12-19-2019 Tri-City Area Sports

Watervliet Press Box by John Oliphant

Panther boys beat Hartford

The Watervliet Panther gym was full of basketball last Saturday, Dec. 14 as four of the teams took on rival Hartford. In the final game of the night the varsity boys took the early lead against the Indians and only briefly trailed, eventually winning their first game of the season, 53-45. These crosstown games sometimes get testy and this one was no exception. Both sides brought their student cheering sections and the place got noisy as the green and maroon fans enjoyed the games.

PANTHERS FALL SHORT…in season opener at home against the Berrien Springs Shamrocks. #24 Danaveon Gilbert contributes 17 points in the effort. Andrew Chisek led the scoring for Watervliet with 22 points. (TCR photo by Amy Loshbough)

Early on the game was fast-paced, with Aaron Sinclair scoring 11 of Hartford’s 13 first-quarter points. The Panthers were playing well as a team with five different players scoring 17 points, Andrew Chisek leading the way with nine. The Indians won the second quarter 12-7 to take a lead into halftime.

In the third quarter the tables turned as five Panthers combined to score 17 to Hartford’s 12. The final quarter saw only two baskets scored by the teams combined, but lots of free throws. Hartford hit five of 11 attempts, but the Panthers were solid, going 10 for 12 at the line to put the game away.

The Panthers played inspired team basketball. Excellent half-court defense, strong rebounding, and fourth-quarter free throw shooting made all the difference. Coach Dan Hoff said he was “pleased with the way the guys came together tonight. It’s a process, we’ll keep working.” Indeed, the Panthers are playing well together in all facets of the game and look much improved this year under their new coach.

Andrew Chisek led the Panthers with 18 points. Danaveon Gilbert scored 11, Davis King scored eight, and Jordan Abney scored seven. Dylan Lawson scored four, Brennan Bornas scored three, and Cole Pline scored two points.

On Friday, Dec. 13 the Panthers hosted Fennville and lost 66-40 in a game that got away from them in the second half. The Panther varsity boys were down 21-20 at halftime with the momentum and some Blackhawks in early foul trouble, but they couldn’t keep up with Fennville’s potent outside shooting. Davis King led the Panthers with 11 points, and Andrew Chisek scored nine. Danaveon Gilbert scored seven, Brennan Bornas scored six, Dylan Lawson scored five, and Jordan Abney scored two points.

Earlier last week they opened the season with Berrien Springs. The Panthers played solid defense throughout the game and fought well on the boards, but were unable to get all their gears meshing and lost 52-42. Four Panthers got into the scoring column, with Andrew Chisek leading the way with 22 and Danaveon Gilbert scoring 17.

The Panther Boys Varsity basketball team has their next game at home Friday night, Dec. 20 against the Gobles Tigers.

Panther girls have a busy week

In the other big Saturday night basketball game the Lady Panthers lost to Hartford 46-31. By the time the game was over Saturday evening the Lady Panthers had simply run out of gas. They were trailing by nine points in the second quarter before cutting the lead to five at the half and then just four at the end of the third quarter. Coach Dietz said they just couldn’t sustain the push they needed to catch the Indians. Six different Panthers scored on the night.

On Friday the 13th the Lady Panthers hosted Fennville in their first SAC division game. They battled all night, but a three-point third quarter hurt the Lady Panthers as they could only put up three points in the third quarter against 10 by the Blackhawks. Samantha Dietz led all scorers with several putbacks and free throws, and Lilly Lefor, Madison Saunders, and Madison Flowers also scored. Dietz and Addison Riley each had double-digit rebounds on the night.

Varsity Wrestling

The Panther wrestling team kicked off the season in Vicksburg last Wednesday, Dec. 11 in grand fashion, coming away with two team victories. They started off hot, beating Three Rivers 51-18 and continued strong against Vicksburg, winning with a score of 42-30.

