By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
It’s all relative until they meet each other on the court, of course.
But there are some Michigan high school boys basketball teams absolutely dominating as we turn toward the final five weeks of the regular season.
A total of 22 teams remain undefeated. Bump that number to 55 counting teams that sit 10-2 or better. See below for crazy scoring stats for two of those high-achieving teams. And yet, every game is an opportunity – see Almont (8-3) handing Richmond (12-1) its first defeat Friday after Hemlock (6-5) did the same to Sanford Meridian (10-1) on Tuesday
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. River Rouge 66, Flint Beecher 61 – A matchup of two MHSAA championship favorites, Division 2 River Rouge improved to 10-1 while sending Division 3 Beecher to 11-1 at the Horatio Williams Freedom Classic.
2. Muskegon Reeths-Puffer 63, Muskegon 59 (OT) – This is less an upset than a rarity because Reeths-Puffer is 11-1, but Muskegon won last season’s two meetings by 32 and 10 points.
3. Oxford 49, Pontiac 46 – Unbeaten Oxford gained a slight edge in the Oakland Activities Association Blue standings by handing Pontiac its first defeat; the rematch is Feb. 19.
4. Detroit U-D Jesuit 74, Detroit Catholic Central 62 – The Cubs made it a league season sweep of the surging Shamrocks and can clinch a share of the Detroit Catholic League Central title with a win Tuesday.
5. Detroit Martin Luther King 50, Detroit Cass Tech 48 – Both went on to lose Saturday showcase games, but this one pulled King into a tie for first in the Detroit Public School League Midtown after the Crusaders had fallen to Cass Tech by 14 on Dec. 18.
With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each division making sparks:
• Clarkston (10-2) – The two-time reigning Class A champion graduated Mr. Basketball last spring and saw the third-winningest coach in state boys basketball history retire. But after opening this season with two losses, the Wolves have won 10 straight including over King on Saturday.
• Walled Lake Northern (11-0) – After finishing fourth last season, Northern appears to be closing in on the Lakes Valley Conference title with five straight double-digit league wins including one against second-place Waterford Mott. The Knights also will equal last season’s overall win total with their next victory.
• Benton Harbor (12-0) – The reigning Class B champion continues to roll, winning big most nights but also showing it can hold on for close victories. The Tigers edged Ferndale 90-81 at the Mayweather Basketball Classic on Saturday and also have wins over Henry Ford, Saginaw and Indiana contender South Bend Riley.
• Otsego (12-0) – The Bulldogs are outpacing the competition by an average of 25 points per game. They sit first in the Wolverine Conference North after the first run through the league schedule as they look to repeat in the league and improve on last year’s 19-2 overall finish.
• Madison Heights Madison (11-1) – Madison bounced back from starting last week with its lone loss, to Warren Lincoln, by beating Clinton Township Clintondale 88-84 in overtime to clinch a share of the Macomb Area Conference Silver title. It’s the Eagles’ second straight, and they can make it outright with a win over Eastpointe on Tuesday.
• Pewamo-Westphalia (12-0) – The Pirates were supposed to trail at least Dansville this season in the Central Michigan Athletic Conference after finishing second to Laingsburg a league ago. But P-W made it a season sweep of the Aggies with a 60-56 win last week and beat second-place Laingsburg by 33 in their first meeting.
• Flint International Academy (6-4) – The overall record isn’t stunning, but the reigning champion Phoenix lead the North Central Thumb League Stars thanks to a 12-point win over two-loss Kingston in December. The four losses came to nonleague opponents now a combined 41-7, including undefeated Brimley and Division 2 Bridgeport and Richmond.
• Marcellus Howardsville Christian (11-0) – A 41-point win over second-place New Buffalo last week gave Howardsville a two-game lead in the Berrien-Cass-St. Joseph Conference White. And that win has been the norm: the Eagles are winning by an average of 42 points per victory.
Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up:
Friday – Beaverton (9-2) at Sanford Meridian (10-1) – Despite being stunned last week by Hemlock, that was nonleague and Meridian still leads the Jack Pine Conference with Beaverton just a game back.
Friday – Athens (11-0) at Bellevue (12-0) – The Broncos finished three games ahead of Athens a year ago to win the Southern Central Athletic Association West. The margin looks to be closer this time regardless of which team wins the title. Bellevue’s wins are all by double digits, and Athens has 10 victories by 10 or more.
Friday – Redford Thurston (7-4) at Redford Union (8-4) – They’re tied atop the Western Wayne Athletic Conference standings after Thurston won by eight in their first meeting in early December but fell Friday to Dearborn Heights Crestwood.
Saturday – Benton Harbor (11-0) vs. Detroit Edison (7-4) at North Farmington – The headliner of the Prep Ball Classic showcases a matchup of reigning champs, Benton Harbor in Class B (as noted above) and last season’s Class C winner Edison.
Saturday – Detroit U-D Jesuit (9-2) at Flint Beecher (11-1) – Beecher just suffered its only loss (see above), and Division 1 Jesuit’s defeats have been pretty strong as well to Division 2 contender New Haven and Chicago power Morgan Park.
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: Gwinn's Tucker Taylor (32) – who needs four points to reach 1,000 for his career – considers his options last week while Ishpeming's Darius Yohe (22) defends. (Photo by Cara Kamps.)