12-01-2016 Tri-City Area Sports

Lady Panthers scrimmage Bridgman

 Saturday’s scrimmage between Watervliet and Bridgman’s girls’ varsity basketball teams gave a sneak peek into the capabilities and strengths of the Lady Panthers’ squad.

The scrimmage was played at home and started at 10:00 a.m.

Watervliet head coach Jason Forrester, in his first year at the helm of the program, did a nice job critiquing, correcting, and encouraging his team.

ACTION JACKSON… Hartford’s AJ Jackson reaches for a rebound Tuesday during a scrimmage as a Marcellus player tries to sweep it from her hands. The Indians girls’ varsity basketball team opened up their season Tuesday, November 29 at home against Galesburg-Augusta. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)

While the squad did a nice job during the scrimmage, there were a few breakout players that were fun to watch.

Casie Gohr’s strength seemed to be on the breakaways. She was down the court and hitting jumpers often one on one against a Bee player.

Another exciting player was Jade Miller. Although she will not be a starter on the squad, Miller sure has plenty of get up and go. She blazed down the court, knocked away numerous balls from the Bridgman offense, and provided Watervliet with a boost of energy and pep. She is scrappy, aggressive, and quick. Those will be three powerful weapons to have on the bench at Forrester’s disposal.

Katie Schultz will continue her domination from three-point territory, while Logan Mizwicki will plow through the defense making layups, her strong suit.

This year’s team appears energetic, determined, and physical. The ladies opened their season this week, playing at home against Kalamazoo Hackett on Monday. Friday, December 2, the team travels to Delton Kellogg for their first road game of the 2016/17 season.

Hartford Indians faced Marcellus in scrimmage action

Hartford’s varsity girls’ basketball team, under the direction of Lee Mireles, faced off against Marcellus on Tuesday, November 22 at home in a scrimmage.

The team did a nice job of pressuring the Marcellus offense and had quite a few takeaways during the game.

Also impressive was the Indians’ Marissa Beraza’s quickness getting the ball down the court as well as Amara Wesaw’s aggressive play in the paint.

Another Hartford player to watch this season will be AJ Jackson. She was strong under the bucket; her height will give her a distinct advantage this season.

All in all, for Hartford’s first time on the court this season, the team looked impressive. Their opening game of the season took place at home on Tuesday, November 29 as they took on Galesburg-Augusta.

Coloma basketball takes the court with a young squad

 If this year’s Coloma varsity basketball team looks like last year’s Coloma varsity basketball team it is because they are… with a year of experience under their belts.

Last year, Coach Paul Marfia had a young squad on his hands and limited upperclassman. As a matter of fact, Coloma had only two seniors on the team. This team this year has a similar structure – only two seniors on the team.

Marfia continues to have the same challenge this year he had last year: a stable of young players and young talent that had to be developed.

Most of last year’s team had played ball together throughout middle and junior high school, so they had a foundation already laid of working together and knowing each other’s style of play.

This year, Marfia hopes to tighten up both offense and defense and win a few more ball games.

With only two seniors on this year’s squad, Marfia still considers the team young. “We have a high ceiling for improvement this season,” he said. “I believe in my team and feel with their work ethic we will get better as the season rolls along.”

The team will be led by Zach Goodline. The sophomore has the “best ball skills” according to Marfia, and averaged 24 points per game for the Comets last year. Although he is not as tall as some of the other players, Goodline, at 5’ 10”, is not afraid to take shots outside of or in the paint. Goodline will start for the Comets.

Levi Wilkins, a junior, will start at point guard. Wilkins is aggressive and fast and his shooting skills have vastly improved over the years.

Grant Kroschel is the lone senior starter for Coloma. He is a “very intelligent player that makes everyone around him better,” Marfia stated.

Rob Schroeder and Adam Hearn, both juniors, will start for Coloma as well. Marfia is looking to both players to get in the mix and grab rebounds. Hearn is the team’s tallest player, clocking in at 6’ 4”.

Wilkins, Goodline, and Kroschel are captains for this year’s squad.

Marfia has talent on the bench as well.  Junior Tevon Blazier “will be counted on early to set the tone of what it takes to play varsity basketball,” Marfia shared. Blazier should be healthy for most of the season; he suffered a leg injury and was limited during the football season.

Senior Kobe Hunter is being considered by Marfia as “instant offense” and should see playing time.

Calvin Starnes is a “long perimeter player that brings vocal leadership and toughness” to the team, according to Marfia. Starnes is a junior.

Brendan Lute will be called upon to play both wing and post. Marfia will depend on Lute “to stretch the defense with his perimeter shot.”

Marfia considers junior Willie Donald “a raw athletic post player” who will get playing time.

