Press Box Player of the week
By John Oliphant Our Press Box Player of the Week is Watervliet’s Alex Isbrecht. Alex is a junior on the Watervliet wrestling team. Last weekend he took fourth place at the MHSAA 16-4 Regional tournament, qualifying for the state championships at Detroit’s Ford Field for the first time in his wrestling career. Alex has had a great post-season including two pins at the team districts, taking a tough White Pigeon wrestler to overtime in team regionals, collecting two pins at the individual districts to advance to regionals, and winning an exciting come-from-behind match at regionals to qualify for a trip to Ford Field. Wrestling in one of the last matches of the day, Alex was down 9-7 in the third period against a Bronson wrestler with 42 wins this year. Alex found an opening and got a reversal to tie the match and then quickly put his opponent on his back to collect three more points for the near-fall. With the clock running down he held on for the win as his teammates were going crazy knowing he was about to go to the finals. Alex, meanwhile, was just happy to have won a close match and didn’t realize his accomplishment until he noticed his coaches were a lot more excited than usual. Alex is 30-16 on the season and 77-60 in his varsity career so far. Alex credits some of his success this season to his first place finish at a tournament in Fruitport, which gave him the confidence he needed to beat some good wrestlers. He has also worked hard all year including wrestling camp in the summer and pushing himself during the brutal workouts wrestlers call “practice.” Asked about his mental state when he’s about to start a match with the traditional handshake, he said, “You can tell if they are nervous or lack strength. You can also tell if they plan to go out strong, but mostly you can tell how they feel about the sport. My main thought is that the match has now started.” Congratulations and good luck at the state championships Alex!
Dr. Andys Says… “What is good exercise? Exercising should be about movement for extended periods of time. Do not make it so strenuous or complicated that you are not consistent weekly. Move for extended periods of time for at least 3 times per week doing activities you enjoy.”
Coloma girls’ bowling coach Carley Burrell records 100th win The Coloma Comet ladies bowling coach recently recorded her 100th career victory, in only her sixth season as the Comet coach. Coach Burrell took the coaching reins over from her mother when she was only 20 years old, and in six short years has accomplished what it usually takes most coaches many more years to achieve. She relayed her overall record is an incredible 100-4, a winning percentage of 96%! As a great sports announcer once used to say, “Ohhhh My!” Carley, when she knew she had won her 100th match, said she was very emotional, and felt accomplished and proud. As stated, she took over the program from her mother, Bonnie Henry, who had coached the Coloma girls’ team to the state championship in 2010, a team that included Carley as the anchor bowler. Carley expressed, “To say I’m humbled is an understatement. I cannot thank my family, teams, and community enough for their support to help reach this accomplishment. Bowling has always been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember.” Comet bowling teams finish first and second in conference matches The Comet girls’ bowling team recently won both the conference regular season and tournament titles. The Coloma bowlers who won first team all conference honors were Narrell Hickmon, Lainey Meader, Ashley Ikerd, Emily Feldten, Carissa Richmond, and Morgan Hosbein. The Coloma boys’ team also competed recently in the conference tournament where they finished in second place. The Coloma bowlers also finished second in the regular season with a 13-2-1 record. First team all conference were Jonathon Swetay, Damian Gomez, Charlie Cullitan, and Ryan Wilson. Nick Santarlas was honorable mention. State rankings for the Michigan High School Bowling came out on Sunday, Feb. 17, and both Coloma’s girls and boys’ teams are ranked #1 in Division 3. Congratulations to the boys and girls and best of luck for the upcoming state tournament. Coloma Comet Boys Basketball team wins 3 games in 4 days; wins Conference Championship at home, making it back to back conference crowns The Comet boys started their week on the road with a win at South Haven by a score of 69-51. The Comets led in this game all of the way, and even when the Rams outscored Coloma by nine in the third quarter, the game never seemed to be in doubt. Zach Goodline led the Comets with 25 points, Michael Dancer had 15, and Drew Goodline added another 14 points to the Coloma attack. On Friday night, back home in the Comet gym, Coloma secured their second consecutive conference crown in winning this game by a count of 76-47. They beat up on an over-matched Gobles team, who they had beaten several weeks ago by 39 points. Zach Goodline passed a few more players on the Michigan all-time scoring list as he led the Comets with a game high 36 points. One 2-pointer was a highlight on Channel 22 news, as he dribbled into the Tiger defense and put up a spinning, twisting, scoop shot under the bucket while he was getting