PANTHER WRESTLERS MEDAL… Six members of the WHS Varsity wrestling team brought home medals on Dec. 14, 2019 from the Galesburg-Augusta Invitational tournament of fifteen teams. Pictured are (from the left): Trever Pelton (112 lb. Champion), Nathan Isbrecht (145 lb. Champion), Isaiah Yazel (171 lb. 2nd place), Jim Kolosowsky (103 lb. 3rd place), Dominick Morrison (130 lb. 3rd place), and Alex Isbrecht (140 lb. 2nd place). (Photo courtesy of Robert Pelton)

On Saturday, Dec. 14 the team traveled to Galesburg-Augusta for the first of several tournaments this season. The team entered 11 wrestlers and took 3rd place out of 13 teams with 109 points. Six wrestlers earned individual medals. Senior Trever Pelton dominated the 112-pound class, pinning his opponents in 1:55, 0:27, and 0:31 to win first place. Sophomore Nathan Isbrecht won his first varsity tournament with pins at 1:06 and 5:39. Junior Isaiah Yazel had pins at 3:00 and 1:01; then was seconds away from overtime in the 160-pound championship match before losing 3-1 on a controversial last-second takedown. Senior Alex Isbrecht had pins at 1:06 and 5:39 but forfeited the finals match due to illness and took 2nd place. Sophomore Jimmy Kolosowsky won two matches and freshman Dominick Morrison went 1-1, both earned 3rd place medals.


By Jerrod Birmele

Megan Nelson, a senior at Hartford High School, and a member of the Lady Indian Basketball team, is this week’s Tri-City Record Press Box Player of the Week.

Last week, Megan was the leading scorer for the Lady Indians, averaging nine points a game during their 2-1 start. In the team’s first game of the season against Cassopolis on Dec. 10, she scored right on her first week average, scoring nine points on a trifecta of three pointers in Hartford’s victory over the Lady Rangers. Like a majority of the team, she struggled in a loss against conference favorite, Centreville, on Dec. 13, scoring just three points on one basket from behind the arc. But, one day later, she bounced back strong, scoring a team-high 15 points, despite being in foul trouble, in a victory over Watervliet, making two three pointers in the game.

Last season, Megan averaged close to nine points per game, scoring 188 total points in 21 games. She scored in the double-digits on nine different occasions, scoring a season-high 18 points in a win against Marcellus last February. She also led the team in scoring in their matchup against Niles Brandywine in the district semifinals last year, scoring 16 points while hitting four shots from behind the arc. Following the season, she was honored as a second team all-conference selection by the Southwest 10 Conference.

Athletically, outside of the basketball court, Megan was a member of the volleyball team this fall, and was an honorable mention all-conference selection. The team also received team academic all-state honors. She will also be a member of the softball team this spring. She was recently inducted into the National Honor Society, and last Sunday, was crowned 2nd runner-up to Miss Hartford.

Congratulations on this great honor, Megan! We look forward to seeing what you and the Lady Indians accomplish this season!

Hartford Prress Box By Jerrod Birmele

Hartford Boys Basketball begins season with loss to Watervliet

Well, the time for winter sports has arrived in Hartford, and the Indian Boys Basketball team tipped off their season last weekend against their rivals, the Watervliet Panthers. The season opened with several question marks, as four of the top five scorers from last year graduated, and several of the players dotting the roster must step up to fill the void. In essence, this was a great opportunity for the coaching staff to see where they will stack up.

The game was tight throughout, with the lead changing hands several times during the contest. However, when the final buzzer sounded, the Indians fell to the Panthers in their season opener, 53-45. Watervliet led 17-13 after the first quarter, before Hartford rallied for a 25-24 lead at the half courtesy of a 12-7 scoring advantage in the second quarter. The Panthers took control of the game courtesy of a 29-20 scoring spurt in the second half, outscoring the Indians 17-12 in the third quarter, and 12-8 in the fourth quarter to take the victory.

The Indians had just five players score in the game, and were led by junior Aaron Sinclair’s 24-point performance. Senior Elijah Ledesma pitched in nine points in the losing effort, while sophomore Kaden Johnson scored seven points in his debut. The two remaining players that scored were juniors Dylan Voss (3 points) and Ricky Baker (2 points). Hartford finished the night making eight two-point baskets, seven three-point baskets, and shot 8-for-18 from the charity stripe.

