Mott's Steve Schmidt coached his program to its 19th consecutive 25-win season on Tuesday night.

Mott head coach Steve Schmidt.

In the not-too-distant past, Mott Community College was 5-0 and poised to prove the doubters, who didn’t think they could live up to the program’s reputation, wrong. Steve Schmidt’s team did not have a single returning player — one sophomore transfer and 10 freshmen. The team played its last game with seven players including two late-addition walk-ons.

He had talent, albeit unknown and unproven.

Three months later, with a roster decimated by self-inflicted injuries, the season came to an untimely end Tuesday night in Bay City: a 59-56 loss to Delta College in the opening round of the District 10 Tournament. His roster is now known and unproven.

My records don’t go back far enough to find out when the last time Mott wasn’t playing basketball on the tournament weekend. Suffice it to say, this never happens.

This was the team’s third loss to the Pioneers this season.

The Bears finished the season with a 16-12 record. This season snaps an incredible streak of 19 consecutive seasons of 25 or more wins. (Schmidt had 21 consecutive seasons of 20 or more wins.)

“This is just kind of fitting, how we ended the season,” Schmidt told MRSN’s Bill Schnorenberg after the game. “I had a kid quit prior to the game, our best player (Daryl Bigham). We have rules and standards: simple stuff. I hope these guys will learn that wherever you go in life, there are rules. You have to follow the rules.”

Another starter, Rod Milton, couldn’t follow the rules and sat in the stands.

Fitting, indeed: the four most-talented players on Schmidt’s roster starting the season, didn’t make it to season’s end. A couple didn’t make it to the quarter pole.

“This has probably been my most frustrating as a coach,” he said. “I’m proud to wear Mott on my shirt. I’m proud of what this program stands for … we just weren’t championship caliber. We’re going to have to work harder, but Mott will be back. We set the standard at the JUCO level, and I really believe that. We’re down, but not out.”

Schmidt said he takes full responsibility for his decision not to bring back any players from the 2013-14 team that finished 25-6 after a loss in the District 10 semifinals to Oakland almost a year ago to the day. I called that “probably the worst season in a decade.” I wasn’t exaggerating, based on the program’s unprecedented run of success. There’s little doubt that this is the worst season in Schmidt’s career. There’s even less doubt that Schmidt will circle the wagons, get back on the trail and re-focus on what made his program great in the first place

I will publish a complete post-mortem on the season in the coming weeks Until then, trust that this team (and this program) will look a lot different next season. The revival starts tomorrow morning.

Mott Community College had one job on Wednesday night: Beat Macomb and secure a home game in the first round of the MCCAA District 10 Tournament next Tuesday night.

The Bears, as they have all season, failed to play a complete game and ultimately fell to the Monarchs, 62-57. With the win, Macomb earns the fourth seed in the District 10 Tournament and will host Wayne County on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. The Bears earned the sixth seed and will travel to Delta Tuesday night to play the Pioneers at 7:30 p.m. Delta just this month completed a regular season sweep of the Bears for only the second time in school history.

Mott head coach Steve Schmidt was even more candid than normal after the game. He told MRSN’s Bill Schnorenberg that, in essence, what you see is what you get.

“I hoped to see the guys play with more passion and effort,” he said. “I hope they would really compete to give our fans another home game. We have great fans … I just have to come to the realization that this is who we are at this point.”

The Bears led by as many as nine points in the first half but could not push the lead to double digits. Mott still held the lead with three minutes left in the first half, but were taken to school from that point. The Monarchs went on a 20-4 run that spanned two halves. The Bears were held scoreless for nearly five minutes.

Mott (16-11) trailed by as many as 14 in the second half before sprinting out on a 10-3 run of their own to cut the lead to two. The Bears failed to take care of the ball and could not get any closer than down three points from that point.

Daryl Bigham led the Bears with 15 points and 13 rebounds, though he did most of his damage early on. Malik Young added 13 points. Mott sophomore Darryl LeVert drew his fourth foul early in the second half and was a non-factor for most of the game.

Mott’s game against Delta on Tuesday night can be heard live on MRSN.us starting at 7:30 p.m. The winner will move to the semifinals (also at Delta) to take on the winner of the Alpena-Oakland game.

