01-24-19 Tri-City Area Sports

After participating in a season-high eight competitions, games and meets just two weeks ago, things slowed down just a tad for the student-athletes of Hartford this past week. Despite that, all four winter sports teams were in action, with the basketball teams each playing in a pair of games, while the wrestling and competitive cheerleading teams participated in one event.

Hartford boys’ basketball adds two more wins to resume

The Hartford Indian Boys Basketball team came into play last week coming off of their first loss of the season, but still playing very well, with a record of 7-1 on the season. The team, currently tied for first place in the Southwest 10 Conference, played in a pair of games during the week. First, they traveled to Bloomingdale to play in a Southwest 10 Conference contest against the Cardinals, before traveling to Watervliet over the weekend to take on the rival Panthers.

In the Tuesday, Jan. 15 game against Bloomingdale, Hartford would come out on top of the host Cardinals, 67-48. Hartford jumped out to a 21-13 lead after one quarter, thanks to some timely baskets and good defense. The visiting Indians would extend their halftime lead to 35-22 after outscoring the host Cardinals, 14-9 in the second quarter, as baskets were hard to come by for both teams.

The Indians have been a hot shooting team for much of the season. They didn’t disappoint in the second half of this game. Hartford scored 18 points as a team in the third quarter, and behind some more solid defense, held Bloomingdale to just 10 points in the quarter, to extend their lead to 53-32 with eight minutes to go. The Cardinals did not go down without a fight in the fourth quarter, as they managed to outscore the Indians, 16-14, but the deficit was too much for the home team to overcome.

Hartford was paced by Trey Ackerman, who has been the leading scorer for the Indians in eight of the first nine games. Ackerman scored a game-high 28 points, while grabbing five rebounds and making four steals. Brandon Galvan pitched in 17 points, which included a team-high five three-pointers. Moses Beraza scored just two points, but left a major imprint on the game, grabbing nine rebounds, dishing out five assists and making four steals.

Also scoring for the Indians were Aaron Sinclair (6 points), Xavier Salinas (6 points), Evan De La Rosa (6 points), Elijah Rodarte (1 point) and Anthony Rodarte (1 point). Hartford finished the game having made 11 two-point baskets, 13 three-point baskets and shot 6-for-11, or nearly 55 percent, from the free-throw line.

In Saturday night’s game against Watervliet, Hartford picked up their ninth win of the season. They scored a 65-55 victory over the Panthers. Once again, the Indians got out of the gate quickly, making their outside shots and making every possession count. They outscored the Panthers, 20-12, during the opening eight minutes.

Hartford’s defense turned up the wickets in the second quarter, as they forced the young Panther team into quick shots and turnovers. Meanwhile, the offense continued to sizzle, and after an exhibition of made baskets, they extended their lead to 20 points, 40-20, at the half. The second stanza saw the Indians outscore Watervliet, 20-8.

The second half started off where the first half left off, with the visiting Indians continuing to pressure Watervliet into missed baskets and a slew of turnovers. However, in the third quarter, Hartford’s shooting touch was off a bit, as they missed some open looks and were stymied with misses at the charity stripe. They did manage, however, to win the quarter, 15-10, extending the Indians lead to 55-30 with eight minutes left.

After an early basket in the fourth quarter, Hartford led by a game-high 27 points with 7:30 left in the game. But the young Panthers got their footing under them, as they started hitting some inside shots and forcing Hartford into a plethora of turnovers. Watervliet trimmed the deficit to nine points late in the game, but the Indians made enough free-throws down the stretch to stem the tide. When it was all said and done, Watervliet dominated the quarter, having outscored the Indians, 25-10.

Hartford was led by a trio of double-digit scorers that accounted for 54 of the team’s 65 points. The Indians were led in scoring by Trey Ackerman, who put together a double-double, scoring a game-high 27 points and grabbing 11 rebounds, while making a pair of steals. Brandon Galvan scored 17 points and gobbled up three steals, while Aaron Sinclair was the final player in double figures with 10 points.

