Panther wrestlers perform well at SAC meet
The Panther wrestling team participated in the SAC meet at Coloma on Saturday, Feb. 2. Long layoffs don’t typically bode well for wrestling teams because they count on practices to not only get ready but to burn calories and pounds, but after five consecutive snow days and no practices the team performed well, earning six medals and finishing sixth in team points, just a couple behind Lawton.
SAC WATERVLIET WRESTLING RUNNERS-UP… Matt Melcher and Trever Pelton of Watervliet’s varsity wrestling squad were top finishers on the team Saturday in the Southwestern Athletic Conference meet hosted by Coloma. Melcher, a senior, finished second in the 215 lb. weight class and is 27-3 on the season. Pelton is a junior and came in second, holding a 30-5 record this season; he wrestles in the 112 lb. weight class. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)
Leading the way was Matt Melcher (27-4) in the 215-pound bracket, going 2-1 on the day and finishing in second place. Matt won his first match with a pin at 0:57 and lost a close championship match, 4-2.
Trever Pelton (29-6) went 1-1 on the day in the 112-pound bracket, losing only the championship match. Trever now sits at 99 career wins.
Don Smith (17-10) went 3-1 on the day in the 189-pound bracket, including a pin at 4:13 in the third-place match.
Alex Isbrecht (26-13) also took third place in the 125-pound bracket, going 2-1 and winning his last match on a pin at 4:21.
Nathan Isbrecht (22-13) took third place in the 119-pound bracket, winning his last match with a pin at 3:09.
Jordan Angelo (7-13) won just one match in the 135-pound bracket, but it was enough to propel him into the third-place match, where he lost and ended up taking a fourth place medal.
Isaiah Yazel (27-17) ended up in the toughest bracket of the entire tournament at 152 pounds, but came away 2-2 including pins at 0:59, and 0:27 in his fifth place match.
Other wrestlers collecting wins on the day were Coby Henslee (19-21) and Santi Wilkinson (10-14).
The Panther wrestlers now begin their playoff season, beginning Saturday, Feb. 9 with the individual districts at Lawton.
Boys’ basketball hosts Gobles
The Panther Boys Basketball team couldn’t overcome another slow start as they fell to the Gobles Tigers, 77-61, on Friday, Feb. 1. After spotting the Tigers a 21-8 lead in the first quarter they played solid defense and nearly matched the Tigers in points the rest of the way. The Tigers brought their outside shooting game, hitting 12 three-point shots to account for nearly half of their total points. The Tigers’ Brady Brunell was dominant at center, blocking seven shots and scoring 11 points in the paint.
The Panthers hit a season-high eight three-pointers. Andrew Chisek led all scorers with 21, including two three-pointers and several layups after figuring out how to avoid the long arms of Brunell underneath.
Danaveon Gilbert scored 11 with three from beyond the arc. Cole Pline scored a season-high seven points off the bench, and Kenny Russell also scored seven. Omar Cardoso scored five points, Kade VanNeil scored four, Kris Lenox scored three, JayShawn Scruggs scored two, and Curtis White scored a point.
Their next game is Friday, Feb. 8 at Martin, when they take on the 9-1 Clippers.
Girls Basketball falls to Gobles
The Lady Panthers hosted the undefeated Gobles Tigers on Friday, Feb. 1. The weather kept the girls from any practice activity the entire week and it showed. The Tigers won 71-18 on a combination of several hot shooting Tiger hands and the Panthers inability to put the ball in the hoop.
The Tigers jumped out to a 23-0 lead at the end of the first quarter and never looked back as the Panthers scored a total of two points in the first and third quarters. The Panthers fall to 0-7 in the SAC Lakeshore division and 2-9 overall.
Celina Klimkiewicz led the Panther scoring with seven points, including one three-pointer. Victoria Smith and Alex Worley each scored three points. Serena Reyna and Madison Hagood-Saunders each chipped in two points off the bench, and Ally Pazera scored a point.
Their next game is Friday, Feb. 8 when they travel to take on the 7-1 Martin Clippers.
