02-22-2018 Tri-City Area Sports

Jamane Smith Jr. is regional wrestling champion, joins five local athletes headed to state

Coloma’s Jamane Smith Jr. continued his incredible season Saturday by remaining undefeated in his senior season and capturing the regional championship title in the 189 lb. weight class.

Smith will now head to state competition at Ford Field Friday, March 2 to compete against the best wrestlers in Michigan.  Smith will be quite a contender as he holds a 44-0 record.

Division 3 regional wrestling competition was held at Fremont for Coloma qualifiers. Joining Smith at state will be Ian Ishmael, Cody Reese, and Cole Alsup.

Smith faced Kyler Kolk of Fremont in first round action and won by technical fall 23-5.  In the semifinals match, Smith topped Justin Lyle of Dowagiac by major decision 22-9.

Smith pinned Christian Brooks of Holton in the finals match at 4:23 for the championship title.

Cole Alsup, a sophomore wrestling in the heavyweight division, won a 5-2 decision over Gabriel Castro. Alsup then faced – and lost to – Schoolcraft’s River Fox by pin at 5:32.

Alsup tangled with Dowagiac’s Wyatt Bailey and earned the win by pin at 2:40. Alsup finished in fourth place after he was pinned by Eddie Hines of Grand Rapids Catholic Central at 4:18.

Ishmael’s first match of the day in the 135 lb. weight class was against Comstock Park’s Austin Sanders. Ishmael, a sophomore, was pinned with three seconds left in the match. Following that loss, Ishmael took on Connor Nolan, also of Comstock Park. Ishmael pinned Nolan at 4:29 to move on in competition.

Buchanan’s Adam Eger became Ishmael’s next opponent. Ishmael recorded a pin at 3:58.

SOARING COMET… Coloma’s Willie Donald goes up for a shot last Wednesday against Benton Harbor. A two-point second quarter spelled doom for Coloma, as the Comets lost 55-46, ending their undefeated streak this season. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)


A fourth-place finish was in Ishmael’s future after he lost a 6-2 decision to first-round foe Sanders.

Cody Reece also qualified for state competition after he finished third overall in the 140 lb. weight class.

Reece, a junior, opened the event with a 13-3 major decision over Fremont’s Trey Breuker. Reece was then pinned by Comstock Park’s Christian Maldonado at 5:16.

Reece won a 13-8 decision over Jake Britton before suffering a 16-2 major decision loss to Garrett Stank of Lakewood.

Division 4 wrestling regional competition was held at Carson City – Crystal Saturday, February 17.

Watervliet advanced two wrestlers from regionals that will battle for state titles in one week.

Watervliet’s Matt Melcher, a sophomore in the 215 division, turned a first-round pin of Logan Hurst into a semi-final 5-2 win over Michael Minne of Martin.

Melcher earned runner-up honors by taking second place after he lost a tough match to Carson City – Crystal’s Brian Yeakey.  Yeakey needed a sudden death period to get the 5-3 win over Melcher.

Sophomore Trever Pelton will compete at state in the 103 lb. weight class after finishing in third place at regionals.

Pelton topped Mason Dalrymple 2-0 and faced Carson City – Crystal’s Nolan Datema in the semi-finals.  Pelton lost by pin at 3:07. He then grappled with Alex Newton and got the quick pin at 0:48.

Pelton faced Robert Paterson of Springport and won by a 5-0 decision and third place title.

The first round of competition at the state level will begin Friday, March 2. Lend your support to Smith, Alsup, Ishmael, Reece, Melcher, and Pelton as they hunt for individual state wrestling titles. Good luck, grapplers!

Coloma’s win streak ends at 15 as Tigers maul Comets

Coloma headed into its game against Benton Harbor on Valentine’s Day sporting an unblemished 2018 record with 15 wins.

Benton Harbor, meanwhile, had lost only one game all season.

Every fan on both sides of the basketball court was ready for a battle and the squads didn’t disappoint. While it wasn’t the most precisely played game and there were plenty of wasted shots, the atmosphere in the Benton Harbor High School gym was electric.

