The MSR team is ready for a packed week of district action. Below, our broadcasters and writers preview the action around our coverage area, complete with predictions and analysis.




Division 1, District 9 at Rockford (Preview by: Josh Longstreth)

Monday 7:00 @ Forest Hills Northern High School — Forest Hills Northern (8-14) vs Greenville (6-16)

The Huskies will head into this riding a 3-game winning streak. They were tested very early in the season by a couple solid teams in Coopersville and Schoolcraft. Northern was able to stay in the game against Coopersville and knocked off Schoolcraft in OT. But as the calendar turned the Huskies struggled by going just 2-6 in January. February wasn’t any easier on them as they dropped six of eight.

Northern is riding on some momentum, however, at the right time of the year. As we know, anything can happen in March. They’re led by a phenomenal head coach in Joseph Soules and it’s a program that typically shows their fortitude come tournament time. The Huskies have had a huge amount of success in District openers which could bode well for them here.

The early part of the season brought high hopes for the Yellow Jackets as they started 5-1 before the new year. That’s when things hit a down slide for Greenville as they wouldn’t pick up another win until early February. They are now in the midst of a 7-game losing streak. But it’s a team that is playing much better basketball. The Jackets have been able to compete with likes of Grand Rapids Christian (losing by just two) and Northview, two teams that are poised to make deep tournament runs. This might be the time Greenville shows their toughness as head coach Joel Visser has his team playing some competitive basketball.

These two are no stranger to each other. Meeting twice before, the Huskies were able to grab both games but it wasn’t easy as they were tightly contested matchups. Expect Northern to pull out the win here, but buckle up because this should be a great contest. The winner will play for the right to take on Northview on Wednesday at 5:30 in Rockford.

Monday 7:00 @ Lowell High School — Lowell (10-12) VS Forest Hills Central (12-10)

It’s been an up and down season for Lowell. The Red Arrows were sitting at 7-6 heading into February but finished the season 3-6. They have just never been able to keep their momentum in spurts throughout the season. So here they are with a chance to start fresh. The Red Arrows have taken some solid teams to their limit this season and they’ve had their share of close games so there is no questioning, they’re battle tested.

Lowell has dropped 5 in a row and have had a tough stretch to end the regular season. It’s a team that has experience and a group that has vastly improved over the last year. They’ll look to see if they can give some teams fits that could have them playing for a District title this week.

The Forest Hills Central Rangers had a rough go of things early on this season. They would face four teams in the first month of the season that could very well make deep runs this season. Things began to trend upward for Central in the month of January as they cruised to a 5-2 record during the month. A 4-3 stretch to end the season has the Rangers playing some solid basketball. Those three losses were to teams that have had outstanding seasons and in each game Central held their own. It’s a team that was built for tournament time and they now have a chance to show that.

Central could be a team to watch in this district as it’s a program that has the culture that is made for times like these. They have a veteran group that just might be able to get them over the hump in this district.

In their recent meetings this season, the Rangers have been able to hold the momentum throughout in each game. The Red Arrows will look to see if they can get on track early. It just might not be enough as this is a matchup that Central should be able to take and could be the ‘Dark Horse’ of the district. The winner will have a chance at another shot on Wednesday when they take on the winner of Rockford and Cedar Springs. That will be a 7:00 start on Wednesday.

Monday 7:00 @ Rockford High School — Cedar Springs (4-18) VS Rockford (15-7)

The Red Hawks got off to a slow start this season by going 2-34 over their first five games. It’s a team that was never able to gain much momentum but they battle every game. Cedar Springs has been in some games this year against solid teams but just couldn’t keep it going late. They come in as the ‘Underdogs’, but, this is March after all.

This is a Red Hawks team that doesn’t have a ton of experience so they are fairly young. Cedar Springs hasn’t been able to get over the hump in the past few district openers but they have made a game of each. We’ll see if this is the one that will bust some brackets.

Rockford got off to a solid 4-1 start this season with the lone loss coming to a very good Muskegon team. They were able to knock off Grand Rapids Catholic and Ottawa Hills during December which made it a successful start for the Rams. It wasn’t an easy January either but Rockford knocked off a couple powers during the month. They were tested in battles where they had a chance late against Grand Haven, East Kentwood and Grand Blanc. The Rams were able to finish the season strong and there’s no doubt, this team has shown they can battle with the best.

There’s no denying that the Rams have the culture to put big seasons together, they continue to show that. It’s a team that has a nice balance of experience and youth. That seems to be the driving force and it has clicked all year for them. Led by head coach Kyle Clough, the Rams could be poised to do something special this tournament.

