NEWEST INDUCTEES… Watervliet Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2020 members (from the left) Gordie Cartwright, Eric Anderson, Scott Tatter, Greg Krell and Roberta Salay Stannard are pictured with Watervliet Athletic Director Ken Dietz (far right). The five honorees were inducted during a ceremony at halftime of the Panther varsity boys basketball game on Saturday, Feb. 22.
Hartford Prress Box By Jerrod Birmele
Hartford boys basketball runs win streak to 4 with two weekly victories
Last week, the Hartford Indian boys basketball team played two late-season conference games hoping to keep a recent win streak going. After having lost four straight games to fall three games below .500, the team rallied for two important victories recently to bring their record to 7-8 on the season. With just five games remaining in the regular season, the run to the postseason has begun, and the team seems to be finding its stride at the right time.
TEAM WORK… Hartford’s #4 Aaron Sinclair passes the ball to teammate #24 Kaden Johnson during the team’s game on Friday, Feb. 21 at Decatur. The two players combined for 26 points, helping the Indians to a 56-42 Southwest 10 Conference victory over the Raiders. (TCR Photo by Jerrod Birmele)
In their game on Tuesday, Feb. 18 at Marcellus, the Indians rallied in the fourth quarter to steal a victory, defeating the host Wildcats, 60-52. Coming into the game, Marcellus was on top of the Southwest 10 Conference standings, so this was a statement win for the green and white. Marcellus led the game after the opening eight minutes, taking a 12-7 lead after the first quarter. Using an 18-15 scoring advantage in the second quarter, the Wildcats were able to extend the halftime lead to eight, 30-22.
Hartford began their late rally in the third quarter, using good shot making to outscore Marcellus, 17-14, and pull within five, 44-39, heading into the fourth quarter. The Indians comeback was made complete by great play on both sides of the ball in the fourth quarter, as they managed to make clutch shots and free throws and held the Wildcats to just two makes from the field. The result was Hartford outscoring Marcellus, 21-8, to seal the win.
The Indians had seven players score in the game, including a pair of players who finished in double figures. Aaron Sinclair led all Hartford scorers with 23 points, while Kaden Johnson added 13 points in a winning effort. Other players who scored for the Indians were Elijah Rodarte (9), Elijah Ledesma (7), Tanner Kinchen (4), Dylan Voss (3) and Ricky Baker (1 point).
In their game on Friday, Feb. 21 at Decatur, the Indians were victorious once again, sweeping the season series over the rival Raiders with a 56-42 victory. The game was fast from the get-go, and scoring was high in the first quarter. Decatur managed to outscore Hartford, 19-17, in the opening stanza. The Indians turned the tide in the second quarter, riding both their offense and defense to outscore the Raiders, 18-7, in the frame, and take a 35-26 lead into the halftime break.
Decatur made a game of it in the third quarter, fighting off an early surge by Hartford, to take the stanza, 13-8, and cut the Indian lead to four, 43-39, with eight minutes left. Whatever momentum the home team had evaporated in a dominating fourth quarter by the good guys, as the Indians managed to hold the Raiders to just three points, courtesy of one made shot and one free throw. In the end, Hartford held a 13-3 scoring advantage in the final frame and sealed the victory.
The Indians had seven players score in the game, and, for the second straight contest, a pair of players managed double figure scoring nights. Aaron Sinclair led all Hartford scorers with 21 points, while Elijah Ledesma added 11 points in the winning effort. Other players that scored for the Indians were Elijah Rodarte (7), Ricky Baker (6), Kaden Johnson (5), Elijah Smith (4) and Tanner Kinchen (2 points).
Hartford girls basketball splits pair of games; regular season finale looms
Last week, the Hartford Lady Indian Basketball team returned to the court for two conference games, as the season is officially in the “sunset” stage. It has been a solid season for the ladies, who came into action with a 9-6 record on the season. The postseason is looming in the very near future for the team, as they came into play with just three games left in the regular season. They need to be playing their best now, because the competition will only get better in district play.
In their home game on Tuesday, Feb. 18 versus Marcellus, the Lady Indians won a nail biter, sneaking by the Lady ‘Cats with a 39-38 victory. The game was rather close for the entirety, with neither team having a double-digit lead in this contest. The first quarter was a low scoring affair, with both teams struggling from the field. Hartford led after the first stanza, but only by one, 5-4. The second quarter saw the scoring pick up a little bit, with both teams managing to score several baskets. The result was an extension of the lead for the Lady Indians at halftime, 17-13, after a 12-9 scoring advantage in the frame.