Mott freshman Daryl Bigham.  (Gerry Leslie photo)

Mott freshman Daryl Bigham. (Gerry Leslie photo)

FLINT, Michigan — Mott Community College (16-10) is one win away from a golden opportunity, a fresh start after a forgettable 2014-15 campaign thus far. After breezing through St. Clair on Monday night at home, the Bears will take on Macomb Wednesday night on the road. In their first contest, the Bears beat Macomb in dramatic fashion by four, 71-67. The stakes are higher this time around.

Assuming Wayne County loses to Oakland (and they probably will), the winner of the game between the Monarchs and the Bears will earn the fourth seed in the District 10 Tournament next week — and, most importantly, a home game in the opening round.

Mott head coach Steve Schmidt believes his team will be focused and ready for the task.

“I’m planning on our team traveling to Macomb and playing as hard as we have all year,” Schmidt said. “It will be quite a challenge for us.”

The Monarchs are a different team now than when they played, and lost, to Mott back in January. After losing six straight games, Macomb has won four of its last five games. Mott, on the other hand, has surrendered four of its last six games.

The Bears will need inspired performances by their frontline scorers, Daryl Bigham and Darryl LeVert. The pair don’t often share the spotlight, but Wednesday would be a good time to try it out.

Strangely, Mott might not be done with Macomb even after Wednesday night’s game. The teams could very well meet in the first round of the playoffs, depending on how the tiebreakers shake out, on Tuesday night.

Wednesday night’s game will be broadcast live on MRSN.us starting at 7:30 p.m.

2014-15 Men’s Basketball Standings
Eastern Conference
School MCCAA Overall GB Home Away Neutral Streak
#, 10 - Schoolcraft 14-1 .933 25-3 .893 14-0 10-2 1-1 Won 14
10 - Oakland 12-3 .800 18-7 .720 2.0 10-2 6-3 2-2 Won 3
10 - Delta 10-6 .625 17-12 .586 4.5 9-6 8-6 0-0 Lost 1
10 - Mott 8-7 .533 16-10 .615 6.0 12-4 4-6 0-0 Won 1
10 - Wayne County 8-7 .533 15-11 .577 6.0 6-4 6-6 3-1 Won 1
10 - Macomb 8-7 .533 14-12 .538 6.0 7-6 6-4 1-2 Won 1
10 - Alpena 4-11 .267 8-15 .348 10.0 2-7 5-6 1-2 Lost 2
St. Clair County 2-13 .133 9-18 .333 12.0 5-8 4-9 0-1 Lost 9
Henry Ford 2-13 .133 7-18 .280 12.0 3-9 4-8 0-1 Lost 1
Western Conference
School MCCAA Overall GB Home Away Neutral Streak
9 - Lake Michigan 11-4 .733 20-8 .714 11-4 8-4 1-0 Lost 1
9 - Lansing 11-4 .733 19-9 .679 13-2 6-6 0-1 Won 6
9 - Muskegon 10-5 .667 20-7 .741 1.0 12-0 7-7 1-0 Lost 1
9 - Grand Rapids 10-6 .625 16-10 .615 1.5 10-3 6-7 0-0 Won 1
9 - Kalamazoo Valley 8-7 .533 13-15 .464 3.0 7-7 5-6 1-2 Lost 3
9 - Ancilla 7-8 .467 16-12 .571 4.0 11-4 5-7 0-1 Lost 1
Glen Oaks 4-11 .267 11-15 .423 7.0 8-4 3-11 0-0 Lost 1
Jackson 4-11 .267 10-17 .370 7.0 8-7 2-10 0-0 Won 1
Kellogg 3-12 .200 4-20 .167 8.0 1-6 3-11 0-3 Won 1
# – Conference Champion
9 – NJCAA District 9 Qualifer
10 – NJCAA District 10 Qualifier

Mott’s game at Delta College on Saturday is an 8 pm tip

Posted: February 20, 2015 by Jared Field in High School

FLINT, Michigan — Mott’s game on Saturday, February 21, at Delta College will be an 8 pm tip. This is a departure from the normal 3 pm start time. The women’s game will tip at 6 pm.

Mott (15-9) is looking to make amends for its first loss at home to Delta (16-11) since the Paleolithic Era. This is a must-win for the Bears, currently in fourth place in the MCCAA Eastern Conference. Mott must maintain that fourth spot in order to secure a home game in the first round of the playoffs.

