Jamyrin Jackson always believed.
Even through the up and down regular season, the senior guard always thought he and the Everett boys basketball team would find its way back to Breslin Center for the final stages of the state tournament.
And it has turned out exactly as hoped for Jackson, who has been one of the key performers in a storybook run this March.
“During the regular season, I still always had the mentality that we were going back to the Bres,” Jackson said. “(Not getting there) never crossed my mind.”
As much confidence as Jackson had, teams like Everett reaching the state semifinals is uncommon. The Vikings (16-10) enter Friday’s state semifinal against No. 5-ranked North Farmington as the third team with double-digit losses since 2000 to reach this point in the state tournament. That equates to just over 2 percent of the teams to reach the state semifinals the last 16 years.
Detroit City, which entered the Class D state tournament with 11 losses in 2006, was the last team with double-digit losses to reach the semifinals.
According to MHSAA basketball historian Ron Pesch, Everett is one of 22 teams in state history with at least 10 losses to advance to this point. Only two of those teams have gone on to win state titles – Menominee in 1967 and Marquette Bishop Baraga in 1969.
Fourth-year Everett coach Desmond Ferguson, who has guided the Vikings to 40 wins the last two seasons, said toughness and heart have been a big part of the postseason turnaround.
Everett has fought back from deficits in its last three games while posting victories over Class A honorable mention Kalamazoo Central, No. 3-ranked East Lansing and Hudsonville. The Vikings overcame a 12-point deficit in the final quarter to beat Kalamazoo Central in the regional semifinal and then overcame an eight-point deficit in the final three minutes last week to defeat East Lansing for a regional title.
On Tuesday, Everett overcame a nine-point deficit in regulation and having two starters foul out in the first overtime to beat Hudsonville and earn a return trip to Breslin Center.
“I couldn’t have imagined it from the start,” said Everett junior Diego Robinson, who hit the go-ahead basket in the double overtime win over Hudsonville. “But we just knew we were going to make it back. I don’t know. I just felt it in my gut. We’ve just had a good run in the playoffs.”
DEFYING THE ODDS
Here’s a look at the 22 teams in state history that have reached the state semifinals with 10 or more losses.
Year – school (final record)
1928 – Port Huron (10-11)
1933 – Saginaw Lutheran (7-13)
1954 – Wakefield (11-11)
1964 – Suttons Bay (13-11)
1967 – *Menominee (13-10)
1969 – *Marquette Bishop Baraga (16-10)
1976 – Pontiac Central (15-12)
1976 – Detroit East Catholic (14-11)
1978 – Bronson (16-11)
1979 – ^Pontiac Central (17-11)
1979 – Tawas Area (15-11)
1985 – Detroit King (13-11)
1987 – Covert (13-14)
1987 – Detroit East Catholic (16-11)
1991 – Detroit East Catholic (14-12)
1993 – Williamston (15-11)
1993 – Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes (16-11)
1996 – Lansing Catholic (15-11)
1998 – ^Belleville (14-14)
2004 – Buchanan (15-12)
2006 – Detroit City (13-13)
2016 – Lansing Everett (TBD)
* indicates won state title
^ indicates lost in state final
1 p.m. – Detroit U-D Jesuit (26-0) vs. Macomb Dakota (26-0)
2:50 p.m. – Everett (16-10) vs. North Farmington (23-2)
6 p.m. – Williamston (21-3) vs. Detroit Henry Ford (18-6)
7:50 p.m. – Big Rapids (23-2) vs. Stevensville Lakeshore (19-7)