EAST LANSING (AP) — Wyoming Tri-unity Christian’s Joey Blauwkamp pulled down arguably the biggest rebound of his career in a 56-53 overtime victory over Muskegon Catholic Central in the Class D regional finals.
That rebound is a big reason why Blauwkamp’s high school career is still going.
The Defenders, trailing 48-45 late in the fourth quarter, put up a 3-pointer in an attempt to tie the game. Fortunately for the Defenders, Blauwkamp was there to grab the rebound and pass to Nick Klaasen, who found Even Przybysz alone at the top of the key. Przybysz drained it as time expired, forcing overtime.
“He is nothing but a great leader. He does it all,” Tri-unity coach Mark Keeler said about his 6-foot senior guard after the game at Grandville High School.
Blauwkamp is the Michigan Associated Press Class D Player of the Year. The returning first-team All-State player is in the midst of another big season, which continues with today’s quarterfinal game versus Frankfort at Comstock Park High School.
The Defenders, 23-2 overall and ranked No. 1 in D, are trying to win their second state title in the past three years, and Blauwkamp was a starter on that squad as well. He is averaging about 14 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and 3.5 steals per game.
“It has been a fantastic ride,” Blauwkamp said of his career. “God has blessed me with a fantastic team each and every year, and God has really blessed me with Coach Keeler. He has been a big part of my life and basketball career.”
Also earning first-team All-State honors from Class D are Malachi Satterlee of Climax-Scotts, Evan Kraatz of Allen Park Inter-City Baptist, Brett Branstrom of Rock Mid Peninsula, Denny Hall of Bellaire, Mitch Myler of Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart, Bakari Evelyn of Southfield Christian, Skylar Ross of Lansing Christian, Dillon Gordon of Ewen-Trout Creek and Matt Falls of Carsonville-Port Sanilac.
Todd Walden of Middleton Fulton is the Class D Coach of the Year.
Satterlee, a 6-foot-7 senior, was a first-team All-State selection a year ago, and he has returned this winter to average 16.3 points and 7.6 rebounds.
Kraatz, a 6-foot junior, averaged 17 points, 9.6 assists and 6.5 steals.
Branstrom, a 6-5 senior, averaged 25.2 points and 21.1 rebounds.
Hall, a 6-3 junior, averaged 12.3 points, four rebounds and 4.4 assists.
Frankfort’s David Loney, Manistee Catholic Central’s Zack Bialik, McBain Northern Michigan Christian’s Trevor Gernaat and Boyne Falls’ Marcus Matelski were honorable mention selections.
Bellaire coach Stan Sexton also earned honorable mention.