Mott’s leading scorer, Daryl Bigham, will be back in the lineup for the Bears after missing a couple weeks with an illness.

FLINT, Michigan — The stars seemed to be aligned for the biggest upset of the MCCAA season on Wednesday night in Flint as Mott hosted no. 1-ranked Schoolcraft College. It didn’t happen, as the Ocelets rode hot shooting from the foul line to win their 13th straight, 79-71.

“That was probably our best team performance of the year, in spite of the loss,” said Mott head coach Steve Schmidt. “They answered the bell tonight against a really good team, one of the best in the country. I’m proud of that effort. If we had played that hard all year, we’d be right there in this thing.”

Instead, the Bears are now scratching and clawing just to get a home playoff game. A win over Delta on Saturday would go a long way toward securing the fourth seed and a home game in the first round.

The unranked Bears led the top-ranked Ocelots by six at the half and had the larger share of the game’s momentum. Everything pointed to an upset. That all changed just one minute into the half.

Mott’s 6-8 sophomore forward Darryl LeVert, who narrowly made it through the first half with only two fouls, slapped a dead ball out of the hands of a Schoolcraft player and was whistled for a technical foul, his third. The game turned precisely at that moment. Two minutes later, after a 10-3 Schoolfcraft run, the Bears’ lead had disappeared.

The Bears managed to dictate the flow of the game in the first half, milking clock on the majority of their possessions. In the second, Schoolcraft took advantage of Mott’s sloppy play on offense. The Bears turned the ball over 10 times in the half and 19 in the game.

Mott (15-9) briefly held the lead midway through the second half after a 3-pointer by freshman Tommie Johnson. The Bears would not lead again.

The matchup featured three ties, 14 lead changes and an astounding performance by the Ocelots from the foul line —  18-for-18.

Schoolcraft (24-3) guard Ronald Booth led all scorers with 23 points.

Mott had five players in double figures including Rod Milton with 14 points and five rebounds. Malik Young added 12 points and six assists. Former Lapeer West High School standout Matt Place scored 10 points including his first 3-pointer of his college career.

Mott once again played without its best player, freshman forward Daryl Bigham. The team’s leading scorer also missed last Wednesday’s game with an illness. His playing status for Saturday is yet to be determined.

Listen to Mott’s game versus Delta Saturday on MRSN.us starting at 8 p.m.

The Mott Community College Bears bounced back Wednesday night, scoring the team’s second double-digit victory over Henry Ford this season, 73-62. The Bears now will have a week to prepare for Schoolcraft, the top team in the MCCAA.

Schoolcraft beat Oakland 88-82 in the marquee matchup of the season on Wednesday night. The Ocelots have won 11 games in a row. An upset win over Schoolcraft would all but assure the Bears a home game in the District 10 tournament in March.

Against Henry Ford (6-15), Mott played without its best player, freshman forward Daryl Bigham, who is nursing a stomach illness. Into the breach stepped 6-8 sophomore Darryl LeVert, who put in his best effort of the season. LeVert was energetic on both ends of the floor and dominant, at times, in the paint.

The Bears (15-8) trailed early in the game but put together a 9-0 run midway through the first half to take the lead. Henry Ford managed to stick around in the half and even took a one-point lead into halftime.

The second half was all Mott, led by Levert and freshman guard Malik Young. The pair combined for 37 points. LeVert added a season-high 19 rebounds and five assists. Tommie Johnson, a reserve wing, entered the starting lineup against Henry Ford and scored 12.

“It feels good to win,” Mott head coach Steve Schmidt told MRSN Radio. “There aren’t too many easy road games, and we’re struggling … we’re going to make the most out of it.”

The loss of Bigham to an illness, hopefully not a prolonged one, is just another in a long line of challenges for the team this season.

“Whatever could’ve gone wrong has gone wrong this season,” Schmidt said. “But, we have four more league games to go and we know anything can happen in college basketball.”

Listen to Mott’s game versus Schoolcraft at 7:30 p.m. next Wednesday on MRSN radio.

Mott Community College head coach Steve Schmidt has never sought shelter in the arms of moral victories. Not today; not ever.