These two haven’t been this season which brings quite a bit of intrigue with it. The Red Hawks will have create some tough situations for Rockford if they intend to pull off the upset. Even with that it just might not be enough against a very good Rams team. There is no reason Rockford shouldn’t be heading to next round after this one. The winner has a shot at Lowell or Forest Hills Central on Wednesday in the semifinals. They will tip at 7:00 at Rockford.

First Round Bye: Northview (18-4)

What a season it has been for the Wildcats. Northview has been on an upward trajectory as they have put together two phenomenal seasons in a row. The Wildcats were just one win away from playing in a state final last year. Is it their time this year?

It’s a team that has just the right balance of young and experienced players that have led the way all year. Behind a trio of Parker Swartz, EJ Ryans and Cam Ryans, this team is poised to make a deep run yet again. Northview played a brutal opening month but found themselves at 5-1 at that point. After a perfect January, the Wildcats would drop three in a row before ending the season by winning their last six. Every great team hits a dry spell, and Northview seems to be far behind them.

The Wildcats will take on the winner of the Forest Hills Northern and Greenville matchup on Wednesday at 5:30 in Rockford.

District Prediction:

Bracket Buster: Forest Hills Central

They compete with good basketball teams and they have a culture that can go a long way this time of year. If it’s a team that could pull a couple upsets, it’s Rangerball.

Dark Horse: Rockford

You might not even call them a dark horse, that’s how good this Rockford team is. They have the make of a team that might be overlooked by some, but many aren’t going to be shocked if they come out of this district.

Favorite: Northview

They’re the team to beat here. It’s a roster that has the make of a state contender. Expect the Wildcats to come out with urgency as they seem to be a group with high goals on their mind. Swartz and the Ryan brothers will pose too many problems in this district.


Division 1, District 10 at Coopersville (Preview by: Josh Longstreth)

Monday 7:00 @ Grand Rapids Union High School — Grand Rapids Union (14-7) VS Mona Shores (5-17)

Union has put together a sensational season by getting through a daunting schedule. After a tough early season loss to Ottawa Hills, the Red Hawks would bounce back by knocking off a very solid Benton Harbor team just a couple days later. They put together a successful January by going 7-2 but wouldn’t be able to knock off some of the premier teams. They would find another signature win against Otsego in early February. Union finished the season 6-4 over their last ten but this is a team that knows they have what it takes to make a deep run and get over some of their mistakes that have plagued them this season.

The Red Hawks are a very experienced team that can hurt you with their guard play. They have several guys that can knock it down from deep. The big question with Union is can they guard for an entire game. Their defense has broken down at times but luckily their offense will always have them in the game.

It hasn’t been the season that Mona Shores has been looking for. For the first half of the season the Sailors left some games on the table that they battled late in. They never really could build enough momentum this season to sustain it. A rough February with no wins took a toll on Mona Shores but they come into district play winning impressively over Cedar Springs in their last regular season game. Now they look to make up for what could have been.

It’s a program that has really struggled over the last few years. One thing that can change a program in a hurry is picking up a district title and the Sailors would look to see if they can spoil some seasons in finding themselves as the last one standing. The roster doesn’t lack talent but some injuries have hurt them this season. They have some experience and mixed with some very talented younger players, this might be the time that it all comes together.

The two met earlier in the season. In the first meeting Union would pull off a tight battle. Mona Shores just couldn’t do enough in the second matchup to stick around in the game. The Sailors have guys that can hurt you and now would be the time to do so. It just won’t be enough as the Red Hawks will look to jump on the Mona Shores young guys early. The winner has a chance to faceoff with Muskegon on Wednesday at 5:30 in Coopersville.

Monday 7:00 @ Reeths-Puffer High School — Reeths-Puffer (13-9) VS Kenowa Hills (8-14)

The Rockets started their season off with a lot of promise as they battled some solid teams in the first month. They would only continue that but wouldn’t be able to find that signature win through the first half of the season. But the last half of the season has been good to the Rockets as they have now won six of their last seven, two of those wins coming against Zeeland West and Hudsonville.

Reeths-Puffer can be hard to contain when Jaxson Whitaker and Travis Ambrose have it going. The two have led the Rockets much of the season. It’s a one-two punch that teams will have trouble with in this district. If other guys are on their game, look out for the Rockets here.

It hasn’t been the season that Kenowa Hills expected after starting 5-1 in December. It wouldn’t help that Grand Valley commit, Javion Otten, has been down for most of the season after an injury. The Knights were able to take some teams deep into games shortly after but they just wouldn’t get over the hump in those games. Kenowa Hills will come in winning one out of their last seven. They’ll have a shot to make amends here in the districts.

