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Class A: Districts from hell

All brackets may be created equal, but the teams on the lines aren’t. Here are the toughest Class A districts for the MHSAA tournament which opens Monday. All these groupings have more than one team capable of winning then making a further run, and are full of college prospects. All districts semifinals are Wednesday, finals Friday.

They took the Ann Arbor City Championship to Dexter. 16-5 Pioneer and 13-7 Skyline meet in one semifinal, while 15-4 Huron awaits the Dexter-Pinckney play-in. Skyline was 0-4 in the regular season series, while Pioneer and Huron both swept Skyline while splitting with each other. In the 2017-18-19 classes, there is as lot of guard and wing talent between the three schools. Jack Smith is the leading scorer of Huron’s trio of athletic 6-2 juniors with Alec Anderson and Lawrence Rowley. While he may not be high on the recruiting charts due to his size, junior Chris McGaughy is Pioneer’s leading scorer and a terrific high school player. Skyline’s leading scorers are a pair of 10th-grade guards, Brandon Wade and Jack Ammerman.

Grosse Pointe South
Defending state champion 15-3 Detroit Western awaits PSL champion 16-4 East English Village in the semis. The bottom half of the bracket features two programs with bright futures Detroit King and Cass Tech. EEV has the top senior, Karmari Newman, and junior, Greg Elliott, in the PSL; Western’s Brailen Neely will be the next star guard at Oakland; and Cass Tech’s 6-5 Randy Gilbert is the top soph prospect in the PSL.

Canton is a top 10 Class A team after running clean through the KLAA regular season and tournament to a 20-0 mark. Their 6-8 stretch 4 Logan Ryan is one of the state’s top available, college eligible seniors. Canton will likely meet 19-1 Northville in the semis. They didn’t play in the league tournament because Northville was upset by Churchill.

East Lansing
The Trojans dominated the CAAC Blue and enter the postseason 19-0. They’ll want to end the tournament right where it begins for them — East Lansing. They open with 13-6 Waverly, with 15-4 DeWitt next. Two of the best senior guards in Lansing face off in the other opening game Brandon Allen of 11-9 Haslett and Malek Adams from 14-6 Grand Ledge. East Lansing has to be the favorite, thanks to the state’s best prospect regardless of class, 6-8 sophomore Brandon Johns, and a deep group of high IQ shooters and passers. One-win Lansing Eastern is the outlier in this district.

West Ottawa is one of the state’s rising programs with five sophomores in the rotation of the 17-3 O-K Red champions. It should be an entertaining opening round match with fast-paced 14-6 Wyoming. There is D1 guard talent on the top of the bracket with 11-8 Holland and junior Demetrius Lake against 8-11 Jenison and sophomore Jacob Boonyasith. That winner will likely face 15-5 Zeeland East in the semifinals.

Grand Rapids Christian
There’s a rematch here where in 2015 Ottawa Hills ended East Kentwood’s 20-0 campaign. This time around EK is 15-5 and features one of the state’s top D2 recruits 6-4 senior Micah Rosser, while 10-9 Ottawa Hills has one of the state’s top juco recruits senior guard Anthony McIntosh. 19-1 Grand Rapids Christian is the district favorite. The mid-season addition of a D1 frontcourt, 6-8 junior Xavier Tillman and 6-7 junior James Beck, doesn’t appear to have affected chemistry. It helps to have a D1 point guard, sophomore Duane Washington, massaging the reins. GR Christian was the O-K White champion, and opens with the O-K Green champ, 14-6 Byron Center. Byron Center’s top player, 6-4 junior Brayden Smith, recently committed to WMU for football.

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