Regular season ‘frenzy’ ends, but there’s state playoff ‘madness’ ahead

The University of Detroit Jesuit bowlers, left to right: Emory Stone, Lochlain McGrail, Deon Farmer, Will Flowers, Greg Daniels (holding trophy), Paul Downey, Michael Mutone, and coach Darrin Flowers, are the CHSL Bishop Division champions three years in a row. (Photo by Don Horkey | Special to Detroit Catholic)

DETROIT — The Catholic High School League wrapped up its regular season on a high note with the crowning of a pair of city champions.

In the past weekend, the boys Bishop Division champ and Division 1 top-rated Orchard Lake St. Mary’s Prep had little difficulty disposing of the Detroit Public School League champ and No. 2-rated Cass Tech, 73-41, in the Operation Friendship game played at the University of Detroit Mercy’s Calihan Hall.

The Eaglets (20-1) led the Technicians (19-2) from start to finish. Junior Trey McKenney and senior Daniel Smythe led the offense with 19 and 15 points, respectively. Smythe’s production resulted from five 3-point baskets, half of the team’s output.

The CHSL has won the last eight Operation Friendship encounters, but trail 22-42 in the history of the games that date back to 1947.

In the game between league runners-up, sophomore Elijah Williams poured in a career-high 35 points to spark Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice to an 83-71 win against Renaissance.

Earlier, Ann Arbor Fr. Gabriel Richard — the CHSL girls Cardinal Division champion and ranked season-long No. 1 in Division 2 — defeated Detroit Renaissance, 54-39, for its second consecutive girls Operation Friendship title. The Fighting Irish (22-0) slipped past Renaissance, 53-52 in overtime, in last year’s game.

The CHSL girls are 20-24 in the series since 1975.

Three in a row for U of D Jesuit bowlers

“It’s been a grind,” coach Darrin Flowers said after the University of Detroit Jesuit team won its third consecutive boys Bishop Division championship. “The boys accepted and played what’s out there rather the trying to force something.”

The Cubs rolled the highest pin total of 2,524 among the 23 teams competing at the Oak Lanes in Westland.

“I’m lucky to have this group for three years,” said Flowers, who’s in his 13th year at U of D and won the state Division 1 title in 2014. “They knew what they were getting into.”

Seniors Paul Downey (588 series) and Greg Downey (548) and junior Deon Farmer (534) set the pace for the Cubs.

Dearborn Divine Child won the girls Bishop Division. Madison Heights Bishop Foley won both the boys and girls Cardinal Division championships.

Boys win, so do the girls

St. Mary’s Prep girls basketballers claimed a league title just like the boys on the Orchard Lake campus, beating Jackson Lumen Christi, 45-30, for the Cardinal Division trophy. The girls Eaglets are a perfect 20-0 heading into state playoffs next week.

The situation is similar at Clarkston Everest Collegiate. The girls won the St. Anne Division, 46-30, against Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood just as the boys had won the St. Anne boys title a week earlier by defeating Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes.

From 'Frenzy' to 'Madness'

“February Frenzy” was pretty much contained within the CHSL ranks, but such will not be the case for “March Madness.” It is a statewide phenomenon, and it’s already made its presence known.

Last Saturday, Novi Detroit Catholic Central won its second straight Division 1 wrestling state championship, and its sixth in the last eight years.

Champions will be crowned this weekend, Friday and Saturday, March 1-2, in boys and girls, competitive cheer, and wrestling individuals.

Hockey playoffs will be at the quarterfinal stage this weekend. Semifinals will be played March 7-8 and the finals March 9 at the USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth. Catholic Central is the defending champ in Division 1 and Brother Rice in Division 2.

CHSL boys swimming will be staged Saturday, March 2, at Waterford Kettering (defending champ: U of D Jesuit), while the state finals will be held March 8-9 (defending champ: Cranbrook in Division 3).

Then, there’s basketball, which annually causes the most serious cases of “Madness.”

Boys will wind up the district level this weekend while the girls begin next week. St. Mary’s Prep boys and Fr. Gabriel Richard girls are early favorites to be playing in the finals in mid-month at the Breslin Center at Michigan State.

But, you never know ...

Contact Don Horkey at [email protected].


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