Hartford is currently 0-1 on the season, but since this was a non-conference matchup, they do not have a record in Southwest 10 Conference action yet. That will change this week, as they will play in a pair of conference games before winter break. It all began on Tuesday, Dec. 17, when they traveled to Bloomingdale to take on the Cardinals, before they make their home debut on Friday, Dec. 20 against the Eau Claire Beavers.

Hartford Girls Basketball begins season with 2-1 start

Like their counterparts on the men’s side, the Hartford Lady Indian Basketball team began their season, and it was a busy stretch, indeed. The team played three games over the course of just five days, and two of them had early conference implications. Plenty has changed over the course of the offseason, including a new coach, and a different philosophy on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. To say excitement was in the air would be an understatement.

In their game on Tuesday, Dec. 10 at Cassopolis, the Lady Indians won their season opener in thrilling fashion, defeating the Lady Rangers, 41-37. The game was tight throughout, with Hartford leading 11-10 after the first quarter, and 17-16 at halftime, after both teams scored six points in the second quarter. Cassopolis tied the game up at 30 after three quarters, courtesy of a 14-13 scoring advantage in the third, before the Lady Indians won the game in the fourth quarter, outscoring Cassopolis, 11-7, to secure the victory.

Eight players scored for Hartford, who was led by Jaelyne Galvan with her 12-point performance. Megan Nelson and Alexis Snodgrass pitched in nine points each in the winning effort. Other players that scored for the Lady Indians were Vanessa De La Rosa and Khashya McCoy (3 points each), Mercedes Requenes and Descenya Rodarte (2 points each), and Gillian Kuehnle (1 point). Hartford finished the night making eight two-point baskets, five three-point baskets, and shot 10-for-22 from the free throw line.

In their home opener on Friday, Dec. 13 versus Centreville, the Lady Indians fell to the visiting Lady Bulldogs, 38-21. Centreville was in control of the game pretty much from start-to-finish, leading 9-7 after the first quarter, and held a 20-13 lead going into the locker room at halftime, courtesy of an 11-6 scoring spurt in the second quarter. The Lady Bulldogs continued to be in command in the second half, outscoring Hartford in the third quarter, 6-0, and the fourth quarter, 12-8, to take the win. Centreville is the favorite to win the conference, and Hartford clearly played a very solid game against a tough opponent.

Six players scored for Hartford in the game, and for the second straight contest, were led in scoring by Jaelyne Galvan, who reached double-digits courtesy of her 11-point performance. Megan Nelson pitched in three points on a three-pointer in the losing effort. Other players that scored for the Lady Indians were Khashya McCoy, Mercedes Requenes and Descenya Rodarte (2 points each) and Alexis Snodgrass (1 point).

In their final game of the week on Saturday, Dec. 14 at Watervliet, the Lady Indians defeated their rivals, the Lady Panthers, 46-31. The game was much tighter for a good three quarters than what the final score line reveals. Hartford led after the first quarter, 12-9, and outscored Watervliet in the second quarter, 11-9, to take a 23-18 lead into halftime. Defenses prevailed in the third quarter, with the Lady Panthers outscoring the Lady Indians, 7-6, to cut the lead to 29-25 after three. However, Hartford put the game to bed courtesy of their highest scoring quarter of the year so far, outscoring Watervliet, 17-6, to pull away for the victory.

Seven players scored for Hartford in this game, led by Megan Nelson’s 15-point performance, which included a pair of three pointers. Vanessa De La Rosa and Alexis Snodgrass each scored eight points in the winning effort. Other players that scored for the Lady Indians were Descenya Rodarte (7 points), Khashya McCoy (4 points) and Jaelyne Galvan and Karly Manning (2 points each). Hartford finished the night making 17 two-point baskets, two three-point baskets, and shot 6-for-12 from the free throw line.