It’s a team that has some talent there still even without Otten, but mistakes will have to be few and far between if they hope to make a run in this district. There defense has still been able to play at a high level at times, they’ll need it to limit some of the run-and-gun teams in the district.

This is one that really should be tight throughout. The Knights have the potential to keep their season alive but they’re going to have to limit Whitaker and Ambrose while not letting other guys go off for Reeths-Puffer. That task might just be too tall. Kenowa Hills will keep it tight until late when the Rockets pull away. The team to move on will take on the winner of the Coopersville and Grand Haven game. That is set for a 7:00 start in Coopersville.

Monday 7:00 @ Coopersville High School — Coopersville (14-8) VS Grand Haven (17-5)

Starting their season off, the Coopersville Broncos would really go through it in December. Tight game after tight game, the Broncos just couldn’t pull many out as they finished 2-5 in the month. Flip the script to 2023. Something would come over Coopersville as they would find a way to go 11-1 over their next twelve. They would put themselves in a position to win their conference but it would be for not as they lost on a buzzer-beater to Hamilton.

It’s clear that this is a completely different team that started the season and they’ve shown that. They’re a team that brings no surprise that they’ve wound up in this position as they have multiple guys that can get it going at any time. The Broncos defense is one of the best but they’ll need their offense in this district if they hope to go on a run.

What a few years it has been for the Grand Haven Bucs. It’s now a program that no one wants to play at any point in the season. This year could quite possibly be one of their best. They started 9-0 on the season with wins over prominent teams. A small 3-game losing streak had the Bucs reeling a bit before they bounced back to go 8-2 down the stretch. This Bucs team can score with anyone with Harrison Sorrelle leading the charge. The defense has been solid but has hurt them in their losses.

The Broncos will need to limit the Grand Haven offense as they can fill it up in a hurry. This is a Coopersville team that has let their defense keep them in games for much of the season. They’ll stay close in this one but Grand Haven will pull it out late. It could be the start of a special ride for the Bucs.

The team that moves on will have a chance to play the winner of the Reeths-Puffer and Kenowa Hills game on Wednesday. Tipoff is set for 7:00 in Coopersville.

First Round Bye: Muskegon (20-2)

What more can you say about the Big Reds. Twenty win seasons come nearly every year for this program. They have yet another group that could very well for themselves in it for the entirety of March.

Muskegon is loaded with talent led by Wayne State commit Jordan Briggs. They have the wins to back it up but they have also been tested in some tight battles this season. When you look at teams that are poised for a deep run, the Big Reds have it. They’re well-coached and don’t make many mistakes. Outside of just a few games this season, the Muskegon offense has been rolling. It’s a team that gets after it on the defensive side as well. When you look at the makeup of a team that can cut the nets down, they have it.

District Prediction:

Bracket Buster: Grand Rapids Union

This tells you all you need to say about this district. It’s a gauntlet of teams that can beat you on any given night. The Red Hawks have a few signature wins this season. If they play at their best level this week, watch out.

Dark Horse: Grand Haven

Once again, when you have a team at the caliber of the Bucs as a dark horse it says all it needs to about the district. Grand Haven has proven all year that they can play with anyone and the Bucs are hot again at the right time. If Harrison Sorrelle gets going and other guys step up, don’t be surprised to see Grand Haven holding the district championship.

Favorite: Muskegon

There’s one thing standing in the way of all these teams. A rested Big Reds team that seems intent not to let anyone spoil their season. They’re the clear favorite but there some teams that could give them fits.


Division 1, District 11 at Zeeland East (Preview by: Nate Dryer)

This District has proven to year-over-year be one of the most unpredictable in West Michigan, and again this year will be no exception to that rule. Monday presents matchups that could open up with some unpredictability & upsets and throw off the rest of the draw – Notably here, look for West Ottawa (fresh off a win over HC to close the regular season) to be a test for 15-6 Dux of Zeeland West.

Wednesday night, we’ll have live coverage of a thoroughly wide open night of semis. Hudsonville, the top seed with a bye, will be waiting for the winner of Zeeland East and Jenison. Zeeland East is the likely matchup here and the district-host Chix present some matchup problems for Coach Elliott with some significant wing scoring and size reminiscent of some past Hudsonville teams. Hudsonville is still the pick in this matchup with their depth and terrific guard play that balances a pair of capable bigs in Dykstra and VanderVeen.