Coloma’s offense sparked a 21-point first quarter effort. It was nice to see the Comets start strong.

Benton Harbor, meanwhile, had plenty of opportunities to score but could not hit their shots. There was no follow through on the attempts and the Tigers’ rebounding effort was subpar.

Fast forward to the second period that proved disastrous for Coloma. The Comets struggled to make – much less land – shots, whether it was from beyond the arc or down in the paint. Coloma’s defensive game went up in smoke, as they failed to rebound and couldn’t stop the onslaught of scoring by Benton Harbor.

The Tigers scored 14 points and inched back to trail by one at intermission, 23-22.

Coloma rebounded a bit in the second half of the ball game, but the Tigers posted a great fourth period by scoring 19 points. The Comets added 11 in the third and 12 in the fourth but fell to Benton Harbor 55-46.

Coloma’s Zach Goodline led the squad with 12 points.  Phillip Caldwell landed three of the team’s four 3-pointers and ended the game with nine points.

Chris Brown, Michael Dancer, Adam Hearn, and Robbie Schroeder all scored four points each. Schroeder also provided some great blocking under the basket, batting away Benton Harbor shots with authority, and grabbed seven rebounds.

Coloma was six of seven from the free throw line.

Following the game, Coloma head coach Paul Marfia commented, “Tonight was a great match up between two good teams.  I felt we were well prepared and had a great game plan. They just responded like good teams do and we came up short.”

Panthers prowl to 79-31 victory over Lawrence as Cluster chips in 15 points

The Watervliet boys’ basketball team was firing on all cylinders Friday, Feb. 16. The squad hit the road and traveled to Lawrence High School for hoops action. With a cohesive team effort by the Panthers, Watervliet notched the 79-31 win.

Watervliet led from the get-go and proved unstoppable for the duration. The Panthers led 25-10 after eight minutes of play, as their offensive effort hit its stride. The Watervliet defense held the Tigers to 10 first-quarter points.

In the second period, Watervliet’s baskets continued to drop as the Panthers outpaced Lawrence 26-7 to take a 51-17 lead at the half.

The Panthers limited Lawrence’s shot opportunities and held their opponent to five points in the third period. Watervliet scored 15 points in the third to lead 66-22.

Watervliet outscored Lawrence 13-9 in the final quarter to win the game 79-31.

Watervliet’s Dan Cluster led the Panther pride with 15 points. Sheldon Tobar scored 14 points. Tristan Schultz netted 11 points.

Ryan Chisek added eight points. Omar Cardoso tallied seven points.  Austin Roberts chipped in five points.

Lady Patriots face relentless River Valley squad, lost 56-29

Grace Christian’s Lady Patriots varsity basketball team hoped to celebrate Winterfest with a win Friday, Feb. 16. However, a tough River Valley squad outscored Grace Christian 56-29 for the win.

WAY UP HIGH… Grace Christian’s Riley Hess (23) shoots a jumper in the Lady Patriots Winterfest game against visiting River Valley Friday. Hess scored the team’s six first-period points. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)


Rylie Hess scored all of Grace Christian’s first quarter points. At the close of the first period, the Patriots trailed 17-6.

Hess and Sydney Gardner each scored two points in the second period of the game. The Patriot defense settled in and played a bit stronger; the squad limited River Valley to six points. At intermission, Grace trailed 23-10.

Although the Patriots got a 12-point scoring boost courtesy of Gardner, Grace Stockdale, Julia Harris, Princess Williams, and Hess, the team trailed 46-22 as the quarter closed out.

Hess and Williams combined for seven points in the fourth quarter. It wasn’t enough to send River Valley home with the loss.

In the 56-29 loss, Grace Christian was led by Hess, who scored 17 points.  Gardner tallied five points. Williams chipped in three points, and Stockdale and Harris scored two apiece.

The team shot 50% from the free throw line, hitting seven of 14 attempts.

Comets return to form with 63-35 win over Saugatuck; earn SAC – Lakeshore Division Championship

It was really no contest Friday, Feb. 16, as Coloma faced a stalled Saugatuck squad at home.

