Nearly 60 teams from throughout the state will converge on the Mt. Pleasant area Memorial Weekend for the sixth-annual Up North Challenge. Games begin 6 pm Friday at Mt. Pleasant High School. Following are some of the tournament’s scheduled games that have entertaining fan potential. And all before lunch Saturday!
ACB/Bank Hoops vs. JDIA 17U, 9:40 am Saturday @ MPHS: This game comes a week after one of the biggest upsets of the 2015 AAU season, with Grand Rapids-based JDIA not just beating the West Michigan power, but at one point putting a running clock on ACB in the first round of bracket play at the Camp Darryl Classic. The best player on the court wasn’t wearing the same jersey as three of the past four Mr. Basketballs, but JDIA’s in 6-2 Ottawa Hills junior Martell Phillips. This time, however, ACB will have its full complement of post players, with Stevensville Lakeshore’s 6-10 junior Braden Burke joining Sturgis’ 6-10 junior Ryan Schuller.
Mustangs (Woodruff) vs. West Michigan Lakers 17U, 9:40 am Saturday at MPHS: This is another rematch from the CDBA Classic. In the semifinals, the Mustangs had a running clock on the Lakers to start the second half, only to see the Lakers come all the way back to tie it at 60 … then watch the Mustangs win on a last-second 3.
Elite Nation vs. West Michigan Flight 16U, 9:40 am Saturday at Sacred Heart: The Flight caught some teams by surprise at last year’s Up North Challenge but won’t this time around after winning the Tulip Tipoff a couple weeks ago. They have a number of college prospects, including athletic 6-5 Byron Center sophomore Brayden Smith and Brady Boothe, a 6-6 soph shooter from Hudsonville.
Detroit Showtime vs. TEAM Basketball 17U, 10:50 am Saturday at MPHS: A couple of lanky 6-3 guards with three-point touch and college futures, from Showtime East English Village junior Karmari Newman and from TEAM Basketball Clarkston junior Tabin Throgmorton.
Detroit Spartans vs. West Michigan Lakers 16U, 12 pm Saturday at West Intermediate: Really like both these teams’ post players. For the Spartans it’s a trio of wide bodied sophs in Detroit King’s 6-6 Quinton Maxwell, Brother Rice’s 6-6 Larry Borom and Dearborn Heights Annapolis’ 6-9 Alex Imail. The Lakers counter with 6-6 Lowell sophomore Josh Branagan and 6-6 Rockford sophomore Andy Gamm.
Mustangs vs. Parallel 45 15U, 12 pm Saturday at MPHS: The Mustangs won the 14U division of the Camp Darryl Classic last weekend, as did Parallel 45 in the 15U division. They’re young but you just know college coaches will soon be all over the Mustangs’ Caleb Hodgson, a 6-8 8th-grader from Dansville, and P45’s Danny Kolp, a 6-8 freshman from Petoskey.
CGR vs. ACB/Bank Hoops 15U, 12 pm Saturday at Sanford Meridian: It’s been oh so close for both these squads in May. CGR was the runner-up at the Tulip Tipoff, ACB was runner-up last week at the Camp Darryl Classic.