The likely Wednesday matchup between Grandville and Zeeland West may be among the best matchups you can find this week. Each team bring a star 6 ‘7+ post player in Cam Regnerus (Grandville) and Merritt Alderink (ZW), along with a dangerous perimeter attack and outstanding defenses. Zeeland West won one more game during the regular season (15-6 vs.14-8), but the Bulldogs have won four-in-a-row to close the season coming out of the tough OK-Red and the X-Factor of perimeter slashing and shooting from Tyson Mann may prove to be too much for the Dux.

That would set up the ultimate rubber-match (just like in 2019) between Grandville and Hudsonville in a rivalry District Championship. Grandville took a 11-point win at home over the Eagles and Hudsonville countered by hanging on by a single point on their home floor. This is a true ‘pick-em’, but the way Grandville defended and rallied to close the gap and nearly steal a game at Hudsonville despite a bad shooting night may show some additional versatility in their attack that proves a slight difference. In this scenario, how about this story? Grandville’s upset win captures their first District crown in over 45 years after falling short in the title game last year.

Don’t like that result? Good news – they have to play the games and we’ve got a serious collection of toss-ups and classic March moments coming in District 11 at Zeeland East!


Division 1, District 12 at Middleville (Preview by: Josh Longstreth)

Monday 6:00 @ Middleville Thornapple Kellogg High School — Ottawa Hills (14-8) vs Middleville Thornapple Kellogg

Ottawa Hills comes into district play with an 8-2 record over their last ten games. The Bengals came out of the first month of play at 2-3 after playing a gauntlet of a schedule in the month of December. They started to hit their stride in January as they battled yet another grueling month in terms of schedule. It’s a team that continues to trend on the positive, however, as they battled a very good Catholic Central team in mid-February.

The Bengals have put together a heck of a season for their program. This group seems to have even loftier goals in mind given the time of year and there’s no doubt, they might just check them off. Ottawa Hills has multiple guys that can beat you and this is a group that isn’t planning their season being over any time soon.

It’s been a tough few years for the Trojans and that has been no different this season. Despite a two-game winning streak, respectively, in January, Thornapple Kellogg just hasn’t been able to keep that momentum throughout the season. But late in the season the Trojans have been able to stay within distance of some very good teams.

Each program has to start somewhere and this could be that time for Thornapple Kellogg. The Trojans some solid experience so this is a time that shouldn’t be too much for them. Limiting mistakes and finding ways to limit opponents will be key as they look to what could be a big boost for their program heading into next season if they’re able to make a run in the district.

These two have battled twice already this season in which the Bengals have taken both matchups. Thornapple Kellogg was able to make a game of their first matchup before Ottawa Hills finally pulled away. The Trojans will look to see if they can replicate some of that earlier meeting success in hopes to grab this one. This is a Bengals team that is in the midst of a very solid season, led by a group with some experience we should see them moving on in this one. The winner will battle on Wednesday against East Kentwood with a tip time of 6:00.

Monday 6:00 @ Wyoming High School — Wyoming (10-12) vs East Grand Rapids (12-10)

The Wolves faced an early schedule that would scare most teams off but Wyoming was able to nearly grab a couple of those matchups. A modest 4-game winning streak had them on a rise in early February. One of those wins came against a very good Grand Rapids Union team. Now they’ll look to see if they can make a run at a district title.

Quinton Williams is a guy for the Wolves that can go off at any minute. The Wolves have battled some of the best so they have been tested. We’ll see if they can make a splash here in March.

It was a rough start for the Pioneers in December as they got off to a slow start for the season. It would be a team that didn’t take long to get on track, however, as they started grabbing some key wins after the holiday break.

This is a Pioneer team that can beat nearly anyone if they play their brand of basketball. They come in as a bit of the underdog in the district but don’t be surprised if this is the team that turns the bracket upside down. Having a player like Simon Neuhaus certainly helps.

A lot of intrigue in this one as you can’t find a better district opening game. Both teams have their signature wins and some losses they’d like to have back. Expect the Pioneers to come out on top in what should be a great matchup. The winner will play on Wednesday against the winning of the Caledonia and Byron Center game. That will be a 7:00 tip at Thornapple Kellogg.

Monday 6:00 @ Caledonia High School — Caledonia (7-15) vs Byron Center (12-10)

It’s been an interesting season for the Fighting Scots. It has been a group that has a signature win in every month this season but they just haven’t been able to keep any sort of momentum. Outside of a modest 2-game winning streak earlier in the year, Caledonia is still looking to see if they can finally put it all together. Better late than never.

This is a team that is much better than their record indicates. They’ve gone toe to toe with some of the best and have been in nearly every game this season.  The Fighting Scots could be a team that does some dancing this March.