Hartford is currently 2-1 on the season, and 1-1 in Southwest 10 Conference action. Two conference games are on the schedule this week, with both being held in the confines of Indian Gymnasium. They hosted the Lady Cardinals of Bloomingdale on Tuesday, Dec. 17, before finishing the 2019 portion of the schedule on Friday, Dec. 20 against the Eau Claire Lady Beavers.

Hartford Wrestling wins early dual, places two at individual tournament

This past week, the Hartford Indian Wrestling team took to the mats for the first time, competing in a weekday dual meet and finishing off with a Saturday individual tournament. Despite their disappointing dual records in recent years, mainly due to a lack of bodies at numerous weight classes, things are looking up for the program this year. For the first time in many years, weight classes are being filled, and importantly, plenty of youth is on the roster.

In their weekday dual meet on Wednesday, Dec. 11 at Gobles, Hartford earned the victory against the host Tigers, taking the match by a score of 42-29.

The Indians received victories from Ernesto Rodarte (119 pounds, fall at :58), Armando Garcia (125 pounds, by forfeit), Jorge Liborio-Davila (130 pounds, by forfeit), Gonzalo Pedraza (135 pounds, by forfeit), William Candelario (171 pounds, by forfeit), James Terry (215 pounds, by forfeit) and David Fernandez (285 pounds, by forfeit).

In their weekend individual tournament on Saturday, Dec. 14 at Galesburg-Augusta, Hartford placed 9th out of 15 teams, finishing with a total of 60.5 points. When the dust settled, it was South Haven that took home top honors in the team competition, scoring a total of 208 points.

The Indians finished with two wrestlers placing in the top-4 positions in their respective weight classes. Armando Garcia took home 2nd place honors at 119 pounds, while Ernesto Rodarte placed 3rd overall at 112 pounds.

Garcia was 1-1 on the day, defeating Michael Williams of Benton Harbor by fall at 3:15 in the semifinals, before falling to Marcellus’ Estevan Rodriguez by decision, 12-7, in the finals.

Rodarte went 3-1 on the day. He won his first match by technical fall, 18-1, over Eau Claire’s Jordan Phillips. He then lost his championship bracket semifinal match against Watervliet’s Trever Pelton, who pinned him in :27. Battling back through the consolation bracket, he defeated Marcellus’ Fisher Mosher by major decision, 18-4, in the consolation semifinal, before defeating Dyllon Gebbink from Marcellus by fall in :58 to secure his third place finish.

The Indian wrestlers will now have a three week break between events, with their next wrestling tournament scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 4 at Climax-Scotts, where they will participate in the Jim Wade Family Classic Wrestling Invitational.

As always, GO INDIANS!

Coloma Press Box By Dave Vollrath

Coloma Comet boys begin new hoops season splitting a pair of home games

The Coloma Comet boys basketball season is now underway, as they split a pair of home games losing 76-58 to Buchanan, and then winning by a 77-52 count over Martin.

Under new head coach Curtis McFall, Coloma’s opening game on Tuesday, Dec. 10, looked to be an uneven matchup on paper. The Bucks had a significant size advantage over the Comets, and used that to outrebound Coloma by more than double, 23 rebounds for Coloma to 53 for the Bucks. However, Coach McFall has the new looking Comets moving the ball in a faster tempo offense that has Coloma looking for the open shot, and that shot could come from anyone on the floor.

The first quarter saw the Comets holding their own against the Bucks, as they were hitting their shots including several 3-point buckets, and only trailed 19-16 after the first quarter. The second quarter however, Coloma shooters cooled off with Buchanan dominating the boards. They held the Comets to one and done shooting and went into the halftime intermission leading 40-27.

The Comets outscored the Bucks by seven points in the third quarter, and when Brendan Jacobs hit a buzzer beater to end the quarter the Comets only trailed 54-48. The fourth quarter was similar to the second, as the Bucks once again pulled away. Ironically Buchanan won the game at the free throw line, hitting on 25 freebies, to Coloma’s eight. But Buchanan missing on 17 free throws also kept the game closer than it could have been, with Coloma committing 29 total fouls, to the Bucks 16. Coloma also kept it close by hitting on 10 shots from outside the 3-point arc, as the Bucks only made three from that range.

