By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Just like that, we’re down to 128 boys basketball teams still playing, and only a week away from returning to the Breslin Center to crown this season’s champions.
Regionals begin across the state tonight, and you can keep up with all 32 brackets by clicking “Tracking the Tournament” on MHSAA.com. See below for some of the many District results that made headlines last week, plus a look at three of the most intriguing Regionals 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. Grand Rapids Northview 76, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern 75 (3OT) – After falling by 11 and 14 points to Forest Hills Northern to finish second to FHN in Ottawa-Kent Conference White play, Northview ended the Huskies’ season on a last-second putback in Division 1.
2. Wayne Memorial 55, Canton 50 – This may have been only a slight upset in Division 1; Wayne had shared the Kensington Lakes Activities Association East title. But Canton had won the West and league tournament and hadn’t lost since its season opener.
3. Haslett 36, Williamston 33 – The Vikings had finished runner-up to Williamston in the Capital Area Activities Conference Red with losses of six and then 29 to the Hornets before avenging those in Division 2.
4. Traverse City St Francis 59, Maple City Glen Lake 44 – The Lake Michigan Conference champ Gladiators prevailed in Division 3 over the Northwest Conference title-winning Lakers.
5. Midland 63, Mount Pleasant 52 – Fourth-place Midland handed Saginaw Valley League Red champ Mount Pleasant just its second loss and after falling by nine and three (in overtime) in their regular-season meetings.
Regionals at a Glance
These could be among our most competitive brackets. Host sites are in bold:
Holland West Ottawa
Hudsonville (21-2) vs. Grand Rapids Northview (18-4), Muskegon (20-3) vs. East Kentwood (14-9)
Northview took down unbeaten Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern in last week’s District Final, as noted above, and will look to avenge another regular-season defeat after falling to Hudsonville by 10 on Dec. 27. The Eagles went on to clinch the O-K Red title and have won 15 straight, including two over East Kentwood during that run. The Falcons did bounce back from four straight losses to end the regular season by winning their first District title since 2011. And now they get a rematch with Muskegon, which won their Dec. 27 meeting 55-53 and more recently is riding a 16-game unbeaten streak.
Coldwater (17-5) vs. Okemos (20-2), Mattawan (21-0) vs. DeWitt (19-3)
Mattawan is seeking to add its first Regional championship to an already-historic run that included a win over Kalamazoo Central to open last week’s District. DeWitt lived a little less comfortably last week with two overtime wins to stay in the running, but the Panthers have losses to only Okemos (twice) and another District champ Howell this winter. The Chiefs won the CAAC Blue ahead of DeWitt and have lost to only a pair of District champs as well – Haslett and Detroit Catholic Central. But are they catching Coldwater on a warm streak? The Cardinals have won five straight for the third time this season and would love to avenge last season’s Regional Semifinal loss to Okemos.
Detroit Catholic Central (16-6) vs. Wayne Memorial (18-5), Ann Arbor Skyline (15-7) vs. Ypsilanti Lincoln (18-4)
Lincoln is a major draw hosting this Regional, but the Southeastern Conference White champion must be careful starting with a Skyline team that has won eight of its last nine games and didn’t lose its first last season until the Regional Final. Wayne Memorial beat Skyline by five points in a Dec. 4 meeting and went on to share a league title and then stun Canton, as noted above. DCC enjoyed a similar win handing Okemos its first loss, at Okemos, on Jan. 11, and has bounced back after losing three straight heading into the postseason.
Coopersville (12-10) vs. Grand Rapids South Christian (20-3), Muskegon Orchard View (15-7) vs. Grand Rapids Catholic Central (20-2)
It would be easy to jump ahead and expect a Thursday matchup of O-K Gold champion South Christian against Blue title-winner GRCC. But Coopersville surely would love another chance against GRCC after finishing tied for third in the Blue, and Orchard View is surging after winning its first District title in 24 years. If South Christian and GRCC do meet, however, there is some recent history – the Sailors won their Jan. 19 meeting 54-42.
Ida (12-10) vs. Dearborn Divine Child (18-4), Chelsea (16-6) vs. River Rouge (19-2)
This is the next step for a River Rouge team that has been touted highly since making the Class B Semifinals a year ago. The Panthers have lost only to 2018 Class B champion Benton Harbor and Detroit Martin Luther King. But Chelsea has won six of its last seven and shown it can play with the elite with wins over multiple league champions. Ida bounced back from three losses over its final four games to win its District – avenging one of those late defeats against Huron League co-champ Carleton Airport in the process. Divine Child offers intrigue as well; the Falcons won a Regional title last year for the first time since 2011, and could seek some revenge as they went on to fall to River Rouge in the Quarterfinal.