Elijah Rodarte came up big off the bench, scoring seven points and grabbing six rebounds, while Moses Beraza may not have scored, but made his presence felt, grabbing a team-high 12 boards. Also scoring for the Indians were Evan De La Rosa (3 points) and Elijah Ledesma (1 point).

Hartford finished the game having made 19 two-point baskets, five three-point baskets and shot 12-for-27, or 44 percent, from the free-throw line.

Hartford is now 9-1 on the season, and currently possesses an 8-1 record in the Southwest 10 Conference. They will play a pair of conference games this week. Both games will be played inside the friendly confines of Indian Gymnasium. On Tuesday, Jan. 22, they hosted Eau Claire, before hosting Bangor for Winterfest on Friday, Jan. 25. Check out next week’s Press Box to see if they can maintain their winning ways.

Hartford girls’ basketball falls to .500 after two defeats

The Hartford Indian Girls Basketball team came into play last week sporting a record of 4-2, having split games with Cassopolis and Centreville the previous week. The team, currently positioned in the top half of the conference standings, would face two stern tests during the week. First, they hosted the current co-leaders of the Southwest 10 Conference, Bloomingdale, before making a rare weekend appearance at Watervliet to take on the rival Panthers.

In last Tuesday night’s game against Bloomingdale, Hartford put up a valiant effort, but fell short against the visiting Cardinals, 49-44. The Indians jumped out early on the Cardinals, leading 10-4 midway through the first quarter, before Bloomingdale took a timeout to settle the game down. The Cardinals responded by cutting the Hartford lead to four, 15-11, after one quarter.

The second quarter went the way of Bloomingdale, as the visiting team outscored the home team, 20-11. Hartford led for a majority of the first half, but Bloomingdale finished on a 9-0 run, thanks to some easy baskets and a number of Indian turnovers. That run turned a four-point deficit into a five-point lead for the Cardinals, 31-26, at halftime.

The Lady Indians have been a second half team for much of the season, and they hoped this night would be more of the same. But, it was Bloomingdale that would continue to build their lead in the third quarter, as they held the potent Indian offense to just eight points in the frame. They would go on to outscore Hartford, 13-8, and took a 44-34 lead into the final eight minutes.

Hartford won the scoring battle in the fourth quarter, 10-5, but that was not enough to get over the hump, and they fell just short of a big victory. However, it should be noted the Indian defense was dominant in the final stanza, as a full court press and slews of double teams forced Bloomingdale into a multitude of turnovers. The Lady Indians got back within five points twice, at 47-42 and 49-44, but a few too many missed shots aborted any chance of a further rally.

Hartford was paced by a pair of double-digit scorers led by Mikenzie Chambers, who scored 14 points and pulled down seven rebounds, but spent most of the second half in foul trouble. Megan Nelson was the other Lady Indian in double-digits, scoring 13 points, while grabbing five rebounds and going a perfect 4-for-4 at the free-throw line.

Nautica Covington scored just four points on the night, but led the team in rebounding with 13 boards. Also scoring for the Lady Indians were Jaelyne Galvan (7 points), Vanessa De La Rosa (2 points) and Alexis Snodgrass (2 points). Hartford finished the game having made 16 two-point baskets, two three-point baskets and shot 6-for-12, or 50 percent, from the free-throw line.

In Saturday night’s game against Watervliet, Hartford suffered their third consecutive defeat, falling to the Lady Panthers, 43-32. The first quarter was a grind-it-out battle between the two teams, as they matched baskets on the offensive end and played solid defense on the other end. The result of the quarter was a tie, 9-9, but Watervliet held the momentum, having made the last basket in the frame.

In the second quarter, the Lady Panthers took advantage of some careless decisions by Hartford’s offense, and a couple of lapses on defense, to outscore the Lady Indians, 13-8, in the frame. Watervliet went into the halftime locker room leading the game, 22-17.

