1920 Detroit Northwestern showcased a stellar defense and defeated Detroit Northern, 17-13, for the Class A crown before a packed house at Waterman Gym in Ann Arbor in pre-MHSAA tournament play. The Colts jumped out to a 6-0 lead, but Northern rallied to pull within two, 9-7, at the end of the half in this rough and penalty-marred contest. Kirker finished with 9-of-13 free throws for Northern, while Carty led Northwestern with 7-of-10 from the charity stripe.
At Michigan Agricultural College gymnasium in East Lansing, St. Joseph emerged with an 8-7 win over Hillsdale to take the Class B tourney for schools with enrollment of less than 251.
1930 Tied 14-14 with less than a minute to play, Emanuel Fishman stole the ball underneath his own basket, headed down court then fired the winning basket -- a long one-handed shot -- that gave Detroit Northern its first Class A cage title, 16-14, over Kalamazoo Central. Fishman, playing with injured ankles, was held to three points in the contest by the strong guard play of Kalamazoo's John Bosma. Don Ashen and Douglas Greig finished with four points apiece to lead Northern in the final year that the tournament was held at Olympia Stadium in Detroit.
Negaunee defeated Orchard Lake St. Mary's, 31-25, for the Class B crown in one of the top games of the entire tournament. Led by forwards George Rudeness and Ralph Lindstrom, the Upper Peninsula squad roared back to tie the game 21-21 at the end of three periods, after trailing 10-5 at the end of the first period and 14-11 at the half. The lead changed four times in the final stanza before the Negaunee squad pulled away in the final two minutes of play.
For the first time in tournament history, two parochial schools squared off in an MHSAA Final, as Kalamazoo St. Augustine thumped previously unbeaten Lansing St. Mary, 40-9, for the Class C crown. St. Augustine displayed an impressive passing game while junior Chuck Muth tallied 18 points, including 10 from the free-throw line. It was the first defeat in 25 games for St. Mary, and the first time that a team had scored over 20 points vs. that squad.
Floyd Norcutt's game-winning basket with 10 seconds to play gave Clarksville the Class D title over U.P. entry, Rock. Steve Rabideau scored 16 points, including a bucket in the game's final three minutes of play to put Rock in the lead, 23-22, for the first time in the contest. However, an attempt to stall failed as Norcutt picked off an errant pass and scored from under the basket to give Clarksville a 24-23 win.
1940 Flint Northern downed Dearborn Fordson, 28-17, becoming the first Class A team to repeat since Detroit Southwestern in 1925 and 1926. A record crowd of 7,500 witnessed the tournament's return to the Michigan State campus. The games were hosted at the school's new million-dollar athletic plant, Jenison Field House, after alternating between Flint and Grand Rapids for six seasons.
Northern held the Tractors scoreless through the first 11 minutes of action and never trailed, extending its streak to 29 consecutive victories. Bob Holloway scored a game-high 10 points to lead the way for the Vikings.
In Class B, Traverse City's Jack Hensel put on an outstanding display as underdog Trojans defeated Detroit St. Theresa, 26-23. Hensel's pinpoint passes shredded the Pirates troublesome zone defense. The guard added 10 points to pace the Traverse City attack. All-State center Don Osterman scored 12 points for St. Theresa boosting his tournament total to 97 in six contests.
Floyd Eby, a senior at nearby Michigan State, coached Williamston to its first-ever MHSAA title with a thrilling 37-35 win over Keego Harbor in Class C. With three seconds to play, sophomore guard Dick Hagerman launched a desperate shot from 35 feet out that broke a 35-35 deadlock. Ace forward Ronnie Stover canned 18 points, including 16 in the first half, as Williamston opened up a 26-11 lead in the third period. But Keego Harbor, unbeaten in 21 games, battled back, to knot the game on Eddie Hanes' shot with 50 seconds to go, setting up Hagerman's heroics.
First-year coach Russell Newell led Weidman to a 30-21 win over Peck in Class D. Orville Bellinger and Jim Cole combined for 23 points to pace Weidman.
In the Upper Peninsula tourney hosted at Northern State Teachers College, hometown favorite Marquette Graveraet ended a 24-year tournament drought with a thrilling 28-27 victory over Escanaba in Class B play. The final moments saw a classic showdown between Graveraet's captain Jack Frisk and Escanaba's Don Pfotenhauer, as each netted his team's final four points down the stretch.
Coach Eddie Chambers and his Crystal Falls squad wrapped up a third consecutive U.P. Class C title with a 36-23 victory over L'Anse. Dick Guenther, Bob Shemky and Albert Sartoria all finished in double figures for Crystal Falls.
