the Copper Mountain Conference Porcupine Mountain standings coming off two straight sub-.500 finishes.
Onaway (4-0) – The Cardinals have been an upper division team in the Ski Valley Conference over the last three seasons, but hope to be a contender this time and look strong so far with wins of 44, 17, 21 and 26 points, respectively.
PHOTO: A Lakeview player, right, works for position during last week’s win against Remus Chippewa Hills. (Click for more photos from HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)