Watervliet Press Box by John Oliphant
Alex Isbrecht gets 100th career win as Panther wrestlers sweep McKinney Memorial
The Watervliet High School gymnasium was full and noisy last Wednesday, Jan. 22, for the Trent McKinney Memorial Meet. The Watervliet Panthers and Coloma Comets each took on Gobles and Fennville. It was also Senior Night for the Panthers. Trever Pelton and Alex Isbrecht along with their parents were honored between matches of their final sporting event in the Panther gym. The Panthers easily beat Gobles, 45-30, and dominated Fennville, 57-12.
100th WIN… Senior Alex Isbrecht claims his 100th win at Panther Gymnasium on Wednesday, January 22 at the annual Trent McKinney Memorial Wrestling Meet. Alex, pictured here with his parents Tom and Kim Isbrecht, is a 2019 state finals qualifier and expects to return to the Division 3 finals this season. (TCR photo by John Oliphant)
The real excitement that evening was Alex, who was at 98 career wins heading into the meet. His first match was the most exciting of the entire evening. Alex came out strong in the first period, going up 4-0 with a takedown and two-point near fall. He was on the bottom the entire second period with his opponent riding him for two minutes and getting a near fall to make the score 4-3. The third period was more of the same, with Alex falling behind 6-4 with under 20 seconds left. At one point he had his opponent pinned while still on the bottom, but the referee wasn’t in position to see it. But then, in the style typical of his career he managed a late reversal to tie the score at 6. Then with less than five seconds to go he scored two more near fall points to get his 99th win.
His 100th win was a bit less dramatic as he pinned his opponent in 14 seconds.
There wasn’t much wrestling otherwise as both Gobles and Fennville have small teams. Jimmy Kolosowsky got a pin at 2:20, Trever Pelton got a pin at 2:09, Dominick Morrison won a tight match, and Evan Orlando won a decision.
Saturday, Jan. 25 was their scheduled rest weekend. The team heads to the Greater Berrien County meet in St. Joe on Saturday, Feb. 1, then to the SAC championship on February 8 in Lawton.
Panther boys basketball playing shorthanded
The Panther boys are on an extended road trip, having played at home on December 20 and not coming back until Senior Night on February 21. Playing on the road is always a disadvantage and being shorthanded makes the games that much tougher. Despite these challenges the team is playing well and improving every week.
On Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Jan. 20) they took on the Lake Michigan Catholic Lakers in their storied “House of Noise”. The Panthers neutralized the noise early on when Andrew Chisek grabbed the opening tipoff from Danaveon Gilbert and scored three seconds into the game, and then took a 13-5 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Panthers then dominated the over-matched Lakers, leading 28-7 at halftime and eventually winning the game 58-15.
Every Panther scored in the game, led by Andrew Chisek and Danaveon Gilbert with 12 points each. Sharpshooter Davis King scored 11, and speedy guard Brennan Bornas put up nine points. Evan Hutchins scored five and Curtis White hit one shot for three points. Cole Pline scored two while leading the team in rebounds. Rylee Carter and Brady Bornas were called up from the junior varsity and each scored two points in their first varsity action.
Friday night, Jan. 24, saw the Panthers at Coloma. With just seven players dressed for the game and six out for various reasons they would need a super-human effort to keep up with the potent Comets, but it wasn’t in the cards. The game was hard-fought by both teams and the Comets came out ahead, 61-50. The Panther scoring was led by Danaveon Gilbert with 14 points, including three three-pointers and a breakaway dunk, all in the final quarter. Andrew Chisek scored 11 points, and Davis King hit three long shots for nine points. Curtis White came on strong and scored seven, and Cole Pline was solid underneath with five points. Evan Hutchins and Rylee Carter each scored two points.