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 qu