“For us to be successful we will have to play up tempo and be relentless on the defensive end. And, hit the three-point shot. When you are undersized like us you must shoot from the outside and hope for some long rebounds,” said Marfia.

The four-year varsity coach is honest in his assessment of his own team. “I feel we do have better ball skills overall, but being so young it will depend on how long it takes (our players) to understand the physical demands of varsity speed and strength. We will struggle with the little details that make varsity teams successful.”

But, Marfia’s also hedging his bets. “We might surprise people this year. The one thing I will promise is this season no one will work harder than us for four quarters. After the first week (of practice), there is nothing that would make me think differently.”

Be sure to watch Goodline as he might reach 1,000 points in two seasons.

Coloma opens their season Tuesday, December 6 on the road in Lawrence. Tipoff is 7:00 p.m.

And, mark your calendars as the Comets face Watervliet on the road December 13 and follow that game with a battle against Hartford at home on the 16th.

PROM IS NEW COACH AT WATERVLIET… Watervliet boys’ varsity basketball program is now under the leadership of first time head coach Chris Prom. Prom and his squad began practicing for the upcoming season which starts December 6 at home against Bloomingdale. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)

Panthers basketball: Strong, solid, and under new leadership

 When the Watervliet varsity boys’ basketball team takes the court for their first game on December 6, it will be under new leadership.

Chris Prom has been tabbed to lead the Panthers on the hardwood this season. The position marks the first time that Prom has coached varsity basketball at Watervliet.

However, Prom comes to the position with plenty of experience with the program and players, having been the JV coach for the past two seasons. Expect a seamless transition for both the coach and players.

Prom will be joined on the bench by Karl Shafer who is the assistant coach.

This year’s squad will consist of three returning letter winners in Cam Rendo, a senior guard, Tyler Brant, a senior forward, and Dan Cluster, a junior center.

Prom said, “I am looking at the returning players to lead the team this season. They have a year of varsity experience under their belts and should be able to let the younger guys know what to expect during the course of a varsity season.”

Rendo, Brant, and Cluster will be joined by senior guards Devon Flowers and Mark Myers, senior guard/forward Ryan Lefor, junior forwards Sheldon Tobar, Bryant Kieft, and James Bell, junior guards Ryan Chisek and Trent Boone, and junior guard/forward Lamarrius Smith.

The team lost eight players from last year’s squad to graduation. That is a big blow considering the level of talent and experience that will not be on the bench. But, Prom is not too worried. “Our strengths this year would have to be our size. We have some tall players that do well down low in the post for us. Our guards are developing very well and will be a crucial part of our team as well.”

Prom, with a basketball background rich in success including his role on the Port Washington, Wisconsin high school state runner-up team as a junior, has a singular focus and goal for the Panthers. “Coach Shafer and I are looking forward to playing the game the right way as a team and growing together throughout the season. We’ve got a great group of guys that are a tight-knit group. If we stick together and play for each other, we will have a successful season.”

Watervliet begins their season Tuesday, December 6 at home as they take on Bloomingdale. The Panthers will face Coloma at home on December 13 and Hartford on the road on January 13.

PANTHERS WIN TEAM ACADEMIC ALL-STATE AWARD… The Watervliet varsity volleyball squad scored high honors by winning the Team Academic All-State Award following their season. Members of the squad include (left to right) Front row: Mercede Daugherty, Maggie Lynch, Katie Schultz, and Logan Mizwicki; Back row: Coach Edie Daugherty, Katie Clark, Ariana Rowe, Kara Liles, Zoe Smith, Madalyn Hutchins, and Grace Smith.

Watervliet volleyball scores impressive award

 Watervliet varsity volleyball head coach Edie Daugherty proudly shared the news that the 2016 squad earned Team Academic All-State recognition.

For a team to receive the designation, the average grade point average of all players must be above 3.4.

Additionally, three seniors earned Academic All-State awards for having a grade point average of 3.7 or higher. Mercede Daugherty, Maggie Lynch, and Logan Mizwicki won Academic All-State honors for the Lady Panthers.

Hartford hosts college football recruiting night

Hartford High School principal Dave Janicki announced that the school will host a college football recruiting event Thursday, December 1 from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. in the school’s cafeteria.

According to Janicki, “I have invited over 40 colleges from five different states.” The event is an opportunity for local high school senior football players and their parents to meet with prospective college football programs and academia.

It is suggested that players attend the recruiting fair with their highlight reel and transcripts in hand.

“This is the 17th year I have hosted the event and it is a great way for parents and players to get exposure to colleges and their coaching staff,” Janicki said.

Janicki shared that the event has averaged over 100 kids with their parents and/or coaches in attendance.

Girls’ varsity basketball a no go at Grace

Due to a lack of participation, a girls’ varsity basketball team will not be fielded this year at Grace Christian.