Coloma blasted out of the chute with 19 first-quarter points, and Saugatuck scored nine.

Both teams scored eight points in the second period to give Coloma a 27-17 lead at intermission.

A big third-period flurry of scoring saw Coloma net 22 points, while the Comet defense held Saugatuck to seven.

Coloma also outscored Saugatuck in the fourth period 14-11 to secure the 63-35 victory.

The Comets were led by Zach Goodline with 29 points. Goodline landed one 3-pointer and was perfect from the free throw line, hitting seven of seven.

Robbie Schroeder and Phillip Caldwell scored eight points each. Brendan Lute tallied five points. Tevon Blazier scored four points.

Michael Dancer tossed in three points, and Levi Wilkens, Bryton Fitzgerald, and Zack Lake scored two points apiece.

With the win, the Comets claimed the Southwestern Athletic Conference – Lakeshore Division championship title. “It is our first conference championship in boys’ basketball since 2004 in the Lakeland Conference,” stated Coloma head coach Paul Marfia.

Panthers fall to Rams in road game

There was no love for the Panther varsity basketball squad in South Haven Tuesday, Feb. 13. Watervliet fell to South Haven on the road 48-35.

It wasn’t Watervliets best effort on the basketball court to date. According to Watervliet head coach Chris Prom, “The Panthers struggled to get into any rhythm offensively due, in part, to the Rams intense ball pressure.”

Leading Watervliet in scoring was Garrett Matthews; he had 11 points. Dan Cluster added nine points, while Sheldon Tobar sank eight.

Coloma Bowling ends regular season with perfect record

The Coloma girls’ varsity bowling team better clear off some space on the mantle. The team has turned in an award winning performance this season.

The squad rolled to an 18-0 regular season record. Additionally, they were Kalamazoo Valley Association’s conference champions, conference tournament champions, Sturgis Invitational champions, and Battle of the Baker tournament champions. Wow!

State rankings released on February 18 have Coloma ranked #1 in the state in Division 3. Wow!

The team will participate in regionals Friday, Feb. 23 at M66 Bowl in Battle Creek. The top three teams will participate in team state finals on March 2.

On Saturday, individual regionals will be held at M66 Bowl with the top ten qualifying for state competition on March 3.

Lady Panthers post 38-36 loss to South Haven

The Lady Panthers had to swallow a bitter pill Tuesday, Feb. 13 as they lost a heart-breaker to South Haven 38-36.

A FIRM NO GO… Watervliet’s Zoe Smith looks to land a shot over Coloma’s Mika Anderson (20) as Megan Koenigshof (1) follows the ball. The Comet defense stood strong and Coloma notched the 50-43 win over host Watervliet. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)


Watervliet trailed 9-7 after the first period of play but bounced back in the second quarter 8-7. The Panthers pulled to within one to trail 16-15 at intermission.

Defensively, the Lady Panthers put a stop to South Haven scoring in the third period. The Rams managed four points of offense, while Watervliet scored 11 as the Panthers took the lead. With eight minutes of play remaining, Watervliet held a 26-20 margin of victory.

However, the Rams weren’t to be counted out. South Haven outscored Watervliet 18-10 in a fourth quarter scoring blitz to regain the lead and take home the 38-36 victory.

Zoe Smith led Watervliet with 13 points.  Ariana Rowe scored eight points, while Madalyn Hutchins chipped in seven.

Taylor Shafer tallied three points. Celina Klimkiewicz and Jaelyn Pitre both scored two points for the Panthers.

Coloma downs Dowagiac 52-38

Coloma relied on a strong game in the paint to score a 52-38 decision over Dowagiac. Coloma was 12 of 16 from the charity stripe and did not have a 3-point shot all game long.

BAT AND BALL… Coloma’s Adam Hearn bats the ball away from Jakob Aldrich’s fingertips Monday, February 12. Coloma won the battle on the basketball court 66-48. Watervliet’s Sheldon Tobar (44) and Coloma’s Chris Brown (20) and Robbie Schroeder (52) look on. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)


The Comets led 10-9 after the first period and drilled in 18 second-period points for the 28-13 half-time lead.