The second half saw Watervliet extend their lead in the third quarter by a 15-8 margin, thanks to some good outside shooting and some critical misses on the offensive side of the ball by the Lady Indians.

The Lady Panthers went into the final quarter leading Hartford, 37-25. In the fourth quarter, Hartford outscored Watervliet, but it was just by a 7-6 margin, firmly giving the Panthers the home victory. It should be noted, however, that Hartford’s defense was very strong in the fourth quarter, as they forced Watervliet into quite a few turnovers and silly mistakes. But the Lady Indians could not buy a basket when they needed it most, or it would have been a much closer game then the results indicate.

Hartford was paced by Mikenzie Chambers, as the senior posted a team-high 14 points and grabbed five rebounds. Nautica Covington played another great all-around game, scoring six points, grabbed a team-high eight rebounds and made seven steals. Megan Nelson had five points and made two steals, while Jaelyne Galvan also added a 5-point, 6-rebound game to the Lady Indian stat line.

Also scoring for the Lady Indians was Gillian Kuehnle (2 points). Hartford finished the game having made six two-point baskets, four three-point baskets and shot 8-for-18, or 44 percent, from the free-throw line.

Hartford is now 4-4 on the season, and currently holds a 4-3 record in Southwest 10 Conference play. The team will play in a pair of conference games this week. On Tuesday, Jan. 22, they will travel to Eau Claire for their first meeting of the season against the Beavers, before returning home for Winterfest against Bangor on Friday, Jan. 25.

Hartford wrestling scores first dual victory of season

The Hartford Indian Wrestling team, still searching for their first team dual victory of the season, hosted Eau Claire last week in a Southwest 10 Conference dual. On a night when they would honor their lone senior wrestler, Noah Wade, the Indians were given a great chance to end the home season on a winning note. Both teams are struggling with numbers and have plenty of open weight classes, so it was the perfect chance for the team to break into the win column.

In Wednesday night’s conference dual against Eau Claire, Hartford would prevail, winning the match, 24-12. The Indians built an 18-0 lead after three matches, courtesy of a trio of victories by forfeit. Eau Claire would score a victory, via forfeit, at 119 pounds, to cut the Indian lead to 18-6 with two matches to go.

Hartford would score one more match victory, by forfeit, to essentially clinch the dual meet victory, before Eau Claire would win the final match of the night, via the pin, to round out the meet. Scoring victories for the Indians were Josue Pineda (215 pounds), Seth Wade (285 pounds), Jared Foerster (112 pounds) and Ruxlur Kamonlasath (152 pounds).

On the back of their first dual meet victory of the season, Hartford will compete in a conference double dual and an individual tournament this week. On Wednesday, Jan. 23, they traveled to Decatur to take part in a Southwest 10 Conference double dual, wrestling the host Raiders and Cassopolis, before heading to Comstock on Friday, Jan. 25 to compete in the Comstock Varsity Invitational.

Hartford Competitive Cheerleading flies to season best result

The Hartford Indian Competitive Cheerleading team was back in action participating in the second Southwest Michigan Competitive Cheer Conference meet of the season. The team has been putting in a lot of hard work the past several weeks, with expectations soaring after the coaching change during winter break. After competing without a third round routine the previous few events, the ladies were poised to show it off, and score their best scores of the season.

In Wednesday night Jan. 16 conference competition, hosted by Bloomingdale, Hartford finished 5th out of eight teams. The team finished round one with 188.5 points, and that came with zero penalty points. The second round saw the team put together another good routine, scoring 169.6 points, but it was demoted to 161.6 points after eight points in penalties.

After several weeks of anticipation, Hartford broke out just a small fraction of their new, and vastly improved, third round routine. Despite that, they scored 229.6 points in the final round, which also came with zero penalty points. When all was said and done, the Indians had put together a season best grand total of 571.70 points. If they had performed their full final round routine, the total could have been much, much higher.

