By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
As we embark on the final month of this girls basketball season, the first league championships are being clinched and the first conference tournament brackets are filling in.
And on cue, potential MHSAA title contenders continue to rise.
A matchup of two champions from a year ago and the continued surge by the reigning Class A winner are among subjects of today’s report. Countdown to Calvin is powered by MI Student Aid and based on results and schedules posted for each school at MHSAA.com. To offer corrections or help us fill in missing scores, email me at Geoff@mhsaa.com.
Week in Review
The countdown of last week’s five most intriguing results:
1. Detroit Edison Public School Academy 62, Detroit Country Day 46 – Reigning Class C champion DEPSA has bounced quickly back from its lone loss earlier this month, to Ypsilanti Arbor Prep, with this win especially impressive over the reigning Class B title winner.
2. Pittsford 56, Bellevue 40 – The undefeated Wildcats have won 67 straight games, tied for the fifth-longest winning streak in MHSAA history, and this one over the two-loss Broncos was the 66th in a row and one of most impressive this winter.
3. Bloomfield Hills Marian 34, Farmington Hills Mercy 25 – They could meet again in the Catholic League A-B Tournament in two weeks, but Marian gladly will take in a regular-season sweep of its rival, which could end up cementing the Catholic League Central title.
4. Harper Woods Chandler Park 59, Ypsilanti Arbor Prep 35 – Chandler Park looks ready to make a move in Class B, with this the most recent of intriguing results against tough competition.
5. Freeland 71, Hemlock 35 – Freeland has put together another strong run, improving to 11-2 with the latest this victory over previously-undefeated Hemlock in a crossover of first-place teams in the Tri-Valley Conference Central and West, respectively.
With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each class making sparks:
Flushing (11-2) – With a group of key seniors to replace and a couple of tough opponents to start this winter, Flushing fell out of the Class A conversation for a bit. But the reigning champ Raiders are back in with 11 straight wins since those opening losses to Flint Carman-Ainsworth and Midland Dow. They’ve opened up a nice lead in the Flint Metro League, but a Feb. 6 matchup with Goodrich will be telling.
Grosse Pointe North (9-2) – The Norsemen, 12-11 a season ago, are on a five-game winning streak that has included avenging this season’s losses to Macomb Dakota and Warren Cousino. That run has put North just a half-game behind Dakota in the Macomb Area Conference Red standings, but with a couple of tough matchups with Port Huron Northern coming up over the next two weeks.
Clawson (12-1) – The Trojans clinched the MAC Bronze championship outright last week and have won every league game by at least 14 points. They can finish a second straight perfect run through the league schedule Thursday at New Haven and soon could equal last season’s 16 wins as well – the only loss was by five to Madison Heights Bishop Foley (now 8-5) at the beginning of December.
Detroit Mumford (10-3) – The Mustangs are perfect in 2018, enjoying a six-game winning streak capped by last week’s 74-66 victory over league rival Detroit Renaissance. Mumford ended 2017 with three straight losses to Class A powers Detroit Martin Luther King, Clarkston and DeWitt, but should be tough in the Detroit Public School League and Class B tournaments.
Flint Hamady (9-4) – A string of four losses in five games quieted talk about the usually dominant Hawks, but it’s important to keep those defeats in context – they came to Chandler Park, Goodrich, Flint Beecher and Country Day. Hamady, a Class C semifinalist last season, avenged the Goodrich loss with 49-44 win Friday and gets Beecher this Friday.
St. Ignace (12-0) – The Saints have been a level above even the best teams on their side of the Upper Peninsula and below the bridge. The latest evidence was last week’s 68-21 win over Cedarville, which is leading the Eastern U.P. Athletic Conference and is 12-2 overall – the Trojans also lost to St. Ignace at the start of December. Circle a Feb. 10 game against Class B Goodrich and Feb. 17 against Detroit Edison among the most intriguing matchups in the state the rest of the way.
Morenci (10-2) – Losses to Pioneer North Central (Ohio) and undefeated Class C Pittsford are all that’s kept Morenci from perfection as it’s looked to build on last season’s 13-9 finish. The Bulldogs finished second in the Tri-County Conference last year but lead it today coming off a two-point win over reigning league champion Adrian Madison last Thursday. Morenci still has both games with second-place Ottawa Lake Whiteford coming up as the first was postponed two weeks ago.
St. Joseph Michigan Lutheran (11-1) – Aside from an early six-point loss to Watervliet (now 8-3), the Titans have been perfect. They have a commanding lead in the Berrien-Cass-St. Joseph Conference White and have played only one other game where the margin has been fewer than 17 points – a three-point win over Class B Buchanan (now 7-4).
Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up:
Tuesday – East Lansing (13-0) at Williamston (14-0) – The Hornets have continued their perfect run despite losing top guard Maddie Watters to a season-ending injury two weeks ago; East Lansing is a Class A contender and should be the toughest test before playoffs begin.
Thursday – Clarkston (11-2) at Southfield Arts & Technology (9-4) – The Wolves are undefeated in the Oakland Activities Association Red with a 55-50 win over Southfield A&T on Dec. 22 remaining the Warriors’ only league loss.
Thursday – Macomb Dakota (10-3) at Port Huron Northern (10-4) – This matchup might have the best chance to mixing up what’s becoming a mashed-up MAC Red race; these two are among four teams at the top with either two or three league losses.
Friday – East Kentwood (14-0) at Grand Haven (10-3) – The Falcons finished the first half of the Ottawa-Kent Conference Red schedule undefeated, but their closest win in or out of league this season was a four-pointer over Grand Haven in the first meeting Jan. 5.
Friday – DeWitt (12-1) at St. Johns (8-3) – The Panthers lead the Capital Area Activities Conference Red by two wins on St. Johns, but the Redwings are 5-1 since falling to DeWitt by 12 in mid-December.
PHOTO: A Freeland ball handler navigates the Hemlock defense during last week’s meeting of first-place teams in the Tri-Valley Conference. (Click for more from HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)