It is disappointing news for this season. The good news is there is a junior varsity squad, so that generates some hope for the future and a varsity program.


Rodney-Isbrecht and Krell tie for best AQB weekly record; Hildebrand slides up a spot on leaderboard

RoxAnn Rodney-Isbrecht and Greg Krell predicted their way to a 7-1 weekly record, tops in our contest this week.

Every seven days, six prominent, local football fans attempt to divine from beyond the winners of eight football games. The Tri-City Record Armchair Quarterbacks’ guesses are tabulated throughout the season and a winner will be declared after the Super Bowl in February.

In the event two or more AQBs predict their way to a tie, one specially selected game is used as the tie-breaker. Contestants must determine how many points they think will be scored in the contest; the player with the closest prediction to the actual score “wins” the week and better spot in the rankings.

Rodney-Isbrecht and Krell guessed their way to 7-1 records last week. They were only tripped up – as was the Wolverine offensive line – by the OSU/Michigan game, which, ironically, was our tie-breaker game.

Michigan fell to Ohio State 30-27 after two overtime periods. With his 55 point guess in hand, Krell wins the top spot in the weekly rankings. Rodney-Isbrecht takes second, as she guessed 41 points would be scored.

Tom Gear and Chris Leach kept pace with each other, posting 6-2 records for the week. Their place in the standings also came down to the tie-breaker game.

Gear got the nod for third place after he predicted a 52-point game total. Leach landed in fourth place with her 48 point guess.

Tim Hildebrand handed in a 5-3 record and claimed fifth place.  That left Rodney Lynch in sixth place after he predicted his way to a 4-4 record.

There were some interesting games on tap. Penn State defeated Michigan State and Notre Dame lost to USC. Somewhere in California, Joe Montana was cringing at the hapless play of his alma mater Fighting Irish. The Irish drop to 4-8 on the season.

Speaking of woeful teams, Chicago lost their ninth game of the season. Maybe the Chicago Cubs and their stellar season stole all the Bears mojo?

Overall, Rodney-Isbrecht holds on to the top spot in the TCR AQB standings. She maintains an 83-29 record and one game lead over Krell. Krell is in second place with an 82-30 record.

There is a change on the leaderboard, as Hildebrand has overtaken Lynch for third place. Hildebrand, who has steadily and quietly been picking up a game here and there, holds a 77-35 record. Lynch dropped one game to 76-36 overall.

Gear and Leach remain all knotted up in fifth place with 64-48 records. They are keeping pace with each other through good pick weeks and bad.

This week, conference championship abound. Our AQBs will face off on the following games:

Western Michigan vs. Ohio

Wisconsin @ Penn State

Oklahoma State @ Oklahoma

Colorado vs. Washington

San Francisco @ Chicago

Detroit @ New Orleans

Kansas City @ Atlanta

Miami @ Baltimore

The tie-breaker game this week is the Wisconsin/Penn State game for the Big 10 Championship. Yep, that’s right, folks. Michigan is not in contention for the trophy. But, the playoff picture is still very muddy. Where Michigan will land in terms of a bowl game or possible national championship semi-final game is anyone’s guess.

NASCAR celebrates final Sprint Cup Champion’s Week in Vegas

The 2016 season has ended for both NASCAR and title sponsor Sprint. The telecommunications giant has ended their reign as title sponsor of NASCAR races. But, before panic settles in – as no new sponsor has stepped forward for the 2017 season – there is some celebrating to be done!

Drivers, teams, and fans galore headed to Las Vegas this week for Champion’s Week festivities.

Beginning on Tuesday, Jimmie Johnson and his crew took center stage as they were interviewed about Johnson’s title run this season.

On Wednesday, fans were able to meet and greet some drivers and snag free swag at the NASCAR fan lounge. There was also a massive marketing pitch to industry executives regarding the business end of racing.

Awards were to be handed out Thursday during a luncheon, but the most fun is scheduled to happen in the afternoon. All 16 Chase for the Championship qualifiers will line up their cars and parade down Las Vegas Boulevard. Burnouts are included!!!

Coors Light is the proud sponsor of the NASCAR Silver Bullet Bash, but do not plan on attending. That party is by invitation only. Mine got lost in the mail.

Friday closes out the week with the year in the review recap and culminates in the always popular Sprint Cup Series Awards. We will have a list of winners next week.

Other pertinent news includes the announcement that Ty Dillon will race full-time in 2017. The driver, who ran in only 11 races this season, will drive the number 13 GEICO Chevy for Germain Racing.

Mark Martin, a longtime fan favorite, has been given his walking papers… straight to the National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame.

Martin had 40 career wins and 882 career starts during his thirty-plus years on the track. How exciting for Martin!


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