By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Anyone who has followed high school basketball has felt the difference in the gym between the regular season and playoff time.
Everything starts fresh tonight for Michigan’s boys hoops teams. But there’s added urgency as well with Districts tipping off all over the state and only the winners moving on.
Check out “Tracking the Tournament” on MHSAA.com for every matchup from all 128 brackets, and see below for scores from last week that popped off the page plus a look at three of the most intriguing Districts in each division.
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 U-D Jesuit 79, Detroit Cass Tech 59 – Jesuit won the annual Operation Friendship matchup between the winners of the Detroit Catholic League A-B and Detroit Public School League tournaments – and they could meet again in the Division 1 championship game.
2. Flint Carman-Ainsworth 56, Mount Pleasant 44 – After sharing the Saginaw Valley League Blue title with Grand Blanc, the Cavaliers handed the Red champion Oilers their only loss of the regular season.
3. Carleton Airport 69, Monroe St. Mary 59 – With this win, the Jets earned a share of the Huron League title, their first conference title since 2001 and after finishing 2-19 overall last season.
4. Hanover-Horton 78, Ypsilanti Lincoln 73 – The Comets look even more dangerous in Division 3, finishing 19-1 and defeating a Division 1 contender in the Southeastern Conference White champion Railsplitters.
5. Manton 62, McBain 57 – Two weeks after suffering their only Highland Conference loss to McBain, Manton won the rematch to claim the league title outright.
Districts at a Glance
These could be among our most competitive brackets. Host sites are in bold:
Ann Arbor Huron (13-7), Ann Arbor Pioneer (18-2), Belleville (13-7), Saline (11-9), Ypsilanti Community (13-6), Ypsilanti Lincoln (16-4).
Southeastern Conference Red champion Pioneer and White champion Lincoln are lined up on opposite sides of the bracket, and both have byes tonight. Pioneer has won 11 straight and will have to fend off either Red co-runner-up Huron or fourth-place Saline in a semifinal. Lincoln will see either White runner-up Ypsilanti Community (which it most recently beat by a point Feb. 15) or host and Kensington Lakes Activities Association East co-champ Belleville on Wednesday.
Clarkston (17-2), Lake Orion (12-8), Oxford (19-1), Rochester Adams (17-3), Romeo (8-12), Waterford Kettering (9-11).
The reigning Class A champion Wolves haven’t lost since Dec. 4, the second of two defeats to open the season. They’ve also had just two single-digit wins among those 17 straight. But after winning the Oakland Activities Association Red, Clarkston may have to go through two more league champs with OAA White title winner Adams up tonight and Blue champion Oxford on the other side of the bracket.
Grand Haven (13-7), Grand Rapids Kenowa Hills (13-7), Grand Rapids Union (11-9), Muskegon (17-3), Muskegon Mona Shores (5-14), Muskegon Reeths-Puffer (15-5).
The most anticipated matchup may be a possible third meeting between Muskegon High and Reeths-Puffer, which split during the regular season. The Big Reds didn’t lose another game after falling in the first meeting, running off 13 straight victories and claiming the Ottawa-Kent Conference Black title. Reeths-Puffer, on the other hand, has lost four of its last six games including twice to Kenowa Hills – tonight’s District opponent.
Ada Forest Hills Eastern
Ada Forest Hills Eastern (10-10), Grand Rapids Catholic Central (18-2), Grand Rapids Christian (15-5), Grand Rapids Wellspring (11-8), Grand Rapids West Catholic (12-8), Wyoming Lee (2-17).
Grand Rapids Catholic Central came within a basket of winning Class B last season, falling by a point in overtime to Benton Harbor in the championship game. The Cougars bounced back with a perfect run through the Ottawa-Kent Conference Blue and losses only to also-league champions Canton and Grand Rapids South Christian. Grand Rapids Christian finished second to the Sailors in the O-K Gold and will look to play spoiler, although the Eagles first must get past surging West Catholic tonight.
Allegan (5-15), Allendale (13-6), Hamilton (7-13), Hopkins (15-4), Holland Christian (16-4), Hudsonville Unity Christian (18-2).
Unity Christian has won 14 straight and held off Holland Christian by 21 and then just five to win the O-K Green outright. They could meet again Wednesday if Unity gets past O-K Blue runner-up Allendale in tonight’s opener. O-K Silver runner-up Hopkins has won 10 of its last 11 games and has a bye on the other side of the bracket.
