By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
We’re closing in quickly on that time of year when months of work will play out in girls basketball league championships and this winter – for the first time – seeding of the top two teams at the District level.
Much could be determined in league races this week – check out our “Can’t-Miss Contests” below, which include a sixth game because five just wasn’t enough to note all of the high-profile conference clashes that deserve mention.
We’re also less than two weeks from undertaking the seeding process in basketball for the first time – and need your help. The teams receiving those top-two spots in District brackets – for girls and boys – 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.
Week in Review
The countdown of last week’s five most intriguing results:
1. Detroit Cass Tech 68, Detroit Martin Luther King 43 – The Technicians clinched the Detroit Public School League East title outright by handing rival King its first loss.
2. Bloomfield Hills Marian 36, Farmington Hills Mercy 29 – The Mustangs moved into a first-place tie in the Detroit Catholic League Central by handing rival Mercy its first loss and after falling to the Marlins 46-34 on Jan. 7.
3. Midland Dow 52, Midland 33 – The Chargers avenged a 38-31 loss from Dec. 19 in a big way, handing the rival Chemics their first defeat.
4. Southfield Arts & Technology 59, Flint Carman-Ainsworth 47 – The Warriors’ tough schedule is paying off as they’ve won five of their last six games and handed Carman-Ainsworth its first loss.
5. Detroit Edison 54, Detroit Renaissance 52 – Edison moved to 12-0, but the Phoenix gave the Pioneers their closest in-state game in nearly two calendar years.
With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each division making sparks:
Battle Creek Lakeview (9-4) After winning 12 games both of the last two seasons, the Spartans are on pace to surpass that total by the end of the regular season. They also enjoy a slight lead in the Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference East after avenging their opening-night loss to Battle Creek Central (10-3) with a 35-33 win Friday. Lakeview’s only two losses since an 0-2 start are to teams with double-digit wins, Portage Central (10-2) and Battle Creek Harper Creek (11-2).
Detroit Cass Tech (12-1) As noted above, Cass Tech is a league champion again after sharing the PSL Midtown title with King last season. LaTonya Tate, a star on Cass Tech’s 1987 Class A championship team, has built the program into a contender again. Its only loss was to Davison on Dec. 29 at the Motor City Roundball Classic, and Cass Tech also picked up a strong 46-40 win over Southfield A&T on Jan. 25
Cadillac (12-0) A 42-40 win a week ago over McBain provided one of the few scares of the season for the Big North Conference-leading Vikings. They’ve run their league winning streak to 16 after closing last winter in the Division 2 Quarterfinals – pretty impressive only a season and a half removed from a 3-18 finish in 2017-18. Cadillac can clinch the league title – at least a share, or outright – Friday against Traverse City West.
Ludington (11-1) Since falling big to Muskegon Reeths-Puffer (12-2) in its season opener, Ludington is unbeaten and nearly unchallenged with only two of those wins by single digits and those two games both against Division 1 schools. The Orioles hold a one-game lead on Muskegon Western Michigan Christian in the Lakes 8 Athletic Conference standings after sharing the title with the Warriors a year ago.
Pewamo-Westphalia (10-2) The reigning Division 3 champion had high expectations for this season and rightly so, bringing back most of its firepower from a year ago. The Pirates have celebrated two seniors scoring their 1,000th career points this winter and an early win over Southfield A&T. The losses were pretty strong too – to Grass Lake (12-1) and Division 1 East Lansing (12-1). P-W could meet Grass Lake again in a Semifinal at Breslin.
Ypsilanti Arbor Prep (12-4) After falling to P-W in overtime in a Division 3 Semifinal last season, the Gators are sticking to a winning gameplan. They’ve played 12 of 16 games against teams with winning records and seven games against teams with double-digit wins. They beat two of those 10-win teams over the last two weeks – Royal Oak Shrine Catholic and Jackson Northwest – and their three in-state losses were to Division 1 Ann Arbor Huron (12-2) and Brighton (11-1) and Division 2 Harper Woods Chandler Park (7-6).
Camden-Frontier (13-1) Even with just one loss, Camden-Frontier probably was considered just a notch below undefeated Pittsford heading into last week’s matchup – plus Pittsford had beaten C-F at least 17 times in a row (which is as far back as MHSAA.com data goes). But the Redskins came away with a 54-34 win and moved into a first-place tie with the Wildcats in the Southern Central Athletic Association East. They meet again Feb. 17.
Deckerville (10-3) The Eagles entered one of the biggest small-school games in the state last week battling history as well as an unbeaten opponent – and owned the night. Deckerville avenged a 41-28 loss to Kingston from Dec. 16, handing the Cardinals their first loss this season and first league loss since 2013-14. The win also put Deckerville into a first-place tie with Kingston in the North Central Thumb League Stars.
Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up:
Tuesday – Macomb Dakota (13-1) at Grosse Pointe South (10-3) – Dakota leads the Macomb Area Conference Red with two more wins than South, but South handed Dakota its only loss, 49-46, on Jan. 17.
Tuesday – Michigan Center (10-3) at Grass Lake (12-1) – Grass Lake won the first meeting 51-46 on Dec. 18 and can edge closer toward the Cascades Conference title with a regular-season sweep.
Thursday – Brooklyn Columbia Central (12-1) at Ida (12-2) – This could nearly decide the Lenawee County Athletic Association title as BCC looks to hold off Ida for the second straight season and won the first matchup 44-36 on Jan. 7.
Thursday – St. Ignace (10-1) at Sault Ste. Marie (11-1) – The Blue Devils are hoping to take back a share of first place in the Straits Area Conference after losing it to the Saints in a 40-37 nail-biter Dec. 20.
Friday – DeWitt (11-2) at East Lansing (12-1) – The Trojans lead the Capital Area Activities Conference Blue by a game over DeWitt thanks to a 62-38 win over the Panthers on Dec. 20.
Friday – Fremont (9-4) at Big Rapids (12-1) – Fremont’s 39-33 win in the first meeting Dec. 20 was Big Rapids’ only loss, and remains the reason Big Rapids trails only Fremont in the Central State Activities Association Gold.
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PHOTO: Deckerville handed Kingston its first loss of the season last week, and first league loss since 2013-14. (Photo by Jackie Salowitz.)