03-16-2017 Tri-City Area Sports

Comets end season after district semi-final loss to Benton Harbor

 Coloma knew opponent Benton Harbor would be a tough foe in the Class B District 33 tournament. Although the Comets played host, they just couldn’t get past the strong shooting of the Tigers and lost their semi-final match up 66-49.

Coloma ended their season with a 13-9 record.

It was a tough game for Coloma fans and players alike. The Comets were stymied by Benton Harbor’s prowess on the court and mustered just 16 first-half points.

The game opened with Benton Harbor taking a 14-8 lead in the first. The Tigers widened their lead with 16 points in the second quarter; and they enjoyed a healthy 30-16 lead after the first half.

The second half saw the Comet offense spark, but by then it was just too little, too late. Coloma scored 11 points in the third period, but the Tigers netted 14. The Comets had their highest scoring period of the game with 19 points. But, a strong 22-point period by Benton Harbor put the game out of Coloma’s reach. The win went to the Tigers, 66-49.

Benton Harbor was a formidable force. They had three players score in double digits, while Coloma had one.

Coloma’s Zach Goodline continued to rack up his point total. He scored 20 including four 3-pointers. He also shot perfectly from the charity stripe, hitting six of six.

Levi Wilkens scored five points, and Tevon Blazier, Phillip Caldwell, and Calvin Starnes had four points apiece.

Grant Kroschel, Kobe Hunter, and Adam Hearn each scored two points.

Coloma coach Paul Marfia gave credit where credit was due – both to his team and their opponent. “Tonight (Benton Harbor) made more basketball plays than we did. It was not for lack of effort or trying. We needed them to come in with their ‘B’ game tonight and when it was close, they were an ‘A minus.’ We did not hit our shots. I love my kids and how hard they played. I love this community and how they came out to support us.”

Marfia also gave a nod to the impressive play of his sophomore Zach Goodline. Goodline averaged 26.9 points per game this year and totaled 591 points scored. He had 115 assists, 79 steals and eight blocks. Marfia called Goodline “a good kid that had to do everything for us.” Marfia was quick to point out that the team’s next high scorer averaged 5.4 points a game.

For his career, Goodline has scored 1,052 points, offered up 198 assists, grabbed 132 steals, and blocked nine shots. He is a contender for an All-State award this season. Nominations for that award are accepted until March 17.

Watervliet loses double overtime semi-final district game

 The Watervliet Panthers ended their 2017 season with a 69-65 double overtime loss to Cassopolis in the Class C District 65 semi-final matchup held at Bridgman Wednesday, March 6.

SWEET SHOT… Watervliet’s Dan Cluster tosses the ball to the bucket during last week’s district opener against Eau Claire. The Panthers won 60-46 as Cluster scored 12 points. (Contributed photo)


Turnovers galore spelled doom for the Panthers, although they held their own and battled back throughout the contest.

After the first period, Cass led 12-10. Watervliet outscored the Rangers 18-15 in the second period to take a 28-27 lead at intermission.

In the third period, Watervliet posted 16 points on the scoreboard for the 44-39 lead. Cass would bounce back in the fourth period by limiting Watervliet’s offense to just eight points. The game was tied at the end of regulation.

The first overtime period saw both teams score six points as the squads played an extremely conservative period. In the second OT period, Cass outscored Watervliet 11-7 to take the 69-65 victory, ending Watervliet’s season.

Sheldon Tobar led Watervliet with 25 points. Bryant Kieft netted 12 points as Dan Cluster scored 10.

Cam Rendo tallied eight points. James Bell, Jakob Aldrich, Lamarrius Smith, and Garrett Matthews scored two points each.

Watervliet was 11 of 19 from the free throw line (58%).

The squad committed 28 turnovers.

Hartford suffers first round loss in district competition

 The Hartford Indians drew the toughest team possible in the Class C District 79 basketball tournament at Bloomingdale. Their first game, which occurred Monday, March 6, found them facing a 16-7 Kalamazoo Christian squad.

The Indians, fresh off a 59-53 loss to Gobles that closed out the regular season, fell 58-48 to Kalamazoo. KC would eventually roll on through the bracket to take the district championship on March 10.

The Indians close out their season with a 9-12 record.

Watervliet romps over Eau Claire in district opener

 If you were surprised at the score coming out of the Class C District 65 tournament featuring Watervliet and Eau Claire at Bridgman, you shouldn’t be.

All season long Watervliet has displayed bright spots of athleticism and Monday’s game against the Beavers was no different.