Marcellus managed to outscore Hartford, 10-6, in the third quarter to even the game at 23 with eight minutes left. In a hotly contested fourth quarter, both teams managed their biggest scoring output, but critical free-throws from the Lady Indians were the difference. Hartford outscored Marcellus, 16-15, in the fourth to sneak away with the win. The Lady ‘Cats had a chance to win in the final second, but the shot was off the mark.
Six players scored for the Lady Indians, including a pair of ladies in double figures. Alexis Snodgrass led all Hartford scorers with 14 points, while Megan Nelson added 11 points in the winning effort. Other players that scored for the Lady Indians were Vanessa DeLaRosa (6), Descenya Rodarte (4), Jaelyne Galvan (3) and Sara De Diego (1 point).
In their game on Friday, Feb. 21 at Decatur, the Lady Indians suffered a big defeat, falling to the host Lady Raiders, 38-15. Not much went good for Hartford in this game, as they were down, and down big, from the first whistle to the final horn. Decatur outscored the Lady Indians, 11-1, in the first quarter, and extended their lead to 23-3 at halftime, thanks to a 12-2 scoring blitz in the second quarter.
Hartford showed signs of life in the third quarter, as they outscored the Lady Raiders, 10-4, in the stanza, to cut the lead to 27-13 with eight minutes left in the game. The momentum flipped right back to Decatur in the fourth quarter, and the Lady Raiders used an 11-2 scoring advantage in the stanza to pull away to the win.
Four players scored for the Lady Indians, with one player scoring in double figures. Megan Nelson led all Hartford scorers with 10 points in a losing effort, all of which were scored in the third quarter. Other players that scored for the Lady Indians were Jaelyne Galvan and Abigail Lopez (2 points each) and Alexis Snodgrass (1 point).
Hartford Competitive Cheer finishes season with solid district finish
Last week, the Hartford Indian Competitive Cheer team entered the final stretch of their season, competing in MHSAA District competition. It has been quite the learning experience this year for the ladies, but they have stuck together and performed well as a team. This has been despite enduring a coaching change before the season. They have put up several consecutive 600-point performances recently, and they would need that, and more, to keep it going.
In the MHSAA Division 4 District competition, held at Bronson on Saturday, Feb. 22, Hartford placed in 8th place out of 12 schools, finishing with a total score of 625.4 points. The ladies were just a little over 9.5 points from qualifying for the regionals. The team finished round one with a total of 191.6 points, which came with no deduction in penalty points. The second round saw the team put together a performance worthy of 163.3 points, which also came with no deduction in penalty points. The third and final round, which is always the highest scoring round in a competition, saw the team score 270.5 points, and, for the third straight round, saw no deduction in penalty points.
Teams that qualified for the regionals out of this district were Lawton, Saint Joseph Lake Michigan Catholic, Gobles and Delton Kellogg. Congratulations to the Hartford Indian Competitive Cheer team on a great season!
Hartford wrestling season ends in individual regional competition
Last week, the Hartford Indian Wrestling team sent two participants to the individual regional competition. The season, in terms of full team competition, had unfortunately ended in a heartbreaking, close defeat to Decatur in the team district finals the previous Wednesday. But now the attention turned to individual wrestlers, and this week’s event brought together the top 4 participants from a pair of districts, with the final four left in each weight class going on to state.
In the MHSAA Division 4 Individual Regional competition, held at Mendon on Saturday, Feb. 22, both Hartford wrestlers, Ernesto Rodarte and Tim Dumont, ultimately finished 0-2, and were eliminated from individual state finals contention.
Rodarte, a freshman wrestling at 103 pounds, started his day by taking on Kannon Marry of Hudson, and suffered defeat by fall in 5:12. That moved him to the consolation bracket, where he would wrestle Jacob Reif of Quincy to keep his season alive, but he suffered defeat, once again by fall, in 1:35. Rodarte finished the season with a 26-8 record.
Dumont, a sophomore wrestling at 125 pounds, started his day by taking on Jackson Miller of Hudson, and suffered defeat by fall in 3:46. That moved him to the consolation bracket, where he would wrestle Auddie Terry of Galesburg-Augusta to keep his season alive, but he suffered defeat, once again by fall, in 3:29. Dumont finished the season with a 16-23 record.
Congratulations to Ernesto, Tim, and the entire Hartford Indian Wrestling team on a good season this year!
As always, GO INDIANS!