Drew Goodline led the Comets in scoring with 30 points, as he hit four from 3-point range, and made 8-11 from the free throw stripe. Michael Dancer, a senior forward, had 17 points with nine coming from 3-point buckets. Dancer also pulled down seven rebounds to lead the Coloma hoopsters.

On Friday, Dec. 13, the Comets faced the Martin Clippers and jumped out to an early lead which they held on to for most of the game. Martin did take a 19-18 lead with about five minutes left in the second quarter, but that didn’t last long. Coloma led at halftime by a score of 36-32.

The Coloma starting guards, sophomore Jake Icke, and junior Drew Goodline, scored all 15 of the Comet points in the first quarter. Ickes hit on one 3-pointer and had seven points while Goodline hit two three’s and scored eight in the quarter. The second half found the Comets building on their lead and pulling away to the final score of 77-53.

Goodline finished as the team high scorer with 25 points, and added four assists and eight rebounds. Ickes finished with 15 points.

For the second straight game Coloma hit on double digit 3-point field goals by canning 10. Goodline and Ickes hit three each. Karon Smith, Stacey Branscomb, Michael Dancer, and Isaiah Reinhardt each had one from long range. Reinhart, a senior, also had a big night coming off the bench to score 12 points, all of them coming in the second half. Michael Dancer finished with eight points and pulled down 10 rebounds. The Comets are now 1-1 on the season.

Coloma girls basketball team is still winless, after losing 2 at home

On Tuesday, Dec. 10 the Coloma girls basketball team lost at home to Buchanan by a score of 31-27. The Comets started out very cold as they went scoreless in the first quarter, and trailed 9-0. It was very apparent the Comets were missing their starting point guard Megan Koenigshof, who was sitting out with a leg injury.

MEGAN MAKES THE SHOT… Coloma Comet senior center Megan Neubecker (#21) puts up a shot over the Martin defenders during the Comet loss to Martin, 40-26. (TCR photo by Dave Vollrath)

Coloma trailed at the half by 11 as they had trouble with multiple turnovers, and had trouble throughout the game in moving the ball. Marissa Sherburn was the leading Comet scorer with 15 points. She hit three from 3-point land. Megan Neubecker finished with seven points and pulled down seven rebounds. But Coloma had trouble in getting the ball to her in a good scoring position. Mia Cole hit a big 3-point shot for the Comets.

On Friday night, Dec. 13 Coloma faced SAC conference foe Martin in the Comet gym. Once again with Megan Koenigshof still out with an injured calf, Coloma had trouble moving the ball, and had multiple unforced turnovers which kept the Comets from putting up a shot. Coloma trailed 28-18 at the end of the third quarter, but cut the lead to six during the fourth, but could get no closer and wound up losing by a score of 40-26. Leading the Comets in scoring were Marissa Sherburn and Megan Neubecker.

Coloma girl bowlers win Huskie Invitational Championship, at Portage Northern

The Coloma Comet girl bowlers, coming on the heels of their Division 3 state title last spring, continue to dominate. They rolled through the competition at the Huskie Invitational tournament, hosted by Portage Northern, on Friday Dec. 13.

Coloma finished the qualifying round on top, which consisted of three individual games, followed by six baker games. Coloma scored a 3115 in qualifying, with the top eight teams moving to bracket play. The bracket play consisted of the best 2 out of 3 baker games.

The Lady Comets defeated Portage Northern in the quarterfinals. The semi finals was a super match-up of defending state champions, as Coloma faced Bronson who won the Division 4 state championship last spring. Bronson won the first game 149-155, but the Comets took the next two, 180-124 and 145-140, to move on to the championship.

The Comets faced Wayland for the championship and dropped the first game 116-145. Coloma then sucked it up and won the last two games and the winner’s trophy by scores of 166-129 and 157-140.

Morgan Hosbein and Ashley Ikerd were the top Comet bowlers on the day, as Morgan averaged 205, and Ashley averaged 157.

Coloma boys bowling defeats Schoolcraft in close match