Watervliet opened the first period with a dramatic 18-9 lead as they, according to head coach Chris Prom, “came out strong by owning the paint on both ends of the floor. They worked the ball around well against Eau Claire’s 2-3 zone.”

Eau Claire adjusted in the second period and went on to outscore Watervliet 17-10. With the first half of the game in the books, Watervliet led by two, 28-26.

In the third period, “The Panthers got back to their game plan of working the ball inside and rebounding defensively,” commented Prom. The Panthers posted 12 points on the scoreboard and the defense held Eau Claire to just seven. At the end of three, Watervliet’s lead increased to 40-33.

Watervliet hit the floor running in the fourth period. The squad tacked on 20 points, courtesy of a few well-timed steals. Eau Claire charged back in the fourth period but was limited to 13 points, as Watervliet netted the 60-46 victory.

Sheldon Tobar and Dan Cluster both notched a double double. Tobar led the Panther effort with 14 points and 14 rebounds. Cluster scored 12 points and grabbed 10 boards.

Bryant Kieft contributed 11 points, while Cam Rendo scored eight. Garrett Matthews tossed in five points, including the team’s only 3-pointer of the game.

Jakob Aldrich, Ryan Chisek, and Lamarrius Smith each scored two points.

Coloma wins district opener in stunning double OT fashion

 Whew! The collective exhale you heard Monday, March 3 came from the stands at Coloma High School’s gymnasium after the hometown Comets earned a 56-55 double overtime victory over Buchanan in Class B District 33 competition.

BALL IN HAND… Coloma’s Robbie Schroeder gets his hand on the ball Monday in the Comets’ district opener against Buchanan. Schroeder scored four points in the 56-55 double overtime Comet victory. (TCR photo by Martin Quigley Jr.)


It was one of the tightest ballgames Comet fans have witnessed all season. Both teams ended the first period knotted up at 10 apiece. In the second period, scoring by both teams was sparse. The Comets netted eight points and limited the Bucks to just four to take a 28-24 lead at intermission.

The game remained tight throughout the second half of play. Coloma scored 17 second half points and Buchanan dropped in 21 to tie the game at the end of regulation. Into OT we go!

Both teams scored six points in the first extra period. It was Coloma’s Zach Goodline who dropped in a 3-point bucket with 12 seconds remaining to send the game into a second OT period. The score was 51-51.

It was an all-out battle in the final minutes of the game as both teams refused to give up. Coloma got the 56-55 win to move on in district competition.

Goodline led Coloma with 17 points including three 3-pointers. He hit six of six from the free throw line.

Grant Kroschel had one of his best games of the season. He scored 11 points including three 3-pointers.  Adam Hearn scored 10 points. It was the first time all season three Comet players hit double digits.

Levi Wilkens tallied six points for Coloma. Robbie Schroeder scored four points. Kobe Hunter and Calvin Starnes each dropped in a 3-point shot. Tevon Blazier scored two points.

2017 Fruit Belt schedule released

 It is time to get out your calendars and plan your 5K schedule! The 2017 Fruit Belt Series schedule has been released and there is plenty of opportunity to complete five races and receive a commemorative coin.

The Fruit Belt Series was created to promote healthy eating habits and exercise. Each year participants can win a special commemorative coin by simply finishing at least five qualifying races.

This year’s 5K events include: Hartford’s Strawberry Festival on June 10, Watervliet’s Bednarowski Cherry Walk/Run on July 1, the Traverse City Cherry race on July 8, Coloma’s Glad-Peach event on August 5, South Haven’s Blueberry Festival on August 12, the Watermelon Ox Roast in Lawrence on September 2, Paw Paw’s Grape race on September 9, Benton Harbor Rotary’s Pumpkin event on September 16, Bangor’s Apple festival on September 30, and the Coloma Jollay Orchards Pumpkin Harvest on October 14.

Start training now for this year’s Fruit Belt Series. There’s plenty of fun – yes, fun – to be had!

Newly crowned Blossomtime King and Queen are local athletes

 The newly crowned Blossomtime King and Queen hail from Hartford and Watervliet, respectively, and are student-athletes!

Kaylee Chapin of Watervliet is the new Miss Blossomtime. Chapin, a senior, just finished up the winter sports season as the captain of the Panther cheerleading squad. She was also on the cheerleading squad this past fall for football.

Hunter Ackerman of Hartford was crowned Mr. Blossomtime Sunday evening. Ackerman, also a senior, was most recently a forward on the varsity basketball squad. He is also a member of the varsity baseball team.

Congrats to both student-athletes!

