The Michigan High School Athletic Association boys’ basketball tournament begins Monday. And every team in the state has a chance to win it. Here is quick peek at local district tournament that feature one or more of the 13 Advertiser-area schools. And just for fun, the Advertiser will pick a winner for each district. The tournament schedule is listed at the bottom of this page.
Class B at Imlay City
With a 17-3 record, Blue Water Area Conference champion Almont is the top team on paper. The Raiders beat their first-round opponent Croswell-Lexington by 24 and 18 points in two meetings this year. Almont also beat Yale and Imlay City twice this year.
The other three teams in this draw — Caro, North Branch and Otisville-LakeVille — each play in the Tri-Valley Conference East. All three have gone 1-1 against the other two this season.
For three weeks, Caro has played without leading scorer and rebounder Steven Strachan, who suffered a toe injury. His status for the postseason is still up in the air.
Class B (at Bridgeport)
A Frankenmuth/Bridgeport district final is a likely scenario, but before the Eagles get a third game against their Tri-Valley Conference East rival, they most get past either Carrollton or Saginaw Swan Valley.
Both are formidable foes, as Swan Valley finished the regular season at 14-6 and the Cavaliers at 9-9. The two play in the TVC Central and split during the league season.
If No. 7 Frankenmuth (18-2) and the No. 6 Bearcats (18-1) do meet in the district finals, it might be the best Class B district-final clash in the state. The two split their TVC East meetings this year, with Bridgeport winning the season opener at Frankenmuth, 69-59. And the Eagles returning the favor Feb. 10 at Bridgeport by a score of 64-54.
Each squad features a junior guard who is a likely first-team all-stater — Frankenmuth’s Mario Whitley and Bridgeport’s Charles Garrett.
Class C at Millington
This one contains seven teams, and five of them are from the Advertiser-area.
At 19-1 Marlette would appear to be the favorite, but the Red Raiders one loss came to Reese (13-7), who would be a potential semifinal opponent.
Host Millington has the easiest path to the the district finals, getting the group’s only first round bye, then playing the winner of Vassar (3-17) and Genesee (2-15). The Cardinals (13-7) beat Vassar 58-52 less than two weeks ago.
On the other side of the bracket, Marlette, the No. 9 team in the state, and Sandusky played twice this year, with the Red Raiders winning by 33 and 24 points respectively.
Reese and Kingston did not play each other this year. The Cardinals, which are playing in Class C for the first time in school history (after moving up from Class D) were 12-8 this year after winning 11 of their last 15 games.
Class C at Laker
With four teams from the Greater Thumb West, and two from the Greater Thumb East, every team in this bracket faced the five others this season.
And USA went 8-0 against the teams in this district, with all of them being decided by at last 18 points.
The Patriots (16-4) won the GTW, and although they don’t have a player averaging over 10 points, boast nine that average at least four. USA coach Mark Gainforth uses a lot of players, and lets them run, which has resulted in some high-scoring point totals this year. The highest of which came in an 85-41 win over Cass City — its first round opponent.
CLASS D at Deckerville
All five of the teams in this district compete in the North Central Thumb League. And host Deckerville had the best league record of the bunch at 10-2.
Mayville has its hands full with C-PS in the first round. Ironically, the Wildcats finished their season Thursday with a 50-37 league loss to the Tigers.
On the other side of the bracket, Peck and North Huron face off for a spot in the district finals. The Pirates won both regular season matchups.
Class D at Caseville
Owendale-Gagetown has the best record of the bunch, at 18-2, but hasn’t faced the level of competition of teams like All Saints or Seminary.
All Saints and O-G had been league rivals until the Bulldogs left the Michigan Summit League for the Inter-State Conference shortly into this season. Both squads went on to win their respective leagues. Last year the two teams split during the regular season last year, with All Saints beating the Bulldogs 49-42 in the district final.
On the other side of the draw, Akron-Fairgrove and Caseville play for the third time this year. The Eagles won the first two meetings, but decided to cancel their season at about the halfway point of the year.
Caseville is expected to play in the district tournament.
Seminary awaits the winner of that game. Although the Cardinals went just 5-14 this year, they played in the Tri-Valley Conference West against almost all Class B schools.
Prediction: All Saints