hammered on the play by a defender. Zach also reportedly had his first triple double with 12 assists and pulling down 10 rebounds in the game, but he could only manage five steals. He came out of the game with over 5:30 left in the fourth quarter. Every man on the team contributed to the scoring in this game, and Stacey Branscomb had a career high 10 points, hitting a couple from long range. Michael Dancer had another strong game and added six points, swept the boards clean, and shut down their top player. Coloma was right back on their home court again on Saturday night to take on a very worthy opponent in the Dowagiac Chieftains, and won by a final score of 65-57. Dowagiac came in with a 10-8 overall record, and like the Comets they have played a tough season schedule. They were only beaten by Benton Harbor (by 1 point) earlier in the season. Coloma’s record with the win, their 8th straight, now stands at 14-4. They have one road game and one home game remaining on the regular season schedule. This game went back and forth for the most part, but Coloma missed an opportunity to take a big lead early. The Chieftains tried stopping Coloma’s Zach Goodline from penetrating from the top of the key, which left some wide open Comets, but those shots were not falling. The game stayed close as the teams left the court at halftime with the Comets leading by three, 29-26. The second half remained close, and Dowagiac took their first lead of the game at the 5:25 mark of the third quarter, 32-31. The teams again went back and forth and ended the third tied at 44. The Chieftain size was a big factor in keeping them in the game. They, time and again, pulled down offensive rebounds and gave themselves some easy put back, second chance buckets. Coloma, playing their third game in four days, looked to have an effect. Many of their jump shots were coming up a little short. They seemed to get their legs for a spurt in the fourth quarter as Drew Goodline hit a pair of 3-pointers and Kenny Crowder added another from long range. Coloma took a 7-point lead, and led throughout the rest of the game. Dowagiac did cut the lead to four with about a minute to play, but Zach kept the ball in his hands and hit some key free throws down the stretch. He threw one full-court pass for a layup that finished things off. Zach had another big night scoring 31 points, but his brother Drew and Michael Dancer also came up big for the Comets, as they had 13 and 12 respectively. According to Press Box records Zach now has 2,138 career points, and needs 73 more to pass Richie Jordan as Southwest Michigan’s all time leading scorer. Zach currently stands 21st in all time leading scorers in the state of Michigan, with three games remaining. On an interesting note, one of the players Zach has passed on the all time scoring list Earvin Johnson. Most people now know him simply as Magic Johnson. Johnson scored 2,012 points for Lansing Everett High School from 1974-1977. Magic of course went on to lead MSU to a national championship in 1979, five NBA championships for the Los Angeles Lakers, and scored almost 18,000 points in the NBA. Coloma Comets boys’ basketball will begin district tournament play on Wednesday, Feb. 27 at 5:30 p.m. at the Lakeshore High School gym. They will play the winner of Lakeshore/ South Haven.
OH SNAP! Watervliet senior Coby Henslee snaps Dakota Conley of White Pigeon towards him on the mat Wednesday night in a 140 lb. weight class regional semi-final match held Feb. 13. Despite his best effort, Henslee lost his bout 7-1. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)
Coloma Comet girls win one and lose one The Coloma Comet girls’ basketball team continues to show signs of improvement, as they defeated Benton Harbor this week by a score of 50-30. Marissa Sherburn led the Comet scoring attack by hitting for 15 points. Megan Neubecker, the Comet center, added 12 points, and also had six rebounds and blocked two shots. Megan Koenigshof had another fine game with nine points, four assists, and four rebounds. Kelsey Ellis had seven points, two rebounds and two steals. Coloma then faced a Gobles team that had routed them earlier this year. The Tigers have eight seniors who play on this team. Coloma really showed how much they’ve improved through this season, as they held their own for most of the game. They finally fell by a score of 50-26. The Comets played much better defensively, moved the ball around much more easily and had great shot selection. They continue to show signs of improvement in preparing for the district tournament where they feel they can compete. Coloma was led in scoring by Megan Neubecker’s 11 points as Marissa Sherburn added eight. Coloma Comet wrestlers fall in team regional sending 3 individual rasslers to state tourney
GRAPPLING WITH A TOUGH OPPONENT… Coloma’s Dillon Clemons wrestled in the 125 lb. weight class Wednesday, Feb. 13 during regional semi-final competition against Otsego. The senior lost his match 7-1 and Coloma bowed out of tournament play after suffering a 49-24 defeat. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)
