02-15-2018 Tri-City Area Sports

11 area wrestlers headed to MHSAA individual regional competition

The Michigan High School Athletic Association held individual district wrestling competition Saturday, February 10 with 11 area athletes moving on to regional competition.

In Division 3, Coloma wrestlers hit the mat at host Constantine. Four Comet wrestlers grappled their way on to regionals, and two walked away as district champions.

COMET WRESTLING CHAMPIONS… The Coloma varsity wrestling team won the team district championship Thursday, Feb. 8. The squad beat Benton Harbor 54-27 before soaring past South Haven 54-19 in Division 3 competition.


Jamane Smith Jr. continued his ruling of the wrestling roost as he not only earned his 100th career win but was the 189 lb. champion. Also nabbing a district championship title was Cody Reece in the 140 lb. weight class.

Ian Ishmael finished in second place in the 135 lb. class.  Cole Alsup earned a trip to regional competition after he finished fourth in the heavyweight class.

All four athletes will compete at Fremont on Saturday.

Hartford and Watervliet wrestlers participated in Division 4 individual district competition at Bloomingdale.

Hartford’s Jared Foerster took fourth in the 103 lb. weight class and punched his ticket to regionals.

Six grapplers from Watervliet will join him at Carson City this Saturday for regionals.

Matt Melcher (heavyweight) won a district title crown as he finished in first place.

WRESTLING PRIDE… The Watervliet varsity wrestling squad won the Division 4 district wrestling tournament Thursday, Feb. 8. The tourney, hosted at Watervliet, saw the Panthers beat Bangor 48-27 and level Lawrence 60-18 to win the championship. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)


Trever Pelton and Anthony Wade took second place in the 103 and 160 lb. weight classes, respectively.

Alex Isbrecht, Klayton Marshall, and Dylan Lynch made their way to fourth place finishes in the 119, 135, and 152 lb. weight classes, respectively.

Good luck to all 11 wrestlers this Saturday!

Hartford prevails over Panthers 68-65

After a slow start to their season, the Hartford Indians have really hit their stride of late. The Indians welcomed Red Arrow Highway foe Watervliet for a varsity basketball matchup.

Things looked good for Hartford early, as the team scored 24 points in the first period. At one point, the Indians led by 10 points.  The first period ended with Hartford holding a 24-18 lead.

Watervliet roared back into the game in the second period, outscoring their rivals 19-14 and shrinking the Indian lead to 38-37.

The Panther defense stepped up in the third period as they held Hartford to seven points. Watervliet posted 11 and took control of the game, holding a 48-45 lead.

Hartford bounced back in the fourth period as they went on a 23-point tear. Watervliet added 17 points but it wasn’t enough to hold onto the lead or win the game.

Hartford took the victory 68-65. Brandon Galvan scored 18 points, including four 3-pointers late in the fourth quarter.  William Martinez contributed 13 points. Garrod Johnson chipped in 12 points, and Trey Ackerman scored 11.

For Watervliet, Sheldon Tobar led the squad with 16 points and six rebounds.  Garrett Matthews added 15 points.

Jakob Aldrich added 11 points and four rebounds.  Dan Cluster netted 10 points and 10 rebounds for another double-double this season.

Chambers leads Lady Indians over rival Panthers 69-50

If you weren’t in the stands Saturday at Hartford High School, you missed a great opening card to double header Hartford versus Watervliet basketball action.

The Lady Indians notched a 69-50 victory over the visiting Lady Panthers. Hartford’s Mikenzie Chambers was on fire. The junior forward gave a game-winning double-double performance as she scored 22 points and had 10 rebounds. Chambers also stole the ball five times.

The home team fired the opening salvo with 15 points in the first period. Watervliet scored 10 and trailed by five at the close of the first period.

In the second period, Hartford increased their lead by two points after outscoring Watervliet 17-15. At the half, Hartford led 32-25.

The Indian defense stepped up in the third period, nearly shutting down Watervliet’s offense entirely. Watervliet scored seven points in the contest, which is a testament to their grit as the Hartford “D” was punishing in their pressure of the Panthers.

As the third period closed out, Hartford’s lead increased to 44-32.

Watervliet’s offense surged in the fourth period; the Panthers scored 18 points as they rallied. However, Hartford’s powerful offense continued to overwhelm the Panther defense, and the Indians cemented the 69-50 win over their rivals.

