By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
If you’re a regular reader to our “Breslin Bound: Girls Report” as well, what follows will sound pretty familiar – but remains extremely important.
We’re winding down the boys basketball regular season, and we’re less than two weeks from seeding the top two teams in each District for the first time. But we need your help.
Teams earning the top spots will do so based on success and strength of schedule, and it’s imperative for MHSAA.com to list all games played and correct scores for each. Know a score we don’t or realize a game is missing that should be added? Send corrections or missing scores to Geoff@mhsaa.com. Every result affects multiples of others, and we thank you for your help in advance.
“Breslin Bound” is powered by MI Student Aid and based on results and schedules posted for each school at MHSAA.com.
Week in Review
The countdown of last week’s five most intriguing results:
1. Benton Harbor 64, Grand Rapids Catholic Central 51 – Another Saturday showcase, another huge win for the Tigers, who followed up their previous Saturday victory over Ypsilanti Lincoln with this one against a possible postseason foe.
2. Frankenmuth 43, Bridgeport 38 – The Eagles avenged a 26-point defeat from Dec. 20 to hand the Bearcats their first of the season.
3. Grand Blanc 54, Muskegon 51 – The Bobcats dealt the Big Reds only their second loss this season and first to an in-state opponent.
4. Kalamazoo Central 66, Portage Central 44 – The Maroon Giants handed Central its first and only defeat this winter.
5. Beaverton 49, Sanford Meridian 45 – The Beavers moved into first place alone in the Jack Pine Conference by finishing a sweep of second-place Meridian.
With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each division making sparks:
Grand Blanc (12-3) The Bobcats have clinched a share of the Saginaw Valley League Blue title and posted one of the most impressive runs in the state against a slate of opponents that has won just a tick under 70 percent of its games this winter – giving Grand Blanc the second-highest strength of schedule in Division 1. They started this week by finishing a sweep of Flint Carman-Ainsworth (10-5) to clinch that league title and also have wins over Muskegon (11-2), Kalamazoo Central (10-3), U-D Jesuit (9-6) and Detroit Douglass (14-3).
Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (13-1) The Eaglets have clinched the Detroit Catholic League Central title, and that’s just the start of the story. They also have handed the only losses to Clarkston and Hudsonville, and one of few to Grand Blanc with the only defeat against Division 3 contender Flint Beecher. The league title is St. Mary’s first in more than a decade and comes against a group that includes 2019 Division 1 runner-up Detroit U-D Jesuit among three nine-win teams that also were in the chase.
Benton Harbor (14-1) As noted above, Benton Harbor put up another big win at the Floyd Mayweather Classic on Saturday to go others over Ypsilanti Lincoln, Kalamazoo Central and Battle Creek Pennfield. Add in a loss to Beecher, and the Tigers’ strength of schedule ranks 10th in Division 2 – and they are one of only four teams in that top 10 with a winning record. And Benton Harbor isn’t done prepping for what should be another long tourney run, with River Rouge (15-1), Niles Brandywine (11-1) and Wyoming (12-1) rounding out the regular-season schedule.
Grand Rapids Christian (13-0) The Eagles are one of three undefeated teams left in Division 2. They handed Grand Rapids Catholic Central its first loss on Dec. 17 and also gave the only defeat to Wyoming. Grand Rapids Christian has survived its share of close games – two by two points apiece and two more by seven or fewer – but that’s pretty impressive too. They lead an Ottawa-Kent Conference Gold that also includes Wyoming (12-1) and East Grand Rapids (10-4).
Flint Beecher (13-1) The Bucs are unbeaten since falling to Division 2 Ferndale in their season opener, and they’ve loaded up the nonleague portion of their resume with wins over Benton Harbor, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (both mentioned above) and Flint Carman-Ainsworth, with a matchup with Grand Blanc coming up. For any other team, it would be impressive alone that Beecher leads a Genesee Area Conference with two other teams at 11-3. But the Bucs have won five MHSAA Finals titles over the last eight seasons and will be in the statewide mix again.
Niles Brandywine (11-1) The Bobcats took over the top spot this week in Division 3 MPR thanks in part to a schedule against opponents that have won nearly 63 percent of their games. Of course it helps a ton that Brandywine is 11-1 against those teams. The Bobcats lead the Berrien-Cass-St. Joseph Conference Red by a game despite losing their first meeting with second-place Parchment in overtime Jan. 24. They meet again Feb. 28, and a March 3 matchup with Benton Harbor will be a great test heading into the postseason.
Kingston (14-0) The Cardinals appear to be closing in on the North Central Thumb League Stars championship and haven’t had a game closer than 11 points since Jan. 10 against Dryden – which happens to be tonight’s opponent and lost by just a point in their first meeting. Kingston shared the league title and won its District last season and could be poised to achieve that and more carrying the top Division 4 MPR into this week.
Southfield Christian (11-3) The reigning Division 4 champion has wrapped up at least a share of a ninth-straight league title despite having three games left to play in the Michigan Independent Athletic Conference Blue. They’ll be seeking a third-straight Finals championship carrying into the postseason a win over Division 3 contender Detroit Edison and good playoff-preparation losses to Division 1 West Bloomfield, Southfield Arts & Technology and Detroit Catholic Central.
Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up:
Tuesday – Detroit Martin Luther King (13-3) vs. Detroit Douglass (14-3) at Cass Tech – This Detroit Public School League Tournament semifinal matches up the champion and runner-up, respectively, from the PSL East.
Tuesday – Detroit Communication Media Arts (12-3) at Detroit Cass Tech (15-1) – Similarly, the other PSL Tournament semifinal features the runner-up vs. the champ, respectively, in the West.
Tuesday – Detroit Edison (9-3) at Clarkston (12-1) – Both have championship aspirations, Edison as mentioned above in Division 3 and the Wolves in Division 1.
Thursday – Belleville (11-2) at Westland John Glenn (10-4) – Belleville holds a one-game lead in the Kensington Lakes Activities Association East thanks to a 58-50 win over John Glenn on Jan. 21.
Thursday – Escanaba (10-5) at Marquette (12-3) – This could decide the Greater Northern Conference championship outright, as the teams are tied for first with two league games to play and Marquette won the first meeting 63-56 on Jan. 7.
Second Half’s weekly “Breslin Bound” reports are powered by MI Student Aid, a part of the Office of Postsecondary Financial Planning 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. MI Student Aid administers the state’s 529 college savings programs (MET/MESP), as well as scholarship and grant programs that help make college Accessible, Affordable and Attainable for you. Connect with MI Student Aid at www.michigan.gov/mistudentaid and find more information on Facebook and Twitter @mistudentaid.
PHOTO: Marquette's Thomas Albarello drives to the basket while being defended by Ishpeming's Jacob Kugler during their game last month. (Photo by Cara Kamps.)