By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
The theme of this week’s Breslin Bound Girls Report – powered by MI Student Aid – is teams that were solid a year ago looking like they might be even better this winter.
Be it those we highlighted in last week’s five most intriguing games, or the eight teams grabbing attention for strong starts, we’ve got a group this week that bears watching as we get into the final week of 2016 and roll into the new year.
Week in Review
The countdown of last week’s five most intriguing results:
1. Port Huron Northern 64, Williamston 43 – The Huskies play in one of the state’s toughest leagues, the Macomb Area Conference Red, but look ready after beating Farmington Hills Mercy earlier and Saturday handing Williamston its first loss, at the Best of Michigan Classic.
2. Reese 47, Bay City John Glenn 33 – The Rockets are 5-1 with only an opening one-point loss against them, and this win over a Class B semifinalist from a year ago looks pretty strong next to earlier victories over Frankenmuth and Millington.
3. Flint Hamady 51, Goodrich 46 – Hamady moved over to the Genesee Area Conference Red this season after winning the Blue again last winter, and might be the favorite with this win over an annual frontrunner.
4. Northville 46, Canton 36 – Northville continues to hold the upper hand between these reigning Kensington Lakes Activities Association division champions; the Wildcats won the Central last season and then beat Canton in a District Semifinal as well after the Chiefs had won the KLAA South.
5. Detroit Edison PSA 57, Chicago Whitney Young 45 – Detroit Country Day also beat the Chicago power, but DEPSA’s win was more stunning and a sign the undefeated Pioneers are a potential force in Class C.
With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each class making sparks:
Jackson (4-1) – The Vikings improved from six wins two seasons ago to 11 last winter, but still fell twice to rival Jackson Northwest (by 36, and then 20 in the District). It will be interesting to watch how last week’s 53-46 win over the Mounties might push them forward.
Ypsilanti Community (6-0) – The Grizzlies, coming off 13-8 last season, opened with close wins over Belleville (47-41) and Pinckney (51-49) but have since beaten four straight teams by at least nine points. They handed Dexter its first loss 38-19 on Friday.
Frankenmuth (5-1) – The Eagles extended their Tri-Valley Conference East winning streak to 99 after one of the closest scares of their run, a 57-51 overtime win over Millington. The lone loss this season came nonleague against Reese, which might be one of the state’s best in Class C.
Tawas (4-0) – The Braves rallied for a second straight District title to close last season, but are surging out of the gate this winter. They’ve won their four games by an average of 25 points per and all by at least 17.
Centreville (5-1) – Since falling to Constantine by nine in its first game, Centreville has run off five straight victories including 41-40 in overtime over Athens a week ago; the loss was Athens’ first this season. Centreville was 13-7 a year ago.
Byron (6-0) – With only Morrice remaining among four teams that finished ahead of Byron in the GAC Blue last season, the Eagles are looking like potential title favorites. A 48-45 win over last season’s GAC Red champion Durand a few weeks ago and last week’s 42-40 win over New Lothrop are especially impressive.
Bark River-Harris (4-2) – The Broncos, from an unfortunate standpoint, equaled last season’s two losses in the first week of this winter. But the good news is Bark River-Harris has won four straight including a one-pointer over Big Bay de Noc last week.
Bellevue (6-0) – Former Eaton Rapids standout Kayla Whitmyer has built a solid program, and the Broncos look poised to take another step after going 17-7 in 2015-16. They’ve won all of their games by double figures, and beat reigning Southern Central Athletic Association West champion Climax-Scotts 57-41 on Friday.
Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up:
Tuesday – Midland Dow (5-0) at Detroit Country Day (4-0) – This will pit favorites for the Class A and B championships, respectively, as well as some of the state’s top guards.
Tuesday – Calumet (3-0) at Ishpeming (3-1) – Both will be competing for league championships this winter, Calumet in the West Peninsula Athletic Conference and the Hematites in the Mid-Peninsula Athletic Conference.
Tuesday – Rockford (2-2) vs. Grand Rapids Catholic Central (3-1) at Cornerstone University – These two make for an excellent first round in this annual event; sidenote: both have in common a loss to Muskegon Mona Shores.
Thursday – Marshall (3-1) at Richland Gull Lake (3-1) – The Blue Devils are off to a quick start after going 12-9 last season, but will really get to see how they measure up facing the reigning Class B champion.
Thursday – Freeland (5-0) at Saginaw Valley Lutheran (3-1) – The Class C Chargers are the only team to knock off powerful Reese, and will get a chance to conquer an impressive foe from Class B.
PHOTO: A Reese defender walls off a Frankenmuth player during the Rockets' 43-32 win on Dec. 2. (Click to see more from Varsity Monthly.)