03-07-2019 Tri-City Area Sports

Hartford boys’ basketball falls in district finals

The Hartford Indian Boys Basketball team hit the courts last week with extra incentive, but also with their season on the line. The team finished the regular season with a 17-3 record, and placed second in the Southwest 10 Conference, the team’s best finish in a number of years. However, those records and results were thrown out the window, as the Indians entered postseason play. That means one loss, and Hartford’s season would be over, just like that.

In the Wednesday, Feb. 27 district semifinal game against Watervliet, Hartford rolled out to a 21-point halftime lead and beat their rivals, 73-53. Hartford jumped out to an 18-7 lead after the first quarter, and extended their halftime lead to 43-21 after outscoring the Panthers, 25-14, in the second quarter.

SENIOR SHOT… Emma Yazel and the Watervliet Panther girls’ varsity basketball team celebrated Senior Night Monday, February 25 with a 47-25 victory over Lake Michigan Catholic. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack

The second half was played much tighter. Watervliet won the third quarter, 14-11, cutting the deficit to 54-35 with eight minutes left. Hartford put the game away in the fourth quarter by outscoring the Panthers, 19-18, in the final stanza. In Friday night’s district championship game against Niles Brandywine, Hartford shot just 29 percent from the field, and fell to the host Bobcats, 73-45. The first quarter was a game of runs, as Brandywine jumped out to a 14-6 lead before Hartford ended the quarter on a 7-0 run to cut the lead to 14-13 after one.

The Bobcats found some success inside and outside in the second quarter, building their lead to 36-23 at halftime, which included a half-court buzzer beater by a Brandywine player. The third quarter saw the Indians come out swinging, as they started on a 7-2 run to cut the Bobcat lead to 38-30. Brandywine responded with an 8-2 run to build the lead back up to 14 and Hartford never got the game back under 10 the rest of the night.

Hartford was led by Trey Ackerman, in his final game wearing the green and white. The senior ended the night with 16 points and grabbed six rebounds. Sophomore Aaron Sinclair added 12 points for the Indians, while senior Brandon Galvan ended his high school career with 11 points.

Hartford finished their incredible 2018-19 campaign with an 18-4 record. The Indians will be losing six seniors to graduation this spring, including two of their top three scorers.

Hartford girls’ basketball goes into postseason on a roll

The Hartford Indian Girls Basketball team spent their final week of the regular season playing game, after game, after game. Of the three games they played, two of them were hosted inside the confines of Indian Gymnasium, including their regular season finale. With the Lady Indians sitting one game under the .500 mark heading into the last three games, the team looked to end their season strong.

In Feb. 25 non-conference game against Lawrence, Hartford defeated the visiting Lady Tigers, 55-41, in front of a solid “Senior Night” crowd. Hartford jumped out to a 15-8 lead after one quarter, as their offense scored enough buckets, while their defense stifled Lawrence into turnovers. The second quarter turned into a grind-it-out slugfest, with the teams managing just 8 points apiece, meaning that Hartford lead 23-16 at halftime.

The Lady Indians opened the game up in the third quarter, outscoring Lawrence, 18-7 in the frame, as they made seven baskets, including three from outside the arc. The Lady Tigers got back within 10 in the fourth quarter, but Hartford responded with key buckets down the stretch. Lawrence outscored the Lady Indians, 18-14, in the final quarter, but it was far too late.

Hartford was led by Mikenzie Chambers, who played her best game in a few weeks. Chambers put together a double-double, scoring a game-high 22 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. She also added three assists and a block to her stat line. Megan Nelson added 12 points, while grabbing five boards and dishing out a pair of assists. Alexis Snodgrass scored seven points, grabbed eight rebounds and blocked two shots, while Nautica Covington put together a stat line of six points, seven rebounds and three steals.

In Tuesday night’s game, Feb. 26, against Bangor the Lady Indians won a tight-tussle against the Lady Vikings, winning 34-31. The first half saw inconsistent basketball, as both teams managed to play good defense, but struggled on the offensive end. The Lady Indians won the first quarter, 10-5, courtesy of three made baskets and three made free-throws.

Hartford went silent from a shooting standpoint in the second quarter, and the Lady Vikings used an 11-7 scoring blitz to cut the Lady Indian lead to one, 17-16, at halftime. The second half saw more of the same, with the teams trading baskets for the most part. Hartford won the third quarter, 10-7, courtesy of making one more basket than Bangor in the frame. The final quarter saw both teams hitting the struggle bus on the offensive end. Bangor managed to outscore Hartford in the fourth, 8-7, but the Lady Indians made their free-throws down the stretch to put the game on ice.