Byron Center picked up some big wins to start their season as started the campaign at 4-0. A brutal January threatened some of that momentum as the Bulldogs played some of the best teams in the area nearly every night. But Byron Center battled in all of those games and nearly pulled off a couple upset bids. This is a group that can get it going on any given night.

The Bulldogs are much better than what their records says. They have the wins to prove that and have taken some others right to the wire. We’ll see of they can put the pieces together to grab a district title.

Another great battle in store for this district in what should be a tightly contested game. The two met earlier in the season with the Bulldogs pulling away. Expect Byron Center to do the same but it won’t come easy against a stingy Scots team.

First Round Bye: East Kentwood (16-6)

Not much has derailed the Falcons season. After a tough few seasons East Kentwood has put a tremendous season together. The Falcons come in playing some of their best basketball of the season by going 7-3 over their last ten.

This is a team that can generate turnovers and jump on you in a hurry. It’s a fairly young but talented team.The question here is will they be able to handle late game situations. They’ve had their share of late game battles but this time of year is a different animal. Not a lot seems to bother this group and they should be poised to make a deep tournament run.

East Kentwood will take on the winner of the Ottawa Hills and Thornapple Kellogg game on Wednesday at 5:30 in Middleville.

District Prediction:

Bracket Buster: Byron Center

Not many expect the Bulldogs to make a run here but they have some guys that might just have something to say about that. Byron Center has competed all year and has some solid wins to show for it. Tread lightly with these guys.

Dark Horse: Ottawa Hills

A team that is battle tested and has a lot to show for it. They’re well coached and in the midst of a very successful season. Teams will have to jump on them early in hopes of knocking them off.

Favorite: East Kentwood

It’s been an impressive season for the Falcons. In one of tougher district brackets, they’ll have their work cut out for them. But it’s a team that looks to be made for this time.


Division 2, District 43 at Godwin Heights (Preview by: Hudson Harkness)

The quest for the Breslin starts Monday night for six Grand Rapids area teams in the gym of Godwin Heights. The bracket is based on MPR, Michigan Power Rating, produced by the MHSAA. The top two teams receive a bye and play on Wednesday against the winners of the two Monday night games which were drawn at random.

In Division 2- District 43, the 1-seed is Grand Rapids Catholic Central. Catholic Central is looking for their 7th straight District title, the Cougars have the build to continue their dominance in not only the area but in the state. Grand Rapids Catholic Central comes into postseason play with a 16-6 record and an MPR of .609. In the month of February the Cougars put up a 7-2 record while putting up 73.4 PPG and only giving up 59.8 PPG. GRCC has played one of the toughest schedules in division 2 with an opponent win percentage that ranks at 27th in the division. They are led by Mr. Basketball finalist, KK Brown. Throughout the season, Brown put his mark in Catholic Central history, becoming the school’s all-time leader in points, steals, made field-goals, and made 3’s. Catholic Central will be set up for another big run in the postseason if they are able to get out of this district will no hiccups.

The 2-seed of this district is Wyoming Lee. The Legends have a 19-1 record with a .591 MPR. Lee finished the regular season on a 12-game win streak, with the most recent loss being a one-point game to Charlotte on January 16th. During the win streak the Legends are scoring 76 PPG while giving up 53. Joe Russau and Ny’Zhem Marshall have been a big part of the Lee season, averaging double-digit points and rebounds. There is no doubt that Lee has been playing well as of recent with 12 straight wins, but their strength of schedule is the biggest question mark for the Legends with an opponent’s winning percentage of .461. That will be something to watch during the Legends’ game on Wednesday against the winner of Godwin Heights and Kelloggsville.

Godwin Heights comes into the postseason with a 12-7 record and MPR of .560. The Wolverines have been 5-5 in their last 10 games, which include a triple OT loss to Sparta and another OT loss to Sparta. Over the last 5, they are putting 69.4 on the scoreboard and only giving up 65. Jakary Towns has been a standout player for the Wolverines all season and is only expected to get better when the lights get brighter. The Wolverines will face off with Kelloggsville. The Rockets sit with a 2-20 record and a .433 MPR. Kelloggsville struggled during the month of February only picking up one win, that being against the only team below them in the OK Silver, Belding. They finished the regular season with a 48-point loss to Covenant Christian. Kelloggsville and Godwin Heights have already stepped on the floor together twice this season with the Wolverines winning both by an average of 26 points. I see Godwin Heights pulling off another big win over Kelloggsville to move them into the district semi-finals against Wyoming Lee. Kelloggsville just does not have the offensive fire power that Godwin Heights brings to a game, especially between teams that are familiar with each other’s games already, this game will be about who is able to go on those extended runs and Heights should have that advantage.