Hartford head coach Kailee Friday said, “Our girls played a full game and really came out tonight with the intensity. It’s one of our goals we had this year – to really come out with the intensity. This is one of the teams they really wanted to beat this year, so we got that accomplished.”

Joining Chambers with a double-double of her own was AJ Jackson. She scored 17 points and had 14 boards.

“[Chambers] played phenomenal tonight,” Friday commented, “probably her best game she’s played so far. I think she was the one that really set the tone for all the girls and they kind of fed off her.”

Cora Wesaw also had hot hands. She dropped 14 points for the Indians; she complemented that stat with four steals.

“I brought up a freshman, Nautica Covington. She helps us push the floor. She helps fill in that point guard position we’re lacking when our senior point guard has to come off just because she’s tired or things like that. She works well with the team,” Friday shared.

Freshman Nautica Covington had seven points as Hartford improved to 14-2 overall.

Jackson’s 18 points lifts Hartford over Decatur

AJ Jackson continues to dominate under the basket for the Hartford Indians.  Jackson notched another double-double this season, this time offering up an 18-point and 10-rebound effort in the Indians game against the visiting Raiders Tuesday, February 6.

SHE’S GOT GAME… Hartford’s Mikenzie Chambers shoots Saturday night as Watervliet’s Ariana Rowe (00) and Kara Liles (34) look to break up the basket. Chambers recorded a double-double in the contest, scoring 22 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in the Indians’ 69-50 win over the Lady Panthers. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)


Decatur jumped out to an early 13-7 lead. Hartford closed the six-point scoring gap in the second period to trail 19-17 at intermission.

The Indians scored 31 second-half points and limited Decatur to nine points in the third and fourth periods. After grabbing the lead in the third period, Hartford held on for the 48-37 victory.

Cora Wesaw added eight points to the Indian effort. She was also credited with three assists. Mikenzie Chambers chipped in six points and snagged eight rebounds.  Jessica Cortes and freshman addition Nautica Covington scored six points each.

The Indians improved to 13-2 overall and are 13-1 in the Southwest 10 conference.

Lady Comets coast to victory over Lawrence

A balanced team effort helped the Lady Comets of Coloma get the 51-43 victory over Lawrence Tuesday, February 6.

A robust first half scoring by both teams provided plenty of action for fans of both squads. Coloma led 18-13 following the first period of play.

After a 12-point second period, Coloma increased their lead to 30-24 at the half.

Give Lawrence some credit. They continued to battle for the ball and didn’t give up. Coloma outscored Lawrence 13-10 in the third period, as the Comet lead increased to 43-34.

Lawrence outscored Coloma 9-8 in the fourth period, but it wasn’t enough to overtake the mighty Comets. Coloma won the game 51-43.

Hannah Mathis led the Comets with 12 points including two of the team’s four 3-pointers. Kayla Yore added 11 points, including one 3-pointer. Yore also spent a fair amount of the time at the free throw line where she was six of eight.

Morgan Wagner scored nine points, and Megan Neubecker landed eight.

Mika Andersen tallied six points.  Marissa Sherburn added one 3-pointer to the team total, and Megan Koenigshof scored two points.

Undefeated Comets roll over winless Lawrence 65-21

It wasn’t the toughest challenge the Coloma Comets would face on the basketball court this season, but the squad took on 0-11 Lawrence Tuesday, February 6.

Sometimes, though, it’s hard to find a rhythm against a team that is struggling. But, Coloma showed no signs of being off their game, as evidenced by the 65-21 win.

INDIAN OFFENSE OUTLASTS PANTHERS… Hartford’s Moses Beraza eyes the basket Saturday night as Watervliet’s Sheldon Tobar stands tall. Hartford pulled out the 68-65 home win in a back and forth battle on the basketball court. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)


The Comets raced to a 22-5 first period lead. The squad added another 20 points in the second period and held Lawrence to just one field goal. At the half, Coloma led 42-7.

In the third period, Coloma dropped in 19 points, while Lawrence added five. Lawrence outscored Coloma 9-4 in the fourth period as plenty of the Comet bench took to the floor for some playing time.

Coloma’s Zach Goodline led the team with 14 points including four 3-pointers. Tevon Blazier scored 10 points, and D’Avion Carter added eight.