The Comet wrestlers, who have won the district title three consecutive years, were beaten by Otsego by a score of 49-24. Coloma hosted the regional meet. Coloma bows out of the team competition with a season record of 14-14, as things just didn’t go their way. Coloma coach Kenny Ashley said they had some trick moves they hoped would give them an advantage. They moved Ian Ishmael up from 140 to 145 and Cody Reese up from 145 to 160. They jumped out to a quick 12-0 lead, but things started going downhill when Reese was pinned in his match. Coach Ashley stated, “We wrestled hard, but we are young and we are improving.” Winning in contested matches for the Comets were Cole Alsup at 285 with a pin at 1:11 and Caeleb Ishmael wrestling at 112 with a pin at 2:55. The Coloma Comet wrestling team will be sending three on to the state individual tournament to be held at Ford Field in Detroit on Friday, March 1 and Saturday, March 2. Cole Alsup, the Comet big man, wrestling at 285 got through to the finals but was beaten and finished 2nd. Caeleb Ishmael wrestling at 103 won the consolation match as did Cody Reese wrestling at 145, with each finishing in third place. Cody a senior, Cole a junior, and Caeleb a freshman, will all now move onto the big stage at Ford Field. We wish them all the best of luck, as we pull for them to bring home a state crown. The seeding information wasn’t available at press time.
Hartford Boys Basketball erases 16-point fourth quarter deficit to win The Hartford Indian Boys Basketball team hit the hardwood just once last week, traveling to Centreville to take on the Bulldogs. The Indians came into action for the week fresh off of three wins in five days. So any little break, albeit unexpected, was needed. The team, now 14-2 on the season, won the first meeting between the two teams, 69-51, back on January 11. However, you can never guarantee a win on paper – you always have to play the game! In Friday night’s game against Centreville, Hartford overcame a 16-point fourth quarter deficit to stun the host Bulldogs, 67-65. Centreville led after the first quarter, 18-13, before Hartford cut the deficit to four at the half, 28-24, courtesy of an 11-10 scoring advantage in the second quarter. The host Bulldogs, the clear underdog coming into the game, extended their lead to nine points after three quarters, 46-37, courtesy of an 18-13 scoring advantage in the stanza. The home team extended their lead to a game-high 16 points midway through the fourth quarter before the Indians staged one of the best comebacks in school history. Hartford hit six three-pointers in the final frame, and took the lead for good in the final seconds to score the victory. Hartford was led by three scorers in double-digits, and they combined to score 51 of the teams 67 points. Aaron Sinclair continued his outstanding season by scoring a team-high 21 points, 12 of which came in the final quarter. Brandon Galvan scored 16 points, including nine points in the final stanza, and Trey Ackerman scored 14 points, which included scoring the game-winning basket with five seconds left. Those players also scoring for the Indians were Evan De La Rosa (8 points), Elijah Ledesma (2 points), Xavier Salinas (2 points), Elijah Rodarte (2 points) and Moses Beraza (2 points). Thanks to their comeback victory, Hartford moved to 15-2 on the season, and is now 13-2 in Southwest 10 Conference play. The schedule for this week is a busy one, with the team playing three games in four days. The first two games, on Tuesday, Feb. 19 against Bloomingdale and Wednesday, Feb. 20 against Eau Claire, are inside Indian Gymnasium. After that, a road trip to conference leading Cassopolis looms on Friday, Feb. 22. Check out next week’s Press Box to find out how they did! Hartford Girls Basketball falls below .500 after one-sided affair The Hartford Indian Girls Basketball team returned to the court for one game last week, as they traveled to Centreville to take on the Bulldogs. It has been a season of ups and downs for the Lady Indians, and the previous week’s 1-2 record was a pure example of that. The good news for the team is they got some extra practice time to continue getting better. The bad news is the team they would be facing came in undefeated, and was voted an honorable mention in the state polls. In Friday night’s game against Centreville, Hartford suffered their largest defeat of the season, falling 61-23 to the host Lady Bulldogs. Centreville won every quarter on the scoreboard, but the first half was actually a much closer game. The Lady Indians managed to score 10 points in the opening frame, but still trailed 18-10 after eight minutes. Centreville extended the lead to 32-18 at the half, after outscoring Hartford, 14-8 in the second quarter. The Lady Bulldogs really cranked up the defense in the second half, as they outscored Hartford in the final two quarters, 29-5 That would include a 16-5 scoring margin in the third quarter and a rare shut out of the Lady Indians, 13-0, in the fourth quarter. Hartford was led by Mikenzie Chambers who scored seven points and grabbed a team-high eight rebounds. Nautica Covington added six points and also dished out a pair of assists for the Lady Indians, while Jaelyne Galvan scored five points. Those players also scoring for the Lady Indians were Megan Nelson (3 points) and Alexis Snodgrass (2 points). After the loss, their fourth in five games, Hartford fell to 7-8 on the season, and