TRINE UNIVERSITY BOUND… Mercede Daugherty, 17, a senior at Watervliet High School, signed a letter of intent to play softball at Trine University in Angola, Indiana. Daugherty said one of the reasons she selected Trine University was the softball team “wins a lot.” Currently, the squad is enjoying an eight game win streak. Daugherty will be playing either second or third base. She is the daughter of Roy and Edie Daugherty. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)


Hartford softball fundraiser raffling off Detroit Tigers tickets

 The Hartford Indians softball program needs your help! The team is raffling off four tickets to see the Detroit Tigers open their 2017 season against the Boston Red Sox Friday, April 7 at 1:08 p.m. The seats are in the Mezzanine section 212, row 17, seats 13-16 and have a value of almost $400!

Individual raffle tickets are available for $10, or you can buy two for $15. All proceeds from the raffle benefit the Hartford Indians softball program.

You can contact any member of the softball coaching staff or the Hartford Middle School and High School for tickets. The phone number for the middle school is (269) 621-7200, and you can contact the high school at (269) 621-7100. Or, contact varsity head coach Steve Galvan directly at galvans@hpsmi.org for tickets.

You must purchase your tickets by Friday, March 31 at noon. The drawing will be held after that time.

Help support high school athletics! Buy your raffle tickets today. One caveat to the fundraiser: if less than 150 tickets are sold, the drawing will be scuttled.

HEADED TO TRINE… Tyler Brant, 17, signed a letter of intent Monday to play football at Trine University. The senior will fill a wide receiver position on the Trine Thunder’s Division III team. Brant is a senior at Watervliet High School and is the son of Chett and Sarah Brant. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)


Hooterville Hitters annual vintage baseball game set for July 1

 It’s time to start warming up as baseball season gets ready to swing into high gear. Along with your favorite high school and professional teams, Watervliet’s vintage baseball team, the Hooterville Hitters, has announced this season’s schedule.

On tap is their annual contest against the House of David Echoes. As part of the city’s 4th of July festivities the game will be held Saturday, July 1 at Hays Park. Game time is scheduled for 6:00 p.m.

If you are interested in playing, visit the Hitters’ Facebook page at www.facebook.com/HootervilleHitters. The team is seeking players from the Watervliet area.

Watervliet’s track and field program teams up with The Friendly Tavern

The Watervliet track and field program has once again teamed up with The Friendly Tavern in Coloma. Swing by the Friendly on Sunday, March 26 from 5:00 p.m. until closing to help support the Panther sports program. The Friendly is donating 10% of all proceeds to the track and field teams in grades seven through 12.

It’s easy! Let The Friendly cook for you on the 26th. You’ll get a great meal and help support a local sports program at the same time! It’s win-win!

Truex Jr. strikes gold in Vegas

 Martin Truex Jr. didn’t have to roll the dice Sunday afternoon in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The driver was trailing leader Brad Keselowski when Keselowski felt something in his vehicle break. Truex Jr. passed Keselowski on the second to last lap of the Kobalt 400 and took the checkered flag for his first victory of the season.

The third NASCAR race of the season featured a little bit of everything from engine failures to big leads to three wide on turn four to a dustup on Pit Road.

Truex Jr. didn’t have to improve upon too much track acreage. He started the race in the second spot and led 150 of the event’s 267 laps.

Kyle Larson finished in second place, and Chase Elliott took third.

Joey Logano drove his ride into fourth place but not before tangling on the track with Kyle Busch. Logano led five laps during Sunday afternoon but it was post-race action that had people hollering.

While standing outside his vehicle after the race, Logano was treated to a thrown punch from Kyle Busch. A minor scuffle ensued in which team members and NASCAR officials separated the crews and sent each to their respective corners.

Busch’s issues seemed to stem from contact made on the track between the #22 and #18 cars. Logano and Busch were racing toward the lead on the final lap when it appeared Logano drifted up the track – just a smidge – and hit Busch. Whether it was intentional or not, Busch felt payback was due and tried to clock Logano.

Keselowski started off the race from the pole position. He took fifth place, led 89 laps of the contest, and is the current leader in the driver standings.

Also leading laps on Sunday were Jimmie Johnson (19), Michael McDowell (2), and Ty Dillon (2).

The teams are now at Phoenix International Speedway for Sunday’s running of the Camping World 500.

Kevin Harvick won last year’s March race and currently has one pole position start and one top 10 finish this season. Logano holds the track record, which he set in 2014. They will be two drivers everyone will be watching. But, truth be told, race fans will be paying special attention to Kyle Busch and his plan for Logano on the one-mile paved track.

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