“I’m proud of our program, proud of fans and our effort, but it’s still a loss,” said Schmidt after Mott’s 74-68 loss to rival Oakland. “We had a chance to win this right down to the wire … they are playing for a championship, so we knew they would play hard.”

Mott trailed by 12 at the half and by as many as 22 with 15 minutes left in the second half.

For the next 10 minutes, Schmidt had a flashback to what had been the norm in his program for years: high intensity on both ends of the floor.

The Bears embarked on a 14-0 run led by freshman Rod Milton, who had an 8-0 run of his own. With seven minutes left, Mott had whittled Oakland’s lead down to eight. Five minutes later, the lead had all but disappeared after a basket in the post by Daryl Bigham.

Mott couldn’t break through, however, as Oakland’s Richard Roberts went 4-for-4 from the foul line in the final 90 seconds.

“We did a good job down the stretch,” Schmidt said. “This is what I wanted to see from this team. We’ve gone through a lot. We’ve been taking steps forward and steps back. This is the most frustrating and challenging experience. I have a lot of guys who don’t yet know how to be successful.”

One of those guys is point guard Justice Green. The athletic freshman guard from Flint Carman-Ainsworth did not play against Oakland and has quit the team.

Milton led the way for Mott with 14 points. Austin Daniels added 11.

The loss is Mott’s third at home this season, the most home losses for the program since 2002. Mott (14-8) will take on Henry Ford on the road Wednesday night before welcoming league leader Schoolcraft College to Ballenger Fieldhouse on Saturday.

The game versus Schoolcraft will be broadcast live on MRSN.us.

2014-15 Men’s Basketball Standings
Eastern Conference
School MCCAA Overall GB Home Away Neutral Streak
10 - Schoolcraft 10-1 .909 21-3 .875 12-0 8-2 1-1 Won 10
10 - Oakland 9-1 .900 15-5 .750 0.5 8-1 5-2 2-2 Won 7
Delta 7-4 .636 14-10 .583 3.0 7-6 7-4 0-0 Won 3
Mott 6-5 .545 14-8 .636 4.0 11-3 3-5 0-0 Lost 2
Wayne County 5-6 .455 12-10 .545 5.0 5-3 4-6 3-1 Lost 1
Macomb 5-6 .455 11-11 .500 5.0 6-5 4-4 1-2 Won 1
Alpena 3-8 .273 6-12 .333 7.0 1-6 4-4 1-2 Lost 3
St. Clair County 2-8 .200 9-13 .409 7.5 5-6 4-6 0-1 Lost 4
Henry Ford 1-9 .100 6-14 .300 8.5 3-6 3-7 0-1 Lost 3
Western Conference
School MCCAA Overall GB Home Away Neutral Streak
9 - Lake Michigan 9-2 .818 18-6 .750 10-3 7-3 1-0 Won 2
Muskegon 7-4 .636 17-6 .739 2.0 10-0 6-6 1-0 Lost 2
Grand Rapids 7-4 .636 13-8 .619 2.0 9-2 4-6 0-0 Won 3
Kalamazoo Valley 7-4 .636 12-12 .500 2.0 7-5 4-5 1-2 Lost 1
Lansing 6-4 .600 14-9 .609 2.5 10-2 4-6 0-1 Won 1
Ancilla 5-5 .500 14-9 .609 3.5 10-3 4-5 0-1 Won 1
Glen Oaks 2-8 .200 9-12 .429 6.5 6-3 3-9 0-0 Won 1
Jackson 2-8 .200 8-14 .364 6.5 6-6 2-8 0-0 Lost 4
Kellogg 2-8 .200 3-16 .158 6.5 1-4 2-9 0-3 Lost 3
9 – NJCAA District 9 Qualifer
10 – NJCAA District 10 Qualifier

Mott’s hopes of turning the season around and making a run at another conference title were drowned in the chilly depths of the Detroit River Wednesday night.

The Bears’ three-game winning streak was snapped by Wayne County, 74-55, in downtown Detroit. This was the most lopsided defeat for Mott in over five years (January 9, 2010 versus Henry Ford). What’s worse? Mott welcomes first-place Oakland Community College to Ballenger Fieldhouse on Saturday afternoon.

