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State Tournament: Top District Openers

Mr. Basketball finalist Jason Whitens and Powers North Central start defense of their Class D state title on Monday.

Class A

11-8 North Farmington vs. 14-6 Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, 7 pm @ Farmington: After a brutal start, the Raiders have won 8 of their last 9, with the only loss in that stretch coming to Clarkston. 6-7 senior forward Nate Brooks becoming eligible has given them an inside complement to open things up for Mr. Basketball finalist Amauri Hardy, a guard headed to Oklahoma State. St. Mary’s was the third place team in the Catholic League Central Division. And while Maurice Searight isn’t coming through that door, the Eaglets’ 5-10 senior CJ Wilson is one of the state’s top 10 unsigned senior point guards:

  1. Jermaine Jackson  5-10  Macomb Dakota
  2. Darian Owens-White  6-1  River Rouge
  3. Malik Ellison  5-8  Flint Beecher
  4. CJ Wilson  5-10  Orchard Lake St. Mary’s
  5. Qua Southward  6-0  Saginaw
  6. Jesse Scarber  5-8  Detroit King
  7. Armonee Felder  5-10  Detroit Osborn
  8. Davion Bradford  6-1  Detroit Cornerstone
  9. Tariq Derrickson  6-1  Pontiac Notre Dame
  10. Leonard Silas  5-11  Detroit Cass Tech

19-1 Flint Carman-Ainsworth vs. 18-2 Flushing, 6 pm @ Owosso: Deja vu! These teams met less than a week ago, with Carman coming back late to prevail 53-50. The Cavs are probably a year away from state contention, as top players junior point guard Ja’kavien Lewis, junior forward Omari Duncan and sophomore center Mike Fletcher will all be back. Or is the future now? Their only loss was to Clarkston and they flat out annihilated Saginaw in the Saginaw Valley championship game. Lewis is a leader at the point and while not a good shooter has terrific feel for the glass and English when he’s finishing. At 6-4 Ducan is a tweener for the next level but productive as a prep. Fletcher isn’t built like a sophomore, is 6-6 but with the wingspan of a 6-9 player. He’ll match up with Flusing’s 6-6 senior Joe Kujat. He averages 18 points and 13 rebounds per game and is one of the state’s top 10 unsigned senior forwards:

  1. Nate Brooks  6-7  North Farmington
  2. Diego Robinson  6-6  Lansing Everett
  3. Joe Kujat  6-6  Flushing
  4. Craig Sterk  6-7  McBain
  5. Kenneth Holloway  6-4  Detroit Osborn
  6. Roger Stein  6-4  Kalamazoo Central
  7. Eddie Thigpen  6-6  Saginaw
  8. Malik Rogers  6-6  Dearborn Heights Crestwood
  9. Ross Koella  6-7  Grand Haven
  10. Derek Eddington  6-7  Pickford

Class B

10-10 Allendale @ 15-5 Coopersville, 7 pm: These two split in the regular season, as Coopersville went on to finish second in the O-K Blue. Allendale has a dangerous big man-guard combo in seniors Nate Umlor and Hunter Greer, though they have nothing on their coaches back in their day, Joe Modderman and Tim Kisner. Coopersville features Nick Dekkenga. He’s averaging 26 points and 3.5 assists per game and is one of the state’s top 10 unsigned combo guards:

  1. Greg Elliott  6-4  Detroit East English Village
  2. Demetrius Lake  5-10  Holland
  3. Kevin McAdoo  6-1  West Bloomfield
  4. Christian Agnew  6-2  Westland John Glenn
  5. Sam Cornett  6-5  Muskegon
  6. Runako Ziegler  6-1  Walled Lake Central
  7. Delano Smith  6-3  Walled Lake Western
  8. Jorden Peterson  6-2  Detroit CMA
  9. Nick Dekkenga  5-10  Coopersville
  10. Reme Tolbert  6-1  Southfield A&T

18-2 Ludington vs. 17-3 Big Rapids, 7 pm @ Benzie Central: Big Rapids wants to get back to Breslin, but staggers into March on a two-game losing streak. They were undefeated up until February 7, when this very same Ludington team nearly doubled-up a depleted Cardinals roster 70-38. BR doesn’t lack talent, as 6-4 senior Demetri Martin recently scored a school-record 51 points and is headed to Northville, while Braeden Childress, a 6-4 D1 football recruit, isn’t fazed by the big moment. Ludington tied Muskegon Heights for the Lakes 8 title but their two losses were to Class C schools — Heights and North Muskegon.

Class C

15-5 Flint Beecher @ 14-6 Flint Hamady, 6 pm: Beecher begins its quest for a third-straight state title. Senior guard Malik Ellison is as hot as any player in the state, including a 61-point effort against New Haven. All of their losses are to Class A and B schools. It’s the same old story for Hamady, which can play with most anyone in Class C and have a terrific senior guard in Dewayn Allen, but runs into Beecher straight off. They’ve twice lost to Beecher by single digits, with their other losses to Class A and B schools.

15-5 Carson City-Crystal vs. 18-2 Pewamo-Westphalia, 5:30 pm @ Bath: When these two met in the regular season, C3 emerged with an OT win 42-37. That’s one of three times P-W was held under 40 points during the regular season. While they’re well-coached, play team ball and 6-3 junior Jimmy Lehman is a horse anyone would want on their team, there’s not a go-to scorer who can go and get his when things get hecitc. The Eagles do have that kind of scorer in senior Kaleb Barrett, who averages 18.5 points per game, as well as a major three-points threat in senior guard Garrett Gage.

Class D

15-5 Carney-Nadeau vs. 19-0 Powers North Central, 7 pm @ Stephenson: A Carney-Nadeau win would be a serious upset, as North Central is in the midst of a state-record winning streak and commencing a quest for a third consecutive state title. While 6-4 senior Jason Whitens is a Mr. Basketball finalist, he doesn’t do it alone. 6-3 senior Dawson Bilski is a terrific shooter who has evolved into an all-around guard threat and is headed to Michigan Tech.Carney-Nadeau has a terrific guard of its own in senior Hunter Eichorn, averaging over 24 points per game in his final basketball season before going to Marquette on a golf scholarship. Whitens is one of the state’s top 10 unsigned senior wings:

  1. Markell Jackson  6-5  Muskegon
  2. Keion Epps  6-5  Wayne
  3. Jason Whitens  6-4  Powers North Central
  4. Austin McCullough  6-5  Portage Central
  5. Jordan Grahan  6-5  Farmington
  6. Brock Washington  6-4  Southfield Christian
  7. Drequan Bell  6-3  River Rouge
  8. Jermayne Golidy  6-4  Muskegon
  9. Jalen Miller  6-3  Lake Fenton
  10. Brennen Buszka  6-4  Grosse Pointe South

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