Area basketball teams earn BCAM Academic All-State honors

Pine River, Reed City, Chippewa Hills, Big Rapids, Morley Stanwood and Crossroads earn academic honors

BIG RAPIDS — Though the 2013-2014 high school basketball season is behind us, a number of local teams were recently honored by the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan (BCAM) with Academic All-State honors.

Chippewa Hills, Reed City, Big Rapids, Crossroads Charter Academy and Pine River girls basketball teams all made the grade in their class, with Chippewa Hills leading the pack with a 3.87 team GPA, the second-best in  all of Class B.

“The girls worked hard and really deserved what they got. In all honesty, this is probably the best award we could get because it’s not about athletics, it’s about the classroom and how well our girls are prepared for real life and moving on to the next level academically,” Chippewa Hills coach Lenny Starck said. “For BCAM you have to put up every kid on your team and their GPA and it gets averaged out. They use every kid on the roster, you don’t pick five kids and say that’s it. It’s every single player. Our GPA was pretty good for the team. We got ninth last year, so that was pretty good, but, again, the credit goes to the kids, it has nothing to do with me.”

Reed City came in eighth place in Class B with a team GPA of 3.785, while Crossroads (3.48), Pine River (3.617) and Big Rapids (3.492) were all named as honorable mentions.

“It’s pretty good. We had a group of girls that really work hard in the classroom so it’s good and they were really excited to see their hard work pay off,” Big Rapids coach Jessica Haist said. “Studying always come first and our girls know that. We always talk about how school comes first and we all have heard of kids coming in the classroom and saying they had practice and couldn’t get something done, but athletes are held to a higher standard.

“We’re all busy, but our girls know that their obligation is always to the teacher and school first,” she continued. “I’m actually surprised there were so many teams higher than us. It’s good to see that there are a lot of other teams that put an emphasis on school, too. It’s definitely pretty cool.”

Crossroads coach JJ Eads was also proud of his teams accomplishments.

“I’m really proud of them,” he said. “We had a special group of girls come through this year, both academically and athletically, so it’s good to see that what they do off the court is being recognized. It’s pretty impressive and it’s something they all take seriously with a few girls pushing 4.0 and a few up for valedictorian. It’s pretty special. Hopefully it’s something that will continue, it’s a good honor for sure.”

Two local boys basketball teams were named to the list in Class C, with Pine River posting the sixth-highest GPA at 3.548 while Morley Stanwood earned an honorable mention with a team GPA of 3.311.

“I’m very proud of our guys, as they actually raised their collective GPA through the course of the season,” Pine River coach Brian Goodenow said. “The demands on a student athlete’s time are exceptional, given the daily practice and game schedule, plus long bus rides resulting in late nights. I’m very proud of their ability to manage their time, stay focused, and keep the emphasis on academics. We continuously stress that the student part of student-athlete must be their primary concern.”

Morley Stanwood coach Josh Bull had similar feelings toward his team’s honorable mention.

“We take a lot of pride of the boys’ work in the classroom and with the sacrifices you make as a student-athletes, with road trips and early and late practices, we did a great job,” Bull said. “Quite a few of the boys are going on to college and we’re really proud. It’s a big accomplishment to know we’re named as an honorable mention. There’s a reason student is first in student-athlete.”