Area teams fall short in district basketball title hunts
Coloma, Hartford, and Watervliet finished up their varsity boys’ basketball seasons last week, all three falling short of bringing home a district championship. Watervliet, who hosted Class C District 65 basketball, drew Brandywine in a first-round matchup Monday, March 5. The Panthers kept pace with Brandywine through the first quarter, matching the Bobcats bucket for bucket. After some nice drives by Bryant Kieft and Garrett Matthews and jumpers by Lamarrius Smith and Dan Cluster, the score was 17-17 after the first period. Brandywine chipped in the first bucket to open the second period. Watervliet responded with a 3-pointer to take the lead. The second period of play see-sawed as both teams put forth a slower pace compared to the first period; neither team scored double digits. Heading into intermission the board read: Watervliet 24, Brandywine 26. It was impressive to see Watervliet hang tough against the 16-6 Brandywine squad.
HOOPS AWAY… Watervliet’s Lamarrius Smith goes up for the jumper Monday, March 5 in the Panthers’ first-round Class C District 65 game against visiting Brandywine. Watervliet marked the end of their season with a 56-51 loss in overtime. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)
Watervliet, to their credit, handed Brandywine a loss earlier this season. The teams ended regulation all tied up and headed into overtime. Brandywine outdueled the Panthers 56-51 for the win, ending Watervliet’s season. The Panthers posted an 11-10 overall season and were 8-4 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference – Lakeshore Division. Hartford also played in the Class C District 65 bracket. The Indians took on the Bison of New Buffalo Monday, March 5 at New Buffalo. In what Hartford head coach John Johnson termed, “a physical matchup,” Hartford outplayed New Buffalo to the 67-58 win. In the first period, Hartford outscored the Bison 17-8 to dominate the first eight minutes of play. New Buffalo fired to life in the second period. They dropped in 15 points, beating Hartford’s scoring effort by one point. At intermission, Hartford led 31-23. The Bison played to the 14-13 advantage in the third period as they continued to rally.
CEILING… Hartford’s Trey Ackerman eyes the hoop Wednesday, March 7 as the Indians faced Brandywine in the Class C District 65 semi-finals game at Watervliet. Brandywine topped Hartford 62-44 to end the Indians’ basketball season. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)
Hartford kept the Bison at bay in the fourth period as they returned to fine form. The Indians scored 23 points with New Buffalo adding 21 points. The first-round victory went to Hartford, 67-58. Trey Ackerman scored 22 points to lead Hartford. Aaron Sinclair chipped in 18 points. Buddy Earls scored 12 points, and Garrod Johnson had 10. With the win in hand, Hartford faced off against Brandywine Wednesday, March 9 at Watervliet. A low-scoring first period found Hartford trailing 13-6. Brandywine built on their lead in the second period and led 32-16 at the half. Near the mid-point of the third period, Brandywine held a 15-point lead. But, the Hartford offense hit their stride, narrowing the Bobcat lead to eight points with three minutes left in the period. Although Hartford’s press staunched the Bobcat scoring in the period, the Indians fell a step behind. In the space of a minute-and-a-half, Brandywine scored five points. At the end of three, Brandywine led 47-31. Brandywine outscored Hartford 15-13 in the final period of the game, earning the semi-final district win 63-44. Hartford was led by Ackerman with 18 points. Aaron Sinclair and Garrod Johnson teamed up for seven points each. Evan Delarosa tallied five points, while Moses Beraza scored four points. Hartford ended their season with a 12-10 overall record. Meanwhile, in Class B District 33 action, Coloma earned a first-round bye. Their semi-final round opponent was Benton Harbor, who trampled over Niles in the Monday, March 5 game. Benton Harbor and Coloma hit the court Wednesday, March 7 and what a game, what a crowd! The doors were closed long before game time and a “SOLD OUT” sign hung on the Berrien Springs gym entrance doors. If you didn’t have a ticket in hand before you got to the game, chances were good you were sent home. The mood was electric, as Comet fans were hoping to upset the Tigers. Just last month, Coloma suffered their first loss of the season to the Tigers, 55-46. So, the Comets were seeking a bit of redemption Wednesday. Unfortunately, they wouldn’t find it. The Comets stuck with Benton Harbor through the first period. Coloma’s Zach Goodline was pressured much of the game and
GO, GOODLINE, GO… Coloma’s Zach Goodline drives past Benton Harbor’s Dennie Brown March 7 during the teams’ Class B District 33 matchup at Berrien Springs. The Comets of Coloma fell to Benton Harbor 77-49. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)
