By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Michigan’s best generally spend the first few weeks of basketball season testing themselves against other elites, including possible opponents for when the games matter much more in a few months.
That’s certainly been the case this winter, and last week especially in Class A, as we look back at some of those telling matchups and preview more to watch this weekend in our second Breslin Bound Girls Report – powered by MI Student Aid.
Week in Review
The countdown of last week’s five most intriguing results:
Farmington Hills Mercy 44, Bloomfield Hills Marian 43 – Any meeting between these Detroit Catholic League Central rivals is bound to be one of the best in the state that night, and this evened the recent score some as Marian took two of three from Mercy last winter.
Bloomfield Hills Marian 37, Waterford Kettering 34 (OT) – Marian remains the gauge in Class A with both that loss above and another earlier to Canton, and this win over always-strong Kettering to go with an earlier victory over reigning MHSAA champion Warren Cousino.
Canton 50, Ann Arbor Huron 47 (OT) – Huron, a quarterfinalist a year ago, is another Class A team that’s lined up some tough early opponents; Canton added a second straight three-point win after beating Marian by the same margin.
DeWitt 59, East Lansing 58 – These annually are two of best in Class A in Lansing and statewide, and the Panthers came back to make it five straight over the Trojans.
Sault Ste. Marie 51, St. Ignace 44 – The Blue Devils beat their Straits Area Conference rival by 15 and lost by 26 last season, and will try for the sweep again this season with the next matchup versus the likely Class C contender set for Jan. 26.
With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each class making sparks:
East Kentwood (3-1) – The Falcons were a solid 14-9 a year ago, but already have avenged three of those losses be beating Grand Rapids Christian (after losing to the Eagles in a District Final in March) and this week with wins over Grand Rapids South Christian and Forest Hills Central.
Okemos (3-0) – The Chieftains are 3-0 for the first time since 2008-09, thanks in part to a 63-35 win over Lansing Eastern on Friday keyed by standout sophomore Laya Hartman's 31 points after an earlier one-point win over Haslett.
Alma (2-0) – The Panthers already are on pace to improve on last season’s 11-11 finish after avenging a loss to Ionia in their opener and then two losses last season to Saginaw Swan Valley with a 34-30 win over the Vikings on Thursday.
Buchanan (1-0) – The Bucks are only one game in, but have a huge win; their 32-27 victory over Niles Brandywine on Thursday broke a 14-game losing streak to their rival and after two 20-point defeats by the Bobcats in 2015-16.
Bath (3-1) – The Bees had lost nine of their last 10 against Pewamo-Westphalia before Wednesday’s 48-36 win over the Pirates; the lone defeat this winter was to undefeated Class A Howell.
Galesburg-Augusta (3-0) – The Rams tied for second in the Southwestern Athletic Conference Valley last season with a split against eventual champion Kalamazoo Hackett, but earned the early step this time with a 33-25 win over the Fighting Irish to go with a 20-point win over Martin (13-7 last season).
Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart (3-0) – The reigning Class D runner-up surely will miss powerful center Averi Gamble, but defensively is holding strong giving up 10, 36 and 17 points, respectively, in its three games so far.
Pickford (3-0) – The Panthers’ wins are by 12, 22 and 15 points, respectively, as the team looks to build on last season’s District title.
Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up:
Friday: DeWitt (4-0) at St. Johns (1-3) – Despite a slow start for 2015-16 Class A semifinalist St. Johns, these two combined with Haslett and Lansing Waverly should make the Capital Area Activities Conference Red again one of the strongest leagues statewide.
Friday: Canton (3-0) at Northville (1-1) – This will be a rematch of last season’s Class A District Final, a 44-38 win by the Mustangs.
Friday: Millington (2-1) at Frankenmuth (3-1) – The Eagles’ 97-game Tri-Valley Conference East winning streak is on the line against the third-place team from last season.
Saturday: Midland Dow (3-0) vs. Ypsilanti Arbor Prep (5-0) at Detroit Edison – Both have aspirations of finishing the season at the Breslin Center, Dow in Class A and Arbor Prep in B after winning Class C last season; this is part of the Best of Michigan Classic at Detroit Edison.
Saturday: Williamston (3-0) vs. Port Huron Northern (3-0) at Detroit Edison – This is another Best of Michigan Classic matchup of Breslin hopefuls, with Williamston looking to follow last year’s boys team in Class B and Northern building on last year’s Class A Quarterfinal run.
Second Half’s weekly “Breslin Bound” reports are powered by MI Student Aid, a part of the Student Financial Services Bureau located within the Michigan Department of Treasury. MI Student Aid encourages students to pursue postsecondary education by providing access to student financial resources and information, including various student financial assistance programs to help make college more affordable for Michigan students. MI Student Aid administers the state’s 529 savings programs (MET/MESP) and eight additional aid programs within its Student Scholarships and Grants division. Click for more information and connect with MI Student Aid on Facebook and Twitter @mistudentaid.
PHOTO: Marine City is another 3-0 team after starting out the season with a 10-point win over Croswell-Lexington. (Click for more from Varsity Monthly.)