Catholic Central will be waiting for the winner of Allendale v. Hudsonville Unity Christian. Unity Christian comes into Monday’s matchup with a 13-9 record and MPR of .559. The Crusaders finished tied for 2nd in the OK Blue. In the last 10 games Unity Christian holds a record of 7-3 while averaging 53.4 points on the offensive side and only giving up 48.1 on the defensive end. Unity Christian will face off with the lowest ranked MPR team in the district, Allendale, who comes into Monday’s game with a 2-20 record and MPR of .404. Although the Falcons have only two wins on the season, they have started to play teams tough as of recently, including 4 of their last 9 games ending in OT, with 1 win, and out of those 9 games 6 of them have been within 10-points. Looking at the first game of the double-header between Unity Christian and Allendale, the two teams faced off twice during the regular season which resulted in 2-wins for the Crusaders, but only by 6 on the January 24th meeting and on the February 21st meeting 4-points separated the teams. I see Unity Christian picking up win number three against Allendale on Monday. Yes, the Falcons have played well recently, but they have not been able to close out the close games. I fully expect this to be another shoot-out but having Unity Christian pull out the win and face off with Catholic Central on Wednesday.

With the prediction of Unity Christian taking down Allendale on Monday, to face with Catholic Central on Wednesday. Unity Christian would be coming off a win against Allendale for the 3rd time this season, the Crusaders will be riding high picking up their 7th win in 8 games, but they will have to face off with the most dominant school in Grand Rapids in recent memory, GR Catholic Central. I see the dominance of Catholic Central continuing at the district level and taking down Unity Christian. The Cougars have played a tough schedule all season and have played some of the top teams in the state close. Unity Christian will not be able to keep pace with the play of KK Brown and Phat Phat Brooks for CC, pushing them to yet another district finals.

Wyoming Lee will be waiting for the host, Godwin Heights. This is a great opportunity for the first upset of the district, according to MPR. The Wolverines are going to turn to their star, Jakary Towns to put them on his back, and Towns has that capability to propel Godwin Heights to the finals on the home floor. The reason for the Legends falling is due to the simple fact that they have not played a close game since February 10th when they got a three-point win over Tri-Unity Christian, a team that finished with a 16-6 record. The Wolverines will pick up the win and move onto Friday’s district finals game on their home floor against Grand Rapids Catholic Central.

With the district finals set between the host, Godwin Heights and GR Catholic Central, there will be a lot of hype behind the game. Will Godwin Heights upset the powerhouse of Grand Rapids? Or will Catholic Central take home their 7th straight district title? The answer will be, Catholic Central will take home yet another district title and move to regional play. The Cougars have too much star power on their team with Brown and Brooks, and then add on the recent surge of junior Carter Meerman, Catholic Central is lined up for another title. The Wolverines will put up a tough fight but, in the end, will come up short on their home floor.

MSR Pick for Division 2- District 43: Grand Rapids Catholic Central Cougars


Division 2, District 35 at Big Rapids (Preview by: Hudson Harkness)

The quest for the Breslin starts Monday night for six Northern West Michigan teams in the gym of Big Rapids. District 35 consists of four teams ranked inside the top-20 of the Division 2 MPR. The bracket is based on MPR, Michigan Power Rating, produced by the MHSAA. The top two teams receive a bye and play on Wednesday against the winners of the two Monday night games which were drawn at random.  

The top-seeded Hart Pirates get a first round bye. The Pirates finished the regular season with a 22-0 record and an MPR of .621. Hart won a conference title for the first time in 60-years. In the final month of the regular season, Hart averaged 64.8 points on the offensive side and gave up 36.8 a game. The #16 ranked team in the division have taken down one team this district already this season, but the rest of their schedule is a concern on if they have faced tough enough opponents, especially in a district as strong as this one. They have an opponent’s win percentage of .492. The Pirates have been led by Parker Hovey all year. The senior guard averages a triple-double and has dominated opponents all season.  

2nd seeded Cadillac looks to stay hot going into the postseason. The Vikings finished the season with an 18-4 record and an MPR of .647. In the past 10 games, Cadillac has 7-3 record including three wins against teams in this district. During that stretch they averaged 58.4 points while giving up 45. The 3 losses at the end of the season came from the 2nd and 3rd place finishers in the Big North Conference, Traverse City Central and Petoskey, along with a loss to the 4th ranked team in the state, according to MPR, Grand Blanc. The Vikings finished the regular season as the 5th ranked team in division two, per MPR. Cadillac has stepped up big all season in close games and have had success against opponents in this district, so it would be no surprise if they were able to pull out a district title. 

