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Holiday Hoops 2008

Game Results

Laingsburg (55) vs. Ithaca (39)
Eaton Rapids (66) vs. Grandville (59) OT
Flint Beecher (39) vs Traverse City St Francis (62)
Lansing Eastern (52) vs. Cadillac (61)
Grand Ledge (56) vs. Detroit Country Day (82)
Fowler (31) vs. Pewamo-Westphalia (56)


Download the 2008 program

Team Photos

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Most Outstanding Player

  • Ben Simons- Cadillac
  • All-Tourney Team

  • Christian Marble- Ithaca
  • Dillon Bates- Laingsburg
  • Alex Gauna- Eaton Rapids
  • Spencer Nabors- Grandville
  • Holden Greiner- Traverse City St. Francis
  • Kevin Matiere- Flint Beecher
  • Rico Stewart- Lansing Eastern
  • Ben Simons- Cadillac
  • Ray McCallum- Detroit Country Day
  • Jon Horford- Grand Ledge
  • Bryant Schmitt- Pewamo-Westphalia
  • Devon Feldpausch- Fowler

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  • Pirates prevail in CMAC pairing
  • Country Day outruns Comets in 82-56 win
  • Hartland firm a prep TV hub When We Were Young, MHSAA to produce broadcasts
  • Eaton Rapids holds off Grandville
  • Country Day can't lose
  • Eastern falls short at Holiday Hoops
  • Tough Country Day squad awaits G.L. at Holiday Hoops invite
  • Pirates getting ready for holiday hoops
  • Cool matchups for Holiday Hoops
  • Team Capsules

    By Stephen Bell
    Bankhoops.com and Blog.mlive.com/highschoolbasketball


    Ithaca returns a number of experienced players from an 18-5 team that won the TVC West.

    "We only return one senior, so we're inexperienced, but we're tall and long," Ithaca coach Bob Anderson said.

    6-foot-7 junior Creed Stapleton and 6-3 junior Christian Marble both started as sophomores. Stapleton actually played guard last season, but now finds himself inside, where Anderson calls him a "lazy dunker" because he extends and finishes so easily. Stapleton will be looked upon to carry the scoring of the graduated Kyle Oosterhoff and Cory Radak, while Marble is the team's defensive stalwart. 6-4 junior Darin Wideman start at center for the Yellowjackets, while 6-3 junior Alex Oosterhoff plays in the backcourt alongside a sophomore point guard, 6-2 Luke Capen.


    The Wolfpack is looking to improve on its 2008 sixth-place finishes in the CMAC, one of the state's tougher small-school leagues. To that end Laingsburg returns its two leading scorers, 6-foot-2 senior Klinton Koonter, a standout quarterback this fall for the Wolfpack's playoff football team, and 5-11 junior Dillon Barnes, who was the starting point guard as a sophomore. Key returning seniors are 6-4 Nathan Barnes and Eric Silvernail. More size comes with 6-6 junior Nico Rios.

    Eaton Rapids

    This season is coach Adam Trumpour's first at Eaton Rapids. Making the transition easier for the former Webberville coach is the presence of one of the state's elite college prospects, 6-foot-9 junior Alex Gauna. A skilled offensive big man being recruited by the likes of Indiana and Xavier, Gauna is developing the total package.

    "Alex has really worked on his defense, moving laterally and getting out to guard guys outside the paint," Trumpour said.

    But this won't be a one-man team. Rangy 6-1 senior Austin Smith is a defensive presence at point guard. Garrett Webb, a first-team all-leaguer in the CAAC Gold last season, is a senior lefty who can play all five positions. 5-11 junior John Morgan is another strong perimeter defender, and 6-4 senior Bryant Siegrist has a wingspan and ups around the basket.


    The Bulldogs are building their program with a young coach, second-year man Kyle Vanderwall, and a young team, with two sophomore and two junior starters.

    "Our talent level is better this year," Vanderwall said. "We're pretty athletic."

    Grandville's returning starters are 6-foot-1 sophomore Jacob Blauwkamp, a standout shooter, and 6-6 junior Nate Allspach, whose post footwork and finishing moves have improved.