Poor charity shooting cost National Mine a U.P. Class D title, as the Miners missed 7-of-10 shots from the free throw line, losing for the first time in 16 starts to Hermansville, 24-23. S. Machalk finished with 15 points for the winners, including a pair of baskets midway through the final frame to seal the contest.
1950 Divided into two sessions at Jenison Field House, a crowd of 7,764 witnessed the 'B' and 'D' afternoon Finals, while 12,480 packed the facility for the evening contests. The total of 20,244 established a new MHSAA Finals attendance record.
Kalamazoo Central repeated as Class A titlists with a 64-50 victory over Port Huron. The 64 points set a tournament record, topping 55 scored by Class D Mass in 1948. George Heinrich finished with 20 points for the victorious Maroon Giants, while Bob Topp bagged 15 and Ron Jackson added 11. Wally Fox notched 18 for the Big Reds, who lost in the Finals for the second time in three years.
Ishpeming downed Grand Rapids Godwin in Class B, 43-31, holding Wolverine center Art Spoelstra to four points in the first half and 14 overall. Spoelstra scored 28 points in three periods of play in the semifinals. Tom Sullivan topped the winners with 14, while Don Doney added 12 for Ishpeming.
Russ Swaney, Dave McLaughlin and Dave Nash combined for 59 of the Pioneers' points as East Grand Rapids rolled to a 64-48 victory over Saginaw SS Peter and Paul in Class C. Swaney's 27 points included 12 field goals, while McLaughlin scored 10 of his 13 points in the first quarter.
Behind the outstanding play of brothers George and Leon Fox, Fowler rolled up a 22-15 lead over Brimley at the half. But the Eskimos battled back with a 10-2 run to open the third quarter, then held on for a 37-30 win and their first-ever MHSAA title in Class D. With two titles on the day, the Upper Peninsula matched a feat last accomplished in 1926. Captain Maurice LeBlanc and Ed Waishkey each finished with 11 points, including seven points apiece in the second half.
At Northern State Teacher's College in Marquette one week prior, defending Class E champion Alpha trounced Michigamme, 52-28. Alpha topped a field of 15 Upper Peninsula teams in the classification reserved for schools enrolling 75 students or less. Led by Eugene Skibo's four field goals and 12 free throws, the Mastodons opened up a 33-19 lead at the end of three quarters.
1960 Lansing Sexton successfully defended its Class A title with a 60-56 victory over Pontiac Central. Bob Davis, hero of Sexton's thrilling 1959 championship contest with Hamtramck, finished with a game-high 18 points, including four free throws in the final 40 seconds to ice the game.
Big Bill Chmielewski scorched the nets for 32 points and pulled down 18 rebounds as Detroit Holy Redeemer grabbed its first cage title, a 78-60 victory over Grand Rapids Godwin. Chmielewski, the Lions' 6-10 all-state center, brought the crowd to its feet late in the Class B contest with a dunk on a breakway. Redeemer Guard Bob Horvath added 16, mostly on breakaways following steals.
Peter Gent netted 21 points as Bangor upended top-rated Grand Rapids Lee in the Class C Final, 57-45. Bangor rallied for 16 points in the final frame to shatter a 41-41 third-quarter deadlock. Doug Greenwold finished with 27 points for Lee, but was the Rebels only source of offense in the crucial fourth period. Gent later starred at Michigan State and played pro football with the Dallas Cowboys before authoring numerous books, including "North Dallas Forty."
Baraga blew a 14-point, third quarter lead as Bath defeated the Upper Peninsula squad, 61-59, in Class D. The Vikings led 44-30 when 6-1 center Tom Clisch was forced to the bench with four personal fouls. Bath had battled to within five, 48-43, when Clisch returned to the lineup. His stay was short-lived as he picked up his fifth and final foul 10 seconds later. Gary Morrill's tie-breaking bucket with 22 seconds remaining sealed the win for the Fighting Bees.
In the Upper Peninsula title game held one week earlier at the Northern Michigan College fieldhouse, Hermansville downed Perkins, 72-50, to win the 'final' Class E Final. Richard Polazzo topped his 21-per-game average with 29 points while teammate Irwin Scholtz tallied 27 to pace the Redskins.
1970 The season finale at Jenison Field House marked the end of the tournament's three-week, two-day final-round extravaganza. The format of the playoffs was altered to span four weeks in 1971, with the Semifinals played on one weekend and the Finals on the following Saturday.
