03-09-2017 Tri-City Area Sports

Boys’ district basketball opened Monday, March 3

District basketball for boys’ varsity teams began Monday, March 3 for Coloma, Hartford, and Watervliet.

Hartford faced Kalamazoo Christian at host Bloomingdale in Class C District 79 competition. The Indians suffered a 58-48 loss to end their season.

Watervliet took on Eau Claire in Class C District 65 play Monday. The Panthers won the first round game 60-46 and earned a trip to the district semi-final game Wednesday, March 8 against Cassopolis.

IT’S ACKERMAN, NOT “HACK-HIM-MAN”… Hart-ford’s Hunter Ackerman is fouled as he drives toward the basket Thursday in Gobles. The Indians took on the Tigers and, although Ackerman converted both free throws, Hartford lost 59-53. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)

Coloma tangled with Buchanan on the court in Class B District 33 action. The Comets enjoyed the home court advantage as they are the host for the district tourney. Coloma needed two overtime periods to record a 56-55 victory over the pesky Bucks.  With the win Coloma moved on to the district semi-final game Wednesday against Benton Harbor.

Complete tournament action and stats will be available in next week’s Press Box column.

Coloma’s Smith places eighth at state

Coloma’s Jamane Smith enjoyed a successful run at Michigan High School Athletic Association’s state wrestling competition March 2 through 4 at the Palace of Auburn Hills.  Smith placed eighth in the state in the 189 lb. weight class.

Smith won his first match of the day on Thursday, March 2 by defeating Kyle Reinhart of Dundee in a 16-3 major decision.

Smith then lost 8-4 to Richmond’s Colton McKiernan. In the most exciting match of the day, Smith then took on Luke Henderson in a bout to end all bouts. Smith and Henderson battled through three tie-breaker periods before Smith won 3-2 in the ultimate tie-breaker period. Wow!

The victory earned Smith a spot on the mat against Rylee Schultz of Grant. Smith lost 5-4.

In his final match of the day, Smith wrestled for seventh place against Kris Roche of Frankenmuth. Roche took the 5-3 win and Smith walked out of the Palace with an eighth place finish in state competition.

Smith closes out his junior year of wrestling in fine form among the best in the state. Look for him to seek another state title next year!

Hartford girls end season with district semi-final loss to Bangor

Hartford opened up their Class C District 79 title hunt Monday, February 27 against Bloomingdale. The game ended 56-14 in Hartford’s favor, a relatively easy ball game for the Indians.

Hartford got on the board with nine points in the first period and allowed eight. In the second period, the Indian offense came alive, especially the shooting off the hands of Cora Wesaw. She scored 12 of her team’s 24 second-quarter points.

The Indian defense stifled Bloomingdale with only two points being allowed on the scoreboard. At intermission, Hartford held a healthy 33-10 lead.

In the third period, the Indians added 17 points while Bloomingdale was held scoreless for the eight-minute period. Fourth period action saw Hartford drop another four points to their tally, while Bloomingdale mustered four. At the buzzer, the Indians claimed the 56-14 victory and a trip to semi-final competition.

Wesaw led Hartford with 20 points. Marissa Beraza scored 11 points, while AJ Jackson netted eight. Jackson also had six rebounds, three steals, and three blocks.

Jessica Cortes tallied six points for Hartford. Teammate Madisyn Earls scored four points and had eight rebounds.

Angela Saldana scored three points, and Amara Wesaw and Mikenzie Chambers had two points each. Megan Nelson was credited with eight assists.

Wednesday’s semi-final game, hosted at Kalamazoo Christian, found Hartford taking on Bangor. The first two periods of play were pretty well matched. Hartford trailed 6-5 at the end of the first quarter but tied the game at 14 all at half-time. Of Hartford’s 14 first-half points, Jackson scored nine of them.

In the third period, Jackson was the lone Indian to get any points on the board. She scored three, as Bangor jumped out with 16 points to take the lead. With eight minutes remaining, Bangor held a 30-17 edge.

Hartford added seven points in the fourth period but could not overcome the Bangor lead. In their final game of the season, Hartford suffered the 37-24 loss to Bangor and ended their hopes for a district title.

Jackson led Hartford with 13 points and 13 rebounds, earning a double-double in her final outing this season. Amara Wesaw scored four points and grabbed eight rebounds. Beraza and Elly Valdes scored two points each and Beraza notched three steals. Nelson, Cora Wesaw, and Cortes contributed one point each.