is now 6-7 in Southwest 10 Conference play. The schedule this week features a pair of games, one on the road and one at home. On Tuesday, Feb. 19, they traveled to Bloomingdale to take on the Cardinals in a rematch of a close game from Jan. 15, a 49-44 win for Bloomingdale. They followed it up by hosting Eau Claire the following evening on Wednesday, Feb. 20 inside Indian Gymnasium. Check out next week’s Press Box to see if the team gets back on the right track! Hartford Wrestling officially ends season at individual regionals The Hartford Indian Wrestling season may have ended for the team at team districts the past week, but one wrestler, Noah Wade, was still alive on the individual side. Thanks to his third place finish at individual districts, he was given the opportunity to compete at the individual regional on Saturday in Hudson. If he finished in the top four there, he would qualify for the Individual State Finals on March 1 and 2, held at Ford Field in Detroit. Unfortunately, that dream was dashed courtesy of a pair of losses, eliminating him from contention. He started the day with a match against Brayton Burgett, a senior from Union City. Burgett pinned Wade in 2:37, sending Noah to the consolation bracket. He then met up in the consolation semifinals against Reading’s Joshua Johnson. Johnson, a junior, pinned Wade in :55, and with that, the season was over and that was all she wrote. Wade finished the season with a record of 8-6. Congratulations, Noah, for making it to individual regionals, and best of luck in your future endeavors! Hartford Competitive Cheerleading places 6th at districts The Hartford Indian Competitive Cheerleading team returned to the mats last week to cheer in the biggest competition of the season so far. The team finished the regular season strong, and they entered district competition riding the high of their biggest scores of the season in recent competitions. To be able to advance to regional competition, they knew they would have to give it their all and lay it all on the line. In Friday night’s district competition, hosted by Gobles, Hartford finished in 6th place overall, falling just two places short of advancing to the regional competition. The team finished round one with a total of 196.3 points, which came with zero points in penalties. The second round saw the ladies put together a routine that would score them 157.52 points, and like round one, came with zero penalty points. The result was a sub total of 353.82 points through two rounds of action. The third and final round, which features the big points, netted the ladies a season-best 281.1 points, which also came with zero penalty points. That brought them to a final score of 634.92 points, which is a season-best total, but fell just about 19 points short of advancing. Lawton, Gobles, Lake Michigan Catholic and Delton Kellogg were the four teams advancing from the district competition to the regional competition. However, enough cannot be said about the significant improvement the ladies showed from the first competition in December to the final chapter written after this competition. Congratulations on your outstanding work, ladies!
Melcher, Pelton, and Isbrecht qualify for State Championships Watervliet wrestlers Matt Melcher, Trever Pelton, and Alex Isbrecht finished in the top four of their brackets to qualify for the Division 4 Individual State Championships to be held at Ford Field on March 1-2. Watervliet had eight wrestlers make it through the district tournament to participate in the regional meet, held Feb. 16 at Hudson High School. The competition is significantly tougher than anything the wrestlers have seen all season. In a tournament limited to eight wrestlers in each weight class, the goal is to win two matches before you lose two. Melcher (34-2), the overall second seed in the 215-pound bracket, pinned wrestlers from Bronson (1:28) and Reading (3:51) to reach the regional championship match against top seeded Emmett Bingaman (44-1) from Mendon. Bingaman won 3-2 in a close match. Matt took the second-place medal and will make his second trip to the state championships. Pelton (36-7) won his first 112-pound match with a pin at 3:47, and then lost to the eventual regional champion from Bronson. He then pinned a wrestler from Hudson at 0:59 to clinch his trip to the championship and a spot in the third place match. Trever then pinned Austin Raymond from White Pigeon at 1:32 to capture the third-place medal. This will be Trever’s second trip to the championships. Isbrecht (30-16) drew one of the top 125-pound seeds for his first match and lost, but recovered to beat a Tekonsha wrestler with a pin at 2:29. He won his next match against a Bronson wrestler 12-9 to secure a spot at the championships and a chance for third place. Unfortunately, he faced the same opponent as his opening match and lost to take fourth place and qualify for his first trip to the championships. Panther Wrestling Team bows out in regional semis The Panthers hosted the team regional tournament on Wednesday, Feb. 13. Joining them were other district champion teams from Niles Brandywine, White Pigeon, and Schoolcraft. The Panthers were the youngest and smallest team of the meet, falling to White Pigeon in the opening match 51-24.
