The Regular Season Concludes with a Packed Friday: Hoops on MSR Preview


By: Nate Dreyer


The O-K Conference will have champions crowned, the boys will have districts next up and the girls will only have a final week of tune-ups after Friday night in Michigan HS basketball. It is the final double header of the season and any undecided conference champions will be set across west Michigan, with several big time match-ups live, right here, on MI Sports Radio.


Catholic Central Looks to Secure O-K Gold Sweep


For the first time since 2016 (2016!) Catholic Central’s boys lost a home game on Tuesday, as they fell to Ottawa Hills 74-63. The C.C. boys still control their own destiny for a solo conference crown, as they hold a one game lead at 12-1 in the league over South Christian headed into Friday night. The Cougars draw Wayland on their home floor, as GRCC will mostly be hoping to get the services of future Michigan Wolverine Durral Brooks back, after his nagging injury he’s been nursing over the past month held him out of the lineup in Tuesday’s loss. 


If the Cougar boys are able to defeat Coach Jasinksi’s struggling 3-18 Wildcats, they will have the solo conference championship. The boys contest leads off the night and will be followed with a hotly-anticipated girls game, with the O-K Gold truly being up-in-the-air heading into the final game of the season. 


The GRCC girls sit at 12-1 in the O-K Gold one game in the loss column ahead of Wayland, so the stakes are immensely clear. A Catholic Central win and they can help pull off the likely double solo conference championships for their entire program. But, a Wayland road win will give the Wildcat girls a share of that conference title, IF they are able to also win their makeup game still on the table with Cedar Springs. The last time these two met, it was an utter classic, with the Cougars winning 51-50… Expect another thriller with everything on the line Friday.


Live coverage begins on MSR from Catholic Central High School at 5:40 pm, with boys tip-off at 6 pm, and the girls to follow at approximately 7:30!


Byron Center Looks to Continue Hot Stretch vs. FHN


No team in west Michigan has been playing as well, with the amount of marquee wins, down the stretch as Byron Center’s boys. Coach Joe Rodriguez’s team had been slumping and trying to find their groove with a highly-talented team at around the half-way point of the season… They found that groove now.


The Bulldogs have won 10 straight after previously sitting at 6-5, in that run they have beaten both Grand Rapids Christian and Northview. It was a tight 2-point loss to Northview for BC the first time around in what currently is Byron Center’s last loss of the season, directly leading into the streak.Tuesday, BC picked up a 5-point win over the Wildcats to avenge the loss and keep the streak rolling.


Star junior Camden Karel and the Bulldogs will have one last test before they tip off one of the toughest districts in the state in division one next week, as they host senior night vs. Forest Hills Northern. The Huskies are looking for one last shot in the arm before they start up district play on Monday, after they have lost 3-straight over the past 2 weeks. 


The first meeting between the Bulldogs and Huskies went to OT, with Byron Center winning that one 63-59, so this will be a good litmus test of where each team is relative to that headed into the MHSAA tournament. Our live coverage starts at 5:30 pm with the boys tipping off first, and the girls (featuring the already O-K White Champion Bulldogs) following that up at a projected 7:00pm tip-off! 


Coopersville and West Catholic Tune-Up Before Districts


After a heart-breaking loss last Friday to Unity Christian, the Coopersville boys have now set their sights on doing damage in a loaded division one district that they are set to play in next week. The Broncos are likely staring right at needing to take down Rockford and Northview in the district, after a Monday meeting with Kenowa Hills to open things. 


The experienced Broncos led by players like senior big-man Gabe VanSickle and senior wing Porter Kretschman will take on West Catholic for one final tune-up Friday, after they were able to defeat Allendale Tuesday and get back on the right track after Friday’s UC loss. 


The girls game to follow, also live on MSR, features a West Catholic team who is now 19-1 on the year, with their only loss coming to D1 reigning champion Rockford. The Falcons are looking for 2024 to be their breakthrough year at the Breslin Center, and a wealth of size, athleticism, and experience puts them in a perfect spot for Head Coach Jill VanderEnde to do so. 


Coverage begins at 5:40pm, with boys tipping-off at 6:00pm,and the girls following that at approximately 7:30 on senior night at Coopersville.


