By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
If the conclusion of league races this winter is an indication of what we should expect when the MHSAA Tournament begins in two weeks, fans will be on the edges of their respective seats.
Just this past week we had Norway downing Ishpeming and Carleton Airport edging Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central both by a point with titles on the line. Hamilton got past Holland Christian by a mere basket in another matchup of league contenders, and Hartland and Blissfield won only more comfortably by five apiece to secure championships.
And those are just five more scores in addition to those occupying the usual spot below kicking off our Breslin Bound report, powered by MI Student Aid.
Week in Review
The countdown of last week’s five most intriguing results:
1. Midland Dow 46, Saginaw Heritage 44 – Revenge surely was sweet for the Chargers, who moved into a first-place tie in the Saginaw Valley League North by handing the Hawks their first loss this season and after losing to Heritage 50-47 in overtime Jan. 17.
2. Birch Run 56, Frankenmuth 49 – The Panthers still trail the Eagles by a win in the Tri-Valley Conference East, but they did break Frankenmuth’s 105-game league winning streak.
3. Houghton 46, Marquette 40 (2OT) – No league title was on the line in this one, but perhaps the status as top team in the Upper Peninsula with the undefeated Gremlins making another strong claim.
4. DeWitt 55, Lansing Waverly 52 – The Panthers avenged their lone loss of this season, which came 55-47 to the Warriors on Jan. 6, to hold onto first alone in the Capital Area Activities Conference Red.
5. Sandusky 38, Reese 23 – The Redskins can claim to be the best of a strong group of Class C teams in the Thumb with wins over the two-loss Rockets and two-loss Harbor Beach as well.
With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each class making sparks:
Flushing (14-2) – The Raiders have won 13 straight since back-to-back early losses to Heritage and Dow and should clinch a share of the Flint Metro League title Tuesday against Linden. It’s been nearly a repeat of the 2015-16 regular season, when Flushing came back from the same losses to finish 19-3.
St. Clair Shores Lakeview (16-1) – The Huskies dominated the Macomb Area Conference Blue, and that lone loss came just two weeks ago by a point in overtime to second-place Clinton Township Chippewa Valley. Not a bad way to add to last season’s District title and 14-9 overall finish.
Fowlerville (12-5) – With two more wins, the Gladiators will guarantee their best finish this decade, with last season’s 13 victories coming after seasons of four and one, respectively. The attention-grabber was last week’s upset of 2016 Class B semifinalist Bay City John Glenn, 60-48.
Detroit Mumford (12-5) – The Mustangs have earned a berth in Saturday’s Detroit Public School League championship game against Detroit Martin Luther King. Mumford could be a team to watch in Class B again with four losses this winter to Class A teams (including twice to King) and after making the MHSAA Quarterfinals a year ago.
Springport (13-2) – The Spartans may need to win out to secure the Big 8 Conference championship, but set themselves up over the last 10 days with wins over second-place Jonesville, third-place Homer and in overtime over Quincy. The win over also-reigning league champion Homer avenged Springport’s only Big 8 loss.
Leroy Pine River (14-2) – Three teams are tied for first place in the Highland Conference with three league games to play, and Pine River is among them after avenging an earlier loss last week to co-leader McBain. The Bucks have won outright or shared the last two titles and also are tied with Manton this time.
St. Joseph Michigan Lutheran (15-2) – The Titans can clinch the Berrien-Cass-St. Joseph Conference White title with a win Saturday against Three Oaks River Valley. The championship would be Michigan Lutheran’s third straight, and its only losses this winter are to league leaders – Class A St. Joseph and Class B Buchanan.
Ann Arbor Rudolf Steiner (13-1) – The Storm hasn’t lost a Mid-South Conference game since the start of the 2011-12 season and can clinch another league title this week. Rudolf Steiner also could improve on last season’s 18-3 overall finish, with its only loss this winter to Class C Whitmore Lake.
Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up:
Tuesday – Clarkston (14-3) at Bloomfield Hills (14-1) – The Black Hawks are a win away from securing the Oakland Activities Association White title, but first can add to a great season by downing the second-place team in the Red.
Tuesday – Traverse City St. Francis (14-1) at Kalkaska (12-2) – Kalkaska has the lead in the Lake Michigan Conference because it dealt St. Francis’ only loss Jan. 14.
Thursday – Marquette (15-2) at Houghton (17-0) – Ten days after the game mentioned at the top of the report, these two will meet again.
Saturday – Detroit Martin Luther King (16-1) vs. Detroit Mumford (12-5) at University of Detroit Mercy – The PSL championship game features a matchup King has won twice already, but an opportunity for Mumford to send a shockwave throughout the state.
Saturday – Detroit Country Day (15-0) at Saginaw Heritage (15-1) – Consider this a little pre-postseason tune-up for contenders in Class B and A, respectively.
PHOTO: Flushing’s 14-2 start this season included a win over Flint Hamady on Feb. 7. (Click to see more from Varsity Monthly.)