The athletic week in Hartford looked busy when it started, with eight events highlighting the calendar; however, winter really set in and Hartford students experienced a “second winter break” with classes being cancelled all week long.
The school district, transportation department and athletic department did a phenomenal job in making events happen and getting their athletes to and from those events safely. In the end, Hartford hosted a pair of basketball games, and also played in a pair of road basketball games, traveled to the conference wrestling tournament and competed in the conference competitive cheer finals.
Pressbox Player of the Week
By Jerrod Birmele
Trey Goodson, a junior at Hartford High School, is this week’s Press Box Player of the Week.
Trey is not your normal everyday student-athlete, because very few his age around this neck of the woods do what he does. That’s because he is a drag racer, and a champion at that. This past season, he was crowned track champion in the Master Class Junior Dragster division at U.S. 131 Motorsports Park, located in Martin.
In 2018, he picked up four victories, four runner-up finishes and scored 27 round wins en route to the championship. Because of his accomplishments and successes he was given the unique opportunity to compete against some of the world’s best in the IHRA Summit World Finals, held this past October in Memphis, Tenn.
Trey has been drag racing for four years. His accomplishments include back-to-back victories in the 2016 and 2017 Super Chevy Show, held at U.S. 131 Motorsports Park. Also, in 2017, he scored a victory in the IHRA Summit Sportsman Spectacular, and with that, won his first Ironman. In addition to his home track, he has competed at facilities statewide such as Mid-Michigan Motorplex in Stanton (Montcalm County) and Northern Michigan Dragway in Kaleva (Manistee County).
His drag racing has taken on a national presence, as he has competed at facilities such as Bristol Dragway and the aforementioned Memphis International Raceway, both in Tennessee; Tulsa Raceway Park in Oklahoma; Gateway Motorsports Park outside St. Louis; I-64 Motorplex in Kentucky and Bunker Hill Drag Strip and Osceola Dragway, both in Indiana.
Trey’s 2019 plans include stepping into a big car to race Top E.T. in Undercover Dragster with a 540 Big Block Chevy engine. He has plans to continue bracket racing for years to come.
Outside of the drag racing scene, Trey is a student-athlete who represents the Indians proudly. He can be found playing football in the fall, and this past season, he served as the starting center for the varsity football team, in addition to playing defensive tackle. Outside of Indian Athletics, he enjoys hunting, fishing and riding four-wheelers with his friends.
Hartford Boys Basketball splits pair of games, boasts 11-2 record
The Hartford Indian Boys Basketball team hit the courts twice last week for a pair of conference games. With practices being cancelled all week long, the team went into these two games “blind”, and hoping that this unexpected break wouldn’t wreak havoc with their sizzling start. In Friday night’s game against Marcellus, Hartford would suffer just their second loss of the season, falling 63-59 to the Wildcats. After the opening eight minutes, the Wildcats led the Indians, 21-14. Hartford looked to battle back in the second quarter, and hoped to leave an early cold shooting spell behind them. Unfortunately, it followed them into the second stanza, but the home team cooled off, as well. When the quarter was finished, Marcellus had won the quarter by just one point, 15-14, giving them a 36-28 lead going into halftime.
The second half started off great for the Indians, who settled in defensively and started shooting better. Hartford utilized their team speed and shooting touch to gradually eat into the Wildcats lead. When the horn sounded, they had outscored Marcellus, 17-9, and that meant the game was tied at 45-all heading into the final eight minutes.
The fourth quarter could be described as intense, as two conference contenders battled back-and-forth for a majority of the stanza with the host Wildcats outscoring Hartford in the final frame, 18-14, to take the victory.
Hartford was paced by a trio of scorers in double figures that ended up scoring 50 of the teams’ 59 points on the night. Aaron Sinclair led the Indians with a game-high 19 points, which included seven two-point baskets and a 5-for-7 performance from the free-throw line. Brandon Galvan was just one point behind Sinclair, as he scored 18 points, with all his made baskets coming from behind the arc. Trey Ackerman had a rare off night, scoring just 13 points for Hartford.