often double-teamed down low, forcing him to pass the ball. But, Goodline opened the first period with nine points. Robbie Schroeder and Michael Dancer added two points apiece and Coloma was tied with the Tigers 13-13 following one quarter of play. Benton Harbor settled in and continued to run their game in the second period. The Tigers added 19 to their total and held Coloma to 12 points. Tevon Blazier and Phillip Caldwell got on the board for Coloma in the second, scoring from beyond the arc. Goodline had four points in the period and Schroeder added another two. At intermission, the Tigers held a 32-25 lead. The second half of the ball game spelled trouble for Coloma. They had numerous turnovers, including multiple stolen inbound passes. Benton Harbor’s defense made it difficult for the Comets to get the ball across the court. Schroeder, whose physicality and height were important under the rim, had two points in the third, as Goodline scored six. Benton Harbor led 54-38 heading into the fourth quarter. The Tigers busted loose with 23 points in the final eight minutes of the game. They were unstoppable. Coloma, shaken by the third quarter, saw the game slip away. The Comets scored 11 points in the fourth period, including four by Goodline. In the end, it was Benton Harbor winning the district semi-final game. Goodline led Coloma with 25 points including three 3-pointers and hitting four of four free throw attempts. Goodline was the only Comet to score in double digits and being the only one was a strong factor in the team’s loss. Schroeder scored eight points, while Caldwell scored two of the team’s seven 3-pointers for six points. Brendan Lute and Blazier scored three points each. Chris Brown and Michael Dancer scored two points each. Benton Harbor had three players that scored in double digits. Following the game, Coloma head coach Paul Marfia remarked, “[Benton Harbor’s] a little bit bigger, a little bit more athletic in spots, so you have to execute and sometimes we didn’t. “I think there was a span in the third quarter that there was some physical play out there that really sort of turned the table. We’re not big and strong enough to do that. There was a stretch there in that third quarter where all of a sudden it was a six-point game and they blew it open. They blew it open big time and we couldn’t recover from that.” Marfia continued, “Our kids competed and played a very good team. I’m going to look at it, we’re 18-3 and two of those losses to [Benton Harbor, who] is probably going to end up at the Breslin [playing for the state title].” Coloma ends their season with an 18-3 record overall and was 12-0 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference – Lakeshore Division, earning the division title. “Even though I’m very proud of my kids, I’m disappointed in the results. I appreciate the journey we went on, and I know we did it right because I didn’t want it to end,” Marfia stated.
CLUSTER BECOMES A COUGAR… Watervliet’s Dan Cluster, a senior forward on the team, recently signed his letter of intent to play basketball at Spring Arbor University in Spring Arbor, Michigan. The Spring Arbor Cougars are members of the Crossroads League.
Thumm wrestles in NCAA Division II championships
Watervliet graduate Brock Thumm capped off an incredible year of wrestling for Chadron State College by participating in the 2018 NCAA Division II championships, held in Cedar Rapids, Iowa last week. Thumm, wrestling in the 141 lb. weight class, opened up with a 5-3 loss to Newberry’s Isaiah Royal. In his second match, Thumm pinned Zach Scott of MSU Moorhead at the 3:00 minute mark. Following the win by pin victory over Scott, Thumm tangled with Nick Crume of the University of Indianapolis. It was a close match, but Crume came out on top, winning 4-3. The national champion in Thumm’s weight class was Chris Eddins of Pitt-Johnstown; he went 4-0 to claim the title. Chadron State is located in Chadron, Nebraska. Thumm is a 2014 graduate of Watervliet High School.
Goodline Looks Good for All-State Award
Zach Goodline finished his junior season of varsity basketball with some pretty stellar stats. The guard scored 554 points this season, averaging 26.4 points per game. He landed 43% of his 3-point attempts and hit 83% from the charity stripe. Goodline had 98 assists, stole the ball 72 times, grabbed 61 rebounds, and blocked five shots. His career scoring is now at 1,600 points. All-Conference awards were announced and Goodline was a unanimous First Team award winner for the third consecutive year, according to Coloma head basketball coach Paul Marfia. Last year, Goodline was an Honorable Mention All-State award winner.
5K events on tap this Saturday and April 7
If you are continuing your New Year’s resolution of getting in shape (other than round), mark your calendars for this Saturday, March 17 and Saturday, April 7. There’s still time to take part in Saturday’s third annual St. Patrick’s 5K walk and run in Coloma. Same day registration is available from 7:45 to 8:45 a.m. at Coloma Township Hall, a new location this year. Racers participating in either the 5K walk or run will select whether they want their race time tracked or not. Chip-timed participants over the age of 18 will need to pay $30 to register. If an athlete chooses to take part in the untimed walk or run, the cost is only $20 on race day. On Saturday, April 7, Sarett Nature Center will kick off their Spring Stampede. Race day registration is open at 7:30 a.m., with the 5K run and walk hitting the trail at 9:00 a.m. If you register before March 23, the entry fee is $25. Sarett will also hold a one-mile fun run at 8:30 a.m. Register online at runsignup.com or visit the Sarett website at sarett.com/events/spring-stampede to download an entry form. Let’s get ready to run or walk your way to good health!