Watervliet Press Box by John Oliphant
Boys Basketball beats Lawton and Saugatuck
The Panther varsity boys basketball team had a big week, winning two conference games and nearly winning a third game against a tough Holland Calvary team on Hall of Fame Induction night.
CHISEK… picks up his dribble into a tribe of Saugatuck Indians. Watervliet #2 Andrew Chisek leads the Panthers to victory in Friday night’s contest at home, Panthers win 51-46. (TCR photo by John Oliphant)
On Tuesday, Feb. 18 they traveled to Lawton to face the Blue Devils and won 69-56. The Panthers team set the tone for the entire week by falling behind in the first quarter 13-10. Kenny Russell and Davis King each hit a pair of second quarter three pointers and the defense played well to overtake Lawton for a 26-22 lead at halftime. The visiting Panthers extended their lead as Andrew Chisek, Evan Hutchins, and Danaveon Gilbert all hit big three pointers to extend the lead to 11 points at the end of three. The fourth quarter was a long one as Lawton shot 10 free throws and the Panthers took 19, with the maroon team coming out on top.
Chisek led a balanced scoring attack with 17 points, King following with 16, Kenny Russell with 14, and Evan Hutchins with 10. Brennan Bornas scored seven, Danaveon Gilbert scored three, and Dylan Lawson scored two.
Saugatuck paid a visit on Friday, Feb. 21 which was also Senior Night for the basketball teams. The boys honored seniors Curtis White, Jacob Loomis, Danaveon Gilbert, and Cole Pline. True to form Saugatuck led 10-7 at the end of the first quarter, but Davis King’s hot shooting hand led the Panthers to a five point lead at halftime, 23-18. They played solid defense and took advantage of several Saugatuck errors to cruise to a 51-46 victory in front of a big crowd including a noisy and enthusiastic student section.
On Saturday afternoon Feb. 22 the Panthers hosted the 11-4 Holland Calvary Christian Crusaders. Calvary boasts 68 students in their entire high school, and clearly this is a basketball school as the big and disciplined Crusaders beat the Panthers 61-57. The Panthers fell behind 22-14 in the first quarter and that proved to be the difference in the game. They played solid defense all night, out-rebounding and stopping the Crusaders on many possessions. Their offense failed to convert defensive stops and turnovers into points too many times and the outside shooting was off-target just enough.
Chisek led with 18 points, King had 14, and Danaveon Gilbert had 13. From there, Abney scored five, Hutchins had three, Bornas and Dylan Lawson each scored two.
The next and last home game for the varsity boys basketball team is Friday night, Feb. 28 when the 10-7 Comets pay a visit for Watervliet’s Winterfest. The Panthers get a nearly two-week break before facing top-seed Brandywine in the district tournament at Bridgman on March 11.
Lady Panthers split a pair
On Tuesday night, Feb. 18 the Lady Panthers traveled to Lawton and jumped out to a big first quarter lead. The Blue Devils fought back in the second and third quarters. But Madison Flowers had a big fourth quarter, going 7 for 9 at the free throw line and hitting a big three point basket late to seal the 52-42 victory. Samantha Dietz and MJ Flowers led the Lady Panthers in scoring and Dietz led the night in rebounds. Serena Reyna took advantage of her first varsity start by playing great defense, running the floor, and putting some points on the board.
On Friday night the 21st they honored seniors Alex Worley and Serena Reyna between the games. There wasn’t much to celebrate after that however as Saugatuck ran away with a 61-36 road win. The girls also host Coloma this Friday, and then face the winner of the Bridgman-Brandywine game in the district tournament on Wednesday, March 4 at Cassopolis.
Wrestlers compete at Regionals
Five Panther wrestlers qualified to compete in the individual regional tournament at Constantine last Saturday, Feb. 22 and two of them qualified to move forward to the state tournament at Ford Field on March 6. The Panthers found themselves in a tough region, competing against some big D-3 schools from the southeast corner of Michigan, including Dundee who is one of the top teams in the state.
WHS DYNAMIC DUO… Even though the Watervliet wrestling team brought five grapplers to the MHSAA Individual Regional Championships on Feb. 22 at Constantine, only two members survived the brute competition. Junior Don Smith at 189 lbs. placed 4th, while 112 lb. senior Trever Pelton placed 3rd. This is Smith’s first time of being a state qualifier and Pelton’s third. Both will compete on March 6 at Ford Field for the MHSAA Individual State Championships. (Photo courtesy of Robert Pelton)
Trever Pelton (40-5) went 3-1 to finish third place in the 112-pound bracket. He had a pin at 5:04, lost a match in overtime and then won 6-4 to earn his trip to Detroit. He took the third place medal when Coloma’s Caleb Ishmael couldn’t answer the bell for the last match of the day due to a knee injury suffered in an earlier match. Caleb wisely didn’t want to risk further injury after already qualifying for the finals. This will be Trever’s second trip to the state finals.