The first matchup of District 35 is host, Big Rapids taking on Ludington. The CSAA regular season and post season championships come into the game with a 19-2 record and a .625 MPR, while being ranked 10th in division 2. The 2 losses on the Cardinals record come to district opponents, Hart, and Cadillac. In the final 10-games of the Big Rapids regular season they had a 9-1 record all while scoring 63.9 PPG and giving up 47.3 points. On the other bench is Ludington. The Orioles have a 20-2 record with an MPR of .621. They finished the regular season as co-champions of the West Michigan Lakes Conference and the #15 ranked team in division 2, according to MPR. In the last 10 games for Ludington they have an 8-2 record with losses to Cadillac and Whitehall. During those 10 games they are averaging 72.5 PPG and allowing 56.2 PPG. I see Big Rapids getting the win in this matchup. The Dunn twins for the Cardinals have stood out all season, Mason (#4) and Dawson (#2) are nearly automatic on their home floor, all while being exceptional on the defensive end. The Orioles have had a phenomenal year, led by David Shillinger but with the Dunn twins being able to shoot the lights out in their home gym and making big stops on defense, they should come out with the shoot-out win to move on and face Hart in Wednesday’s semi-final. 

On the flip side of the bracket is the matchup between two CSAA rivals, Reed City and Chippewa Hills. Reed City ended the season with a 13-9 record and a .543 MPR. The Coyotes are 6-4 in the last 10 games, one of the losses being a forfeit. Excluding the forfeit, Reed City is scoring +2.4 PPG margin during those 9 games. Chippewa Hills finished the regular season with a 10-11 record and a .458 MPR. The Warriors had a 7th place finish in the CSAA, ending the season on a 3-game losing streak. Down the stretch the Warriors had a record of 3-6. They were a -6.9 PPG margin during that time. I see Reed City dominating this game and picking up the win. In the only matchup of the season between these two teams, the Coyotes got the 14-point win. That game did occur in early January, but with the recent results of the two teams, Reed City should be able to pick up another double-digit point win. Xavier Allen brings a strong defensive presence to Reed City along with being able to score inside. Chippewa Hills has not been able to get shots to fall recently and I do not see this changing on Monday night. Reed City will move onto the semi-finals against Cadillac.  

Hart and Big Rapids will square off on Wednesday night for a shot to go to the district finals, according to prediction. The teams met earlier in the season, December 15th, which resulted in a Hart win 92-84. That game took place took place on the Pirates home floor; this one would take place in Big Rapids. This game really is a toss-up. At the moment, both teams are playing their best basketball of the season and with the closeness of the last meeting, this could go anyway. I have Hart pulling off the win for the 2nd time this season. The Dunn twins will continue to shoot lights out but the absolute dominance of Parker Hovey all season will continue and he will power the Pirates to a district title appearance.  

The other semi-final will have Reed City trying to upset 2nd seeded Cadillac. The Vikings and Coyotes squared off on Valentine’s Day which resulted in a 21-point victory for Cadillac. I expect this game to be more of the same. Cadillac guard, Jaden Montague, will continue to ball. Montague has been clutch for the Vikings all season and he will step up again against Reed City to move Cadillac to the district finals to meet up with Hart. The effort from Allen and company will not be enough to upset the #5 team in division two. 

The district 35 is set by prediction between Hart and Cadillac. The top-two seeds in the district reach the finals due to their stars making big plays in big moments. For the Vikings that is Jaden Montague hitting shots late in the game to tilt the score in favor of Cadillac. For the Pirates it is Parker Hovey averaging his triple double and not giving opponents the opportunity to keep the game close. In this game Hart will see their historic season come to an end. Cadillac has been challenged all season with a tougher schedule with an opponent’s win percentage of .603 versus the Hart OW% of .492. Hart will keep it close but the experience in close games for Cadillac will pay the difference.  

MSR Pick for Division 2- District 35: Cadillac Vikings 


Division 2, District 45 at Plainwell (Preview by: Josh Longstreth)

Monday 5:30 @ Plainwell High School — Hastings (9-13) VS Kentwood Grand River Prep (5-9)

The Saxons started their season off at 4-1 before a turbulent January took a toll on them. They would go 3-7 over that time but would get back on track at one point by winning 3 in a row. It’s a team that has shown they can play with the top teams and they’ll look to do so again to make a run at a district title.