    Joining Blauwkamp on the perimeter are two good athletes in James Nabors, a 6-0 sophomore, and Spencer Nabors, a 6-0 junior. When Grandville needs more size it can turn to Collin DeHaan, a 6-9 junior.

    Flint Beecher

    Beecher is no stranger to the Breslin Center, having lost to Kalamazoo Christian in the 2008 Class C state final. Two starters return from that squad, leading scorer and rebounder Taron Boose, a 6-foot-3 junior, and 5-10 senior point guard Janero Walker.

    "Janero's the glue for this team," Beecher coach Mike Walker said.

    The other player with championship game experience is D'Marius Houston.

    "He can play guard and forward," Walker said. "He can shoot and he's athletic. D'Marius is one of our go-to guys."

    6-2 Ishmael Briden will have an expanded role as a senior.

    After the experience of those four, the Buccaneers get green quickly. They'll depend on two freshmen, 6-4 DeVonta Hawkins and Antwan Burks. Hawkins is a long-armed shooter, while Burks proved his varsity mettle starting at quarterback for Beecher's playoff football team.

    Traverse City St. Francis

    Many of St. Francis' players are fresh off winning the Division 7 football state title, and there's a possibility they could get a basketball championship as well. Veteran first-year coach Dave Ginsberg has inherited a lot of talent in the North Country. The Gladiators have two three-year senior starters who have been their high scorers the last two years, leading them Lake Michigan Conference crown in 2008. Holden Grenier, who signed with Division I Lehigh, is a tough matchup at 6-foot-8 with guard skills, while 6-2 Corey Williams, the quarterback of that championship football team, is St. Francis' best shooter and can score inside, as well.

    The seniors are joined by the likes of 6-3 junior Max Bullough, a future Michigan State football player; 6-4 junior Ian Sheldon, the leading scorer for an unbeaten JV team; physical 6-2 junior point guard Luke Popp; and Pedro Nobre, a 6-8 exchange student from Brazil.


    The Vikings return four of their top six players from last year, chief among them 6-foot-7 senior Ben Simons, who signed with Drake. Simons is a big-time shooter, but has grown his offensive arsenal.

    "Ben's gotten stronger, so he's improved taking the ball to the basket and using his body to score inside," Cadillac coach Jeff McDonald said. "Hopefully that will help him get to the line more."

    Other key seniors for Cadillac are 6-0 point guard Jeff Bruggema, much improved according to McDonald, and 6-2 forward Ryan Lalone. 6-3 junior forward Clay Comstock will also start.

    "We have some size, which we didn't last year, and we're fairly deep," McDonald said.

    Lansing Eastern

    Lansing Eastern is a program on the rise in coach Rod Watts' second season. It helps to have players, of course, and the Quakers have a legit one in 6-6 sophomore LaDontae Henton. He was the rare player to make Associated Press Class A all-state as a freshman, as Eastern's top scorer and rebounder last season.

    "LaDontae has done everything we've asked," Watts said. "He's improved his ball-handling, he's improved his shooting. He's even improved his defense, but I don't think any coach is every satisfied on that end."

    As talented as the sophomore is, Eastern's lynchpin is 5-8 senior Rico Stewart.

    "It's amazing what a summer together can do for a coach and a point guard," Watts said. "Rico's become the leader of this team," Watts said.

    Two more standout guards for the Quakers are 6-0 junior Cameron Sanchez, who can defend, pass and knock down shots, and 6-0 senior B.J. Foy, an outstanding athlete who was an all-league football player.

    Detroit Country Day

    Country Day is no stranger to playing at the Breslin Center. The Yellowjackets beat Wyoming Park at last year's Holiday Hoops Invitational and won the Class B state championship on this floor in 2007. The odds are good that this won't be their last trip here this season, either. Country Day has the tallest and most talented team in the state.

    The biggest of them is 6-foot-11 senior DaShonte Riley, the state's leading shot-blocker as a junior.

    "He's gotten stronger, so now he's more of an offensive presence in the post," said coach Kurt Keener, who has won seven state titles at Country Day.