Coloma also outscored Dowagiac 13-10 in the third.  Dowagiac won the fourth period 15-11 but fell short of the rallying win. Coloma secured another victory last week, 52-38.

Kayla Yore blasted the bucket for 22 points. Morgan Wagner scored 16 points.  Megan Koenigshof and Hannah Mathis contributed six points each.  Marissa Sherburn and Megan Neubecker scored four points apiece.

Hartford handles Centreville; holds on for 70-52 win

Hartford High School celebrated Coaches vs. Cancer Friday, Feb. 16 at home. The evening of basketball included a fundraising event from which proceeds will be split between the American Cancer Society and Hartford elementary student Zoe Phillips and her family. Phillips is battling cancer for the second time, so this year the fundraiser hits very close to home for the Indians.

Centreville traveled to Hartford to take part in the festivities.

Hartford powered their way to a strong first period. The Indians outscored Centreville 18-8 in the first period.

The scoring train that is Hartford basketball continued to dominate in the second period. The Indians tossed in another 20 points, edging out Centreville’s 16. At the half, Hartford held a 38-24 lead.

The second half of the game continued in much the same vein as the first half. Hartford outscored Centreville 17-10 in the third period to increase the Indian lead to 55-34.

Centreville scored 18 points in the fourth period, as Hartford continued to rotate their players off the bench and into the game. At the buzzer, Hartford put another “W” in their record books with the 70-52 victory.

Trey Ackerman led Hartford with 17 points. Aaron Sinclair scored 12 points.  Brandon Galvan and Evan Delarosa each added nine points to the Indian total.

Coloma gets crucial 50-43 overtime win against Watervliet

Coloma and Watervliet tangled Monday, Feb. 12 on the Panthers’ home court in girls’ varsity basketball action. The home court advantage proved useless as Coloma earned the 50-43 overtime victory.

Talk about a good game! It was a give and take battle until the overtime period. Coloma led 11-9 after the first period. Watervliet rallied to tie the game at 20-20 at intermission.

The third quarter went Coloma’s way after they scored nine points and limited Watervliet to six. The Comets held a 29-26 lead.

A big, wild scoring fourth period brought fans to their feet. Watervliet went on a tear and scored 13 points. Coloma hit the basket for 10 points, and the game was knotted at 39-39 at the end of regulation.

Coloma turned up the pressure in overtime. They swarmed Watervliet’s offense, allowing four points.  The Comet offense, meanwhile, hit shot for shot to win the game 50-43.

Watervliet was led by Zoe Smith. She scored 17 points and had six rebounds and four steals. Jaelyn Pitre and Ariana Rowe added six points each.

MISTER-FITS… Four Coloma track stars will compete in the 4×200 meter relay at the Michigan Indoor Track Series State Finals February 24. Pictured are the Misfits Running Club relay members (from the left): Derek Plitt, Sincere Taylor, Caleb Ellis, and Josh Young.


Tough game for Indians as 10-game win streak grinds to a halt

Hartford’s girls’ varsity basketball team has certainly experienced a lot of great wins this season. Unfortunately, Friday night’s Coaches vs. Cancer game against Centreville was not one of them.

Hartford’s usual fire was absent as they welcomed Centreville. The Indians trailed early and could not jumpstart their offense during any part of the game.

Centreville opened the first period with a 14-10 lead as Hartford seemed a half bubble off level. A lackluster first period performance by the Indians led to a brutal offensive effort in the second. Hartford scored four points and trailed 25-14 at intermission.

Hartford spent the rest of the game trying – and hoping – for a rally that would never materialize. After scoring seven points in the third period and nine in the fourth, the Indians saw their 10-game win streak stopped by Centreville. The game goes into the Hartford books as a 45-30 loss.

Jessica Cortes led Hartford with 12 points.  Mikenzie Chambers and Angela Saldana scored five points each. AJ Jackson tallied two points, 10 boards, and six blocks.

Hartford holds a 16-3 overall record this season.

Four track athletes compete at indoor track state finals

Four student-athletes on Coloma’s varsity track team will make their debut at the Michigan Indoor Track Series state finals February 24 and February 25.

