01-31-2019 Tri-City Area Sports

Panther Wrestlers compete at Greater Berrien County Invitational

The Watervliet wrestlers, along with 18 other teams from the area, gathered at the St. Joseph High School Fieldhouse for the 40th annual Greater Berrien County Invitational meet on Saturday, Jan. 26. At this meet the smaller schools learn just how good they are, going up against wrestling powerhouses like Niles, Lakeshore, Edwardsburg and Dowagiac.

Given the strength of the field, the Panthers represented Watervliet well, finishing in 12th place with 55 points.

A MIGHTY HEAVE… Celina Klimkiewicz, a senior on the Watervliet varsity girls’ basketball squad, heaves the ball toward the bucket Friday evening as the first period closed out against Fennville. Fennville topped Watervliet 44-33. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)

Trever Pelton (29-6) won his first two matches to earn a spot in the 112-pound championship, but an injury suffered in his first match caused him to decide not to risk his health with the state tournaments coming in a couple weeks, and withdrew from the finals’ match. Pelton took a second-place medal, best of all the Panthers.

Matt Melcher (27-2), wrestling at 215 pounds, beat Niles’ Tysen Custard 9-2, then lost to a very good Zeke Rohl from Lakeshore to earn a spot in the 3rd-place match. His finals opponent was injured, and Melcher was awarded 3rd place.

Alex Isbrecht (26-10) won his first match with a pin at 1:28. He lost then won another match to qualify for the fifth place match. He was losing the entire match, but the clock ran out on his furious finish against Niles’ Terris Frick, who won 3-2. Isbrecht finished sixth place in the 125-pound class.

Don Smith (9-6), wrestling at 189, beat wrestlers from St Joseph and Constantine to qualify for the fifth-place match. He lost that match, earning a sixth-place medal.

Their next meet is the SAC Championship on Saturday, Feb. 2 at Coloma.

Lady Panthers lose to Fennville 44-34

 The Panther girls’ basketball team hosted the Fennville Blackhawks on Friday, Jan. 25. The Lady Panthers struggled to score in the first three quarters, eventually losing the game 44-34.

HIGH FLYING PANTHER… Watervliet’s JayShawn Scruggs climbs high over his Fennville Blackhawks opponents Friday evening to grab an offensive rebound. A slow start doomed the Panthers as they lost 63-46, despite scoring 24 points in the fourth quarter. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)

The Panthers drop to 0-6 in the SAC Lakeshore conference and 2-8 overall. Fennville improves to 2-3 in the conference. Martin (4-1) and Gobles (4-0) are the Lakeshore Division leaders.

The team played good defense throughout the game and made the Blackhawks earn their points. On the opposite side of the ball the situation wasn’t so good. The Panthers’ shooting hands went cold as they struggled to make baskets, scoring on just two three-pointers by Celina Klimkiewicz and a single free throw by Victoria Smith in the first half.

Starting center Elaine Koshar picked up two quick fouls, which kept their top scorer on the bench for 14 of the half’s 16 minutes. Turnovers were also a problem, with several errant and in