04-23-2020 Tri-City Area Sports

Watervliet Press Box by John Oliphant

Winter Sports Awards Watervliet High School Athletic Department held out for good news, hoping it could get together for a traditional winter sports banquet, just like everyone has been hoping for some good news about going back to some kind of normal. That good news about their ability to get together and celebrate face-to-face never came, so some of the Panther teams held virtual banquets. The Panther girls basketball team gathered around their computers and phones last week as Coach Ken Dietz talked about the season and the growth of his team. Freshman Samantha Dietz was named the team’s MVP. She posted a season for the ages in her first try at varsity basketball, averaging 18.5 points per game and 14.5 rebounds per game. She made 45 steals and had 17 assists. Madison “MJ” Flowers was named the team’s Most Improved Player. The freshman point guard did a great job in her first varsity season, usually being defended by the opponent’s best player and not only surviving, but thriving in the role. She averaged eight points per game with 24 three-pointers, 24 steals, and 41 assists. Her quick hands and feet also made her a formidable defender. Senior Alexis Worley was named Team Leader. The senior was called upon to be the elder for a group of young teammates and filled the role well. Coach Dietz said, “Alex was rock solid for us this year. Her leadership was outstanding and appreciated. With the youth and lack of experience we needed someone that would help players on and off the court. Alex checked both those boxes every day.” The boys basketball team named Andrew Chisek the team’s Most Valuable Player. The sophomore guard led the team’s offense again in his second year with 13.7 points per game, but also became a defensive force that regularly disrupted his opponent’s offenses. Coach Dan Hoff selected two players as most improved. Junior Davis King seemingly came out of nowhere after injuries ruined his first two high school seasons, showing off a lethal outside shot. Junior Jordan Abney was a solid ball handler off the bench who showed some great moves when driving for the basket. Both players will play important roles as seniors next year. The Leadership Award was given to Brennan Bornas. The sophomore point guard played above his age all season, showing surprising speed when opponents thought they had an opening but didn’t. Cole Pline was given the Scholar-Athlete Award by Coach Hoff. The senior center is near the top of his class academically and was instrumental in the team’s improved performance this season. The Panther wrestling coaches, Joe and Dan Isbrecht chose Isaiah Yazel for the team’s 110% Award. The junior competed in one of the toughest high school weight classes at 160 pounds, the natural weight of many strong teenagers. His coaches said he worked hard all year and never gave up, even when facing some of the top wrestlers in the state. Sophomore Parker Lanning was named the Most Improved Player. Parker was an entirely different wrestler this season, entering his matches with a confidence and determination that served him well all season long. Look forward to seeing him use that confidence on Friday nights this fall. The winter sideline cheer team also presented awards recently. Freshman Ella Shunkwiler was named the Most Improved Cheerleader. Junior Riley McKinney was named the Most Valuable on the team in her third year on the sidelines. Junior Abby Burrows was named the Most Spirited.

Coloma Press Box By Dave Vollrath

Coloma Comet senior baseball players recognized It is more than appropriate to continue honoring Coloma Comet senior athletes who have earned recognition through years of work on and off the athletic fields. The following is a brief look at the careers of some of these student athletes, and their feelings about how their high school athletic careers ended because of the worldwide pandemic. According to Coloma head baseball coach Kevin VanPeteghem (Coach V), Jacob Hammond, who is a left-handed pitcher and an outfielder, was being looked at this spring to be at the top of the Comet pitching staff. Talented left-handed pitchers are very rare, and a real asset to a successful baseball team. Coach V stated that Jacob had been working extremely hard in the offseason to become a dependable arm in the Coloma pitching rotation, and also to try and win a spot in the Comet outfield, in hopes to be playing every day. Jacob was a first year varsity player last spring, in his junior season, and was ready to