Lady Comets close out season with semi-final loss to Buchanan

Coloma participated in the Class B District 33 tournament hosted by Berrien Springs. The Lady Comets drew South Haven for the first-round matchup Monday, February 27.

SHOULDERING THROUGH… Coloma’s Kayla Yore gets a leg up over her Buchanan competition last week in the teams’ district semi-final game at Berrien Springs. Yore scored 14 points in the contest, but Coloma lost 42-34 to end their season. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)

Coloma battled a strong South Haven team all night long. Early on, it appeared Coloma would be sent home early, but an aggressive Comet offense hammered the Rams in the second half.  Coloma fought their way to a 37-35 win.

Morgan Wagner led Coloma with 20 points. Kayla Yore scored 10 points and grabbed six rebounds. Hannah Mathis dropped in three points for Coloma, as Mika Andersen scored two. Mya Potter and Nicolle Larson scored one point each from the charity stripe.

With the victory, Coloma moved on to semi-final action against Buchanan Wednesday, March 1.

Both teams were on fire in first-period action. The lead traded between the two teams. Buchanan scored 15 points and Coloma tallied 14.

Coloma continued to pressure the Buchanan offense. Mathis scored on a jumper to give Coloma the 21-19 lead before Buchanan scored their own bucket to tie the game at 21-21 at half-time. (A last second Buchanan 3-pointer sank into the net but popped back out, saving the tie).

Coloma struggled in the third period, scoring only two points. Buchanan opened the quarter up with a bucket and Coloma head coach Fred Paulsen responded by taking a time-out. On the ensuing Coloma possession, a high pass was stolen by Buchanan who then drained it for two more points. Paulsen called another time-out.

When Coloma got the ball back, Mathis hit for two points, closing Buchanan’s lead to 27-23. Buchanan followed that with a five point run, and the Comets trailed 32-23 at the end of three quarters.

Kayla Yore scored the first fourth-period points for Coloma. Adding to Coloma’s total was two points courtesy of Megan Koenigshof and two points from Mya Potter. With less than two minutes on the clock, Morgan Wagner drove the floor for two points. Coloma’s tidal wave of 11 points outscored Buchanan’s 10 but could not close the gap. Buchanan won a spot in the district championship with the 42-34 defeat of Coloma.

Yore was Coloma’s high scorer with 14 points, including the team’s two 3-pointers. Mathis added 13 points to the Comets’ effort.  Koenigshof scored three points and Wagner and Potter had two each.

Coloma shot 36% from the free throw line (landing four of 11 attempts).

Lady Patriots end season after district semi-final loss to Three Oaks River Valley

Grace Christian girls’ varsity basketball squad opened Class D District 97 competition Monday, February 27 against Covert.

After two possessions by each team, Covert got on the board first by sinking two free throws. Grace Christian’s Paige Massey responded with a sweet steal of the ball, which she then passed to Riley Hess who sank the bucket.

At the end of the first period, Covert led 3-2.

STANDING TALL… Lydia Stalcup of Grace Christian’s varsity basketball squad stood tall Monday, February 27 during the team’s district game against Covert; Grace got the 35-24 victory and moved on to semi-final action Wednesday. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)

Both teams settled down and ran their offenses in the second period. Covert scored 11 points, while Grace scored 10. For the period, Hess netted five points in the period, while Lydia Stalcup scored four.  Princess Williams also got on the board in the second period with one point. At half-time Covert held a slight 13-12 lead.

With the 35-24 victory over the Bulldogs, Grace Christian headed to semi-final competition on Wednesday against Three Oaks River Valley at host Lake Michigan Catholic.

Three Oaks outpaced Grace Christian for the 49-20 victory. Hess had nine points in that contest, as Grace Christian closed out their season.

Panther girls outpaced by Brandywine 40-26 in district opener

Watervliet girls’ varsity basketball head coach Jason Forrester knew a title run in Class C District 65 competition would be challenging. Watervliet could, however, count on home court advantage as they played host this year.

But, Brandywine was a tough draw early in the tournament and Watervliet was not able to escape unscathed.

Monday, February 27 found the Lady Panthers opposite the Brandywine Bobcats and from the get-go it was a hard charging, fast-paced game.