Those players also scoring for the Indians included Elijah Ledesma (4 points), Evan De La Rosa (3 points) and Moses Beraza (2 points). Hartford finished the game having made 12 two-point baskets, nine three-point baskets and shot 8-for-11, or nearly 73 percent, from the charity stripe.
In Saturday afternoon’s game against Mendon, which was originally scheduled for Tuesday night but was postponed due to weather, Hartford soundly defeated the visiting Hornets, 67-28. The Indians started out cold from the field, owing to the result of no practices all week long. Hartford managed to pressure the visiting team into tough shots, and they also found it hard to score early. The end result was a 13-8 lead for the Indians after eight minutes of play.
Hartford found their footing in a big way in the second quarter, with the defense tightening up, forcing plenty of turnovers that led to easy baskets. The final result was a dominating 21-5 scoring margin in the quarter, as the Indians extended their halftime lead to 34-13.
The Indians began to light up the gymnasium in the third quarter, as they made bucket after bucket seemingly all quarter long. Meanwhile, the defense remained staunch, as Mendon found it tough to score. By the time the third stanza had ended, Hartford had pushed their lead to 40 points, at 64-24.
It would be a running clock in the fourth quarter, unless the Hornets could get the lead below 30 points. That would never happen; as a quick fourth stanza saw the teams combine to score just seven points.
For the second time in two days Hartford was led by a trio of double-digit scorers. The Indians were led by Trey Ackerman, who rebounded from a disappointing game the night before to score 23 points. Brandon Galvan added 12 points and Aaron Sinclair rounded out the double-digit scorers by scoring 11 points. When the dust settled, six other players had scored for Hartford, which included Elijah Rodarte (6 points), Evan De La Rosa (5 points), Elijah Ledesma (3 points), Sergio Canseco (3 points), Xavier Salinas (2 points) and Moses Beraza (2 points).
Hartford finished the game having made 20 two-point baskets, six three-point baskets and shot 9-for-12, or 75 percent, from the free-throw line. With their 1-1 week, Hartford is now 11-2 on the season, and currently boasts a 10-2 record in Southwest 10 Conference play, which puts them in a tie for second-place in the standings.
The team will play a game on the road with conference-foe White Pigeon on Friday, Feb. 8. They will end the week with one more rivalry game over the weekend, as they play host to Watervliet on Saturday, Feb. 9.
Hartford Girls Basketball experiences highs and lows during 1-1 week
The Hartford Indian Girls Basketball team graced the court with their presence twice during the past week. Just like the boys’ team, the girls had to experience a week without practice, courtesy of school being closed and the weather being anything but accommodating.
In Friday night’s game against Marcellus, Hartford shook off a slow start, turning a halftime deficit into a 10-point victory, 49-39, over the Lady ‘Cats.
The cold weather outside must have seeped its way into the gymnasium, as the Lady Indians got off to a slow start in the first quarter. The result of the first stanza saw the Lady ‘Cats outscore the Lady Indians, 15-10. The cold shooting extended into the second quarter for Hartford, as they made just three shots from the field. But they also managed to hold Marcellus to just three baskets of their own. The second frame was decided by a single free-throw, as Hartford managed to outscore Marcellus, 8-7, and shrink the Lady ‘Cat lead to four, 22-18, at halftime.
For much of the season, the Lady Indians have managed to play better in the second half, and this game was no exception. The end result was a 17-7 run by the Lady Indians, as they grabbed the lead, 35-29, with eight minutes remaining. Both teams managed to put together a solid fourth quarter, with the teams both scoring in double-digits. The difference in the fourth stanza is best described at the free-throw line, where Hartford was 6-for-10, while Marcellus was 0-for-3. The Lady Indians managed to put the game away courtesy of a 14-10 scoring margin in the game’s final frame, etching another victory in the win column. Megan Nelson led all scorers with 18 points, while she also pitched in seven rebounds. Mikenzie Chambers earned another double-double down low for the Lady Indians, scoring 10 points and grabbing a team-high 10 boards. Jaelyne Galvan added eight points, while Nautica Covington scored six points and dished out five assists. Also scoring for the Lady Indians were Alexis Snodgrass (4 points) and Vanessa De La Rosa (3 points). Hartford finished the game having made 12 two-point baskets, five three-point baskets and shot 10-for-23, or 43 percent, from the free-throw line.