The loss all but assures that Mott will not be a contender for the Eastern Conference championship this season. The Bears are now tied with Delta for third place in the east, fully three games behind Oakland and Schoolcraft in the loss column.

For Mott’s hall of fame head coach, Steve Schmidt, fame sounded more like shame after the game.

“We got it handed to us tonight,” Schmidt told MRSN radio. “This is just out of character. I’m really embarrassed right now. I’ve been coaching a long time. There’s a bigger picture here that our guys haven’t picked up yet.”

Schmidt took full responsibility for his team’s lack of effort and focus, a full season’s worth of frustration and still over a month left to play.

“This team hasn’t bought in from day one, and I have to take ownership of that,” he said.

Schmidt started the season behind the eight ball after not inviting back a single player from last season’s 25-6 team; the year before that the program finished 31-5 and eighth in the country. That said, he was not at all impressed with the work ethic of his freshmen class — on or off the court — and elected to start from scratch.

Wednesday night, Mot trailed by 12 at the half and by as many as 21 early in the second half. The Bears responded with a 10-0 run, a burst of energy that was short-lived.

Daryl Bigham led Mott (14-7) with 19 points. Justice Green added 11.

Barring an upset over Oakland on Saturday, Mott is assured of earning its worst win-loss record since the 2002-2003 season. The game will be broadcast live at MRSN.us starting at 3 p.m.

MCCAA Standings as of Feb. 5, 2015

Eastern Conference
School MCCAA Overall GB Home Away Neutral Streak
Schoolcraft 9-1 .900 20-3 .870 11-0 8-2 1-1 Won 9
Oakland 8-1 .889 14-5 .737 0.5 8-1 4-2 2-2 Won 6
Mott 6-4 .600 14-7 .667 3.0 11-2 3-5 0-0 Lost 1
Delta 6-4 .600 13-10 .565 3.0 7-6 6-4 0-0 Won 2
Wayne County 5-5 .500 12-9 .571 4.0 5-3 4-5 3-1 Won 2
Macomb 4-6 .400 10-11 .476 5.0 5-5 4-4 1-2 Lost 6
Alpena 3-7 .300 6-11 .353 6.0 1-5 4-4 1-2 Lost 2
St. Clair County 2-7 .222 9-12 .429 6.5 5-6 4-5 0-1 Lost 3
Henry Ford 1-9 .100 6-14 .300 8.0 3-6 3-7 0-1 Lost 3
Western Conference
School MCCAA Overall GB Home Away Neutral Streak
Lake Michigan 8-2 .800 17-6 .739 9-3 7-3 1-0 Won 1
Muskegon 7-3 .700 17-5 .773 1.0 10-0 6-5 1-0 Lost 1
Kalamazoo Valley 7-3 .700 12-11 .522 1.0 7-5 4-4 1-2 Won 4
Lansing 6-4 .600 14-9 .609 2.0 10-2 4-6 0-1 Won 1
Grand Rapids 6-4 .600 12-8 .600 2.0 8-2 4-6 0-0 Won 2
Ancilla 4-5 .444 13-9 .591 3.5 9-3 4-5 0-1 Lost 1
Jackson 2-7 .222 8-13 .381 5.5 6-6 2-7 0-0 Lost 3
Kellogg 2-7 .222 3-15 .167 5.5 1-3 2-9 0-3 Lost 2
Glen Oaks 1-8 .111 8-12 .400 6.5 6-3 2-9 0-0 Lost 6

FLINT, Michigan – Mott’s third straight win was anything but charming. The Bears turned away Alpena on Saturday afternoon in Flint, 74-60.

Leave it to Mott head coach Steve Schmidt to be angry about a 14-point conference win, but that’s his style; he’s almost never satisfied. Schmidt has not been happy with his team’s consistent inability to play a complete game this season. That was on full display Saturday.

Schmidt spent much of the game barking at his players for seemingly going in and out of consciousness on the floor, missing assignments, failing to box out and not getting after loose balls. At one point, he stopped freshman guard Austin Daniels with a question: “Are you OK?”

For short bursts, the team looked inspired on the defensive end. It wasn’t long, though, before they simply looked like they were mailing it in.

“I’m not happy with the demeanor of the guys,” Schmidt said. “I’m not happy with the effort. It’s a good win against a team we should beat, but I had some guys who just weren’t here. That’s all I’m going to say.”

