GRAND BLANC — The Grand Blanc Varsity Boys Basketball program has crossed uncharted territory by capturing the school’s first-ever Division 1 state championship.
Grand Blanc (15-2, 6-1 in conference play) capped off its 2020/2021 season on April 10 by defeating Ann Arbor Huron, 45-36, in the state final at the Breslin Center in East Lansing. The Bobcats gutted out a low-scoring battle and eventually put the game away in the final minutes, thanks to strong defensive plays and clutch free throw shooting.
Both teams struggled to hit shots throughout the game, with Grand Blanc shooting only 27 percent from the floor. But the Bobcats hung tight by forcing 14 turnovers and holding Ann Arbor Huron River Rats (20-1) to just 31 percent shooting overall.
Trailing 34-32 in the fourth quarter, Grand Blanc got a huge three-pointer from senior Josh Rechsteiner to go ahead by one. Grand Blanc outscored Ann Arbor Huron 15-7 in the final frame, getting the River Rats into foul trouble and going 8 for 12 from the free throw line in the last three minutes.
Bobcats guard RJ Taylor led all scores for Grand Blanc with 15 points. Timonte Boyd chipped in with 12 points and seven rebounds, forward Ty Rodgers added nine points and A’Monte Allen-Johnson scored six points to go with six rebounds. Ann Arbor Huron guard Devin Womack led the River Rats with 18 points.
Along with winning its first Division 1 championship, Grand Blanc reached the state title game for the first time since 1952. Grand Blanc Coach Mike Thomas, who won back-to-back Class A state titles as the head coach at Kalamazoo Central in 2010 and 2011, also captured his third state title.
Grand Blanc opened the 2020/2021 playoffs with dominant wins over Kearsley, Davison and Flushing, then knocked off Marquette, 85-58, to win the regional final and defeated top-ranked Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, 58-53, in the state quarterfinal.
The Bobcats held off Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern in the state semifinal, 68-58, to reach the state final against Ann Arbor Huron, which was previously unbeaten and the #2 ranked team in Division 1.
Grand Blanc looks to defend its state championship with three returning starters in Rodgers, Taylor and Boyd and a crop of up-and-coming talent next season.