Hartford’s Competitive Cheerleading team will be the busiest of all the teams this week, with the ladies taking part in three competitions in six days.

 On Monday, Jan. 21, they traveled to Coloma to take part in the Coloma Invitational, before participating in the third Southwest Michigan Competitive Cheer Conference meet of the season on Wednesday, Jan. 23, at Delton Kellogg. They will end their busy week with a weekend performance on Saturday, Jan. 26, taking part in the Otsego Bulldog Classic. Check out next week’s Press Box for the final results.

Coloma Comets host #1 Benton Harbor to a packed house; Goodline creeps closer to the 2,000 career point mark

In a highly anticipated nonconference matchup pitting the Benton Harbor Tigers, ranked number 1 in the state in Division 2, and the Comets in the Coloma gym, the Tigers came out on top by a score of 68-51 on Tuesday, Jan. 15. The gym was packed, loud, and frenzied, and there was a buzz in the building that is normally only reserved for March and the madness that comes with the state high school tournament. It was obvious from the start that Coloma was a little undersized, but as the game progressed it was just as obvious that the Comets were certainly never over matched.

ZACH GOODLINE SIGNS WITH HUNTINGTON UNIVERSITY… Coloma Comet senior All State guard Zach Goodline (seated in center), surrounded by his team mates and head coach Paul Marfia, has made a decision on his immediate future and has signed to continue his education and to play basketball for Huntington University in Indiana. Zach says that he is very excited to attend there and has already built a great relationship with the coaches. He expects to step right in and play as a freshman. (TCR photo by Dave Vollrath)

The game started with each team coming out looking a little tight, as they each had trouble getting the ball in the bucket. Coloma missed on their first eight shots and Benton Harbor also missed several shots up close and near to the rim. After those first couple of minutes however, the teams got their legs under them and settled down. Benton Harbor built a little 13-7 lead to finish the first quarter.

The second quarter was much different as Coloma hit on three consecutive shots from outside the 3-point arc in a 9-0 run and took their first lead of the night, 16-13. Both teams looked much better, and Coloma built as much as a five-point lead on a couple of occasions in the quarter. The Tigers hit a 2-pointer at the buzzer to head into the locker room up by 1, 30-29.

Defensively the Comets played hard-nosed and looked in sync, but Benton Harbor took advantage of their height and pulled down plenty of offensive rebounds, converting many of those into second chance buckets. Coloma led in the third quarter, 33-30, but B.H. went on a 13-0 run, putting the Comets down by 10. Coloma never got closer than seven the rest of the night.

Coloma was never out of it however, as the Tigers tried to put the clamps on the Comets’ all state guard Zach Goodline. They face guarded him for much of the night, but Zach still found a way as all great players do, to get off his shots and set up many others for his team mates.

Coloma only trailed by eight with 2:13 to go in the game, but B.H. closed it out with a 9-0 run which included an exclamation point dunk by their star Carlos Johnson. Benton Harbor went home with the victory. Coloma, with their outstanding play, showed what they are capable of against one of the top teams in the state. They head back into conference play later this week.

Zach Goodline led the Comets with his 20 points, and in doing so crept a little closer to that magic 2,000 number for career points. The number which very few ever reach in the state and only has been reached twice before by a player in Southwest Michigan basketball history.

Michael Dancer played a great game and finished with 10 points, two from 3-point land. Phil Caldwell added nine on three 3’s, and Kenny Crowder hit for seven points with one from beyond the arc.

Comets start slow, but finish off the Panthers with strong second half

 Coloma took to the Watervliet Panther court on Friday night and looked like they had a little bit of a hangover following a physical and up tempo loss to Benton Harbor. The Panthers came out with plenty of energy, but Coloma still led at the half by a 38-24 score.

