03-14-2019 Tri-City Area Sports

12-2 SEASON… Watervliet 7th grade basketball girls white team ended the season on a great note Saturday, March 2, 2019, taking second in the Comstock tournament. The girls had a fabulous season with a record of 12-2. In the photo (from the left) are: Back row – Coach Nicol Wildeman, Kennedy Warren, Olivia Camp, Chelsea Lange, Ellie Wildeman, Alyssa Brown; Front row – Dezi Warren, Anya Sexton, Aleah Sexton, Makena Edelberg, Riley Preston.

Press Box Player of the Week!

By John Oliphant

Our Press Box Player of the Week is Watervliet’s Elaine Koshar.

Elaine just completed her career on the Watervliet girls’ basketball team Friday night in the district championship game against Brandywine. She finished her final season with a bang, scoring 21 points against Bangor in the first game of the tournament, helping to propel the Panthers into the district finals.

Elaine was the linchpin of the Panther offense, playing center and getting banged around under the basket all season long. She also handled the tip-off duties for the team.

She’s been playing basketball since the third grade, and also played on the Panther volleyball team, where she led the team in kills and blocks.

She says the best advice she’s received from a coach was to play as hard as you can for as long as you can.

Elaine ended the season with 155 points and 167 rebounds. She shot 41% from the field and 65% from the line. She also had games of 17 and 16 points, and her top rebounding game was 14.

Coach Ken Dietz said, “Elaine expected a lot from herself each and every day. This drove her to be successful. I enjoyed and appreciated her effort and dedication to what we were trying to accomplish this year.”

The Panthers had a tough year with just four wins, but Elaine was upbeat about her team and their final season together: “We may not have won a lot, but our team played our hearts out every day. We got to the district championship game, which is something not a lot of teams can say. It wasn’t the season we wanted but seeing my teammates every day was worth it.”

Elaine’s favorite class is Biochemistry, and after graduation she plans to attend Michigan State University to major in Animal Science and then attend veterinary school. Meanwhile, she plans to enjoy the rest of her senior year at Watervliet High School.

Congratulations, Elaine!

Coloma Press Box By Dave Vollrath

Coloma girls lose heartbreaker to Berrien Springs, 42-41 in overtime

The Coloma Comet girls’ basketball team had their dreams of a first ever district championship end in heartbreaking fashion as they took Berrien Springs to overtime, but eventually fell by a final score of 42-41. It was the second semi final game of the night in the district tournament being played in the South Haven Ram’s gym. Benton Harbor had won the first semi final game in a huge upset of South Haven, and holding them off for a 33-29 victory.

The Comets had come into the game with great hopes for a district title, as all six teams in the district had come in carrying losing regular season records. Coloma had won their first district game in impressive fashion over the Buchanan Bucks by a score of 45-30. However, in the end, what was a huge strength for Coloma in that first game turned into a glaring weakness, and ultimately cost the Comets a chance to move on to the district championship.

In the defeat on Monday of Buchanan, Coloma hit on 11 of 14 free throws, a very respectable 78%. In the game versus Berrien, however, Coloma could only manage to connect on 15 of 27 free throws, only a 55% clip. So you have to go back and look at that as a deciding factor in an overtime game that was decided by a single point.

COLE ON A ROLL… Coloma’s Mia Cole shoots for two during the Comets’ first round Division 2 district basketball game against Buchanan in South Haven Monday, March 4; she scored six points. Coloma topped the Bucks 45-30 but fell in overtime 42-41 Wednesday to Berrien Springs in the semi-final game. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)

The game started out slowly as each team had a little trouble putting the ball in the bucket, and it resulted in the first quarter ending with the Shamrocks leading by a score of 7-5.

It was a game played with great intensity on both sides. There were 40 fouls whistled for the game, 16 against the Comets. Defensively both teams really went after it, resulting in Coloma getting 12 steals on the game against nine for Berrien Springs. The game was very close throughout and the first half ended with Berrien Springs still on top by a count of 20-16.

The Lady Comets came out of the locker room after halftime showing a little more patience offensively and were trying to get the ball to Megan Neubecker, down on the low post. But Megan was having a little trouble getting in position for her shots, as she was being double teamed for much of the game. Coloma did creep in a little closer during the third quarter, which came to an end with Berrien Springs still on top, but now by a single point 30-29.

The game was in the fourth quarter and the lead changed hands several times. As the clocked ticked down, the Comets found themselves trailing 36-34. Bringing the ball down court with less than 10 seconds to play, they worked the ball around looking for a shot.

With about two seconds on the clock Mia Cole, a sophomore, put the ball up and made a huge shot from near the 3-point line. The referee closest to Mia immediately raised both his arms indicating a made 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded to end the game. But as the Comet team and fans began wildly celebrating a phenomenal buzzer beating victory, the other two refs came in blowing their whistles, which could barely be heard, and waving their arms.

As they got things calmed down, they ruled that Mia’s foot was touching the line which negated the three points making it only a two point shot. Instead of winning, the Comets were tied with the Shamrocks, 36-36, and headed for overtime.

Coloma Coach Kim Swisher said about that final play in regulation, “I thought it was a three, but Cole was honest and said her foot was on the line. I thought, OK, at least it was a two and we’re headed for overtime.”

In any case it was a huge made shot and created a tremendous amount of excitement for the Coloma team and fans. That excitement was short lived however, as once again the Comets found themselves trailing by two. With only a few seconds left on the clock Coloma had a couple of good looks inside, but the ball was not going in easily on this night and as the final buzzer sounded it looked like the Comets had lost.

Once again, however, the refs came in blowing their whistles and were calling a foul underneath the bucket on Berrien Springs. The ruling sent Marissa Sherburn to the line to shoot two free throws and have another chance to tie the score and send the game into a second overtime. With no time on the clock, and all of the other players standing around mid court, Marissa stepped to the line and you could hear a pin drop. She calmly sank that first free throw hitting nothing but net and pulling the Comets back to within a single point.

The Berrien Springs faithful were not going to make things that easy for her on the second attempt however, and began yelling and stomping their feet as Marissa’s second shot clanged off the rim and ended the Comet hopes for going to the district final.

Megan Koenigshof finished the night with a double/double as she had 12 points and 10 rebounds. Megan Neubecker, even though she somewhat struggled, managed to score eight points and had a huge night on the boards with 16 rebounds. Coloma finishes the season with a record of 8-14, and high expectations for the future, as this young team returns many of the players who led the team in most categories.

Coloma Comets have 4 wrestlers earning All Southwest Michigan Wrestling Honors

Coloma Comets placed four wrestlers on the All Southwest Michigan wrestling team for the 2018-2019 season. Earning second team honors for the Comets was Ian Ishmael at 140 pounds. Ian finished the season with a record of 41-5. He had only three losses on the season going into the regional meet, but had his worst day of the year finishing the day with two losses and out of the running to go to the State Finals.

Cody Reese finished with a record of 37-11 wrestling at 145 pounds. Cody went to the state finals where he finished in 6th place. Cole Alsup, a junior, had a great year finishing at 40-8, and a 5th place finish at the r