By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
The 2017-18 season is barely a week old, and we already have plenty to talk about – in addition to a new name for our weekly girls basketball report.
Each Monday, we’ll update you on five results from the previous week that made the biggest headlines. We’ll introduce two teams in each class that should be on your radar as you look ahead to league races and even farther down the road to the start of the MHSAA tournament at the end of February. We’ll also give you five games of note coming up over the next seven days, and why you should check them out.
So let the countdown to this season’s Finals weekend at Calvin College begin. These reports are based on results and schedules posted for each school at MHSAA.com – to offer corrections, email me at Geoff@mhsaa.com. Countdown to Calvin is powered by MI Student Aid.
Week in Review
The countdown of last week’s five most intriguing results:
1. Wayne Memorial 73, Detroit Country Day 70 – Opening with a win over the reigning Class B champion? Wayne will take it after going 17-5 a year ago and with title aspirations in Class A.
2. Ypsilanti Arbor Prep 48, Clarkston 45 – This edging of a 17-6 Class A team from a year ago stuck out most from an impressive three-win week by the reigning Class B runner-up Gators, who are back in Class C this winter.
3. East Lansing 42, Marshall 32 – The Trojans started by handing Marshall only its fourth regular-season loss since the start of 2015; Marshall, a Class B semifinalist last season, also fell to Williamston to end the week.
4. Walled Lake Western 56, Southfield Arts & Technology 51 – Walled Lake Western hopes to build on last year’s District title and got a good sign with this opening win over a Southfield A&T team that made the Class A Semifinals last winter.
5. Flint Carman-Ainsworth 59, Flushing 38 – There’s no question Flushing graduated major talent last spring, but this still counts for the Cavaliers as a win over the reigning Class A champion.
With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each class making sparks:
Flint Carman-Ainsworth (3-0) – As noted above, Carman-Ainsworth opened with a win over the reigning Class A champ Raiders, who ended the Cavaliers’ season in last year’s District Final. Carman-Ainsworth last week also downed Swartz Creek by 24 on Friday and then Southfield A&T by 20 a day later, lending confidence to high hopes coming off last year’s 18-4 run.
Roseville (3-0) – A two-point win over Center Line in the middle of last week was the only test, but Roseville has now won 16 of its last 17 going back to last January. The Panthers were 16-6 last season after starting 1-4.
Lansing Catholic (2-0) – The Cougars have finished either a win or two below .500 the last two seasons, but could be on the move if last week was an indication. Lansing Catholic opened with a 12-point win over Perry and followed with a 42-pointer over Olivet; those two opponents were a combined 28-15 last winter, and Olivet was a league champ.
Reed City (1-0) – After going 0-21 in 2014-15, Reed City has finished just a game under .500 the last two seasons. Could this be the winter the Coyotes take another big step? Last week’s 37-35 win over Leroy Pine River was just one victory, but the Bucks were 22-3 last season and beat Reed City by 17 to start that campaign.
Manton (2-1) – Yes, Manton took a loss during opening week, but to a Class A Marquette team that won 20 games last season. In the meantime, the Rangers (14-8 a year ago) beat two other Class A teams in Mount Pleasant and Petoskey and after falling to Petoskey a year ago.
Pewamo-Westphalia (2-0) – How to the Pirates come back from falling in last season’s Class C championship game by a basket? They open with a 23-point win over New Lothrop (17-5 last winter) and then another 23-pointer over Class A Detroit Renaissance (16-5 a year ago).
Brethren (2-0) – Mariah Pringle scored 42 of her team’s 71 points in wins over Buckley and Pentwater last week. The 39-34 win over the Falcons avenged one of few losses a season ago as Brethren went 18-5.
Walkerville (2-0) – The Wildcats have actually won six of their last eight going back to last season, when they finished 9-13. They opened last week by beating Class C Ravenna by nine and then Big Rapids Crossroads by 33 after falling to Crossroads a year ago.
Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up:
Tuesday – DeWitt (2-0) at East Lansing (2-0) – These two will be in the same league for the first time next season, and this has been one of the Lansing area’s top nonleague games annually for years. DeWitt won in December by a point last winter, and East Lansing avenged with a one-point win in the District Final.
Tuesday – Midland (0-1) at Saginaw Heritage (0-0) – Heritage was last season’s Saginaw Valley League North co-champion thanks in part to a pair of wins over third-place Midland.
Friday – Buchanan (0-0) at Niles Brandywine (1-1) – Buchanan was last season’s Berrien-Cass-St. Joseph Red co-champion at 16-4 overall, and Brandywine finished third before winning a District and ending up 19-5.
Friday – Houghton (1-0) at Negaunee (2-0) – After Houghton won their early-December 2016 matchup 48-46, these teams went on to finish a combined 38-8 and both won District titles.
Friday – Utica Ford (1-1) at Grosse Pointe North (1-0) – Utica Ford won 20 games last season and a league title, while Grosse Pointe North won a District title and nearly upset Bloomfield Hills Marian in the Regional.
PHOTO: Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart, a Class D semifinalist last season, opened this winter with a 76-14 win over Vestaburg on Friday. (Click for more from HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)