By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
For a good portion of Michigan’s best, the final week of this high school boys basketball regular season will be like starting the playoffs a week early.
Only a few league championships are left to be decided. But a number of top teams face off for one more test before the season goes into win-and-advance mode with the start of Districts a week from today.
Below is our final regular-season Breslin Bound report – powered by MI Student Aid – before we switch up the format a bit to preview each week of the MHSAA Tournament.
Week in Review
The countdown of last week’s five most intriguing results:
1. Flint Carman-Ainsworth 99, Saginaw 60 – After beating Saginaw by seven earlier this season, Carman-Ainsworth posted one of its most impressive wins in some time in a crossover of Saginaw Valley League champs, Saginaw from the North and the Cavaliers from the South.
2. Romulus 73, Kalamazoo Central 63 – These Class A powers love to traverse the state looking for strong nonleague competition, and this one actually bodes well for both heading into Districts, although obviously a little better for the Eagles.
3. Wayne Memorial 55, Westland John Glenn 48 – Wayne split with its Kensington Lakes Activities Association South rival in winning the division, and got the tie-breaker with this victory to determine the Kensington champion and earn a spot in the overall KLAA finale.
4. Walled Lake Central 50, Walled Lake Western 45 – Central may have finished a game behind Western in the KLAA North, but beat its rival in their second meeting and followed up with this victory in the KLAA Lakes final.
5. Powers North Central 83, Munising 33 – We’ve seen plenty of impressive wins by the Class D Jets during this record run, but this one is notable too as Class C Munising entered 15-2.
With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each class making sparks:
Detroit U-D Jesuit (15-3) – After escaping Orchard Lake St. Mary’s with a 51-49 win in the semifinal, U-D Jesuit won its fifth straight Detroit Catholic League A-B title with a 63-56 title game win over Warren DeLaSalle. The reigning Class A champion's losses came either in overtime or by a point this winter.
Macomb Dakota (17-3) – The Cougars, Class A semifinalists last season, battled through multiple injuries to top players to finish the regular season as champions of the Macomb Area Conference Red and MAC Red-White Tournament. The Cougars hit 100 points in that tourney finale and have topped 95 two other times during a 14-game winning streak.
Big Rapids (17-1) – A big loss to Ludington on Feb. 7 not withstanding, Big Rapids has dominated again after making the Class B Semifinals last season. Only two of the Cardinals’ wins have come by single digits, and last week they finished an undefeated run through the Central State Activities Association Gold for the second straight season.
Macomb Lutheran North (15-3) – The Mustangs beat 16-win Riverview Gabriel Richard 70-62 on Sunday to win the Detroit Catholic League C-D title. They’ve made a nice jump from 11 wins two seasons ago to 13 last winter and now 15 with a week until the MHSAA Tournament begins.
Flint Hamady (13-6) – Hamady’s boys normally slot behind rival Beecher among Flint’s best – and finished tied for second to the Bucs in the Genesee Area Conference Red. But the Hawks fell to Beecher by only four in their second meeting earlier this month, and made a statement with a 71-66 win over Class B and 16-win Frankenmuth last week.
Grandville Calvin Christian (14-4) – After coming a 3-pointer from winning the Class C title last season, Calvin Christian is running third in the Ottawa-Kent Conference Silver behind Class B favorite Wyoming Godwin Heights and rising Kelloggsville. The Squires appear poised to strike again in the postseason with 10 wins over their last 12 games.
Pittsford (16-3) – The school’s reigning Class D champion girls don’t have a monopoly on the town’s hoops success. Coming off a 16-6 finish and second place in the Southern Central Athletic Association East last winter, Pittsford’s boys equaled that win total last week while also clinching the league title.
Wyoming Tri-unity Christian (11-7) – It’s just about impossible to go a whole season without checking in on the Defenders, who made the MHSAA Semifinals last season and are a threat to contend even when their regular-season losses approach double digits. Lansing Christian is the only Class D team to beat them this winter.
Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up:
Tuesday – Grand Rapids Christian (18-0) at Wyoming Godwin Heights (19-0) – Grand Rapids’ two best teams, arguably, and contenders in Class A and B, respectively, give each other a great test during the final week.
Tuesday – New Haven (18-1) at Flint Beecher (15-4) – These two both have championship aspirations as well, New Haven in Class B and Beecher in Class C.
Tuesday – Southfield Christian (15-3) at River Rouge (17-1) – Rouge loaded up the schedule as it prepped for a Class B run, and Class D favorite Southfield Christian will provide another strong challenge.
Thursday – Wayne Memorial (16-3) at Walled Lake Central (14-5) – The KLAA championship game pairs a Wayne team that went 8-14 last year with a Central team that finished second in its division before this run.
Thursday – Holland West Ottawa (18-1) at Grand Rapids Catholic Central (16-3) – The O-K Blue champion hosts the winner of the Red as they prepare for the Class B and A tournaments, respectively.
PHOTO: Grand Rapids Christian (in blue) and Holland West Ottawa both finish with tough regular-season challenges this week; Christian best West Ottawa 57-49 on Dec. 28. (Photo by Tim Reilly.)