Derek Plitt, Sincere Taylor, Caleb Ellis, and Josh Young will participate in the 4×200 meter relay at Saginaw Valley State University.

The four-some are the current school record holders in the same event.

In addition to the relay team, Plitt will run the 60 meter dash, and Young will compete in the 400 meter.

The four young men are coached by Emily Pedzinski and are members of the Misfits Running Club.

Lady Comets led by Wagner in 54-35 victory over Saugatuck

The Lady Comets added another win to their record last week as the squad beat Saugatuck 54-35 Friday, Feb. 16.

Coloma held an 11-8 lead after the first period. The Comets added a whopping 17 points in the second quarter, while the defense stymied Saugatuck’s effort to score. At the half, Coloma’s lead had increased to 28-16.

Coloma outscored Saugatuck each quarter of the game, adding 26 second-half points compared to 19 netted by their opponent.

Morgan Wagner scored 18 points to lead the Lady Comets.  Kayla Yore chipped in 12 points, including the teams’ two 3-pointers.

Megan Neubecker continues to add to Coloma’s game.  She scored 11 points. Hannah Mathis had six points. Mika Anders added five, and Megan Koenigshof scored two points.

Lady Indians improve to 16-2 overall on strength of Chambers double-double

The Lady Indians continue to shine on the hard court this season. The squad earned their 16th victory of year after topping Cassopolis 54-47 on the road Tuesday, Feb. 13.

The Indians jumped out to a 14-12 lead in first period action.  Cassopolis responded with 13 points in the second period, outscoring the Indians who tallied seven points. At intermission, Hartford trailed 25-21.

In the third period, Cassopolis had 10 points and Hartford scored nine, but it was the fourth quarter that lifted Hartford to the big win.

The Indians scored 24 points and held Cass to 12 for the 54-47 win.

Mikenzie Chambers tallied another double-double this season for the Indians. She scored 17 points and had 10 rebounds and three steals. Jessica Cortes added 13 points and six steals to the Indian effort.

AJ Jackson also notched another double-double this season with 11 points and 10 rebounds. She also had five big blocks down low.

Megan Nelson scored seven points, while Angela Saldana contributed five points.

The Indians are 15-1 in the Southwest 10 Conference.

Coloma pounces all over Panthers in 66-48 win

Rivals Coloma and Watervliet took to the basketball court Monday, Feb. 12, and it was the visiting Comet team that scratched out the 66-48 win.

Watervliet was slow out of the gate, scoring only five points in the first period.  Coloma drilled 20 first-period points to take a big lead.

Watervliet settled in and found their groove in the second period. They continued to struggle landing shots but hit often enough to score 13 points, just two shy of Coloma’s 15 points.

At intermission, Coloma led 35-18.

Watervliet continued an even attack against the Comet offense. But, Coloma’s super scoring players would give no quarter. Coloma added 18 points in the third period while Watervliet dropped in 15 as Coloma’s scoring gap widened. With eight minutes to play, Coloma led 53-33.

The 20-point difference proved insurmountable for Watervliet, although they did outscore the Comets 15-13 in the final period.

As time ran out, Coloma won 66-48.

Coloma’s Zach Goodline scored 32 points including nine 3-pointers as his long game reappeared after being somewhat limited over the past few games. Michael Dancer, Phillip Caldwell, and Brendan Lute scored six points apiece.

Robbie Schroeder and Levi Wilkens chipped in five points each.  Willie Donald scored four points. Chris Brown got on the board with two points.

Sheldon Tobar led Watervliet with 13 points.  Garrett Matthews scored nine points.  Ryan Chisek contributed eight points.

Ackerman comes up big with 31 points in 76-69 loss to Cassopolis

Although Hartford lost their Tuesday, Feb. 13 game to visiting Cassopolis by a score of 76-69, Indian star Trey Ackerman came up big for the squad.

Ackerman scored 31 points for Hartford to lead the Indians.

Hartford led 19-10 after the first period. A stalled offense in the second period allowed Cassopolis to outscore Hartford 19-12, as the Rangers moved to within two, 31-29.

