Finals Flashbacks

By Ron Pesch

1986 At University of Michigan’s Crisler Arena in Ann Arbor, Romulus, making its first-ever appearance in the Class A finals, downed Detroit Southwestern, 72-65. Terry Mills and Stevie Glenn led the Eagles with 19 points apiece. Romulus hit on 22 of 32 free throw attempts, and 76 percent of their second half shots (13 of 17). Tarence Wheeler and Anderson Hunt paced the Prospectors with 20 and 16 points respectively. The loss marked the fifth consecutive defeat in the finals for Southwestern.

The Shot - a 54-foot toss launched at the buzzer by Saginaw Buena Vista’s Chris Coles, gave the Knights a 33-32 win over defending champion Flint Beecher in a rematch of the 1985 Class B title game. Tied at 31 with three seconds to play, Beecher sophomore Ernest Steward hit the first shot of a one and one situation to put the Bucs on top. Stewart missed on the second attempt, and the Knight’s Michael Jackson grabbed the rebound and passed to Coles. The shot was his first of the second half, and his only points in the contest.

Chris Wooley tallied 20 points and teammate Willie Burton added 17 as Detroit St. Martin dePorres turned a 33-30 halftime lead into a 65-49 win over Saginaw Nouvel. It was the second consecutive Class C crown for the Eagles.

For the fifth time in eight years, Detroit East Catholic, under the guidance of coach Dave Soules, earned the Class D crown. The Chargers never trailed, en route to a 59-39 win over DeTour. The Red Raiders’ Richard Ledy led all scorers, with 17 points. Marion Tinnon paced the victors with 16.


1976 After surprising top-ranked Lansing Everett and its star, junior Earvin “Magic” Johnson in the semifinal round, Detroit Catholic Central hung on to defeat Saginaw 59-57 for the Class A title. Guard Mike Prince, who scored 26 points in the semis, again led the attack, scoring 25. He was the only Shamrock to finish in double figures. Paul Roby led the Trojans with 21 points.

In Class B, Byron Rison scored 27 points, including 24 in the second half as Flint Beecher defeated River Rouge, 80-76. The loss marked only the fifth defeat for legendary coach Lofton Greene and his Panthers in 17 appearances in the state finals.

Buchanan capped a perfect season with a 57-50 decision over Negaunee in Class C. Ken Garrett controlled the boards for the victorious Bucks, finishing with 13 rebounds. The 6-6 senior also ended the contest with a game high 16 points. Dean Ellis and John Vercoe led Negaunee with 15 points each.

Detroit St. Martin dePorres pounded Harbor Springs, 81-64, in Class D.


1966 Sam Dunlap fired in a game high 31 points, including six points in overtime, as Ferndale grabbed its second Class A title in four years with a 65-60 win over Ann Arbor Pioneer at East Lansing’s Jenison Field House. Trailing 44-37 as the teams entered the final quarter, Ann Arbor forced overtime as Tim Wadhams poured in four points in the final minute and 20 seconds of regulation. His field goal with 44 second remaining knotted the score at 58. Earle Higgins led the Pioneer attack with 30 points and 14 rebounds.

For the first time in five years and 48 tournament games, River Rouge was defeated in Class B play. In only their second year of existence as a high school, coach Cornelius Bykerk’s Grand Rapids East Christian squad pulled off the unthinkable, with a 76-66 win over the Panthers. Bill VanderWoude led the powerful Christian squad, with 36 points - a new Class B record.

L’Anse grabbed its first MHSAA basketball crown with an 89-70 win over Flint Holy Redeemer. Gerry Gerard scored 23 points and Deane Kent kicked in 22 for the squad from the Upper Peninsula. The Hornets were led by Roland Swartz’s 27 points.

Trout Creek’s 6-6 center, Bob Gale fired in a Class D tournament high 40 points before fouling out with 1:08 to play. However, it was not enough, as defending champion Covert rolled to a 84-70 win. It marked the 48th consecutive victory for the Bulldogs.


1956In Class A at Jenison Field House, Muskegon Heights downed Hamtramck, 63-53, for its second crown in three years. Trailing 55-45, the Cosmos rallied to within four points, 55-51 with 1:15 to play. However two free throws by Kennedy Howell and Ronnie Robinson and a field goal by Howell in the final seconds sealed the triumph for the Tigers.

A bank shot in the first possession of sudden death by marvelous Mel Peterson gave Stephenson a 73-71 victory over Detroit St. Andrew in one of the all-time classic contests of the tournament. Trailing by as many a six points late in the fourth quarter, St. Andrew tied the contest at 61-all on a Jim Glodzik tip-in with five seconds to play. Peterson scored eight in the overtime period, but a free throw by the Flyers Joe Lack knotted the game at 71-71 with 14 seconds to play. The tie forced the game into “sudden death.” Under the rules of the time, the first team to score was declared the winner. Glodzik ended the game with 29 for the Flyers. Peterson finished with 35 poi nts - a Class B finals record until VanderWoude scored 36 in the 1966 finals.

