By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
It took five days for most teams to get started. But last week ended with a flurry including the first losses of the season for three of Michigan’s girls basketball powers.
And there’s plenty more matchups of that magnitude coming up this week, as we detail below.
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. Midland Dow 52, Saginaw Heritage 48 – The Chargers took control in the Saginaw Valley League Red by handing reigning Class A champ Heritage its first loss this season, breaking the Hawks’ 20-game winning streak.
2. Grass Lake 42, Michigan Center 39 – The Warriors avenged a 27-point December loss to the Cardinals, handing Michigan Center its first defeat while breaking the team’s 25-game Cascades Conference winning streak.
3. Flint Hamady 50, Corunna 42 – Hamady avenged its lone loss, to Corunna in overtime in December, to hand the Cavaliers their first defeat and pull even with them at the top of the Genesee Area Conference Red.
4. Stanton Central Montcalm 67, Ypsilanti Arbor Prep 64 – Tough matchups with Fremont and Kent City among others remain, but this was a major win as the Hornets go for a second straight unbeaten regular season.
5. Pewamo-Westphalia 69, Detroit Country Day 41 – Reigning Class B champion Country Day may be 5-6, but that’s relative to the incredible schedule it’s playing this season – and that makes this a huge win for the Pirates.
With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each division making sparks:
• Auburn Hills Avondale (12-1) – After falling to West Bloomfield by seven Jan. 4, Avondale trails the Lakers by a win in the Oakland Activities Association White heading into Thursday’s rematch. The Yellow Jackets are looking to add to last season’s shared OAA Blue title and have 10 wins by double digits.
• Coldwater (12-1) – The Cardinals finished second to Jackson Northwest in the Interstate 8 Athletic Conference last season, thanks to two overtime losses to the Mounties, but lead the league this season thanks to a 10-point win in the first meeting between the annual favorites. Coldwater’s lone loss came by four points to one-loss Ann Arbor Pioneer.
• Cadillac (9-1) – The Vikings are unbeaten five games into the Big North Conference schedule, and will play second-place Traverse City West for the first time Saturday. Cadillac won those first five league games all by at least nine points, and the only loss was to Tri-Valley Conference East leader Essexville Garber – quite a turnaround after Cadillac went 3-18 a year ago.
• Whitehall (10-1) – After finishing 11-11 last season, Whitehall can equal and then surpass that win total this week and leads the West Michigan Conference thanks to a triple overtime win over Muskegon Oakridge on Jan. 8. Those two meet again Friday. Whitehall will have the chance to avenge its lone loss to Montague at the end of this month.
• Hemlock (12-0) – The Huskies are playing for their second straight TVC West title after also reaching the Class C Regional Finals last season. Hemlock has won all but one of its league games – and 10 of 12 games total – by double digits, and can clinch the league title outright without help by the end of next week.
• Oscoda (11-0) – The Owls hold a slim lead in the North Star League Big Dipper with a key matchup with second-place Rogers City coming up Thursday. It’s been a solid jump into contention after the team went 13-9 last winter and won just six games two seasons ago.
• Mendon (10-1) – After finishing 8-13 last season, Mendon has nine wins by double digits already this winter. A December loss to Division 3 and undefeated Centreville is all that’s kept the Hornets from sitting atop the Southwest 10 Conference. Those two meet again Friday.
• St. Ignace (14-0) – The Saints appear on their way to a second straight Straits Area Conference title, with a 10-point win over second-place Sault Ste. Marie in their only meeting so far (and the rematch coming up Thursday). Statewide eyes are watching for more wins like those over Reese and Detroit Mumford, with Kingsley and Goodrich coming up over the next three weeks.
Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up:
Tuesday – Southfield Arts & Technology (12-1) at Royal Oak (12-0) – First place in the OAA Red is at stake as these two meet for the first time this season, with the only loss between the two a two-pointer by A&T to Saginaw Heritage.
Thursday – Muskegon Oakridge (10-2) at Muskegon (8-3) – The Big Reds lead their league, and Oakridge could be doing the same by the end of this week.
Friday – Manton (10-2) at Lake City (11-1) – Manton won the first meeting by three to gain its current one-game lead in the Highland Conference; both could have aspirations in Division 3 as well.
Saturday – Saginaw Heritage (10-1) at Detroit Edison (12-1) – The Hawks are coming off their lone loss, but most would argue these still are the two best teams in the state regardless of division.
Saturday – Kingsley (11-1) at St. Ignace (14-0) – These two will have opportunities later to show they aren’t just among the best in northern Michigan, but statewide as well in Divisions 2 and 4, respectively.
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: Williamston defenders wall off a Fowlerville player’s attempt to get to the basket during last week’s win over the Gladiators. (Click to see more from HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)