Watervliet girls’ basketball wins SAC championship
The excitement in the Panther gym was palpable Friday, February 24, as Watervliet faced Bangor High School. With a victory, the Lady Panthers would win the Southwestern Athletic Conference – Lakeshore Division championship. And win they did! Watervliet topped Bangor 47-28 to claim the conference title.
PANTHERS PROUD SAC CHAMPIONS… The Watervliet varsity girls’ basketball squad, head coach Jason Forrester and assistant coach Sherron Rimpson pose with the South-western Athletic Conference trophy. The Lady Panthers topped Bangor 47-28 to win the SAC – Lakeshore division crown. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)
The score would lead you to believe Watervliet probably had the game in hand early on. That would be an incorrect assumption.
The Lady Panthers struggled through the first half of the game against a very physical and tough Bangor squad.
In the first period, Bangor outscored Watervliet 7-6. Watervliet battled the Vikings in the second period and won that eight minute segment 8-6. At half time, Watervliet led 14-13.
Watervliet head coach Jason Forrester contrasted the Panthers’ first half of play with the second half with one phrase: “Night and day. We got in the locker room… They’re so used to sometimes losing the tight games in the past. I told them they deserve to win this thing but they got to take it. They got to go take it from (Bangor). And then they came out on fire in the third quarter.”
Fire, indeed. Watervliet slammed 21 points on the scoreboard in eight minutes. Defensively, the squad controlled Bangor and allowed only six points. It was quite a third period for the Panthers as they took a 35-19 lead in the third period.
And Watervliet was not done. The team scored another 12 points in the fourth period to put the game to bed. With the 47-28 victory, Watervliet claimed the SAC championship title and trophy.
Watervliet and Gobles both recorded 11-1 records in their division. But, Watervliet won the title outright based on the tie-breaker rules set forth by the conference.
Forrester was happy with the outcome of Friday’s contest, even if it took two periods to adjust.
“We came out tight and made some mistakes we usually don’t make. We tried to force things and just didn’t play the way we know how.”
It was a bruising effort on the part of both teams. There were numerous fouls, elbows being thrown, and players landing hard on the floor. You could definitely say both teams gave as good as they got.
Forrester said, “We expect (the game) to get rough against Bangor. We kept our composure even though we got hit with a couple hard screens.”
The win marks the first title for the first-year varsity basketball coach, and he said, “It feels great! These girls deserve it.”
Logan Mizwicki led Watervliet with 11 points. Katie Schultz scored 10. Casie Gohr and Kara Liles netted six points each. Jaelyn Pitre contributed five points. Zoe Smith added four points. Jade Miller and Ariana Rowe scored two points each, and Taylor Shafer dropped in one.
District competition begins; Watervliet bows out
Pre-districts in girls’ varsity basketball began Monday, February 27. Complete details including stats will be available in next week’s TCR.
In Class B District 33 action at Berrien Springs, Coloma topped South Haven 37-35. They moved on and played Buchanan on Wednesday.
Watervliet faced a tough Brandywine squad in Class C District 65 competition. Although they enjoyed a home court advantage, the Lady Panthers’ season ended with a 40-26 loss to the Bobcats.
Hartford moved on in Class C District 79 play to the district semi-finals after they notched an easy 56-14 win over Bloomingdale. The Indians faced Bangor on Wednesday at Kalamazoo Christian.
In Class D District 97 action Grace Christian topped Covert on the road 35-24. Grace Christian tangled with Three Oaks River Valley at host Lake Michigan Catholic Wednesday.
Watervliet beats Bangor
82-50 as Tobar and Cluster post double-doubles
Watervliet put up big numbers and Sheldon Tobar had a performance worthy of the highlight reel Friday, February 24 as the Panthers beat Bangor 82-50 in front of a frenetic hometown crowd.
SWEET SHOT BY SMITH… Watervliet’s Lamarrius Smith strikes a sweet pose as he shoots a jumper during varsity basketball action Friday against Ban-gor. Smith turned in a full stat line in the 82-50 Panther victory: six points, five rebounds, four assists, three steals, and two deflections. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)
Watervliet opened the game with an 18-point first period. A cohesive offensive attack set Bangor scrambling as they tried to cover the Panthers. Bangor scored nine points in the first period.
Watervliet poured in the points in the second period, scoring 26 which, according to head coach Chris Prom “is the highest scoring quarter of the season for the boys.” Bangor made some adjustments to their offense and scored 16 points. At intermission of the Winterfest contest, the hometown Panthers led 44-25.
The flurry of point scoring would continue for the Panthers in the third period. The squad scored 23 points, as Bangor banked 14. At the end of three periods, Watervliet enjoyed a 67-39 lead.
The Panthers sealed the victory with a 15-point fourth quarter to take the 82-50 game-shortened win. (The school’s fire alarm was triggered with three minutes left in the game. Perhaps from the Panthers’ hot shooting?)
Sheldon Tobar led Watervliet with 21 points, 17 rebounds, and five assists. Dan Cluster scored 16 points and grabbed 10 boards; he also had three blocks and two assists.
James Bell scored 10 points and had five rebounds. Ryan Chisek put up eight points, four rebounds, three deflections, and two assists. LA Smith scored six points and contributed five rebounds, four assists, three steals, and two deflections.
Watervliet whips Fennville
The Watervliet girls’ varsity basketball squad traveled to Fennville to take on the Blackhawks Tuesday, February 21. With the Lady Panther defense on overdrive, Watervliet notched the 54-20 victory, their 15th of the season.
The Panthers put together an impressive first period. They scored 18 points and the defense limited Fennville to seven.
In the second period, Watervliet tallied 14 points and the defensive pressure continued as the ‘Hawks were held to just two points. Watervliet held a 32-9 lead at the half way mark.
In the third period, Watervliet scored 16 points, while Fennville netted six. Action in the fourth period followed in much the same vein: Watervliet six, Fennville five. At the bell, Watervliet won 54-20.
Logan Mizwicki led Watervliet with 15 points. Zoe Smith chipped in nine points. Katie Schultz, Casie Gohr, and Taylor Shafer got on the board with seven points apiece.
Kara Liles scored four points, Mikayla Lee had three, and Ariana Rowe rounded out the scoring with two.
Indians send Bangor packing with 74-50 win
Hartford “shot the lights out” Tuesday, February 21 in their road game against Bangor, according to the Indians head coach John Johnson.
Hartford smoked Bangor for 50 first half points, including 20 in the first period and 30 in the second period. Thirty-six of the first half points were on shots from beyond the arc.
Hartford held a 20-15 lead after the first period and a 50-23