Homecoming: Mike Brigham leads Mott to Danville for nationals

Posted: March 5, 2011 by Jared Field in High School

Sam Burton celebrates Mott's regional championship victory over Delta with teammate Demetrius Miller.

FLINT, Michigan — Perhaps the only person in the building more familiar with Danville, Illinois than Mott head coach Steve Schmidt, was Mike Brigham.

Mott’s sophomore forward and tournament MVP grew  up in Danville, about 90 minutes west of Indianapolis. As fate would have it, it was the Danville kid who lit a  fire under his team early, and gave them the extra energy they needed down the stretch to take down a resilient Delta College squad, 76-57, on Saturday afternoon.

Schmidt told Brigham in the locker room, in front of the whole team, that Danville was going to meet a brand new man.

“I’m taking this man home, and they’re going to be proud of the man that you’ve become,” he said to Brigham. “You came here as an immature kid, and they’re going to be proud of the man we’re bringing back to Danville.”

Mott sophomore Mike Brigham

Brigham scored 17 points with 16 rebounds in the game, leading a group of five players who scored in double-figures including Doug Anderson, Sam Burton, Demetrius Miller and Marshawn Norris.

The regional championship victory will place Mott in the national tournament as the no. 1 seed, as the Bears ended the season atop the national poll.

The turning point in the game came just before the end of the half, as the Bears were down one with 20 seconds to go. Mott scored to go up one before an ill-advised shot gave Miller enough time to launch a shot from just over halfcourt as the buzzer sounded. Miller swished the most demoralizing shot of the game for the opposition, and Delta never got any closer.

Lost in all the hoopla is the impressive late-season run by Delta, a team that many had written off early in the season. The Pioneers bounced back to knock off the second and third seeds in the regional tournament with a roster shortened by attrition. New head coach Lonnie Griffin has done a tremendous job with this program in a short period of time.

As one coach builds a resume, another just adds to it.

Schmidt will bring with him the national tournament record for winning percentage, along with three national championships and six final four appearances.

The national tournament begins March 15.

Schmidt's resume heading into the national tournament: 534-122 in 20 seasons, 13 conference titles, eight state titles, seven regional titles, six final fours, five title games and three national championships.

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Comments
  1. Anthony Coggins says:

    Coach Lonnie Griffin has a great foundation going at Delta, and they will be a force to reckon with for awhile.

    Congrats Bears! I am proud to be a part of the program…bring the big hardware home guys!!!

  2. Jared Field says:

    Unbelievable season. 30-2.

  3. JucoJunkie says:

    It was a great game to watch. Delta came ready to play and gave the Bears a tough game. Good luck to Mott at the national tournament!

  4. ALAN FITZPATRICK says:

    congrats to Delta and, of course, Mott – it would have been great to see Henry ford vs. Mott final though.

    • Jared Field says:

      I actually picked Delta to lose to OCC, but once they got that far I had them beating HFCC. My reasoning is simple: Henry Ford just doesn’t play very hard. Delta does.

    • A. Biggers says:

      I actually picked HF. I thought it was pretty much set for an HF-Mott final. But Jared made a good point. At times, the Hawks lack hustle.

      Very talented team, however, and I just couldn’t go against them with guys like Stewart, Moon and Tubbs.

      How about Delta’s Jody Hill? Man, that kid impressed me so much. What an athlete. They say he’s 6-foot, I think that’s a stretch… but he played great and threw down a nice dunk to close the first half against HF in the semis.

  5. A. Biggers says:

    I’m planning on doing a feature on Brigham this week. What a cool story. Not many guys get to go home and play on the biggest stage their sport has to offer.

    Nice photos. I need to get a camera.

    Juco Junkie: It was nice meeting you at the game. I’m sure we’ll see each other at a game next season.

  6. A. Biggers says:

    http://www.mlive.com/sports/flint/index.ssf/2011/03/flints_javale_mcgee_has_strong.html

    I changed the headline for SEO purposes, as video wasn’t available when I wrote it after the game. But check out JaVale getting banged on by Tay. It was a nasty dunk.

    I have video embedded.

  7. […] Great Lakes Hoops: Perhaps the only person in the building more familiar with Danville, Illinois than Mott head coach […]

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