In Thursday night’s regular season finale against Cassopolis, Hartford battled back from an early two-point deficit to win, 38-29. It was the Lady Rangers that came out firing on all cylinders, as they made several baskets inside the paint. The Lady Indians managed to hold steady with some solid outside shooting, trailing just 11-9 after one quarter.

Hartford stepped up the defense in the second quarter, forcing tougher shots and continuing to hit their shots. The Lady Indians won the frame, 11-5, taking a 20-16 lead into halftime. Hartford pulled away in the third quarter, outscoring Cassopolis, 12-6, thanks to some great defense and some great inside looks. The Lady Rangers managed to fight back a little in the fourth quarter, but only won the frame by one, 7-6, which was far from enough to keep the Lady Indians from winning their home finale.

For the third straight game, Mikenzie Chambers was the leader for the Lady Indians. Playing in her final home game, the senior put together a double-double of 12 points, an astounding 22 rebounds and blocked four shots. Megan Nelson added nine points, courtesy of three makes from behind the arc. Alexis Snodgrass had seven points, along with five rebounds and four blocks, while Jaelyne Galvan added six points.

After winning three games during the week, Hartford moved their record to 11-9 on the season, and finished 9-8 in Southwest 10 Conference play. The Lady Indians will begin postseason play in the District tournament hosted by Bridgman. After receiving a first-round bye, Hartford will face the winner of the game between Eau Claire and Niles Brandywine on Wednesday, Mar. 6. Should the Indians win that game, they would move to the District Finals, which will be played on Friday, Mar. 8. Come on out and support the ladies, and be sure to check out next week’s Press Box to find out how they did!

Matt Melcher 4th at State Championship

Watervliet wrestlers Matt Melcher, Trever Pelton and Alex Isbrecht traveled to Detroit March 1 & 2 for the Individual State Championships at Ford Field.

Melcher, wrestling at 215 pounds, won three matches and brought home a 4th place medal. Matt won his opening match 9-5. He won his second match on the third overtime, 4-3, to advance to the semifinals. He got pinned by the top-seeded 215-pound wrestler to go 2-1 on the day. On Day 2, Matt won his first match 5-1, which put him in the 3rd place match. Unfortunately he lost, but captured 4th place. He finishes his season at 35-6, an outstanding record and season considering his injury-limited offseason.

Trever Pelton, wrestling at 112 pounds, won his opening match with a pin at 3:45. He lost his next two matches to finish his season at 37-9.

Alex Isbrecht, wrestling at 125 pounds, lost his first match to the eventual runner-up. He won his second match 9-8 in three overtimes. He lost the next match and finished his season at 31-18.

Panther Boys Basketball 1-1 to close the season

The boy’s Class C district tournament was held last week at Brandywine. The Panthers faced the Bangor Vikings in the opening round on Monday, Feb. 25 and won 64-47. The Panthers led by one at the end of the first quarter and by six at the half, 32-26.

The team came out of the locker room running, forcing the Vikings into turnovers and then taking advantage. Coach Josh Beckmann noted their good rebounding and defense as the keys to the victory.

Andrew Chisek led all scorers with 24 points. Dylan Lawson scored 11 points. Danaveon Gilbert scored nine, Kade Van Neil scored eight. Omar Cardoso scored six points, and Austin Roberts and Kris Lenox each scored three points.

In their final game of the season on Wednesday, Feb. 27, a short-handed Panther crew lost to Hartford 73-53. It was a physical game where the officials didn’t appear to want to blow their whistles much.

Andrew Chisek led the Panther scoring with 17 points. Kris Lenox scored 14 points. Danaveon Gilbert scored eight points, and Kade Van Neil and Austin Roberts each scored four points. Omar Cardoso, Kenny Russell, and Dylan Lawson each scored two points.

The young Panther team finishes the season a disappointing 2-18, but their progress under Coach Josh Beckmann was steady and effective. They always kept fighting regardless the score, and they were a good team that just lacked experience. Look for them to improve their win-loss ratio next year.

Lady Panthers finish their regular season

The Panther girls’ varsity basketball team had a busy week with three games in five days. The first game on Monday, Feb. 25 was Senior Night, when the Lake Michigan Catholic Lakers came to Watervliet for the final home game of the season. After an emotional ceremony honoring eight seniors and their parents, the Panthers jumped out to an 18-1 lead in the first quarter. They increased the lead to 33-8 at halftime, and then cruised to a 47-25 victory. Elaine Koshar led all scorers with 16 points, 12 of those in the first half. Celina Klimkiewicz and Ally Pazera each scored six points. Emma Yazel and Brittney Porphir each scored five points. Alex Worley and Serena Reyna each scored four points.