Central Montcalm Girls Play Final Game Before CSAA Tourney


The Central Montcalm girls currently sit at 8-11 on the season and will look for one final boost before heading into CSAA Conference and MHSAA tournament play over the next two weeks. The Hornets host Reec City on Friday, live on MSR. Reed City sits at 7-2 in the conference and tied with Kent City for 3rd-place one game back of Grant and Morley-Stanwood’s leading 8-1 mark. So, they will be looking for a road win to try and steal the regular season title and help with seeding before next week’s conference tourney. 


Live coverage begins at 6:35pm, with live video coverage of the 7:00pm game!


To wrap up this week’s preview, let’s take a quick look at the League Title races across the O-K conference before the final night of action!


O-K Red


Boys: The Rockford will again be the champions of the O-K Red, the lone question is if it will be a solo or shared title, with East Kentwood one game back of Rockford’s 12-1 mark. The Rams travel to Jenison with a win giving them the crown and the Falcons have Grand Haven.


Girls: It’s Rams vs. Falcons here as well, where the Rockford girls also have a one game lead on the Falcons by the same 12-1 vs 11-2 records as the boys. So, same odds here, a Rockford win and they are the solo champs, EK needs help from the Wildcats plus a win over GH to share. 


*O-K Red Programming Note: Grandville and Hudsonville close their seasonwith a rivalry DH at Grandville, the GAME NIGHT crew is off Friday with other scheduled commitments. The Grandville AV students have been supplying our team their terrific video feed all season, and you can check out their feed through the Grandville Athletics YouTube – We’ll have it linked through the MGN on MI Sports Radio Affiliate page.


O-K Green


Boys: Reeths-Puffer and Muskegon have each only lost once in league play this year, it was to each other. So if both win or lose on Friday, the conference will be shared, otherwise if they split the winning half of the split will be champion. Muskegon plays Wyoming and Reeths-Puffer has Zeeland West, a game that the Rockets won by only two the first time around…


Girls: With a perfect 13-0 league record heading into Friday and a 2-game lead, the Muskegon Big Reds ladies have locked-up the 2024 O-K Green solo championship.


O-K Blue


Boys: With the double head-to-head advantage over Coopersville and a perfect conference season going into Friday, Scott Soodsma’s Unity Christian Crusaders have won a solo O-K Blue title.


Girls: The West Catholic girls have also locked up the league early, all to themselves, they play Coopersville Friday looking for a perfect conference season.


O-K Gold


Boys: The loss to Union shook things up some on Tuesday, GRCC now has just a one game lead going into Friday. If they win vs. Wayland, they will deliver a solo conference title for Coach Meerman. An upset C.C. loss and South Christian win vs. Kenowa Hills will lead to a shocking final week shared title between the rivals. 


Girls: The GRCC girls sit one game ahead of Wayland at 12-1 vs. 11-2. They play head-to-head, if GRCC wins that game they will hold the outright title, a Wayland win AND and Wayland win in their forthcoming make-up game vs. Cedar Springs will mean a share of the title. 


O-K White


Boys: Grand Rapids Christian holds a two-game lead over Northview and Byron Center, and the Eagles have won the outright title a night early. Quite the accomplishment in maybe the area’s toughest boys basketball league in 2024.


Girls: The Byron Center ladies have also wrapped things up early here, as they hold a two-game lead over Northview and EGR before play Friday.


O-K Silver


Boys: Godwin Heights and 1st-year coach Bernard Varnesdeel have a 2-game lead over Sparta going into Friday, and the Wolverines are O-K Silver champions for 2024.


Girls: Things are entirely up-in-the air here like in the O-K green for the boys. Northpointe Christian and Calvin Christian are each 12-1 in the league headed into Friday and things could lead to a shared title or go either way. Northpointe Christian plays 7th-place Godwin Heights, while Calvin Christian takes on the league’s 4th-placed team, Hopkins. 


Hard to believe we’ve already made it to the end of the regular season and the best month of the year is here! The MHSAA postseason starts Monday night with a ton of incredible action from all the biggest districts on MSR!


Check back in later this weekend for an article going over some Friday results and previewing some of what;s coming up next week on!