Regional Round: Best big school opening games

Class A

Ypsilanti Lincoln
Belleville 19-4 vs Ypsilanti 20-1, 7 pm:
Belleville was supposed to be a team of the future. But the present isn’t proving to be such a bad thing. A big-time guard matchup between a Mr. Basketball finalist, Ypsilanti senior Corey Allen, and a likely future finalist, Tigers sophomore Davion Williams. In the 5:30 game, 18-4 Ann Arbor Pioneer plays 17-6 Woodhaven.

Macomb Dakota
Clarkston 20-2 vs Dakota 23-0, 7 pm:
Both teams are coming out of weak (Clarkston) to middling (Dakota) districts, but it gets very real now. One of Clarkston’s two losses was to Dakota in December, on the Wolves’ home floor no less.  This time around, though, Clarkston’s 6-5 junior Dylan Anderson, who recently surpassed 1,000 points, should feel more at home. Dakota has a new face of its own, 6-6 Brendan Sackey who didn’t play in the first meeting but had his coming out show in the district final against Romeo. High major schools needing a future point guard should be all over this one, with Dakota junior Jermaine Jackson and Clarkston sophomore Foster Loyer. The winner plays either 17-5 Rochester Adams or 15-7 Ortonville Brandon.

Caledonia
Muskegon 19-3  vs Grand Rapids Christian 22-1, 7 pm:
There are no more Mr. Basketballs on Muskegon’s roster, but this program isn’t going anywhere under Keith Guy as they again dominated the O-K Black, going unbeaten in the league. Grand Rapids Christian hasn’t lost since the day after Christmas, and that was before D1 junior bookend forwards Xavier Tillman and James Beck joined the Eagles’ lineup. Tillman will be looking to avenge Muskegon for knocking his former team out of the regional last year.

The opening game at Caledonia is no slouch between 17-5 Hudsonville, the one team to beat GR Christian, and 18-5 Lowell.

Class B

Imlay City
Lake Fenton 20-3 vs Yale 19-4, 6 pm:
This is Yale’s second straight regional appearance. But it almost wasn’t to be, as in Friday’s district final Croswell-Lexington pushed Yale to the brink before senior point guard Cody Kegley pulled it out on a layup with six seconds in the game to cap his 13-point fourth quarter. That ending was tame compared to how Lake Fenton got past Flint Powers in their district final, with Isaac Golson beating the horn with a three-pointer for a one-point victory.  On the other half of the bracket one of the overall tournament favorites, 20-2 New Haven, and one-time state power 9-12 Detroit Country Day.

Eaton Rapids
Wyoming Godwin Heights 20-3 vs Williamston 18-3, 6 pm:
If Godwin Heights is to defend their state title, they’ll have more than earned it. The Wolverines beat a top 10 team in their district opener, Wayland, now face another in the regional opener. This game features probably the two more gifted scoring guards in the entire division, Godwin Heights sophomore Lamar Norman and Williamston senior Riley Lewis. Lewis is 40 points waiting to happen. Norman can score at the rim and from behind the arc in a combination rare for an underclassman.

The second game at Eaton Rapids features 17-5 Stockbridge and 10-12 Portland.

Battle Creek Harper Creek
Marshall 19-4 vs Stevensville Lakeshore 16-7, 7:30 pm:
Lakeshore was thoroughly tested in the district final, where 6-10 senior Braden Burke hit the game-winner against Dowagiac with 7 seconds left. And if anything, they had it easier than Marshall. Marshall had to go to OT to beat Comstock in the district final, was taken to OT by Battle Creek Pennfield in the district opener, and beat Parchment by two in the semis. Of course it’s easy not to panic when you have a senior guard the caliber of Jacob Brubaker with the ball in his hands. The winner will play 19-3 South Haven or 15-7 Three Rivers.

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