Jack Kivimaki sank three free throws in the final 30 seconds to lead Crystal Falls to a 71-69 win over Berrien Springs . Glenn Westin paced the winners with 27 points.

Chassell rallied for 18 unanswered points in the final three minutes and 47 seconds to defeat Portland St. Patrick, 71-68, for the Class D crown. Don Mattson, who scored 21 of Chassell’s 42 second-half points, finished with a game high of 27. Roger Trierweiler ended the contest with 19 points for St. Patrick.

In Class E, Trout Creek downed Hermansville, 86-68, in play at Negaunee.


1946 In the Lower Peninsula, outstanding shooting by Holland enabled the Dutchmen to slip past favored Saginaw Arthur Hill, 43-40, in the Class A contest at Jenison Field House. Jack VanDarple scorched the nets for the Dutch in the second half, hitting on five long field goals to finish with 12 points Teammate Austin Chamberlain led the team with 13 points. Gene Glick of Arthur Hill led all scorers with 19 points.

Trailing 16-13 at the half, St. Joseph rallied to a 33-26 win over Fenton in Class B action. St. Joseph center Dave Ankil paced the Bears, with nine points. The win marked 21 consecutive for the Bears, and their first state crown since 1931.

A pair of missed field goals proved to be the difference, as Manton held on for a 34-33 Class C victory over Saginaw St. Peter & Paul. Bob Cunningham scored the game winner for the Rangers with 45 seconds remaining in the contest. Danny Cook led Manton with 14 points, while sophomore Art McColgan paced Saginaw with 13.

Walt Briney’s Bridgeman squad

successfully defended its Class D crown with a 42-27 win over Detroit Country Day. The Bees jumped out to a 21-11 lead as all 11 Bridgeman ballplayers saw action in the contest. John Kamp led the winners with 19 points.

In Upper Peninsula action at Ironwood, Escanaba defeated Sault Ste. Marie, 52-38, in Class B play Three Eskymos ended in double figures. Norway downed Newberry, 48-44, in Class C. Don DeBakker and Alexander finished with 13 points each for the winners. Rock jumped out to a 12-3 lead in the first, then rolled past Cedarville, 41-36, in Class D. Kivekas led Rock with 15 points. In Class E, teammates Hoholck and Treankler combined for 37 points as Alpha scored a 48-28 win over Champion.


1936 Tied at 25 at the end of regulation, and at 27-all at end of overtime, Flint Northern was awarded the Class A title over Kalamazoo Central by a final score of 28-27 in Lower Peninsula action at Civic Auditorium in Grand Rapids. According to tournament rules of the time, the team which had the most points based on a system of field goals made, free throw percentage, and fewest personal fou ls committed was declared the winner by a single point. Andrew Sabota led Northern with 12.

Brothers Bob and Ralph Ostermann combined for 18 points as the Detroit St. Theresa Pirates downed Petoskey, 29-25, in the Class B championship game. It was the second consecutive trip to the championships for the Pirates. Defeated by a single point by Grand Haven in 1935, St. Theresa downed the defending champions, 34-26, in the semifinal round of the 1936 tournament.

Lansing St. Mary’s defeated Zeeland, 24-14, in Class C. Herb Brogan scored six field goals and four free throws to finish with 16 points.

Stevensville held Horton to five points in the first half enroute to a 20-13 win and its second consecutive Class D title. Jerry “Canary” Howard led the Cardinals with seven points. Bill Wickens finished with six points for Horton.

In the Upper Peninsula tourney at Marquette, Iron River defeated Calumet, 51-34, in Class B. Harry Pociopa of Iron River and Jack Mugford of Calumet tied for scoring honors with 17 points each. In Class C, the Vikings of Norway squeaked past Crystal Falls, 28-27, as Davey tipped in a rebound with 50 seconds to play. Channing downed Trenary, 37-15, in Class D. Christian, captain of the Channing squad, finished with 18 points.

1926The championship contests were played at split locations, with the Class A and D games at Yost Fieldhouse in Ann Arbor, and the Class B and C games at College Gymnasium in East Lansing. Detroit Southeastern downed Muskegon, 26-20, in Class A title match. Shaw of Southeastern and Norm MacDonald of Muskegon tied for top scoring honors, with eight points apiece.

In the first Class D championship, Michigamme downed Alpena St. Bernard, 27-15. Treado led the winners with 10 points.

In Class B action, St. Joseph defeated Sturgis, 30-22. E. Johnson finished with 11 points as Newberry downed Bay City St. James, 31-14, for the Class C crown.