Don Smith (25-9) also won his first match with a pin at 4:41 before losing 5-2. He then won 4-3 to punch his ticket to the finals and lost his last match to South Haven’s Jackson Calvert to bring home a fourth place medal. This will be Don’s first trip to the state finals.
Other wrestlers competing were Isaiah Yazel (29-11), Alex Isbrecht (26-14), and Korben Camp (8-22).
Coloma Press Box By Dave Vollrath
Comet trio punch their ticket for wrestling finals at Ford Field
A trio of Coloma Comet wrestlers earned their way to the state finals in Division 3 to be held on March 6 and 7 at Ford Field in Detroit. The Comets who qualified – Cole Alsup, Ian Ishmael and Caeleb Ishmael – earned their way by finishing in the top 4 at the regional meet held on Saturday, Feb. 22, at Constantine High School.
Senior Cole Alsup won his way by finishing in first place at the regional meet. Cole is a 285-pound wrestler, and he’ll be taking a record of 44-3 for this season into the finals. He was a state finalist as a junior, and also went to the finals as a sophomore.
Ian Ishmael, a Comet senior, finished 3rd at regionals and takes a record of 34-11 wrestling at 145 pounds into the finals. Ian wrestled at state as a sophomore.
Caeleb Ishmael, a sophomore, will be headed back to state. He was a state finalist as a freshman, wrestling at 103 pounds, and will now be moving up to compete at 112 pounds.
Coloma varsity coach Kenny Ashley states that the trio all wrestled very well, and that both Ian and Caeleb had to overcome some adversity to move on to the finals. Cole is looking very good and should make a really good push to win at state. Coach Ashley believes all three of his guys are more than capable of making a deep run in the tournament.
Coloma Comet boys move to 10-7, with pair of wins at home
The Coloma varsity boys basketball team rolled to a pair of wins at home, defeating the South Haven Rams on Tuesday, Feb. 18 (49-43) and then getting the better of Gobles by beating them by a score of 62-47, on their home court, Friday, Feb. 21.
DRYER BATTLING ON THE BOARDS… Shawn Dryer #50, the Coloma junior center, mixes it up going for a rebound with a pair of South Haven players during Coloma’s home win against the Rams on Tuesday, Feb 18. The Comets won by a final score of 49-43. (TCR photo by Dave Vollrath)
On Tuesday night the Comets came out shooting, and hit several 3-pointers in the first quarter. They held South Haven down in the process and took an 18-6 lead after one quarter. The Comet shooters then cooled off, but they still played solid on the defensive end and took a 26-12 lead going into the locker rooms at halftime.
The Comets then built as much as an 18-point lead during the third quarter, mainly on the shooting of guards Drew Goodline and Jake Ickes. Although the Rams were able to cut into the lead, Coloma led 39-24 after three quarters.
Coloma coach Curtis McFall stated after the game that he was somewhat concerned about the Comet offense, which seems to come and go. They tend to get hot shooting, and then cool off just as quickly. Coach McFall says that they will continue to work to try and be more consistent on offense, and continue to stand strong on the defensive end.
The Comet 3-point shooting had a big impact on the game as they made eight from outside the arc. Goodline hit on three while Ickes hit two and Michael Dancer, Isaiah Reinhardt, and Stacey Branscomb each hit one from long range. Goodline was the leading scorer finishing with 23 points. Michael Dancer had a great all around game scoring nine points, pulling down nine rebounds, and also dishing out three assists and picking the Rams pocket with three steals.
On Friday, Feb. 21, the Comets hosted Gobles and took out a little revenge for an earlier loss in January in a game where Coloma scored eight points in the last 20 seconds, only to lose on a last second layup. The first half of this game went back and forth, as each team seemed to make a six or seven point run and come back after falling behind.
The score was 10-10 after one quarter and 23-23 at the half, as the Comets couldn’t break away from the visitors. The Coloma boys came out of the locker room ready to roll in the 3rd quarter however, and hit six 3-pointers. Jake Ickes hit on four of those. Coloma scored 25 in the quarter and finished with an 11-point lead. The Comets were able to build on their lead, even as they began to substitute more freely in the fourth quarter.