Early in the first period, Brandywine held an 8-2 lead. Four points by Ariana Rowe and a single point by Zoe Smith bumped up Watervliet’s total to seven points. However, Brandywine scored 10 additional points to take a 12-7 lead after the first period.

In the second period, Watervliet’s Katie Schultz landed a basket and was fouled. She converted the three-point play to draw Watervliet to within two points. Schultz’s three points would be the only ones scored by the Panthers in the second period.

Brandywine responded by scoring seven unanswered points. Watervliet had three opportunities to score but was unable to convert free throw attempts into points. Brandywine led 20-10 at intermission.

Schultz opened up the third period with a 3-pointer. That was followed by a Smith field goal. Another bucket by Schultz and one by Logan Mizwicki gave Watervliet a nine point run. It appeared as the tide had turned and Watervliet would get back in the game.

Brandywine stopped the Panther bucket parade with one basket, but Watervliet’s Casie Gohr responded with one of her own. As the period wound down, however, Brandywine netted a string of nine unanswered points and held a 33-22 lead.

Rowe, in the paint, did the scoring for Watervliet in the fourth period. She scored two baskets for four points, the team’s total take in the fourth period. Brandywine scored seven points, captured the 40-26 victory, and ended the Southwestern Athletic Conference champions’ dream of a district title.

Rowe led Watervliet with eight points. Schultz scored seven. Smith had four points, while Mizwicki contributed three. Gohr and Kara Liles scored two points each.

Goodline nets 1,000th career point as Comets bludgeoned Bangor 73-28

Coloma’s Zach Goodline’s impressive play earned him his 1,000th point as Coloma creamed Bangor 73-28. Bangor is winless this season with a 0-20 overall record. Coloma is now 12-8 overall.

The Comets raced out to an early 21-12 lead. In the second period, the squad scored 20 points and Bangor downed 10. At intermission, Coloma led 41-22.

Bangor’s offense shriveled up in the second half with the team able to score only six points. Coloma, on the other hand, fired on all cylinders as numerous players saw time on the court.

Coloma scored 25 points in the third period and seven in the fourth to take the 73-28 victory.

Bangor notched 18 fouls, while Coloma had 20, which gave plenty of players time at the charity stripe. Coloma hit 19 of 28 attempts (68%), while Bangor nailed 10 of 22 attempts (46%).

Goodline scored 16 points for the Comets and was the team’s high scorer. According to Coloma head coach Paul Marfia, “After 41 games of his varsity career (Goodline) has 1,015 points and unofficially about 187 assists and 96 steals. As far as our research could go back, he is the first 1,000 point scorer in Coloma boys’ history.”

Levi Wilkens scored 13 points and Grant Kroschel had 11, including three 3-pointers.  Calvin Starnes contributed nine points, and Adam Hearn had eight.  Zack Lake scored five points, while Kobe Hunter dropped in four from the free throw line.

Brendan Lute chipped in a 3-pointer and Tevon Blazier scored two points.  Willie Donald and Jordan Pierce scored one point each.

Hartford wins with three players in double digits

Hartford’s varsity basketball team scored a substantial victory over Galesburg-Augusta on the road Tuesday, February 28. The Indians used a balanced approach to outscore Galesburg-Augusta 61-44.

Three Hartford players, Austin Nelson, Will Martinez, and Brandon Galvan each scored in double digits.

Hartford held a 20-7 lead after the first period. At the half, the score was 38-20 in Hartford’s favor.

The Indians notched 11 points in the third period, as Galesburg-Augusta scored 12. In the fourth period G-A outscored Hartford 14-12.

Nelson and Martinez led Hartford with 12 points each. Galvan, who continues to improve the more playing time he gets, scored 11.

Kalamazoo Hackett press pesters Panthers for win

Watervliet traveled to Kalamazoo Hackett Tuesday, February 28 and lost 71-46. The Panthers faced a pesky Hackett team who used their full court press to their advantage.

Watervliet lead 10-8 after first period action. Hackett came back in period number two and outscored the Panthers 18-14 to take a 26-24 lead at half-time.

Hackett outscored Watervliet 45-22 in the second half of the ball game as Watervliet’s offense withered under pressure.

Cameron Rendo led Watervliet with 13 points, including four 3-pointers.  Sheldon Tobar netted 11 points, and Ryan Chisek chipped in seven.