Hastings is an experienced team that can create some obstacles for offenses. Their defense has been able to keep them in most of the games they’ve played this year. This is another program that seems to be trending in the right direction after a few down seasons.

It’s been a roller coaster of a ride for the Titans. The last few years has been hard on the program as they continue to try and get headed back in the direction. This season was no different as they struggled to stay in ball games.

That will be the case with young teams and Grand River Prep is certainly that, young. They have just two seniors on the current roster. Luckily, the young guys have a chance to show what they’re made of and sometimes that’s when the stars come through.

Both teams will look rejuvenated as they have another shot at life in the playoffs. Hastings has some impressive wins this season and has shown they can compete with the best. Look for the Titans to try and grab the momentum early. It just won’t be enough. The Saxons should be able to wear down Grand River Prep and cruise.

The winner of the battle will have a chance at South Christian on Wednesday. That will be a 5:30 tip from Plainwell High School.

Monday 7:00 @ Plainwell High School — Wayland (11-11) VS Plainwell (11-11)

Wayland came into the season building a ton of momentum. They were able to knock off both Hopkins and Hamilton in the first month. Things would fall apart a bit as they would at one point lose 5 in a row when the calendar turned to 2023. They were able to put together a 4-game win streak right after but would end the season losing five of their last six. The Wildcats now look to see if they can find the success they had in a couple of different points in the season.

This has been a really solid season for Wayland as they have really struggled the past few seasons. It is a team that has been able to get off to quick starts at times. This is a team that is experienced so this point in the season shouldn’t be a burden for the Wildcats.

The Trojans came out in the early goings of the season and really got off to quick start. Once they hit the meat of their schedule things would turn a bit, however. The latter part of the schedule hasn’t been as kind to them but it’s a team has taken some of the best deep into ball games.

This is a veteran group and it’s this point in the season where that really pays off for teams. If their defense can keep them in it until late, they’ll have shot. The offense will have to help out though as they’ve struggled to score late in the season.

Plainwell will need to keep things close early on as Wayland should look to jump on them in a hurry. The Wildcats have had moments in the season where they’ve looked like a completely different team. Expect them to look like that team again in this one. They have a trio of guys that can hurt you and that will be too much for the Trojans to handle.

As you keep moving on this time of year, every team you face moving forward is dangerous. The winner will be looking at just that as they will take on Otsego Wednesday night at 7:00 in Plainwell.

First Round Bye: Grand Rapids South Christian (19-3)

It’s a storied program that just keeps putting successful seasons together and this year has been no different. It was tough in the early going, however, as the Sailors left December with just a 3-2 record after tight losses to Grand Rapids Christian and Northview. They would take a Grand Rapids Catholic Central team deep in the game but couldn’t pull out the win in their first meeting. Then a switch flipped as South Christian has now won 10 in a row since that loss. That includes dominant wins over solid teams including the aforementioned Catholic Central.

You may not find a team playing better basketball right now and this is one that has the makings of being able to make a deep run to Breslin. It’s a roster that has the makeups of a state champion in Sam Medendorp, Carson Vis, Jake DeHaan and Jake Vermaas. Don’t be surprised if the Sailors do some net-cutting this March.

South Christian will take on the winner of Hastings and Grand River Prep matchup on Wednesday at 5:30 in Plainwell.

First Round Bye: Otsego (17-4)

Another storied program that just keeps rolling every year. The Bulldogs couldn’t have asked for a better start to this season as they started 5-0. They would lose a tight battle to Marshall and go 7-0 right after. Otsego would stub their toe in February by going 3-3 at one point but finished the season with a sixth-straight conference championship.

This is a team that is battle tested. Outside of just one game on the year, they have been close in all of their losses. They’re an experienced group with a lot of size that can get it done both offensively and defensively. They’ll look to see if they can get over the district title hump now.

The Bulldogs will take on the winner of the Wayland and Plainwell game on Wednesday night. That game is slated for a 7:00 start in Plainwell.

District Prediction:

Bracket Buster: Wayland

Let’s be clear, this is a very solid Wildcats team. They’ve had both the winning and losing streaks. If they can find that momentum again, this is a talented team that can break a lot of hearts in March.

Dark Horse: Otsego

You wouldn’t even call the Bulldogs a dark horse here. They have the make of a team that doesn’t plan on going home anytime soon. One thing stands in the way, respectively, a Sailors team that is firing on all cylinders at the moment.

Favorite: South Christian

There’s no denying this one, this is a team that has battled through a tough schedule all year. They have the make of a team that has to be one of the favorites to make it to the Breslin center. Experience and their talent will pay off here.