Chris Brown, Brendan Lute, and Adam Hearn scored six points apiece.  Phillip Caldwell got on the board with five points.  Michael Dancer chipped in four points.

Willie Donald, Hunter Crist, and Robbie Schroeder each ponied up two points.

Coloma was four of five at the charity stripe (80%), while Lawrence shot 50%, hitting five of 10 attempts.

“We stayed with our trademark of solid ball defense and let our offense flow from there,” Comet coach Paul Marfia commented.  “It was also a night for everyone to get involve[d] and contribute on the court.”

Ackerman hits 26 points as Hartford downs Decatur

Trey Ackerman had a solid night on offense for the Hartford Indians, as he scored 26 points in the squad’s 72-49 road win over Decatur.

Hartford led 20-12 after the first eight minutes of play. In the second period, Decatur drew closer as they outscored the Indians 15-12, but Hartford maintained a 32-27 lead at the half.

A huge, 25-point third period sparked the Indians. The Hartford defense continued to press Decatur and limited them to just 10 points in the third period. Hartford’s lead increased to 57-37 heading into the fourth period.

With 15 more points hitting the scoreboard in the fourth period, Hartford won 72-49 in the surprisingly easy victory.

Brandon Galvan scored 14 for the Indians. Aaron Sinclair contributed 11 points, and Moses Beraza scored nine points.

Watervliet hoops have hot shot with 49-46 victory over Saugatuck

Talk about a big win! The Watervliet Panthers turned in a masterful performance as they held on for a 49-46 road win over Saugatuck.

A strong first half by the Panthers put them in prime position to hold off a surging second-half Saugatuck squad.

Watervliet led 16-12 after the first period. Both offenses slowed down in the second period and settled into a more conservative avenue of play. Watervliet outscored Saugatuck 9-5 Iin the second period and held a 25-17 lead at intermission.

But, a strong Saugatuck attack began to close the margin on the Panthers in the third period. Saugatuck added 16 points to their total and had closed the gap to trail 38-33 following three quarters of play.

A bucket for bucket exchange between the teams in the fourth period led to some exciting basketball for fans of both squads.  Although Saugatuck outscored Watervliet 13-11, it wasn’t enough for the win.

Watervliet stole the win, 49-46.

Garrett Matthews provided plenty of footage for the Panthers’ highlight reel. He scored 19 points.

Dan Cluster chipped in 10 points for the Panthers.  Jakob Aldrich scored eight points.

Watervliet improved to 8-5 overall and is 6-3 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference.

Pitre scores 15 points in Panther victory over Saugatuck

Panther pressure was key in the squad’s 44-27 drubbing of Saugatuck Tuesday, February 6. The Panthers used a super-charged second half to score their tenth win this season.

PICKENS PICKS BAKER UNIVERSITY… Watervliet senior star quarterback Zack Pickens signed his letter of intent to continue his football career at Baker University in Baldwin City, Kansas.


The first period opened with a slow Panther squad missing more shots than they made.  Saugatuck, also running a step off kilter, outscored Watervliet 9-6 in eight minutes of play.

The Panthers came alive in the second period and took command of the game. Watervliet scored 17 points and limited Saugatuck to just eight. Heading into the locker room at the half, Watervliet led 23-17.

If the second period was an all-out offensive effort, the third period belonged to the defense. The Lady Panthers did not allow Saugatuck to score one single point in the third. Meanwhile, the Watervliet offense continued to sink baskets totaling 11 points. As the fourth quarter started, Watervliet enjoyed a 34-17 lead.

SHOULDERING THROUGH… Watervliet student-athlete Bryant Kieft was joined by his coaches Josh Tremblay, Jeremy Andrews, and Chris Prom after Kieft signed his letter of intent to play football for Northwood University in Midland, Michigan.


Both squads scored 10 points apiece in the fourth quarter, as Watervliet earned their 10th victory of the season (10-4 overall, 8-1 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference – Lakeshore division).

In addition to her 15 points scored, which led the team, Pitre also stole the ball four times.  Ariana Rowe netted a double-double on the night with 12 points and 14 rebounds.

Kara Liles scored five points, which went nicely with five rebounds.

Elaine Koshar tallied four points and four rebounds.  Celina Klimkiewicz chipped in three points and landed six rebounds.

Zoe Smith scored three points and had five rebounds, while Madalyn Hutchins contributed two points and was credited with four rebounds.

