When Saginaw Heritage coach Tim Conley shows up for tonight’s Class A quarterfinal game at Davison, the Son of Swami is hoping every person in the joint offers him a piece of gum.
It’s an inside joke that is about to become outside.
Not only is SOS the All-Knowing One, he also is the All-Remembering One, which is a sore spot with Mrs. SOS.
In 2001, in one of the greatest semifinal games ever, Saginaw Heritage was playing Detroit King, and Lisa Collison was about to go to the free-throw line with 30 seconds left in the third overtime with Heritage leading by a point.
Collison spent the entire time-out listening to Conley, who had his arms draped over her shoulders so he could have her undivided attention.
Finally, Collison had to tell Conley something vitally important: He needed a piece of gum because his breath was bad.
Conley got some gum, Collison hit the free throws, and Heritage won the game.
So as we move on to SOS’s quarterfinal predictions, don’t forget to hand Conley a piece of gum. A breath mint will do.
All games 7 p.m. unless noted.
* Westland Glenn (23-1) vs. Detroit King (21-0) at Detroit Western, 6. King was No. 1 for most of the season — until SOS saw King in action — and the Crusaders have struggled since. This is the game the Bankston twins have been waiting for.
Glenn Beck is Insufferable 52, King of the Hill 49.
* Grand Ledge (21-4) vs. Grand Haven (25-0) at Lansing Eastern. This is a bit of advice for the Grand Ledge players. If you have the ball and are about to shoot and see Abby Cole coming at you, pass it. She staged a block party in the regional final, blocking 16 shots.
Grand Heaven 48, Grand Sludge 44.
* Grosse Pointe South (23-1) vs. Birmingham Marian (21-3) at St. Clair Shores Lake Shore, 7:30. South was a bucket away from winning this title last year, and with the cast of characters returning, the Blue Devils should get it done this time. But Marian coach Mary Cicerone always has her players ready by March.
War Memorial 61, Maid Marian 55.
* Saginaw Heritage (16-9) vs. Dexter (22-3) at Davison. How young is the Heritage team? It is so young it doesn’t know that when you lose to a team by 30 points, you are not supposed to come back two weeks later and beat that team in the regional final. Let’s head to East Lansing.
Heritage Newspapers 44, Dexter Morgan 43.
* Clare (23-1) vs. Midland Bullock Creek (22-3) at Houghton Lake. Class B is supposed to be tougher than Class C, but when you have a player like Clare’s Lindsay Winter, the class you are in doesn’t make a difference. Hannah Heldt was fabulous for Bullock Creek when it knocked off No. 1 Ludington.
Kris Bullock High 60, Doherty Hotel 55.
* Birmingham Detroit Country Day (15-3) vs. Flint Powers (19-3) at Yale, 6:30. This was one of the great rivalries in state history. Now that Country Day coach Frank Orlando is 70, Powers needs to go to the rest home and get former coach Kathy McGee to come out of retirement for one more game. That way Orlando won’t be the oldest person in the gym.
Country Dog 64, Flint Power & Electric 62.
* Goodrich (22-3) vs. Livonia Ladywood (12-6) at Lake Fenton. This could be a classic. Taylor Gleason and her defending champion teammates at Goodrich like to play a physical game, which is exactly what the doctor ordered for Andie Anastos and her Ladywood teammates. SOS wonders if anyone will pull the goalie.
Goodyear 58, My Fair Lady 57.
* Marshall (21-4) vs. Grand Rapids South Christian (23-1) at Wayland, 6. South Christian coach Jim DeBruyn won his 400th game this season, and SOS knows Marshall coach Sal Konkle hasn’t been around that long. But SOS also remembers watching a darn good player on the 1981 Marshall team who has turned out to be a pretty good coach.
South Steigenga 51, Win Schuler’s 47.
* Niles Brandywine (24-0) vs. Manchester (24-1) at Jonesville. This will be Brandywine’s fourth straight trip to the quarterfinals while Manchester will be making its debut. But Manchester is not a bunch of rookies and has quite a pair of scoring threats in McKenna Erkfritz and Taylor Manders. Mackenzie Shelton and her Brandywine teammates will be ready.
Elderberry Wine 63, Manchester United 60.
* Riverview Richard (15-7) at Flint Hamady (22-3) at Burton Bendle. Richard has had quite a tournament run thanks to Ashley Henderson, but now comes Hamady, which knows a thing or three about the quarterfinals. Hamady’s defense can make this 32 minutes of chaos.
Ham & Eggs 66, Cardinal Dearden South 59.
* Delton Kellogg (21-4) vs. Saginaw Nouvel (23-2) at Ithaca. It has been a few years since we’ve heard from Nouvel, but it is March, and Nouvel used to own the state tournament. But to do that it better figure a way to handle Kellogg’s Mallory Sewell.
Saginaw Noel 56, Rice Krispies 50.
* Shelby (21-3) vs. Houghton (20-2) at Petoskey. How about this: Two former all-state players — Shelby’s Sarah (Zoulek) Wolting and Houghton Julie Filpus — coaching in the quarters against each other. Shelby better be able to stop Elisa Jurmu.
Zoulek High 58, Houghton Mifflin Math 57.
* St. Ignace (24-0) vs. Crystal Falls Forest Park (23-1) at Escanaba. All No. 1 St. Ignace has to do is stop Lexi Gussert; for those of you who didn’t believe it the first time SOS wrote it, she is unquestionably the best junior in the state. She hit eight three-pointers in the regional final and scored 38 points. But the Saints are No. 1 for a reason.
St. Clement 70, Bill Santilli High 66.
* Climax-Scotts (20-5) vs. Gaylord St. Mary (23-2) at Reed City. St. Mary’s Mary Spyhalski is a dangerous scorer, and Sarah Long is quite a defensive stopper. But Climax-Scotts finally got that regional win and is aiming to get to East Lansing.
Anticlimactic 48, Snowbirds 44.
* Athens (21-3) vs. Plymouth Christian (19-5) at Battle Creek Central. It looks like another trip to the Breslin Center for Athens, which means SOS has to listen to former Athens coach Tim Flynn tell him how he outpicks SOS every year. Hey, get in line. It’s a long one.
Greece 53, Plymouth’s Christians 50.
* Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes (19-4) vs. Mt. Pleasant Sacred Heart (16-7) at Waterford Mott. Erica Hansen leads the way for Sacred Heart, which has a history of playing well in March. But nobody has played better in March these past three years than Lexie Robak and Ava Doetsch.
Waterford Our Girl 57, Sacred Heart not in Dearborn 54.
Son of Swami is written by Mick McCabe, who can be contacted at 313-223-4744 or firstname.lastname@example.org .