By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Calendar year 2018 is drawing to a close, but anticipation is just starting to ramp up as girls basketball teams head into the holidays.
For many, there won’t be much of a break as they prep to play in a number of showcase events around the state.
Saturday saw the Best of Michigan Classic at Detroit Edison and a number of top Division 1 and 2 teams compete – we highlighted a few of those below. Similar events will follow over the next three weeks, before the schedule shifts to league competition and taking the next steps toward playing meaningful games at the end of February and into March.
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 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 61, Ypsilanti Arbor Prep 38 – The Phoenix bounced back from an opening loss to Harper Woods Chandler Park to down Division 3 contender Ypsilanti Arbor Prep at the Best of Michigan Classic at Detroit Edison.
2. Columbus Africentric Early College (Ohio) 65, Detroit Edison 60 – We don’t usually highlight a Michigan team’s out-of-state loss, but falling by only five to an Ohio power with a University of Tennessee recruit featured by Sports Illustrated last month is still quite a showing.
3. East Lansing 45, DeWitt 41 – With the first of two regular-season meetings this close, it’s a good bet these two will determine a league champion and possibly more again this winter.
4. Southfield Arts & Technology 68, Flint Carman-Ainsworth 55 – A&T is a two-point loss to Saginaw Heritage from a 4-0 start, and Carman-Ainsworth is another well-respected team from Division 1.
5. Corunna 54, Goodrich 53 – Last week was an early indication this could be a special season for the 4-0 Cavaliers. In addition to beating the always-contending Martians, Corunna finished with an overtime win over Flint Hamady.
With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each division making sparks:
• Brighton (3-0) – After three straight 14-win seasons, the Bulldogs could be candidates to take another step and enter Kensington Lakes Activities Association West play as one of three unbeaten teams. Brighton opened with a two-point win over Marquette at Petoskey and has followed with two double-digit wins including a 23-pointer over Okemos last week.
• Wayne Memorial (2-0) – The Zebras graduated a Miss Basketball finalist from last season’s Class A semifinalist team but haven’t missed a beat. They opened last week nearly doubling up Division 2 hopeful Williamston and then beat Illinois power Chicago Whitney Young 71-56 at the Best of Michigan Classic.
• Comstock (3-0) – The Colts have one of the state’s sharpest shooters in 1,000-point scorer Daisy Ansel and should have high aspirations after last season’s 19-2 run. Comstock is looking to first three-peat in the Berrien-Cass-St. Joseph Conference Red and finished its week with a 58-31 win over reigning league runner-up Niles Brandywine.
• Edwardsburg (4-0) – The Eddies haven’t lost a league game the last two seasons and earned their first Wolverine Conference South win this winter against Three Rivers on Friday. Edwardsburg, coming off a 22-2 run, has three wins by 20 or more points so far – with the fourth victory a three-pointer over Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference West co-leader Portage Central.
• Adrian Madison (4-0) – Last season saw the end of Madison’s six-season hold on the Tri-County Conference title; the Trojans finished second. But they bounced back into league play last week with a big win over Sand Creek coming off solid nonconference showings versus Blissfield and Hudson.
• Ishpeming Westwood (5-0) – The Patriots opened with an overtime win over Menominee and have just kept rolling. Last week’s 66-40 win over rival Ishpeming avenged last season’s District loss, and at this rate Westwood soon should be circling Jan. 18 and Feb. 15 dates with also-unbeaten Negaunee.
• Martin (3-0) – The Clippers improved five wins last season to 13-11 and tied for fourth in the Southwestern Athletic Conference Lakeshore. Over this season’s first two weeks, Martin has beaten Saugatuck – the other fourth-place team from last winter – and avenged two losses to last season’s runner-up Coloma with a 46-40 victory.
• Onaway (3-0) – The Cardinals are making their move early after finishing 10-10 last season. They beat Posen by 10 in their opener after losing twice to the Vikings last winter, and last week’s 40-26 win over Central Lake further avenged an early 2017-18 defeat.
Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up:
Thursday – Plymouth (3-0) at Brighton (3-0) – These two look early like possible favorites in the KLAA West; Plymouth was second in the former Black and Brighton third in the Gold last season.
Thursday – Macomb Dakota (4-0) at Grosse Pointe North (3-1) – These two shared the Macomb Area Red title last season before North won their Regional meeting by two on the way to making the Class A Semifinals.
Friday – Freeland (3-1) at Saginaw Heritage (3-0) – Heritage is, of course, the reigning Class A champion, and Freeland is always one of the best from the Saginaw area as well.
Saturday – Detroit Edison (3-1) vs. Detroit Country Day (1-2) at Lawrence Tech – Country Day won Class B last season, and Edison won C and could be the Yellowjackets’ biggest obstacle in the new Division 2.
Saturday – Ypsilanti Arbor Prep (4-1) at Muskegon Oakridge (3-0) – The Gators’ tour of the state’s best heads west, where Oakridge is yet to have a game closer than 17 after going 22-4 a year ago.
Second Half’s weekly “Countdown to Calvin” 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: Ishpeming Westwood's Madelyn Koski (10) drives to the basket last week with Ishpeming's Emma Poirier (2) defending. (Photo by Cara Kamps.)