In Saturday afternoon’s game against Mendon, Hartford started out hot early, but fell to the visiting Lady Hornets by a score of 75-56.
The first quarter was Lady Indians for the most part, as they were red-hot from the field and passing the ball very well; giving Mendon’s zone defense fits. Hartford blitzed out to a 20-9 lead late in the first quarter, but the Lady Hornets managed the final four points, making it a 20-13 Lady Indian lead after eight minutes of play.
The second quarter saw the Lady Indians go flat on both sides of the ball, and Mendon took complete advantage. Hartford missed several shots and started turning the ball over on the offensive end, and the defense was gouged by missed assignments and the general team speed of Mendon. The final result was a dominant quarter by the Lady Hornets, as they managed to outscore the Lady Indians, 20-7, turning a seven-point deficit into a six-point halftime lead at 33-27.
The Lady Hornets came out firing on all cylinders in the third quarter, continuing to give the Lady Indians fits on both sides of the ball. Also, the Lady Indians began getting a few key players in foul trouble, which started limiting the scoring threat inside. The result was Mendon outscoring Hartford, 23-11, and giving them a 56-38 lead with eight minutes left.
In the fourth quarter, the Lady Indians got hot from outside the arc, and they actually managed to cut the lead under 15 a couple of times. Mendon held their own, managing to outscore the Lady Indians, 19-18.
Hartford had three players score in double-digits, and combined, they scored 44 of the team’s 56 points on the afternoon. The team was paced by a pair of 16-point scorers in Jaelyne Galvan and Mikenzie Chambers. Galvan hit a team-high five three-point baskets, all of which were made in the second half, while Chambers grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds before fouling out in the fourth quarter.
Megan Nelson was the final player to score in double-digits, scoring 12 points, courtesy of four makes from three-point territory. Also scoring for the Lady Indians were Nautica Covington (4 points), Alexis Snodgrass (4 points), Gillian Kuehnle (3 points) and Vanessa De La Rosa (1 point). Hartford finished the game having made nine two-point baskets, 10 three-point baskets and shot 8-for-18, or 44 percent, from the charity stripe. After their 1-1 week, Hartford is now 6-5 on the season, while possessing a 6-4 mark in Southwest 10 Conference play. The team faces a similar schedule as their male counterparts as they travel to White Pigeon on Friday, Feb. 5. They will finish the week with a home game against rival Watervliet on Saturday, Feb. 9.
Hartford Competitive Cheerleading competes in conference finals
The Hartford Indian Competitive Cheerleading team returned to the mats for just one competition last week. Like many teams area wide, the weather put a kibosh on practices, as well as cancelling one mid-week conference competition. That has put the team in a little bit of a hard spot, as they are still learning and perfecting their routine and getting ready to make a postseason push in the weeks ahead.
In Saturday morning’s competition, which was the Southwest Michigan Competitive Cheer Conference finals hosted by Schoolcraft, Hartford finished in 5th place out of eight teams, with a total score of 588.40 points. The team finished round one with a total of 190.9 points, which was a season-best round score and came with no deduction in penalty points.
The second round saw the team put together a routine worthy of a total of 151.2 points from the judges, but the team suffered a penalty of 10 points during the routine, bringing the final score down to 141.2 points. The third and final round, which is always the highest scoring round in a competition, saw the team score 264.3 points during the routine, but unfortunately, the team was deducted eight penalty points courtesy of violations. The end result was a final total of 256.3 points which still beats their season-best final routine score by more than 30 points.
Hartford’s competitive cheerleading team took to the mat for just one competition this week. On Wednesday, Feb. 7, the team took part in the Rockin’ the House Invitational, hosted by Berrien Springs. Check out next week’s Press Box to find out the final results!