The next night the Panthers traveled to play the Michigan Lutheran Titans in another non-conference game. The girls started well, leading 11-8 after one quarter. The Titans fought back to take a one point lead into halftime. The third quarter decided the game as the Panthers missed all their shots except for three free throws, falling behind 31-21. The Titans’ relentless press, which they used until the last possession of the game, was effective enough to force several turnovers. The final score was Titans 46, Panthers 28.

Victoria Smith scored eight points to lead the Panthers. Elaine Koshar scored six points, and Emma Yazel scored five points. Sabrina Klimkiewicz and Brittney Porphir each scored three points. Ally Pazera scored two points, and Celina Klimkiewicz scored one point.

In the final regular-season game the Panthers traveled to Schoolcraft to take on the 17-2 Eagles. The last game of the week was as lopsided as the first game, but the Panthers were on the wrong side this time.

The Panthers were held scoreless on Thursday, Feb. 28 in the first quarter, and the Eagles led 29-4 at halftime, and won the game 52-27.

Sabrina Klimkiewicz led the Panthers with seven points. Elaine Koshar scored six points, and Celina Klimkiewicz scored five points. Brittney Porphir scored four points, Victoria Smith scored three points, and Ally Pazera and Emma Yazel each hit a single free throw.

The Lady Panthers finish the regular season at 3-15. Their next game will be at the district tournament on Wednesday, March 6 at Bridgman where they take on the Bangor Vikings (4-16). Results of this game were not available at press time.

Coloma Comet Girls bowling team comes home wearing State Championship Crown!

The Coloma girls’ bowling team entered into this season with high expectations, as Coach Carley Burrell stated that the number one goal for this team, full of experience, was to end the season with a state championship trophy. The girls didn’t let their coach or themselves down, as they bowled their way to the Division 3 state title last weekend in Muskegon.

 The team, made up of Paige Burgess, Narelle Hickmon, Lainey Meader, Ashley Ikerd, Emily Feldten, Carissa Richmond, and Morgan Hosbein, never thought it would be easy. This team of experienced bowlers has practiced and competed together for the larger part of 3-4 years. Their coach, who was the anchor bowler on the Comet squad that last won the state title back in 2010, knew that if given the opportunity they could handle whatever was thrown at them to get the job done.

5TH PLACE FINISH… Coloma Comet Cole Alsup wrestled at the state individual championships at Ford Field in Detroit on Mar. 1 and 2, and had a great two days. Cole stood on the podium at the end of the day, as he finished in 5th place in Division 3. (TCR photo by Dave Vollrath)

The Comets had a little struggle through the bracket play, as they only beat Stanton Central Montcalm by 33 pins, 1190-1157, but then easily beat Cheboygan by almost 200 pins, 1228-1039. The Comets then faced Birch Run in the finals that were bent on winning the title and very easily could have.

The championship match came down to Coloma’s anchor bowler, Emily Feldten. She knew stepping on the lane that she needed two strikes and one pin for Coloma’s championship dreams to be realized. The Comet senior calmly carried two strikes and got eight pins on her last shot and the Comets had won their crown. Coach Burrell said, “That was about as much pressure as a high school junior bowler would ever be under.” Coach Burrell also stated it was a matter of experience and maturity, and that their teamwork was phenomenal.

The following day, the Comets had three bowlers who had qualified to bowl in the Division 3 individual championship in Feldten, Narelle Hickmon, and Lainey Meader. Lainey almost came home with an individual championship but finished in second place and runner up to Jenna Betts of Claire in the title round. Feldten finished in 24th and Hickmon finished in 32nd.

It was a great season for the Comets, as they went undefeated through the regular season and finished with a state championship.

Great weekend for Comet wrestlers, place 3 on the podium in state championship at Ford Field

The Coloma Comets team wrestled most of the year a little short handed, but they came out of the regional tournament standing tall with three wrestlers qualified for the state championship. Those three provided plenty of excitement for the faithful Comet fans who traveled with the boys to Detroit for the MHSAA finals held at Ford Field, home of the Detroit Lions.

Competing for Coloma was senior Cody Reese, wrestling at 145 pounds, Cole Alsup a junior wrestling at 285 pounds, and freshman Caeleb Ishmael competing at 103 pounds. The tournament action began Friday morning with wrestling at 285 pounds which meant Cole hit the mat early. He provided one of most exciting matches of the day as he had to go to sudden victory over a wrestler from Portland.

Ishmael and Reese won their first round matches; Caeleb with a pin at 1:20 and Cody with an 8-2 decision.

In the quarter finals Ishmael and Reese both lost tough matches sending them into the consolation brackets. But Cole won an 8-2 decision sending him to the semi finals. Cole was then beaten in the semis, 8-3, in a tightly contested match. Ishmael and Reese both won their first consolation round matches later Friday afternoon, earning them a spot to wrestle for a medal on Saturday morning.