In his final high school contest, Detroit Pershing coach Will Robinson and his Doughboys pulled off a stunning upset of previously unbeaten Pontiac Central, 86-81. Robinson, a legend in high school circles, had accepted the head coaching position at Illinois State University. Phil Paige's 13 points in the second quarter helped Pershing rebound from an early 10-4 deficit for a 39-34 lead at the half. The margin had dwindled to two points, 76-74, with 2:02 to play, when Bob Hawkins nailed both ends of a one-and-one foul situation. Hawkins added a tip-in seconds later for an 80-74 Doughboy lead. Hawkins finished with 28 points while junior Calvin Harper added 24. Pontiac's Campy Russell led the Chiefs with 23 points.
River Rouge snagged its 10th Class B title with a 76-66 thriller over Saginaw Carrollton. The Panthers had opened up a 50-33 lead early in the third period when four personal fouls sent Rouge's top ballhandler, Marvin Dunson, to the bench for a rest. Suddenly, the shooting of Carrollton's Don Kubiak and Red Jones and an impenetrable defense rallied the Cavaliers to a 64-63 lead midway through the fourth. Then, as quickly as it started, the momentum shifted again, as the Panthers went on a 15-2 run, including eight points by Al Boswell and six by Malcolm Moulton. Moulton finished with 27, establishing a new Rouge single-season scoring mark of 537 points. Kubiak ended the contest with 19, while Jones scored 15 for Carrollton.
Muskegon West Michigan Christian won its fourth Class C crown in 13 years with a 52-51 heart-stopping victory over St Ignace. The Warriors opened up a seemingly insurmountable 39-27 lead as the Saints scored only two points during a 12:45 span in the second and third quarters. Incredibly, St. Ignace caught fire in the final frame, and eventually pulled to within a point with nine seconds left, but that's how the game would end. Tom VanderLaan led the Warriors with 20 points.
Celebration was tinged with sadness for Flint Holy Redeemer fans in Class D. A victim of consolidation, the Flyers went out in their final season with a bang, downing Kingsley, 62-60. Bob Hooks emerged as the hero, nailing a 25-foot bucket from near the top of the key as time expired. One of the Flint area parochial schools closed to create Flint Powers Catholic. Redeemer ended with a 22-2 mark.
1980 31-year veteran coach Paul Cook emerged with his first MHSAA title as top-ranked Lansing Eastern downed Highland Park, 64-53, in Class A. It was the school's first cage title since 1934. High-scoring Sam Vincent was kept in check, but still notched 16 points to lead Eastern. Sophomore Renardo Brown netted 12 of his game-high 20 points for the Polar Bears in the first half.
Ypsilanti Willow Run turned back Saginaw Eisenhower in the Class B championship, 77-68. The Flyers received balanced scoring as four players finished in double figures. John Bailey topped the cast with 21 points on 10-of-13 shooting from the field.
Reed City became just the fourth team in MHSAA history to end a season with 28 victories. With its 71-58 victory over Grand Rapids South Christian in the Class C Final, the Coyotes capped a perfect season with their first title in 42 years. Todd Brower led the way with 17 points, Bruce Jones added 16, Chuck Holmquist 15 and Barry Wilson 14.
Detroit East Catholic retained the Class D crown by defeating Muskegon Western Michigan Christian, 88-64, in a rematch of the 1979 championship game. James Ross pumped in 35 points -- the third highest total in Class D Finals history -- to lead the victorious Chargers. Teammate Anthony Grier added 20.
1990 The MHSAA Finals moved to The Palace of Auburn Hills and attracted a record 59,504 fans to the event. Detroit Southwestern ended a long courtship with the Class A crown, finally pulling down a title with a 67-54 win over Saginaw. Despite the absence of starting center Elton Carter, who went down with injury in the Semifinals. Southwestern dominated the inside. Jalen Rose led Southwestern with 21 points and 12 rebounds, while Garland Mance added 18 points seven boards. Marcus Buckley topped Saginaw with 21 points, including six from three-point range. The Prospectors and coach Perry Watson had been to the finals in seven of the previous eight seasons, always finishing as a runner-up.
Defending Class C champs Detroit Country Day grabbed a Class B crown with a 59-53 victory over Saginaw Buena Vista. A 32-point performance by the Knight’s Toriano Smith went for naught. Smith canned seven three-pointers in the game, including four in the fourth quarter.
Top-ranked Saginaw Nouvel scored 17 unanswered points late in the third quarter and rolled to a 78-59 win over Ishpeming in Class C. Aaron Knieper had 21 points and 15 rebounds for the Panthers. Brandon Sager tallied 18 for Ishpeming.
Coach Dave Soules notched his sixth MHSAA title as his Chargers from Detroit East Catholic downed Covert, 72-58, in Class D. Andre Mitchell led the Chargers with 20 points. Anthony Whitfield kept Covert in the game, scoring 11 first-half points and 18 overall.
-- Ron Pesch