Algonac (0-20), Macomb Lutheran North (9-11), Marine City (15-4), New Haven (19-1), Richmond (19-1), St. Clair (10-10).
New Haven – a Class B semifinalist last year and champion in 2017, and featuring Mr. Basketball candidate Romeo Weems – is among favorites to win the Division 2 championship. But the Rockets will face at least one immediate challenge. Their side of this bracket includes Lutheran North and Algonac. But in the District Final, New Haven could see Blue Water Area Conference champion Richmond or Marine City, which celebrated its first league title since 1985 in taking the Macomb Area Conference Bronze.
Blissfield (11-8), Clinton (7-13), Erie-Mason (18-2), Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central (15-4), Ottawa Lake Whiteford (6-14), Petersburg-Summerfield (18-2).
League champions Erie-Mason (Lenawee County Athletic Association), Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central (Huron League, shared) and Petersburg-Summerfield (Tri-County Conference) make this an especially tough bracket, with the latter two possibly meeting Wednesday. St. Mary tonight has to be careful with Blissfield, which has won eight of its last 10 games. Summerfield’s only defeat came to Erie-Mason, by 20 on Feb. 13.
Carson City-Crystal (18-2), Lakeview (6-12), Morley Stanwood (18-1), Pewamo-Westphalia (20-0), Saranac (0-17).
Three league champions fill out 60 percent of this bracket – Carson City-Crystal from the Mid-State Activities Conference, Morley Stanwood from the Central State Activities Association Silver and Pewamo-Westphalia from the Central Michigan Athletic Conference. P-W and Morley Stanwood are on the same side of the bracket and could meet Wednesday – P-W has had three games in single digits all season and the Mohawks have two wins by only single digits and a five-point loss to Grant. Carson City-Crystal’s defeats came to another league champion Sanford Meridian and a runner-up, Reese.
Iron River West Iron County
Calumet (16-4), Iron River West Iron County (10-8), Iron Mountain (20-0), Ironwood (19-1), L’Anse (11-8), Norway (8-11).
This District also includes three league champions – Ironwood from the Indianhead Conference, Calumet from the Western Peninsula Athletic Conference Copper and undefeated Iron Mountain from the West-PAC Iron. The latter two met Dec. 7, an overtime Iron Mountain win, and could meet in Friday’s District championship game. But Ironwood could have something to say about that – it meets Iron Mountain tonight in one of the most anticipated District openers statewide. Ironwood’s only loss came last week to a league runner-up, Bessemer.
Bloomfield Hills Roeper (14-6), Novi Christian (14-6), Southfield Christian (14-6), West Bloomfield Frankel Jewish Academy (13-7).
Reigning Class D champion Southfield Christian would seem a heavy favorite in just about any Division 4 District having won 12 of their last 13 games after opening with a number of much larger schools. But Novi Christian – tonight’s opponent – finished second to the Eagles in the Michigan Independent Athletic Conference Blue and lost the rematch Feb. 5 by only 10, one of the closest Southfield Christian wins of this closing run. Frankel Jewish Academy also was a league runner-up, in the Detroit Catholic League Intersectional 2, and Roeper was third in the MIAC Red.
Baraga (0-20), Chassell (15-5), Dollar Bay (16-4), Hancock (2-18), Lake Linden-Hubbell (7-12).
Dollar Bay advanced to the Class D Semifinals a year ago and had won nine straight during this regular-season’s second half before falling to Chassell 62-54 on Friday – the win clinched the Copper Mountain Conference Copper Country championship for the Panthers. They could meet for a third time Wednesday; Chassell also won the first meeting Dec. 17 by nine.
Bear Lake (11-8), Brethren (11-8), Buckley (8-11), Fife Lake Forest Area (2-17), Frankfort (14-5), Onekama (12-7).
This District actually doesn’t include a league champion. But Frankfort finished second to Division 3 contender Maple City Glen Lake in the Northwest Conference, and Onekama was third. Reigning Class D runner-up Buckley tied for fifth after graduating most of last season’s contributors – but beat Frankfort by 14 last week.
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PHOTO: Flint Carman-Ainsworth and Grand Blanc meet in a Division 1 District opener after sharing a league title this winter. (Photo by Terry Lyons.)