Martinez scores 21 points in Hartford loss to Gobles

The fourth period of Thursday, March 2’s game between Hartford and Gobles proved to be a Wild West shootout. Unfortunately, the Indians couldn’t overcome the third period 10 point deficit and lost 59-53.

Hartford’s Will Martinez started the game by nailing a 3-pointer. He followed that up with a two point shot and Hartford quickly held a 5-0 lead over the Tigers.

Austin Nelson of Hartford got on the scoreboard with his first 3-pointer of the evening, as Hartford rolled to a string of eight unanswered points.

But the lead didn’t last long. Gobles went on an 11-point run before Nelson scored a field goal. In the final Hartford score for the period, Jake Griffith landed a 3-pointer. At the end of the first period, Hartford trailed 15-13.

Gobles spent the early minutes of the second period streaking nine points onto the scoreboard in short order.  Hartford’s Brandon Galvan landed a 3-pointer to break up the Tiger action. Griffith followed with two points after a Gobles score. Nelson also scored two points, but the Indians trailed 30-22 at the half.

Gobles dropped 18 points in the third period, while the Indians scored 10. As the third period faded away, Hartford fell behind by 16 points, 48-32.

It was a hot hands fourth period for Hartford as the squad scored a whopping 21 points, trying to rally for the win. The Indian outpouring threw Gobles for a loop and the team struggled to make adjustments on both sides of the ball. Gobles tallied 11 points in the final period and edged Hartford 59-53.

Martinez was the high scorer for Hartford with 21 points. Nelson chipped in 18.

Coloma cruises to 64-42 victory over Decatur; Gets 11th win

The Comets of Coloma recorded their 11th win this season with a 64-42 victory over visiting Decatur Tuesday, February 28.

Coloma got a big assist putting points up from its bench. The Comets jumped out to an early 14-7 lead and built on it in the second period with 22 more. Coloma’s defense continued to pressure Decatur and allowed nine points. At the half-way mark, Coloma held a 36-16 lead.

Decatur spent half-time regrouping and hit the floor with renewed passion in the third period. The Raiders drove the lane more and often Coloma was a step behind. The Comets added 15 to their total, while Decatur scored 14 points. At the end of three, Decatur trailed 51-20.

The fourth period was another well-played period between two complementary teams.  Coloma outscored Decatur by one, 13-12, to win the game 64-42.

Zach Goodline led Coloma with 26 points, giving him 999 total career points. That’s quite a milestone for the sophomore! He landed five 3-pointers and was three of five from the free throw line.

Brendan Lute scored 10 points, including two 3-pointers.  Calvin Starnes had eight, Adam Hearn chipped in six, and Michael Dancer tallied five points.

Kobe Hunter drained four points, Grant Kroschel knocked down a shot from beyond the arc for three points, and Tevon Blazier netted two points.

Coloma shot 60% from the free throw line.

#2 Keselowski takes checkered flag in second race of NASCAR season

Number two is certainly Brad Keselowski’s lucky number. Keselowski, the driver of the #2 Ford, won Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, the second race in the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

Keselowski started the race in the fifth position and only led 21 laps. He ran near the front of the pack for much of the race. It took a miscue by Kevin Harvick to give Keselowski the opportunity to claim the spot at the head of the line.

As the drivers were going ‘round and ‘round on lap 311, Harvick, who started the race from the pole position and led 292 laps in a dominating performance, headed onto Pit Road a touch too fast. He was nabbed for a speeding violation and sent to the back of the pack when he returned to the track.

With arguably the best car sitting in last place, Keselowski had a clear path to first place. He zipped around the track and traffic and claimed his spot at number one. The race marks Keselowski’s first win of the 2017 season.

Kyle Larson began the race running in eighth place but improved to finish second. He led seven laps.

Third place went to Matt Kenseth, up from his start in 16th. Kasey Kahne finished fourth and was the biggest mover on the day; he improved 25 spots having started the race in the 29th position. Chase Elliott rounded out the top five.

Also leading laps in Sunday’s event were Jimmie Johnson and Ryan Newman. The drivers led two and three laps, respectively.

The Folds of Honor QuikTrip race featured 325 laps, with 17 of the race’s 39 drivers finishing on the lead lap.

The teams have packed up and headed west for Sunday’s Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Keselowski will be riding high as he won this event last year. Can he make it two in a row? Check back to find out.

Watervliet Track and Field “Fr