Caeleb and Cody both won their first matches early Saturday morning giving Caeleb a shot at wrestling for 3rd and Cody for 5th. Both eventually fell in those matches; Ishmael by a 7-0 decision and Reese by a pin, which meant 4th and 6th places respectively and respectably.

Cole lost his first match Saturday, and then won his last match giving him a 5th place finish.

It was a great day of wrestling at Ford Field with 20 mats set up for these championships that were attended by about 25,000 fans. Coloma sending all three wrestlers to the podium for medals is a great accomplishment from a team that finished 14-14 on the season. This young squad including freshman Ishmael, and Junior Alsup, should be a team to be excited about for the future.

Coloma Boys Basketball ends season with tough loss in district tournament

The Coloma Comet boys’ basketball team lost to the host Lakeshore Lancers, 56-52, in an exciting semi final game that ends the high school career of one of the most prolific scorers in the history of Southwest Michigan basketball, in Zach Goodline.

Coloma struggled offensively most of the night. Even ending the first quarter with a 5-0 run, they still trailed 18-17. The second quarter saw the Comets continue that run and went up 23-18, which was their biggest lead of the night. That didn’t continue though, as the 3-point shots stop falling and Coloma trailed 30-25 at the half.

The Lancers then scored the first five points of the second half going up by 10 points, and Coloma continued to struggle. The Lancers put the clamps on Goodline holding him to only eight points through three quarters, well below the 29 points he averaged during the regular season.

The Lancers went up by 15 points early in the fourth quarter, and then the Comets had another big blow as junior Michael Dancer fouled out with about six minutes remaining. Dancer was the only Comet who was strong enough on the boards to keep the Lancers under control off the missed shots.

The Lancers had many second chance buckets off of offensive rebounds, which really hurt Coloma. It was at this point that Zach decided to take the game over, and with a large Coloma Comet crowd urging them on, Zach began to bring the Comets back. Coloma actually took a 1-point lead at 51-50, their first lead since the first quarter. The rally fell short and Coloma’s season came to an early end.

Zach finished the night with 25 points, 17 in the 4th quarter. His brother Drew had nine points on three shots from 3-point land. Phil Caldwell also hit three triples, for nine total points. The Comets for the night however hit on only nine of 27 from behind the 3-point arc, a tough shooting night. The Comets finish the season with a 16-5 record.

Coloma Comet Girls win opening district game vs. Buchanan

The Coloma girls’ basketball team began district play in South Haven with a45-30 victory over Buchanan on Monday night. The Lady Coloma led most of the way, as they defeated the Bucks for the second time this season.

Megan Neubecker once again led the Comets in scoring with 20 points and also ripped down 18 rebounds. Marissa Sherburn added eight points. The Comets also hit a very respectable 13-16 from the free throw line. They will face Berrien Springs in one semi final game on Wednesday night, with South Haven and Benton Harbor in the other semi final. The winners of those games will play for the district title on Friday night.

Results of the Wednesday night game were not available at press time.

Press Box Player of the Week

By Dave Vollrath Megan Neubecker, a junior at Coloma High School, is this week’s Press Box Player of the Week. Megan is currently playing on the Coloma Comet girls’ basketball team, where she plays center on the team, and is a very hard worker. Megan, as a junior on the team, started the season playing a little timidly, but through hard work has become a real force for the Comets on the inside, and most nights now, she dominates her opponents on the boards. According to Comet coach Kim Swisher, “This year Megan has been working extremely hard on her post moves, and her teammates do a nice job of getting her the ball when she is open. She rarely forces her shots, and kicks the ball back out to her open team members when necessary.” Her hard work has been really showing up lately, as she has averaged 18 points a game for the last four games, and things just look like they are coming much easier for her.

Coach Swisher also states of Megan, “She’s a great athlete, and she understands what her job is on this team. This makes it very easy to coach her.” Megan has averaged a double/double for the year, which is double digits in points, and also rebounds. She also grabs 3.5 steals and 2.5 blocks on average per game, so she really fills up the stat sheet every game. Megan’s parents are Steve and Shannon Neubecker. Megan is a very hard worker in the classroom as well. She has a 4.0 GPA and is a member of the National Honor Society. She keeps her plate full all year long because she also played for the Comet’s state championship winning softball team, is one of the top players for Coloma’s volleyball team in the fall, and plays on a travel volleyball team for Southwest Michigan in the summer. We congratulate Megan and very much look forward to great things from her in the future.

Dr. Andy says… “For you weekend warriors, the older we get, the less flexible we become. It is important to take the time to stretch and warm up your body before you go into battle. Soft tissue injuries can result from not taking the time to warm up and stretch before exercising.”