COACHES VS. CANCER… On Monday, February 18 pink was the color for the Lady Panthers as they took on foe South Haven. Emma Yazel #22 for the Panthers uses the backboard in her favor early in the second quarter. Unfortunately host Watervliet couldn’t seem to score enough against the tough South Haven defense. (Photo courtesy of Gloria Reeves)
The teams matched up well on paper, but a couple early losses put the Panthers behind too far to catch up. Meanwhile, Schoolcraft beat Brandywine 54-24 to reach the regional championship match against White Pigeon. Both teams brought big groups of fans and the Panther gym was about as noisy as it gets. The favored Eagles then beat White Pigeon 40-33 in an exciting back-and forth match. Collecting wins for the Panthers were Trever Pelton with a pin at 0:23, Isaiah Yazel with a pin at 3:44, Don Smith with a pin at 1:08, and Matt Melcher with a pin at 1:27. The team ends their season tied with Coloma for third place in the SAC at 5-3, behind Schoolcraft and Martin. They’re graduating just two seniors (Melcher and Coby Henslee) and expect some good wrestlers moving up from the middle school program. Lady Panthers’ furious comeback falls short at Hartford The Panther girls’ basketball team started slow again at Saugatuck on
Friday, Feb. 15, and never really got their offense going before falling to the Indians 52-29. Shooting just 22% from the field and 28% from the foul line, the girls found themselves behind 25-12 at halftime. The Lady Panthers are now 2-10 on the season. Celina Klimkiewicz led the team with nine points and five rebounds, including a pair of three-point shots. Madison Saunders scored five points off the bench. Victoria Smith and Serena Reyna each scored four points. Elaine Koshar and Sabrina Klimkiewicz each scored three points, and Brittney Porphir chipped in one point. The girls’ next game is Friday in a rematch at Coloma.
HEADED TO STATE… On Feb. 16, 2019, during the Individual Regional Wrestling Championships held in Hudson Michigan, the Watervliet High School wrestling team placed three members in the top four of the finals. Pictured (from the left) with their respective Regional placements are: Matt Melcher – 2nd Place, Trever Pelton – 3rd Place, Alex Isbrecht – 4th Place. These three wrestlers will compete on March 1 & 2 at the Michigan Individual State Wrestling Championships held at the Detroit Lions’ Ford Field Stadium. Trever and Matt are returning state qualifiers.
Panther Boys Basketball unsuccessful at Saugatuck The Panther boys also traveled to Saugatuck on Feb. 15. The shorthanded Panthers held the Indians to just 13 points in the second half, but couldn’t get the shots to fall late in the game and lost 39-34. The Panthers were down by nine points at halftime and despite playing great defense to hold Saugatuck to just three points in the third quarter they shot just 22% from the field in the second half. The offense was never able to find a scoring rhythm. Andrew Chisek led the Panthers with 10 points. Dylan Lawson scored six points. Kade Van Neil, Omar Cardoso, and Austin Roberts all scored five points. Kris Lenox scored three points. Panther Boys Basketball lose to Brandywine The Panther boys’ basketball team hosted Niles Brandywine on Saturday, Feb. 16. The Bobcats came into the game at 15-1, and eventually won the game 62-31. The Bobcats jumped out to a 14-2 lead in the first quarter, and led 26-13 at halftime. The Bobcats outscored the Panthers 24-9 in the third quarter to put the game away. Andrew Chisek led the Panthers with seven points. Curtis White and Dylan Lawson each scored six points. Omar Cardoso scored five points, and Kenny Russell scored four. Kade Van Neil scored three points. The Panthers fall to 1-14 on the season and travel to Coloma on Friday, Feb. 22.