ALL WRAPPED UP… Watervliet’s Andrew Chisek wraps up Coloma’s Drew Goodline as he drives to the basket during the second quarter of play Friday night. The visiting Comets proved too much for the Panthers as they notched a 77-32 victory. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)

The Comets then came out of the locker room and filled it up, outscoring the Panthers by 18 in the 3rd quarter. Eventually the game went to running clock in the 4th quarter as the Comets rolled to a 77-32 victory.

Zach Goodline led the Comets with 35 points and now has over 1,900 for his career and ever closer to the magic 2,000 point career total. Mike Dancer and Isaiah Reinhardt each had 11 for Coloma and Phil Caldwell added six with two three-pointers.

Coloma Comet girls defeat Watervliet in a homecoming game for Kim (Gear) Swisher

The Coloma Comet girls came into the Panther gym and gave their coach a homecoming present as they defeated Watervliet in a closely contested matchup by a score of 28-24. Coloma trailed for much of this low scoring game. The first score didn’t come until there was only 2:08 left in the first quarter.

It was a physical and highly emotional game, as most rivalry games tend to be. What it lacked in scoring more than made up for in excitement. Kelsey Ellis calmly sank two free throws with 22 seconds left to give the Comets a four-point cushion and put the game away.

Megan Neubecker scored six points, pulled down 12 rebounds, and had six steals and three blocked shots in leading Coloma. Megan Koenigshof only scored three points but seemed to be everywhere on the court which included eight rebounds, three assists and four steals, and picked up a couple of bleeding raspberries on her knees.

After the game Coach Swisher commented about how it felt to be back in the gym where she had such great success as a player saying, “It’s always great to come back to where it all started. There are tons of memories in that gym for me. I appreciate everything that Watervliet has done for me.” She then went on to say, “I’m just very happy to get the win, because my girls fought hard! The rivalry atmosphere between the schools is still the same as when I was in school, but now I am a Comet.”

Coloma Comet wrestlers split a pair of matches: Defeat Delton Kellogg 36-15, but fall to Martin 36-18

The Comets split a pair of conference matches last week by taking care of business and beating Delton Kellogg, but then fell to Martin. Coloma still is wrestling somewhat shorthanded as they have for much of the season, but several of the Comets are having very big years.

Winning their matches in the win over Delton Kellogg were Caeleb Ishmael wrestling at 112 pounds and winning by pin, his brother Ian Ishmael also won by pin at 140 pounds, and Cody Reese pinned his opponent to the mat at 145 pounds.

In the loss to Martin these Comet competitors all won by a pin, Cole Alsup at 285, and the Ishmael brothers Ian at 145 and Caeleb at 103.

Comet wrestlers have fine individual showing at big Hopkins Invitational; Ian Ishmael picks up the 100th win of high school career

The Coloma Comet wrestlers traveled to Hopkins last Saturday even as Southwest Michigan was in the middle of getting our biggest snow fall of the year. Several of the Comets had big individual days and wrestled quite well in a tournament that was attended by 13 schools from around the state.

COLOMA COMET STANDOUT WRESTLER… Ian Ishmael, an outstanding junior wrestler for the Coloma Comets, recently picked up the 100th victory of his wrestling career. The win came on Saturday, Jan. 19 during the Hopkins invitational. Ian also claimed 1st place on the day, competing in the 140 pound weight class by going 5-0, the only Comet to do so. Hopkins hosted this tournament which was attended by 12 other schools from around the state.

Ian Ishmael, still only a junior, led the attack for Coloma as he not only dominated the 140 pound weight class, going undefeated at 5-0 on the day, but also picked up the 100th win of his high school career.

Also having a really good tournament for the Comets was Cody Reese finishing in second place at 142 pounds Freshman Caeleb Ishmael at 103 finished in 3rd place. Mike Case had a 4th place finish at 152. And Dalton Turner finished fifth in the 189 pound weight class.

