By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Regardless of which team emerges as Class C champion Saturday, that crowning moment will conclude quite a story.
At the very least, the winner could be celebrating a first MHSAA boys basketball title in more than two decades.
Detroit Edison and Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central both are seeking not just their first MHSAA titles in boys basketball this weekend, but to play in the championship game for the first time.
Grand Rapids Covenant Christian, meanwhile, was runner-up last season at the Breslin Center but hasn’t won a title since 1994. Maple City Glen Lake, if it wins out, would claim its first since 1977.
Class C Semifinals – Thursday
Detroit Edison (15-10) vs. Grand Rapids Covenant Christian (22-4), noon
Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central (25-0) vs. Maple City Glen Lake (23-2), 2 p.m.
Class C Final – Saturday, 4:30 p.m.
Tickets cost $10 per pair of Semifinals and $10 per two-game Finals session (Class C and Class B). All Semifinals will be streamed live on MHSAA.tv and viewable on a pay-per-view basis. The Class D, A and C championship games will be broadcast live on Fox Sports Detroit, while the Class B Final will be shown on Fox Sports Detroit on a delayed basis at 10:30 p.m. Saturday. All four championship games will be streamed live on FoxSportsDetroit.com and the FOX Sports Go! app. Free radio broadcasts of all weekend games will be available on MHSAANetwork.com.
Below is a glance at all four semifinalists. Click on the name of the school to see that team’s full schedule and results from this season. (Statistics are through teams' Regional Finals.)
Record/rank: 15-10, honorable mention
League finish: Fourth in Detroit Public School League East Division 1
Coach: Brandon Neely, fifth season (69-44)
Championship history: Has never appeared in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 73-46 over No. 3 Unionville-Sebewaing in Quarterfinal, 63-57 (Regional Semifinal) and 82-45 over Detroit Pershing, 59-51 over Class A honorable mention Detroit Cass Tech, 50-48 over Class A honorable mention Detroit Renaissance, 65-48 over Class A honorable mention Belleville, 83-67 over Class D No. 1 Southfield Christian.
Players to watch: Pierre Mitchell, Jr., 6-0 sr. G (15.3 ppg, 3.2 apg); Gary Solomon, 6-5 sr. G (16.2 ppg, 3.3 apg).
Outlook: Edison is making a second straight trip to the Semifinals after winning its second Regional title last week and this season also winning the Detroit Public School League tournament. The team’s record might look just slightly above average, but eight of those losses were to Class A teams including three team ranked among the top five at the end of the regular season and a fourth that will play in the Semifinals on Friday. Mitchell, Solomon and 6-9 senior Deante Johnson (13.1 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 2.2 bpg) also were starters and standouts a year ago.
GRAND RAPIDS COVENANT CHRISTIAN
Record/rank: 22-4, honorable mention
League finish: Does not play in a league.
Coach: Tyler Schimmel, fourth season (71-25)
Championship history: Three MHSAA titles (most recent 1994), Class C runner-up 2017.
Best wins: 53-30 over honorable mention Sanford Meridian in Quarterfinal, 58-48 over honorable mention Dansville in Regional Final, 53-47 over Grand Rapids Christian.
Players to watch: Carson Meulenberg, 6-6 sr. F (15.4 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 3.2 apg); Tyler Cammenga, 5-8 sr. G (9.2 ppg, 64 3-pointers).
Outlook: Four starters from last season’s Class C championship game loss to Flint Beecher have brought Covenant Christian back this weekend. Meulenberg earned some attention with 20 points in last year’s Final, and Cammenga entered the last week of the season with 64 3-pointers for the second straight year. Senior 6-3 guard Nathan Minderhoud (10.7 ppg) is the team’s second leading scorer, and senior 6-4 forward Trenton Koole adds 7.4 ppg, 5.0 rpg and 3.2 apg. All four losses this winter came to Class B teams that finished with at least 17 wins, including semifinalist Grand Rapids Catholic Central.
MAPLE CITY GLEN LAKE
Record/rank: 23-2, No. 5
League finish: Tied for first in Northwest Conference
Coach: Rich Ruelas, third season (56-14)
Championship history: Two MHSAA titles (most recent 1977), one runner-up finish.
Best wins: 66-49 over No. 4 Iron Mountain in Quarterfinal, 66-32 (Regional Semifinal) and 50-37 over No. 9 McBain, 49-29 over honorable mention Manton in District Semifinal, 54-45 and 52-31 over Class D No. 6 Frankfort.
Players to watch: Xander Okerlund, 6-4 jr. G/F (16.1 ppg, 3.1 apg); Cade Peterson, 6-5 sr. F (14.1 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 3.0 apg, 1.6 bpg).
Outlook: A talented group has Glen Lake at the Semifinals for the first time since finishing Class D runner-up in 1996. The only losses were to league rival Buckley, a semifinalist in Class D. Iron Mountain, falling by 17, came the closest to Glen Lake of any opponent so far this postseason. Some of the same players, including quarterback Peterson and senior starting forward Nick Apsey (a running back/linebacker in the fall), took Glen Lake to the Division 6 Football Final in 2016. Sophomore forward Reece Hazelton adds 13.3 ppg.
MONROE ST. MARY CATHOLIC CENTRAL
Record/rank: 25-0, No. 1
League finish: First in Huron League
Coach: Randy Windham, ninth season (181-37)
Championship history: Has never appeared in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 31-28 over No. 6 Kalamazoo Christian in Quarterfinal, 61-56 over honorable mention Hanover-Horton in Regional Final, 56-44 over No. 7 Ottawa Lake Whiteford in District Final.
Players to watch: C.J. Haut, 6-8 sr. F (18.4 ppg, 11.3 rpg, 2.9 bpg); Hunter Kegley, 5-9 jr. G (15.2 ppg, 68 3-pointers)
Outlook: Monroe St. Mary has been on the verge of a championship run with four Quarterfinal appearances this decade and a Semifinal berth in 2013. The Falcons fell to Edison in last season’s Quarterfinal, but haven’t lost a game since. In fact, the last two games were two of only four decided by single digits this season. Junior 6-4 forward Tyler Welch adds another 10.3 points and 6.9 rebounds per game.
PHOTO: Grand Rapids Covenant Christian’s Carson Meulenberg puts up a shot against Flint Beecher during last season’s Class C Final.