    The power forward is 6-8 senior Donnavan Kirk, a Miami-Fla. signee who Keener calls a poor man's Al Horford because of his energy level. On the wing is 6-6 senior Jordan Dumars, who signed with Big East school South Florida, the teams' best shooter. The best athlete is 6-2 senior Bennie Fowler, a Michigan State football signee and state champion long jumper.

    Holding all that talent together is 6-1 Ray McCallum, a junior all-American who moved from Bloomington, Ind. Keener pays him the ultimate compliment when he compares the way McCallum prepares and approaches the game to Shane Battier, who won three Michigan state championships at Country Day.

    Grand Ledge

    Country Day may have a poor man's Horford, but Grand Ledge has a real one. 6-foot-9 junior Jon Horford is the younger brother of Al, the former Grand Ledge player who won two NCAA titles with Florida and now stars for the Atlanta Hawks. Comets coach Tony Sweet said whereas Al was an aggressive, dirty-work post player, Jon approaches the game with more finesse, and is a better shooter.

    Horford is one of two returning starters for Grand Ledge who is recovering from a knee injury. The other is 6-5 senior Mason Maurer.

    Joe Estrada is the third returning starter, a 6-4 senior point guard who had a stellar 2-to-1 assist-turnover ratio as a junior. 6-0 Tony Wieber, a Michigan State baseball signee, provides some athleticism in the backcourt.


    Fowler has two dangerous, experienced guards in seniors Travis Thelen and Zach Schmidt, both 5-foot-10 three-year starters.

    "They're very versatile," second-year Fowler coach Paul Hungerford said. "They're fairly good on-ball defenders, and they can score in bunches."

    6-2 senior Devon Feldpausch is another versatile athlete, who can play the point all the way up through power forward.

    "We're going to start with a four-guard lineup," Hungerford said. "We have a gamut of big guys, 6-2 to 6-4, and for or five guys will split time with that role."


    The Pirates have the two most important spots on the floor covered point guard and center. 6-foot senior Kaleb Thelen is back as a third-year starting playmaker. This pure point guard's counterpart in the paint is 6-3, 260-pound senior Bryant Schmidt.

    "Bryant was an all-state football player, but he's a good basketball player too," Pewamo-Westphalia coach Luke Pohl said. "He's good on his feet at that size, and has a nice post game."

    More size comes from 6-5 senior Ion Mason. Seniors Ryan and Adam Pohl, the coach's nephews, round out the Pirates' starting lineup.

    Game previews

    By Stephen Bell
    Bankhoops.com and Blog.mlive.com/highschoolbasketball

    11 a.m. Ithaca vs. Laingsburg

    It's always a cool moment when two Mid-Michigan teams can take center court at Michigan State.

    "This is a great opportunity for us, to be able to represent the community of Ithaca," Ithaca coach Bob Anderson said.

    "It should be a good matchup," Laingsburg coach Greg Mitchell said. "We want to get out and run, so it could be a clash of styles."

    Ithaca will look to take advantage of its size. If it gets into a halfcourt affair, long and skilled 6-foot-7 Yellowjackets sophomore Creed Stapleton could prove a tough matchup. But the 'Jackets start a sophomore, 6-2 Luke Capen, at point guard, and inexperience could be an issue this early.

    "We should improve by the second half of the season," Anderson said.

    While youth is a concern for Ithaca, talent isn't. Both the varsity and JV teams won 18 games a year ago.

    12:30 p.m. Eaton Rapids vs. Grandville

    Grandville's task will be to slow down Alex Gauna, Eaton Rapids' gifted 6-9 junior.

    "We know we're going to see some junk defenses this year," Eaton Rapids coach Adam Trumpour said. "We need the other guys to make the right plays when Alex is double- or triple-teamed."

    Gauna is a tough cover because he doesn't just sit on the blocks and wait for the balls. This year he won't just be setting screens like most high school big men, but coming off them as well to take advantage of his outside shooting.

    With Gauna, 6-1 senior Austin Smith, 6-2 senior Garrett Webb, 6-4 senior Bryant Seigrist and 5-11 junior John Morgan, the Greyhounds have the athletes to play the defense Trumpour envisions.