In the second half, the Cassopolis offense proved to be too much for Hartford. The Indians kept up their scoring attack but fell short of the win, losing 76-69.

Brandon Galvan helped the Ackerman effort with 15 points.

White Pigeon whipped by Hartford

Hartford “had a well-rounded victory,” according to head coach John Johnson. The squad welcomed White Pigeon and earned a 79-51 victory.

The Indians bounced to an early 22-14 lead. Great defensive pressure and good shooting led to a 42-26 Hartford lead at the half.

Third period action found solid shooting continuing for the Indians. They put up 22 points as White Pigeon continued to struggle in the paint with only nine points.

White Pigeon outscored Hartford 16-15 in the fourth period, but it was too little, too late. The Indians earned the easy 79-51 win.

William Martinez led Hartford with 18 points.  Evan Delarosa scored 16 points, while Garrod Johnson added 12.

Trey Ackerman sank 11 points, and Aaron Sinclair chipped in nine.

Jackson’s 18 leads way in Hartford 49-35 win over White Pigeon

AJ Jackson continues to anchor the Hartford Indians down low after she scored 18 points and had 15 rebounds and four big blocks Monday, Feb. 12.

The Indians faced White Pigeon and the score makes it look like the game was closer than in reality.

Hartford set the tone from the beginning, leading 10-8 following the first period.

Both teams settled in and slowed down in the second period. Shot opportunities were available for both squads, but the teams struggled to get the ball in the net. At intermission, Hartford led 18-13.

The Indians tacked on another 14 points in the third, while holding White Pigeon to six points. As the fourth quarter started, the Indians led 32-19.

A frenzied attack by both teams resulted in some big fourth-period numbers. Hartford scored 17, while White Pigeon added 16. Despite their best rallying effort, White Pigeon lost 49-35 to the strong Indians.

Hartford improved to 15-2 overall and are 14-1 in the Southwest 10 conference.

While Jackson powered the Indians with her double-double, she got some help from her teammates.  Jessica Cortes scored 11 points. Nautica Covington tallied seven points and added seven boards and three steals.  Mikenzie Chambers contributed six points and 10 rebounds.

#3 returns to Victory Lane at Daytona International Speedway For Dale Earnhardt fans, like my mom, seeing the #3 Chevy take the checkered flag at Daytona International Speedway Sunday was reminiscent of an iconic driver clanging and banging on the track and a time gone by. For others, it was just plain fantastic to see their favorite driver Austin Dillon pick up his second career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race win. The Daytona 500 kicked off the 2018 race car series with one of – if not the – biggest races of the season. It’s always a good time at Daytona and this year was no different. Two major wrecks claimed plenty of chassis, a rookie finished in the top five, and veterans ended their day in the garage with hoods up. It was Austin Dillon on Victory Lane. He won the first race of the season, marking his second career Monster Energy win. He had one win last year, along with three top five and four top 10 finishes. Dillon is in his fifth year on the Monster Energy circuit. He led one lap at Daytona, the only lap that matters: the last. Darrell Wallace Jr., a rookie, finished in the runner-up position Sunday which was an incredible showing for the youngster. Denny Hamlin took third place. He led 22 laps. Joey Logano finished fourth after he led three laps. Chris Buescher rounded out the top five. Kurt Busch, who led 16 laps, was the Stage 1 winner, while Ryan Blaney took Stage 2; Blaney led a race-high 118 laps. Ten drivers finished on the lead lap. Other drivers who led laps Sunday but did not finish in the top five include: Paul Menard (1), AJ Allmendinger (1), Aric Almirola (1), Justin Marks (1), Alex Bowman (13), last season’s Cup winner Martin Truex Jr. (4), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (11), Chase Elliott (4), and Erik Jones (11). Truex Jr. finished 18th due to an accident. In her final race on the NASCAR circuit, Danica Patrick placed 35th after getting caught up in the second of two massive wrecks. The teams are now in place at Atlanta Motor Speedway for Sunday’s running of the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500. Brad Keselowski won last year’s outing. Can he repeat in 2018?

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