By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Pre-New Year’s Day basketball is generally a getting-to-know-you time across Michigan.
Every week we’re learning a few more things about possible contenders while watching to see if all the preseason hype is panning out.
It’s hard to say we know much after two weeks – and yet, some surprises already are beginning to emerge. We give a glance at a few of those below.
Breslin Bound is powered by MI Student Aid and based on results and schedules posted for each school at MHSAA.com. To offer corrections or fill in scores we’re missing, email me at Geoff@mhsaa.com.
Week in Review
The countdown of last week’s five most intriguing results:
1. Detroit Renaissance 73, Detroit Edison 60 – The Phoenix bounced back from a three-point opening loss to Flint Beecher to win by double digits over the reigning Class C champion Pioneers.
2. Pontiac 63, Clarkston 58 – This win over the reigning Class A champion should boost a Pontiac turnaround effort detailed a little more below.
3. Pewamo-Westphalia 63, Dansville 45 – The Aggies had taken over as mid-Michigan’s best contender among Class C/Division 3 schools after beating the Pirates by a point in last year’s Regional Semifinal, but that status likely shifted back to the Pirates after this big win.
4. Alma 52, Frankenmuth 48 (OT) – The Panthers lost by 21 when these Tri-Valley Conference contenders met in a crossover Jan. 29, but avenging the defeat last week kept Alma perfect at 4-0.
5. Belleville 63, Romulus 43 – Now in different leagues, these longtime rivals are set to meet for sure just this once – and the Tigers extended their winning streak in the series to three straight.
With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each division making sparks:
• Hudsonville (2-0) – Coming off a 10-12 finish a season ago, Hudsonville has a lot to be excited about right away. The Eagles opened with a 43-37 win over East Grand Rapids and then beat Wyoming Godwin Heights on Friday 75-64 to avenge last year’s 17-point loss.
• Wayne Memorial (2-0) – The Zebras are following up last season’s 17-8 record and run to the Regional Finals with a nice start. Last week’s win was 61-56 over Ann Arbor Skyline, which is coming off a 23-1 finish in 2017-18.
• Pontiac (3-0) – The Phoenix are rising after going 5-15 last season and winning just three games the season before that. Of course the Clarkston win noted above sticks out, but Pontiac also downed Clawson by 25 to end the week.
• St. Clair (4-0) – The Saints will start work on a second straight Macomb Area Conference Gold title coming off a pair of close wins, 54-49 over Marysville and 65-64 in double overtime over Marine City.
• Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port Laker (4-0) – A 5-1 start last season turned into a 12-9 finish, and the Lakers are enjoying the early-going again. They’ve avenged three of last season’s losses, including last week with a 46-42 overtime win over Ubly and 58-43 victory over Brown City.
• Vandercook Lake (4-0) – The Jayhawks already have doubled up last season’s two wins, coming off Friday’s 86-74 overtime victory over Manchester. Junior Tyler Horky is averaging 30.5 points per game and scored 47 against the Flying Dutchmen, including 34 over the second half and overtime.
• Central Lake (4-0) – The Trojans have built from two to four to seven to 11 to 13 wins over the last five seasons – and might be in store for more. Last week’s 54-39 win over Bellaire and 84-75 defeat of Onaway both came against teams that beat Central Lake at least once last winter.
• Gaylord St. Mary (2-1) – The Snowbirds finished 9-14 last winter but closed with four wins over their final six games. After losing to Rogers City in the opener two weeks ago, St. Mary earned close wins last week over Mancelona (53-52) and Fife Lake Forest Area (54-50) – after going a combined 1-3 against the pair last season.
Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up:
Tuesday – Grand Blanc (1-1) at Detroit U-D Jesuit (2-1) – These are both Division 1 hopefuls which despite an early loss apiece could play deep into this winter.
Tuesday – Grand Rapids Christian (3-0) at Grand Rapids Catholic Central (1-0) – Both have notable early wins, Christian over Wyoming Godwin Heights and GRCC opening with a victory over Holland West Ottawa.
Friday – Saginaw (2-1) at Saginaw Arthur Hill (1-1) – One of the state’s best rivalries rolls again after the Trojans won last season’s games by eight and four points.
Friday – Belleville (1-0) at Ann Arbor Skyline (2-1) – Skyline’s 23-1 run last season included a 14-point win over Belleville, which ended up reaching the Class A Quarterfinals.
Saturday – Detroit Henry Ford (0-1) vs. Benton Harbor (3-0) at Grand Rapids Ottawa Hills – This is likely the premier game of the Battle of I-96 Classic, pitting the reigning Class B champion Tigers against the 2016 title winner in that class.
Second Half’s weekly “Breslin Bound” reports are powered by MI Student Aid, a part of the Student Financial Services Bureau located within the Michigan Department of Treasury. MI Student Aid encourages students to pursue postsecondary education by providing access to student financial resources and information, including various student financial assistance programs to help make college more affordable for Michigan students. MI Student Aid administers the state’s 529 savings programs (MET/MESP) and eight additional aid programs within its Student Scholarships and Grants division. Click for more information and connect with MI Student Aid on Facebook and Twitter @mistudentaid.
PHOTO: After opening with a two-point loss to Flint Carman-Ainsworth, Detroit Cass Tech bounced back last week with a 74-50 win over West Bloomfield. (Photo courtesy of C&G Newspapers.)