There’s little doubt that Schmidt was reacting to the manner in which he team handled the game’s final four minutes. The Bears put their guard down and turned what should have been a dominant 25-point win into an outcome that leaves something to be desired.

It could have been a lot worse for the visiting Lumberjacks, but the home team didn’t roll out of bed until midway through the first half. The Bears, sparked by freshman wing Tommie Johnson, went on an 11-2 run to end the half up a dozen, 32-20.

Alpena is a much-improved team this season, scoring wins over Delta, Wayne County and Henry Ford this season. Without the services of Tristan Howard, the team’s top guard, the Lumberjacks could not handle the Bears’ pressure early in the second half. Just six minutes in, a 3-pointer by freshman guard Malik Young put the Bears up 23. It capped an 18-5 run by the Bears.

With Schmidt’s team fully in his comfort zone scoring points of turnovers, Mott didn’t slow the pace of play down until inside of four minutes left, still up 21. Setting aside the less-than-stellar effort to close out this game, the Bears are starting hit their stride on the defensive end. Mott has surrendered 67 or less points in five of their last six games.

Stephan Shepherd led all scorers with 24 points for Alpena (6-10).

Daryl Bigham led four Bears in double figures with 19. Young and Johnson scored 13 apiece. Justice Green added 11.

Mott will look to extend its winning streak to four on Wednesday night on the road against Wayne County. The Bears cannot afford to look ahead toward their showdown next Saturday at home versus Oakland.

Steve Schmidt's team knocked off Macomb on Wednesday night, 71-67. The Bears have now won two straight games after dropping their previous two.

Steve Schmidt’s team knocked off Macomb on Wednesday night, 71-67. The Bears have now won two straight games and should make it three Saturday against Alpena at home.

FLINT, Michigan — The Mott Community Bears returned to old form on Wednesday night, forcing three turnovers in the pivotal final two minutes to beat Macomb, 71-67.

The Bears led by two at the half and returned to the floor determined to pressure the ball. Mott threw everything but the proverbial kitchen sink at the Monarchs in the half, taking advantage of their opponent’s relative weakness in the backcourt. The Bears held Macomb to just 11-for-30 from the field in the half and forced seven turnovers.

Mott head coach Steve Schmidt was encouraged by the defensive effort in the half, but isn’t quite ready to say his team is ready for prime time.

“That was more like Mott has played traditionally,” Schmidt said. “We pressed and gave different looks defensively. That said, we’re still a work in progress … this is our fourth game in eight days, and we’re getting better.”

Mott led by as many as nine points with seven minutes to go in the game before a basket by Macomb’s Elijah Carter cut the Bears’ lead to one with just less than two minutes to go. Mott did not allow the Monarchs to score another point.

After both teams traded turnovers on four consecutive possessions, Mott’s Daryl Bigham got loose in transition, drew a foul, and made both free throws. In the game’s waning seconds, Mott guard Malik Young made one of two free throws to put the game out of reach.

Mott desperately needed to win this game in regulation, as their top two forwards (Bigham and Darryl LeVert) had four fouls apiece and their next man up (Matt Place) had already fouled out. Place, who sets the bar for effort on this team, received quite an ovation after he earned his fifth foul.

“That was the best ovation from fans for a kid who fouled out that I can remember,” Schmidt said.

The veteran coach also complimented Macomb and lauded the parity in the conference this season. There isn’t one great team in the conference, but there really aren’t any scrubs, either.

“I can’t remember a time when so many teams were capable of beating each other any given night,” he said. “Fortunately for us, I don’t think this conference has been won by anybody yet.”

The play of the game came with five minutes left in the second half, when LeVert slammed home a tip-dunk that brought fans to their feet and put the Bears up seven.

Brandon Hicks led Macomb (10-9) with 18 points and six rebounds. Chris Dorsey added 15 points and five rebounds.

Bigham led Mott (13-6) with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Levert, Justice Green and Austin Daniels added 11 points apiece.

Mott will return to action at 3 p.m. Saturday at home versus Alpena. This month, the ‘Jacks have scored wins over Wayne County, Delta, Mid-Michigan and Henry Ford. The game can be heard live on the Michigan Regional Sports Network, at MRSN.us.