There are some things the Son of Swami never thought he’d live to see.
One of them is North Farmington playing in Friday’s boys basketball semifinals, with an excellent shot at playing for all the marbles — not to mention the Class A state championship Saturday at noon.
North Farmington has upgraded its basketball program recently, but never seemed to have what it took to get to that next level.
It turns out that North Farmington coach Todd Negoshian read about Drew Cannon, who produced statistical analysis that helped the Butler program and is now on staff with the Boston Celtics. Negoshian was so impressed he went to North Farmington math teacher Jill Gordon, selected by SOS as North’s Teacher of the Year in each of the last 10 years, and asked her to devise statistical data that would help the North program.
It turns out that, as a young girl, the mathematical prodigy did pretty much the same thing, writing algorithms to help the Westland Glenn football team. Gordon was so successful it is rumored that Lloyd Carr had her on retainer at Michigan.
So maybe it isn’t such a surprise to see the Raiders advance to the semifinals. To see if SOS thinks North can reach the championship game … read on. All games are at the Breslin Center in East Lansing.
U-D Jesuit (26-0) vs. Macomb Dakota (26-0), 1 p.m. Friday. These teams match up so well with terrific point guards and dominating big men in the paint. So what will be the difference? SOS wonders if we didn’t get a preview of that when Dakota scrimmaged East English Village. DUD Jesuit 67, Dakota Fanning 63.
North Farmington (23-2) vs. Lansing Everett (16-10), 2:50 Friday. It turns out that Jill Gordon’s No. 1 statistical finding was that when a team actually plays defense, it usually wins the game. Genius! North may want to try that. If Everett falls behind by nine again, it will lose by 19, but Jamyrin Jackson won’t let that happen. North of Harrison 72, Magic High 65.
Detroit Henry Ford (18-6) vs. Williamston (21-3), 6 p.m. Friday. SOS understands that Williamston handled River Rouge’s press just fine, but Henry Ford’s pressure is a different level. Henry Ford will have to figure a way to stop Riley Lewis, but Williamston won’t have a picnic trying to defend James Towns. Hank High 61, Williamston Settlement 60.
Big Rapids (23-2) vs. Stevensville Lakeshore (19-7), 7:50 Friday. SOS expected so much from Lakeshore early this season, and then it stumbled badly. But it has won 10 straight now, and that should be enough to beat a Big Rapids team that plays absolutely dynamite defense. Steven’s Villa by the Lake Shore 49, Rapid Fire 47.
Grandville Calvin Christian (20-4) vs. McBain (26-0), 1 p.m. Thursday. SOS want to know exactly who in McBain, a suburb of Lake City, will be able to match up with Calvin Christian’s 6-foot-9 sophomore Blake Verbeek? Of course, stopping McBain junior Logan Eling won’t be easy, either. Calvin & Hobbs 58, McPain 54.
Flint Beecher (23-2) vs. Detroit Loyola (21-5), 2:50 Thursday. Defending state champ Beecher doesn’t score as easily as it did a year ago, but the way Aquavius Burks is playing right now, it doesn’t matter. This is the first semifinal performance for Loyola and super sophomore P.J. Mitchell, but it will have difficulty matching up with Beecher. Beechnut 66, Loyalty 61.
Wyoming Tri-unity Christian (20-5) vs. Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes (21-4), 6 p.m. Thursday. The Defenders of Tri-unity played great defense against Lenawee Christian to earn their 10th trip to the semifinals. The Lakes players certainly know their way to The Bres, but SOS doesn’t think they can generate enough scoring to get to the final. Triumvirate 51, Waterford Our Gal 50.
Fulton (19-6) vs. Powers North Central (27-0), 7:50 Thursday. Fulton plays excellent defense, can it shut down junior Jason Whitens, who hit 13 of 15 shots for 30 points in the quarterfinals to become the school’s all-time leading scorer (1,370)? North Central will have to make sure Colton Antes doesn’t start lighting it up from behind the three-point arc. Power to the People 68, Fulton’s Folly 60.
Contact with the Son of Swami can be arranged through Mick McCabe: 313-223-4744 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @mickmccabe1
What: Boys basketball state finals.
Where: Breslin Center, East Lansing.
Schedule: Class D — 10 a.m.; Class A — noon, Class C — 4:30 p.m., Class B — 6:30 p.m.