Coloma and Watervliet win district wrestling championships

Watervliet hosted Division 4 Michigan High School Athletic Association District 211 team wrestling Thursday, February 8 and the Panther squad grappled their way to the district championship.

Watervliet tangled with Bangor and got the 48-27 victory. Panthers who earned victories in contested matches included: Alex Isbrecht (125 lbs.), Klayton Marshall (140 lbs.), and Matt Melcher (heavyweight). The Panthers also won five weight classes by Bangor forfeit.

Hartford tried their best, but the Indians fell to Lawrence 27-21. Hartford head coach Matt Nilson said, “We’re a young team. Last year, we didn’t win a match. We’ve had our ups and downs this season.”

The squad struggled to fill their weight classes in districts. “My 119-er got the flu. My 135 lb.-er went on vacation and that makes all the difference in the world. We gave up 12 points right off the bat.”

In the championship bout, Watervliet beat Lawrence 60-18. Securing victories in contested matches for the Panthers were: Melcher (heavyweight), Pelton (112 lbs.), Isaiah Yazel (152 lbs.), and Logan Swigart (189 lbs.).

Coloma, wrestling in Division 3 District 95 at Berrien Springs, faced Benton Harbor. The Comets won 54-27 to move to the finals. Earning victories in contested matches for the Comets were: Noah Mort (125 lbs.), Cody Reece (140 lbs.), Alec Delatorre (145 lbs.), Michael Case (152 lbs.), Brandon Sutherland (171 lbs.), Jamane Smith Jr. (189 lbs.), and Cole Alsup (heavyweight).

In the championship match, Coloma faced South Haven and topped the Rams 54-19.

Mort, Delatorre, Alsup, and Shane Champion (125 lbs.) won their contested matches in the championship.

Coloma will head to Lake Odessa Lakewood Saturday for regional competition.  Lake Odessa Lakewood will take on Schoolcraft and Coloma duels with Dowagiac. The winner of both battles will then face off in the regional championship.

Watervliet heads to Springport for their regional.  Springport and Homer will fight it out as Watervliet wrestles Bloomingdale. Winners of both bouts will tangle for the regional champion title.

WILL’S AWARD WINNING WAYS… Hartford varsity soccer coach and athletic director Nick Blackmer recognized William Martinez as a 2017 First Team All-State soccer player. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)


SET, SPIKE, SMART… Elly Valdes received an Academic All-State award in volleyball Saturday. Presenting the award to Valdes was Hartford varsity volleyball head coach Patty Matheny.


SET, SPIKE, SMART… Hartford’s Jessica Cortes was honored Saturday as an All-State Academic honoree for volleyball. Nick Blackmer, Hartford Athletic Director, presented Cortes with her award. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)


A MOST DESERVING A“WARD”… Longtime Hartford Indians volunteer Rick Ward received special recognition during half-time of the Hartford/Watervliet girls’ varsity basketball game for his 33 years of dedicated service to the Hartford Athletic Department and school. Presenting Ward with plaque was athletic director Nick Blackmer. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)


NASCAR race season opens Sunday at Daytona Daytona International Speedway will be the track that kicks off the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR racing season Sunday. The 2.5 mile track hosts the “Great American Race,” the nickname of the Daytona 500. Alex Bowman, who qualified early on Sunday, February 11, earned the pole position. His qualifying time of 46.00 seconds for one lap earned him the front row, inside spot in the lineup. Bowman drives the #88 Chevrolet. He is the successor to Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s place on the Hendrick Motorsports team. Nestled next to Bowman in the front row will be Denny Hamlin. Hamlin’s circuit was completed in 46.13 seconds. Only two positions were secure after Sunday’s qualifying. Events leading up to Sunday’s Monster run included the Advance Auto Parts Clash race, a 75-lap run in which Brad Keselowski came in first. He led 43 laps. Joey Logano finished second after leading three laps, and Kurt Busch took third. Thursday will feature two Can-Am Duels, each featuring 60 laps. The qualifying times each driver posted on Sunday dictates their place in the duels. How the drivers finish Thursday in the duels dictates their running race on Sunday. Friday and Saturday give the drivers two more opportunities to practice before Sunday’s big run. The Daytona 500 is the crown jewel in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series. Forty drivers, including last year’s champion Martin Truex Jr., will be gunning for the first big win of the season. Who will it be? Who will claim the Daytona 500 championship this year?

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