There are games throughout the state during the first week of the holiday break. Here are a dozen worth checking out.
December 26 – Bridgeport vs. Detroit Renaissance, 7 pm at Detroit Cass Tech: The Bearcats were 24-2 last season and off to a 6-0 start this year, but this version only has two main scoring options instead of three — senior forward Sir’quarious Ball and senior guard Markelle Garrett score 43.5 points per game between them. Renaissance was supposed to be a state contender, but lost its coach, best frontcourt player and top transfer. To the Phoenix’ credit they’ve won five in a row since dropping the season opener to Flint Beecher.
December 27 – Flint Carman-Ainsworth at Flint Beecher, 7:30 pm: Juniors Jalen Terry and Earnest Sanders are serious, serious athletes, and have 7-0 Beecher the heavy favorite to win a state title in Division 3. Carman-Ainsworth is 6-1, its only loss to Grand Blanc.
December 27 – East Kentwood vs. Muskegon, 8:30 pm at Reeths-Puffer: The two teams to have kept EK under 60 points — Forest Hills Northern and East Grand Rapids — have both won. This is just the third game for the Big Reds — who will show up, the ones who lost by 18 to Rockford or beat Grand Haven by 19? Guards and speed will rule the day here, with EK’s backcourt of junior Jamoni Jones and senior Ryel Daye against Muskegon seniors Deandre Carter and Eonte Tornes and junior Vernon Nash.
December 28 – Maple City Glen Lake vs. Holland Christian, 4 pm at Grand Haven: In hopes of hardening itself for a return trip to Breslin, this is one of two downstate trips for Glen Lake, which will play at Williamston next month. Holland Christian has the size advantage, while at times Maroons coach David Kool may feel like he’s looking in a crystal ball watching Glen Lake’s Xander Okerlund, a senior all-state guard who, like Kool in his heyday, plays the game at his own pace.
December 28 – Farmington at Clarkston, 7 pm: The Wolves have been rolling since dropping their first two under new coach Tim Wasilk. Nevertheless, they’re dependent on freshman guard play which can be a precarious position. A pair of prospects here are working to get some big-time recruiting recognition — Farmington sophomore guard Jaden Akins and Clarkston’s 7-foot junior Matt Nicholson.
December 28 – Ithaca at Fulton, 7 pm: Undefeated Ithaca is a really big Division 3 team — and will be even more so in the second semester when 6-9 senior Sage Walker is eligible. While a smaller school, Fulton presents an interesting challenge because of its uptempo offense, a contrast to the staid TVC-West — two of the six most prolific three-point shooters in state history have played for coach Todd Walden at Fulton within the past decade.
December 28 – South Bend Riley at Benton Harbor, 7:30: With a likely victory over Redford Union the day prior in the Earl McKee Classic, Benton Harbor will be going for its 20th-straight win — including last year’s state title run — against a 7-1 out-of-state opponent. As good as junior forward Carlos Johnson is, and as improved as 6-7 senior Chris Cooper is, the Tigers don’t look quite like last year’s team without the backcourt firepower.
December 29 – River Rouge vs. Ypsilanti Lincoln, 3 pm at Ypsilanti: River Rouge may have the deepest team in the state. Lincoln counters with one of the top individual talents in the state, regardless of age, in 6-8 freshman Emoni Bates.
December 29 – Ann Arbor Skyline vs. Saginaw, 6:20 pm at Ferndale: Skyline is still finding itself with players assuming larger roles and is 4-2. The High as won five in a row since dropping its season opener to Carman-Ainsworth. Saginaw junior guard Sir’real Smith can really get rolling, but may want to take a page from Skyline senior guard Ryan Wade as a two-way player.
December 29 – Detroit Douglass vs. Goodrich, 5:15 pm at Corunna: Each team features one of the best sophomores in Michigan — Douglass’ 6-6 Pierre Brooks and Goodrich’s 5-9 Tyson Davis.
December 29 – Silver division championship, 8 pm at Cornerstone: If Forest Hills Northern gets past NorthPointe Christian and Hudsonsville defeats Grand Rapids Northview in Wednesday’s semifinals, this game will feature a pair of undefeated teams in the Huskies and Eagles.
December 30 – Dearborn Divine Child vs. Rochester Adams, 4:40 pm at Ferndale: Sunday hoops, and it ain’t AAU. The post-Quinn Blair era has gone swimmingly so far for Divine Child, which is 6-0 after last week’s win over Southfield Christian.