Turn Back the Clock: McBain NMC Caps off Perfect Season with 1987 Class D Title

MISportsNow is turning back the clock and looking back at some of northern Michigan’s greatest high school boys basketball teams. The series features interviews from past coaches and players, as well as highlights from the Michigan High School Athletic Association’s archives. This is the third in a multi-part series.

With coach Scott Soodsma at the helm, the McBain Northern Michigan Christian boys basketball program won its first state championship with a victory over Gaylord St. Mary in the 1987 MHSAA Class D state final at Michigan’s Crisler Arena.

After reaching the state semifinals in 1986, the Comets returned in 1987 and knocked off defending Class D state champion Detroit East Catholic en route to a 56-46 win over Gaylord St. Mary in the final and a 27-0 season.

Bryan Eisenga and Mike Heuker combined to lead the Comets with 16 and 14 points, respectively.

“Here we are, small town, northern Michigan. They had a great year the year before and everything,” 1987 state champion Dan Shaarda said. “To win a state title and to walk away 27-0 was just phenomenal.”

“It was unbelievable,” Eisenga added. “Unbelievable feeling to actually have that come true. Not very many people get that opportunity, so that’s pretty special.”

The Comets would go on to reach the Class D state semifinals in 1994, 1995 and 2003.

Soodsma led McBain Northern Michigan Christian from 1985-89 and again from 1991-92 before taking over at Hudsonville Unity Christian in 1993. He ranks as one of the state’s all-time winnigest coaches with a boys and girls basketball combined coaching record of 678-293.

Jay Martin paced the Snowbirds in the 1987 title game with 14 points as Gaylord St. Mary was making its first state finals appearance. The Snowbirds reached the Class D state semifinals in 1979 and again in 2002.


McBain Northern Michigan Christian’s Road to the 1987 Finals
Manton, 58-42 – District
McBain, 56-42 – District Final
Frankfort, 55-54 – Regional
Muskegon Western Michigan Christian, 66-57 – Regional Final
Kingsley, 59-47 – Quarterfinal
Detroit East Catholic, 53-49 – Semifinal
Gaylord St. Mary, 56-46 – Final


Gaylord St. Mary’s Road to the 1987 Finals
Wolverine, 70-48 – District
Vanderbilt, 83-44 – District Final
DeTour, 48-46 – Regional
Alanson, 73-52 – Regional Final
Rock Mid-Peninsula, 71-60 – Quarterfinal
Covert, 82-67 – Semifinal
McBain Northern Michigan Christian, 46-56 – Final


To view more highlights from the 1987 MHSAA Class D state final, visit here.

Categories: Boys Basketball