    "We want to be tough to score on, and hold them to one shot," Trumpour said. "We want to develop a defensive reputation at Eaton Rapids."

    Grandville's strength is on the perimeter, with 6-0 junior Spencer Nabors, 6-1 sophomore Jacob Blauwkamp and 6-0 sophomores James Nabors.

    "We have three guards who can run and jump, and that should help us play uptempo when we have the ball," Vanderwall said.

    2 p.m. Flint Beecher vs. Traverse City St. Francis

    St. Francis, the Division 7 football champion, is also a vogue pick for Class C come March. Here's a chance to test itself early against a program that's already made it nearly to the top three times in the last decade. Beecher was Class C runner-up in 2008 and 2003, and in 2000 second in Class B. The Buccaneers return their leading scorer and rebounder from the most recent finalist, 6-3 junior Taron Bose, as well as senior point guard Janero Walker. They and 6-2 senior D'Marius Houston, another state final vet, must lead the way for a young team featuring two freshmen onto the big stage, through the bright lights.

    Like most high school teams, Beecher doesn't have a logical matchup for St. Francis senior Holden Greiner. He's a 6-8 former point guard headed to Lehigh. And while they may seem somewhat isolated playing at a small school in Northern Michigan, Gladiators like Greiner, 6-2 senior Corey Williams and 6-4 junior Ian Sheldon have all excelled in high-level AAU competition against the best players in the Midwest, and shouldn't be intimidated by Beecher's athleticism and aggressive defense. Key for St. Francis will be to maintain the ball against the Bucs' pressure, and keep them off the offensive glass.

    4 p.m. Cadillac vs. Lansing Eastern

    This contest features two all-staters, 6-7 senior Ben Simons of Cadillac and Eastern's 6-6 sophomore LaDontae Henton. Simons, who has signed with Drake, plays a sophisticated game off the ball to get his shot, and can also do damage around the hoop. Though he could, Simon's not necessarily a guy who will go out and bomb for 30 every night. In Cadillac's system, that's usually all right.

    "We have a number of guys who are interchangeable, and that allows us to play uptempo," Cadillac coach Jeff MacDonald said. "But we still have to be patient and get the shots we want. We could play a game in the 70s, or one in the 40s."

    Despite his nickname, "Buckets," Henton, like Simons, can do more than just score. He's a hard-working, productive all-around player, particularly for a young kid who has already received so many accolades. Like the rest of the Quakers, he has to play defense.

    "We'll pick you up full court, guard you from sideline to sideline, endline to endline, and follow you to the drinking fountain and back," Lansing Eastern coach Rod Watts said.

    6 p.m. Detroit Country Day vs. Grand Ledge

    Country Day is the tallest and most talented team in the state. 6-11 senior DaShonte Riley, 6-8 senior Donnavan Kirk (Miami-Fla.), 6-6 senior Jordan Dumars (South Flroida), 6-1 junior Ray McCallum Jr. and 6-9 sophomore Amir Williams are all high-major college prospects.

    The Yellowjackets start five seniors. Their second unit is all sophomores, talented in its own right.

    "We go 10 deep and have big guys who can run, so we play uptempo," Country Day coach Kurt Keener said. "I'm just as comfortable with the second five on the court as I am the first five. They're all pretty good athletes."

    When motivated, Riley looks like the best big man from the state since Al Horford. Horford's "little" brother, 6-9 junior Jon Horford, will be battling that mammoth Country Day frontline for Grand Ledge.

    8 p.m. Fowler vs. Pewamo-Westphalia

    The nightcap features an early league showdown between CMAC rivals Fowler and Pewamo-Westphalia, year-in, year-out two of the most consistent Mid-Michigan winners at the Class D and C levels, respectively. They may not have many surprises in store for each other. Not only are these schools league foes, but second-year Fowler coach Paul Hungerford was the JV coach for Luke Pohl at Pewamo-Westphalia.

    "We want to push the ball and make it tough for the opponent to score," Pohl said.

    He has the right point guard for the former, in third-year starter Kaleb Thelen.

    Fowler will start with a four-guard lineup.

    "The more we can push, the better it will be for us," Hungerford said.