The post-Christmas, pre-New Year tournaments and showcases are back, bringing full days of diverse basketball to gyms throughout the state. Here’s a swath of them, a dozen contests from various holiday venues worth celebrating.
Detroit King vs. Flint Beecher @ Detroit Cass Tech, 6 pm: MLK has split with Catholic League foes. The Crusaders have the state’s top available senior guard, Chansey Willis, and one of the top available 2022 posts, 6-8 Matthew Coffey. Beecher has a new coach, one of the program’s all-time best players Marquise Gray, but the expectations remain Breslin in D3 for a veteran squad that’s started 4-0 while averaging 84 points.
Detroit U. Prep @ Benton Harbor, 5:15 pm: Benton Harbor is always one of the state’s more intimidating venues and will be a growing up road experience for U. Prep. The hometown Tigers have an elite backcourt with senior Trucel Singleton and junior Grant Gondrezick. U. Prep has a dangerous soph combo in guard Tyler Lowry and 6-8 Xander Wedlow.
Detroit U-D Jesuit vs. Grand Rapids Catholic Central @ Ferndale, 6:10 pm: The OG Event, the Motor City Roundball Classic, debuted in 1995 at Calihan Hall … and covered by Bank Hoops, no less. It’s back after a year’s hiatus with another deep schedule. This is the headline game for opening night. There are prospects for every level of college ball throughout both rosters, and not just the starters.
Williamston @ North Farmington, 8:30 pm: The nightcap on the opening day of what is a slate of 15 games over three days, which will be played with a shot clock. Willy is 3-0 having beaten local competition by an average of nearly 40 points per game. It won’t be anything like that easy against the host school, with North Farmington coming in at 4-0. The Raiders are rolling with one of the state’s top 2023 prospects coming in as a transfer 6-3 junior Ryan Hurst from West Bloomfield. Williamston’s transfer if more familiar, senior Mason Docks having played there as a freshman and sophomore.
Pewamo-Westphalia vs. Forest Hills Central @ Cornerstone, 6:30 pm: Cornerstone as usual has a steady stream of games, and like with FHC usually involve a local team with a good fanbase to help bring energy to the college gym. The Rangers are 2-1 and will be a tough out in one of the state’s top 5 leagues, the OK-White. P-W is 2-0, including a win against previously 4-0 Ionia, and the favorite in one of the state’s top 5 small school leagues, the CMAC. D3 state contender Schoolcraft and Hudsonville are on the other side of the bracket.
West Ottawa @ Muskegon Reeths-Puffer, 6:45 pm: This is second of three matchups in the now 19th-annual Muskegon Sports Hall of Family Holiday Classic. Orchard View plays North Muskegon in the first game and Muskegon and East Kentwood in the nightcap. But the middle contest could be the best. WO has some parts but has struggled offensively in a 2-2 start just once topping 45 points. The host school, Reeths-Puffer, is 2-1, all quality games with wins over Forest Hills Northern by a point and Ludington in OT, and a loss to Grand Haven. The Rockets aren’t going anywhere as they have one of the top shooter-big man combinations in Michigan’s sophomore class with 6-3 Jaxson Whitaker and 6-8 Travis Ambrose.
Traverse City St. Francis @ Grand Haven, 7 pm: A game from the Lakeshore Cup has to make the list for the winner’s trophy alone, an oar. The Gladiators travel down the coast for a game that will hopefully steel them for March in Division 3 after facing a Grand Haven team that is one of the state’s best in Division 1. Muskegon Heights and Traverse City West play in the earlier game.
Homer vs. Olivet @ Spring Arbor, 12 pm: This is the first of four games of the Shot Clock Classic at Spring Arbor, one of the events this season using a shot clock with high school games as test subjects. Olivet is 4-0 and has allowed no opponent more than 35 points. Homer comes in at 3-1. College prospects in the event include Olivet sophomore Bo Lincoln, Chelsea junior Matt Blanton, Chelsea sophomore Joey Cabana, Jackson Northwest 6-7 senior Ian Weller, Adrian senior Joe Francis and Hanover-Horton senior Carson Sanders.
Canton vs. Detroit Renaissance @ North Farmington, 5:15 pm: Canton coach Jimmy Reddy is out here scheduling like a young John Chaney. Canton has losses to Division 1 state contenders De La Salle and Hamtramck, before playing another D1 favorite, St. Mary’s, Monday at North Farmington. Renaissance is a cruel version of a “get well” game as the Phoenix is 3-1, its only loss coming to the state’s No. 1 team, Brother Rice, 78-73, after a heroic fourth-quarter performance by Renaissance freshman point guard Lance Stone.
Bloomfield Hills vs. Novi Catholic Central @ Ferndale, 6:10 pm: These teams match up well, between point guard prodigies Noah Adamczyk, a Bloomfield Hills junior, and Chas Lewless, a CC sophomore; and deep, physical frontcourts. Bloomfield Hills is 4-0, this its toughest week yet with Renaissance on Monday. The Shamrocks are 2-1, their only loss to Detroit King on a neutral court.
Ferndale vs. Orchard Lake St. Mary’s @ VanAndel Arena, 5 pm: This game is filthy with talent. And not just the name guys at the top of recruiters’ notes. Ferndale junior point guard Cameron Reed was tough to keep out of the paint in Ferndale’s win last week over U-D Jesuit. St. Mary’s best shooter is going D1 but not in basketball — senior Jack Crighton, a U-M baseball recruit.
Grand Blanc vs. Grand Rapids Catholic Central @ VanAndel Arena, 7 pm: The Bobcats got a lump of coal for Monday when its game at Ferndale was canceled because of “covid protocol.” Hopefully they can pull an apple out of the stocking later on in the week for this matchup of Grand Blanc, the defending Division 1 state champion, and GR Catholic Central, the defending champion in Division 2. It should be a fun, up and down game fitting the big venue, with D1 guards pushing it on both sides and big-time athletes on the wings.