EAST LANSING, Mich. (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 Tuesday'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 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.
Myler, a 6-0 senior, averaged 17 points and five assists.
Evelyn, a 6-1 sophomore, is averaging 21 points, four assists and two steals for Southfield Christian, the defending state champs.
Ross, a 6-2 senior, is averaging 19 points and has sparked Lansing Christian with his 3-point shooting, finishing with 38 3s during the regular season.
Gordon, a 5-10 senior, averaged 28.5 points and 3.6 assists.
Falls, a 6-0 senior, averaged 19.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and 3.2 assists.
The Associated Press Class D boys basketball All-State team, as selected by a panel of 10 Michigan sports writers:
Joey Blauwkamp, Wyoming Tri-unity Christian, 6-0, Sr., Player of the Year
Brett Branstrom, Rock Mid Peninsula, 6-5, Sr.
Matt Falls, Carsonville-Port Sanilac, 6-0, Sr.
Dillon Gordon, Ewen-Trout Creek, 5-10, Sr.
Mitch Myler, Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart, 6-0, Sr.
Skylar Ross, Lansing Christian, 6-2, Sr.
Malachi Satterlee, Climax-Scotts, 6-7, Sr.
Denny Hall, Bellaire, 6-3, Jr.
Evan Kraatz, Allen Park Inter-City Baptist, 6-0, Jr.
Bakari Evelyn, Southfield Christian, 6-1, So.
COACH OF THE YEAR:
Todd Walden, Middleton Fulton
SPECIAL MENTION (nominees receiving two or more votes from the 10-member panel):
Brett Stockton, Owendale-Gagetown; Aaron Cook, Climax-Scotts; Lindsey Hunter IV, Southfield Christian; Dalton Trefil, Middleton Fulton
Mark Kraatz, Allen Park Inter-City Baptist
HONORABLE MENTION (nominees receiving one or no votes from the 10-member panel):
David Loney, Frankfort; Jordan Terry, Lansing Christian; Collin Lay, Portland St. Patrick; Griffin Lewis, Morrice; Luke Wenger, Pinckney Livingston Christian; Josh Hester, Cedarville; Wade Schetter, Carney-Nadeau; Koji Vroom, Ann Arbor Rudolf Steiner; Zack Bialik, Manistee Catholic Central; Erik Wallstrom, Pentwater; Trevor Gernaat, McBain Northern Michigan Christian; Marcus Matelski, Boyne Falls; Nick Hincka, Posen; Daeshon Pride, Flint Madison Academy; Connor Amey, Carsonville-Port Sanilac; David Sharpe, Marine City Cardinal Mooney Catholic; Aaron Johnson, Holland Calvary; Cory Young, Eau Claire; Mike Warren, Fruitport Calvary Christian; Dan Cole, Wyoming Tri-unity Christian; Patrick Barnhart, Wyoming Potter's House Christian; Anthony Atlas, Kalamazoo Phoenix; Joe Gales, Mendon; Zach Webb, Bellevue; Micah Thomey, Mio; Austin Fader, Akron-Fairgrove
Dennis Kann, Mio; Stan Sexton, Bellaire