Drew Goodline led the Comet scoring attack once again, jump shooting his way to 22 points. Jake Ickes finished the game with six 3-pointers on the board, and a pair of free throws for 20 points. Michael Dancer finished with eight points, including two 3’s, and also led the Comets in rebounds.
REPORTING LIVE… From Coloma Sports Programming Network! Coloma High School varsity home basketball games were covered on Facebook live Tuesday, Feb. 18 vs. South Haven and Friday, Feb. 21 against Gobles. Manning the CSPN live booth were Coloma seniors (from the left): Alec DelaTorre, Nathan Strunk, and Nick Santarlas. The Comet boys won both their “live” games, while the girls lost to Gobles in their game. According to Facebook figures, 815 viewers have watched the South Haven game, while the Gobles game has been seen 413 times. (TCR photo by Dave Vollrath)
Lady Comets prepare for district with close win over South Haven
The Coloma Lady Comets are preparing for the district basketball tournament which begins on Monday, March 2. The Coloma district will be comprised of Coloma, Benton Harbor and South Haven. In preparation Coloma has played both Benton Harbor and South Haven in the last couple of weeks, and has come up a winner in both games.
Wednesday, Feb. 19, the Comets traveled to South Haven. In a game that was close all the way, Coloma came away with a 1-point victory at a final score of 24-23. It was a low scoring game from the start, with the Comets holding a 4-3 lead after one quarter, and an 11-9 lead going into halftime. During the first half the Comets had to play a stretch without both Megans. Megan Koenigshof took a hard elbow to the nose and had to leave the court for some time to stop the bleeding. Megan Neubecker picked up her third foul with about 3.5 minutes left in the half and sat so she wouldn’t pick up her fourth.
The second half was carbon copy of the first half with neither team able to break away with a lead of any significance. South Haven down by five late in the game, made a couple of shots that pulled them within a single point, but couldn’t make a last second attempt as the ball clanked off the rim. It was a big win for the Comets who have been struggling with their offense the last couple of weeks, but should give them a good feeling going into the district tournament. Megan Neubecker led the offense for Coloma; all her shots coming down in the low post, Megan scored 12 points and pulled down nine rebounds.
On Friday, Feb. 21, the Comets hosted Gobles who came into the game with a 16-2 record and 8-1 in league play. The one loss was an incredible comeback win by Coloma at Gobles back in January. This time around however, the Lady Comets weren’t able to contain the Gobles shooters, who were hitting their 3-point shots throughout the game, and beat Coloma by a 46-20 score. The Comet ladies played hard, but couldn’t stay with this strong Gobles lineup which only has two seniors.
Coloma’s record now stands at 8-10 overall, and 4-5 in the league.
Coloma bowlers preparing for regionals
The Coloma boys and girls bowling teams are both practicing hard in preparation for the state regionals tournament coming up on Friday, Feb. 28. Both Comet teams are ranked near or at the top in Division 3 in the state. They are both looking for successful regional runs which would lead them to the state finals.
The girls are the defending Division 3 state champ and looking for a return to the finals to give them the opportunity for a repeat. They are coached by Carley Burrell. The boys coach is Sharon Ball. Both coaches believe they have enough talent on their rosters to go deep into the championship. They will be rolling at M-66 bowl in Battle Creek starting on Friday.
Press Box Player of the Week!
By John Oliphant
Our Press Box Player of the Week is Davis King. Davis is a junior forward on the Watervliet Panther varsity basketball team and has made a big offensive impact in the last several games, averaging 16 points per game over three games last week. He hit four three point shots in each of the Panthers last three games, and has had a hot outside shot for the second half of the season. He scored a career-high 18 points against Saugatuck in a 51-46 win on Friday night, including a couple nifty close shots.
Davis, who has been playing basketball since the third grade, has had two short seasons at Watervliet until now. He broke his collarbone as a freshman then had ankle surgery after an injury last year. He’s been healthy this season and has made a big difference for the Panther offense as he gets more playing time and experience.
His favorite part of the season so far was beating Gobles on their court during their Winterfest celebration where their team effort captured the win in the closing seconds to ruin the home crowd’s mood. He says this team is a well-rounded group with amazing skills that’s getting better playing as a team.
Davis plans to spend the offseason practicing and working on strength training. At school he likes his economics/civics class, and plans to go to college and perhaps become a financial advisor. In the meantime, watch for him playing ball with friends this summer.