Coloma Comet bowlers compete at home, girls win a pair of matches as the boys split

The Coloma Comet girls continue to dominate in the conference and remain undefeated as they knock down Martin by a 28-2 count, and then Bronson on Wednesday 23-7.

Top bowlers for the Comets against Martin were Narelle Hickmon with a 190 and 161, 351 total and Emily Feldten with games of 228 and 171 for a 399 total. Morgan Hosbein had a 326 total and Lainey Meader rolled a single game of 182.

In the match against Bronson, Emily Feldten led the Comets with games of 197 and 191 for a 388, and Morgan Hosbein shot 175 and 172 for a 347 total.

The boys won their Monday, Jan. 14 match by shutting out Martin 30-0. Tops on the lanes for the Comets on this day were Damian Gomez who rolled games of 172 and 218 for a 390, Ryan Wilson with a 167 and 191 for 358 total, and Jonathon Swetay who shot games of 197 and 152 for a 349.

 On Wednesday the 15th in a loss to a very tough Bronson team by final of 19-11, the Comets were led by Jonathon Swetay’s 374 with games of 192 and 182. Damian Gomez had games of 169, 198 for 367 total, and Ryan Wilson shot 201 and 154, 355 total.

Panther Wrestlers take 2nd place at Marcellus tournament

Coach Joe Isbrecht’s wrestlers continued their strong season last weekend at the Marcellus Modern Woodman tournament, taking second place out of 11 teams on a snowy Saturday.

The Panther team was in fourth place heading into the final round, just 10 points behind first place Paw Paw. Eight Watervliet wrestlers qualified for the finals, giving them a solid shot at jumping up a few places.

Six of those wrestlers won their matches, five of them with pins and three for individual championships. Paw Paw ended the day with 133.5 points and Watervliet captured the 2nd place trophy with 131.5. The Panthers had 14 pins and two major decisions, with 19 total wins on the day.

The highlight of the meet was Matt Melcher notching his 100th career win by pinning Buchanan’s Shane Grimmig at 1:42 in the first period. As is customary for this milestone, the 100th win is announced and Matt received extended recognition from all the fans and wrestlers. Matt went on to take first place in the 215-pound weight class with another pin at 0:51 in the first period of the championship match. He currently stands at 101-36 in his career at Watervliet, and 25-1 on the season.

Alex Isbrecht (24-8) dominated the 125-pound bracket, hardly breaking a sweat while recording pins at 0:18, 0:58, and 0:56.

Trever Pelton (27-5) won first place in the 112-pound bracket in another dominant performance. He won his first match 16-0 and then had two pins on his way to winning the championship.

Isaiah Yazel (26-13) took second place at 152 pounds, recording a pin at 0:56 and a 5-2 decision before losing in the title match.

Don Smith (7-4) won third place at 189 pounds, recording pins at 0:18 and 4:20, then beating Eau Claire’s Micah Harris in an exciting 4-1 match in the finals. Don led 2-1 as the clock ran down, collecting the only takedown of the match in the last few seconds to seal the win.

Coby Henslee (18-14) was solid at 145 pounds, winning 11-1 and collecting pins at 0:40 and 3:56 in the 3rd place match.

Rookie junior Jordyn Angelo (5-9) had the best performance of his career so far, winning third place and going 2-1 on the day while notching pins at 0:56 and 3:56 in the 3rd place finals.

Their next meet is the Greater Berrien County Invitational on Saturday, Jan. 26 at the St. Joseph High School Fieldhouse. After that, the MHSAA tournament season begins starting with the SAC finals meet on February 2 at Coloma.

Panther Wrestlers go 1-1 in quad at Martin

Earlier last week the wrestlers traveled to Martin to take on Delton-Kellogg and Martin in a pair of conference matchups. Martin won the first matchup 41-37, but the Panthers came back to beat Delton-Kellogg 39-24 in the second match. Trever Pelton, Nathan Isbrecht, and Coby Henslee each collected two wins on the evening.