Michigan’s boys basketball teams, for the most part, will reach the midpoint of their seasons this week, and 35 teams carry perfect records as we inch toward thinking about the start of March.
MPR – or Michigan Power Ratings – is the tool used to seed the top two teams in every District bracket, and you’ll see a number of references to MPR below as we start considering how teams might be falling into those desired spots. Click for the full boys basketball MPR.
Week in Review
The countdown of last week’s five most intriguing results:
1. Detroit U-D Jesuit 61, Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice 42 As expected, the Detroit Catholic League Central sorted itself out a bit over the week, with the reigning co-champ Cubs (5-2) making their move by handing Brother Rice (7-1) its lone loss.
2. Clarkston 55, Detroit Cass Tech 52 The Wolves (6-2) owned a pair of impressive losses, but with this added a signature early-season win in handing Cass Tech (8-1) its lone defeat.
3. Vandercook Lake 61, Napoleon 54 The Jayhawks (8-0) continued their climb in the Cascades Conference and statewide by dealing Napoleon (7-1) its only loss.
4. Battle Creek Harper Creek 59, Battle Creek Pennfield 41 – Pennfield’s win over then-undefeated Marshall three days earlier would’ve been on this list instead if not for Harper Creek downing the Panthers to create a four-way tie for first in the Interstate 8 Athletic Conference.
5. Detroit Catholic Central 60, Warren De La Salle Collegiate 50 – The Pilots opened the week undefeated and finished it 7-2, DCC improved to 7-1 and moved to the top of the Catholic League Central standings.
With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each division making sparks:
Clinton Township Chippewa Valley (7-1) After closing last season with five wins over their last six games and a District title, the Big Reds have picked right back up with their best start since 2017-18. After suffering that lone loss, to Warren De La Salle Collegiate, on Dec. 21, Chippewa Valley was off two weeks and came back with three wins to start the Macomb Area Conference Red schedule including 45-44 last week over Macomb Dakota.
River Rouge (11-0) The Panthers were the state’s first boys basketball team to double-digit victories, and have put big ones while showing they also can win the close wins (62-61 over Belleville and 61-59 over Warren Fitzgerald, notably). Rouge is led this season by coach Josh Baker, formerly of Southfield Christian who spent the last two seasons as a special assistant at Alabama under former Romulus coach Nate Oats.
Freeland (7-0) The Falcons opened last week tied for first in the Tri-Valley Conference 8 with Alma and Frankenmuth and ended at the top alone after defeating both – 69-57 over the Panthers and 62-40 over the Eagles. No opponent has come closer than Alma’s 12-point margin. Division 1 Alpena (6-2) on Tuesday will present another notable opportunity to shine.
Pontiac Notre Dame Prep (7-2) After breaking a two-season sub-.500 streak in going 10-7 and winning a District title last year, the Fighting Irish opened 1-2 this winter – but they haven’t lost since over a month-long stretch. What’s more, Friday’s 46-45 win over Ypsilanti Arbor Prep avenged a loss from last season, as did the team’s 22-point victory over Rochester on Jan. 7.
Painesdale Jeffers (7-0) The Jets have climbed from eight to 14 to 18 wins over the last three seasons, respectively, with two straight league titles, and this winter seems to be a continuation of last year’s 18-2 run. Ironwood with last week’s 28-point loss came the closest of any opponent this season. Jeffers ran into eventual Division 3 runner-up Iron Mountain last season in a Regional Semifinal and is one to watch again emerging from the Copper Mountain Conference.
Reese (7-1) Four of seven teams in the Greater Thumb Conference West have only one loss overall this season, and Reese sits atop the league after dealing first defeats last week to Bad Axe (6-1) and then Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port Laker (4-1). A major challenge comes up Monday with undefeated Division 2 Croswell-Lexington, but regardless of that result Reese looks like an early challenger in Division 3.
Buckley (5-0) After back-to-back Division 4 runner-up finishes in 2017 and 2018, the Bears rumbled through three straight sub-.500 seasons – but are making distant memories of those this winter. They opened this season with a 61-59 win over reigning Northwest Conference champion Maple City Glen Lake and followed up with a 63-60 edging of Traverse City Christian (4-2). By the end of this week, Buckley could surpass last season’s seven victories.
Mason County Eastern (4-2) While it’s early still, of course, it’s also fair to say Mason County Eastern is rebounding well after going 3-14 a year ago. After falling to White Cloud to open, the Cardinals’ only other defeat was to still-unbeaten Mesick last week – and Mason County Eastern followed up by handing Baldwin its only loss, 56-51 on Thursday.
Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up:
Tuesday – Ferndale (6-2) at North Farmington (9-1) – Not only are they tied for first in the Oakland Activities Association Red, but North Farmington is No. 25 in Division 1 MPR and Ferndale is No. 19 in Division 2.
Tuesday – Parchment (8-0) at Kalamazoo Christian (7-1) – The winner takes over sole possession of first place in the Southwestern Athletic Conference Valley and also should get a nice MPR bump; Parchment is No. 2 in Division 2.
Tuesday – Carrollton (6-0) at Standish-Sterling (8-0) – The co-leaders in the TVC 10 also are Nos. 20 and 15, respectively, in statewide Division 2 MPR.
Tuesday – Rockford (8-1) at Grand Haven (8-0) – Only one other team in the Ottawa-Kent Conference Red still has a winning league record after just three games, making these two possible runaway favorites and the winner of this one the team to chase.
Friday – Powers North Central (8-0) at Menominee (7-1) – These two might be the Upper Peninsula’s best, and likely contenders statewide with Menominee No. 1 in Division 3 MPR and North Central No. 10 in Division 4.
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PHOTO Detroit Cass Tech and Clarkston played a power-packed Division 1 nonleague matchup last week, with the Wolves prevailing 55-52. (Photo by Quintin Love Jr.)