Benton Harbor (21-1) vs. Otsego (23-0), Hudsonville Unity Christian (21-2) vs. Three Rivers (11-11)
The reigning Class B champion Tigers have been an absolute force, falling only to 2018 Class C champion Detroit Edison while seemingly taking on another state power every weekend. Up steps Otsego, a combined 42-2 over the last two seasons and coming off a league title and its first District championship since 2015. Three Rivers has a great story winning its District after finishing last in Otsego’s Wolverine Conference South. But Unity Christian will provide a formidable challenge after winning the O-K Green and 17 straight games dating back to a two-point loss to South Christian on Dec. 21. Unity also fell to Benton Harbor in last season’s Regional Semifinal.
Sanford Meridian (21-1) vs. Manton (17-4), Oscoda (23-0) vs. Beal City (13-8)
Manton is coming off the Highland Conference co-championship and seeking its second Regional title in three seasons, while Sanford Meridian won the Jack Pine Conference and is seeking to repeat as Regional champ. Theirs is a titanic matchup, but Oscoda may be the favorite this week after entering the postseason as one of four undefeated teams in Division 3. The Owls are seeking their first Regional title since 2000. Beal City can’t be overlooked – the Aggies beat the other Highland co-champ McBain in the District Final to advance.
Madison Heights Madison (20-3) vs. Capac (15-8), Detroit Edison (15-7) vs. Clinton Township Clintondale (16-6)
Last season’s Class C champion Edison is much better than its record might indicate – the Pioneers have played many larger powers this season with wins over Benton Harbor and Canton among others. Clintondale has won seven of its last nine games and hopes to play spoiler, while its Macomb Area Conference Silver rival – and the league champion – Madison Heights Madison is playing for its first Regional title after edging Detroit Pershing 73-71 in last week’s District Final. The Eagles take on a Capac team that has won eight of its last 10 games.
Cassopolis (21-1) vs. Union City (16-7), Niles Brandywine (20-2) vs. Schoolcraft (19-4)
Southwest 10 Conference champion Cassopolis hasn’t lost since Dec. 20 and is on a mission after suffering its only defeat last season in the Regional Final. But opponent Union City has turned around from a 7-14 finish last season and is riding high with eight wins over its last nine games. Brandywine is another league champion and just seven points from a perfect record after falling by four to Coloma and then one to Parchment in its regular-season finale. But to reach Thursday, it must take down a Schoolcraft team that bounced back from a couple of late losses with a pair of close District wins before claiming the championship with a 38-point victory.
Bellevue (22-1) vs. Webberville (16-5), Athens (20-3) vs. Pittsford (20-2)
Bellevue and Athens are plenty familiar with each other after finishing first and second in the Southern Central Athletic Association West – Bellevue winning the first meeting and Athens the second, on Feb. 22. But Webberville will try to spoil the rematch after building much of its record against larger opponents, and Pittsford won the SCAA East and beat Athens by 14 on Feb. 8 (and lost to Bellevue by 10 on Jan 12).
Wyoming Tri-unity Christian (19-3) vs. Marcellus Howardsville Christian (22-1), Muskegon Heights Academy (12-7) vs. New Buffalo (13-9)
Dylan Jergens is making a run at the MHSAA career scoring record but must get Howardsville Christian past an annual power in Tri-unity Christian – both have a loss to Wyoming Potter’s House Christian, and Tri-unity’s losses all were to Division 3 teams. On the other side, New Buffalo finished second in Howardsville Christian’s league and no doubt would like a third try at the Eagles. But Muskegon Heights Academy might be the most overlooked team in this entire division. While the Tigers’ record might not be stunning, they’ve won 11 of their last 12 games and the Lake Michigan Conference title over all larger opponents.
Cedarville (17-5) vs. Posen (15-7), Brimley (23-0) vs. Pellston (21-2)
Brimley finished the regular season as the only undefeated team in Division 4 and is seeking to win a Regional title for the first time since 1995. But Pellston, like Brimley a league champ, has been considered the best in Division 4 at times with its defeats to Division 3 teams that sit a combined 30-13. Posen is surging with nine wins over its last 10 games, and Cedarville has won 11 straight since losing to the league rival Bays for the second time Jan. 15.
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PHOTO: Marquette's Marius Grazulis holds up his team’s Division 1 District championship trophy as his classmates rush the court to congratulate the team on its win over Gaylord. (Photo by Cara Kamps.)