12-26-2019 Tri-City Area Sports

Coloma Press Box By Dave Vollrath

Comets with road win in Kalamazoo against the Comets

The Coloma Comets traveled to Kalamazoo on Tuesday, Dec. 17 for their first road action of the new season, to face down the Comets of Kalamazoo Christian.  It took a little while to get used to the announcer continually referring to the home team as the Comets. But there was no confusion on which was the better Comet team on the floor this night, as Coloma rolled to a 69-57 victory against the other “Comet” team.  It looked to be a pretty evenly matched pair of Comet teams as they took the floor. There was no size disadvantage for either side.

The teams battled through the first half with each team leading at times, and neither team able to break away for any sizable lead.  Brandon Jacobs hit a pair of 3-pointers for Coloma in the first quarter, as Coloma put only 12 points on the board. The second quarter saw Drew Goodline taking over the Coloma offense, and breaking loose to score 16 points, including three 3-point buckets and hitting on five of five from the charity stripe, as Coloma ended the first half up by three points, 34-31.

RIVALRY MATCHUP… In the closest match of the meet between rival schools, Watervliet and Coloma, on Dec. 18, Trever Pelton of the Panther wrestling team holds onto Comet Caleb Ishmael. Ishmael would escape Pelton’s grip to score one point, which was all the scoring in the match.

The second half saw the Comets from Coloma steadily build on their halftime advantage as they put up 18 points in the 3rd quarter. When Kzoo Christian tried to limit Drew’s open looks, they succeeded. They held him scoreless in the quarter, but this Comet team is not short on players who don’t mind putting up a shot when they find themselves open. The result is a more balanced scoring attack for Coloma. Point guard Jake Ickes made a pair of three’s and a pair of free throws, and Michael Dancer hit a 3-point bomb.

The Comets again had five different players score in the final quarter, with Drew hitting a three and Isaiah Reinhardt hitting one as well.  With Coloma leading by 16 and about a 1:30 left in the game, Coach Curtis McFall emptied his bench. But when the subs quickly gave up a couple of easy buckets cutting the lead to 12, Coach McFall ran his starters back out there to close out the game. The Comets traveled back to Coloma with a 69-57 win.

Balanced scoring was the theme for the night as Coloma had three players in double figures, and two men tacking on eight points each.  Goodline led the attack finishing the night with 22 points, Ickes tallied 14 points, Reinhardt had 12 and Dancer and Jacobs each had eight.  Coloma also hit double figures for the third time this season in making 3-point shots; Goodline hit four, Ickes hit three, Jacobs has two long range bombs, while Dancer and Reinhardt had one each.

Big second half carries home team, Fennville Blackhawks, past the Comets

The Comets were on the road again this time at Fennville on Friday, Dec. 20. The first half was played very evenly and with Drew Goodline absolutely on fire. He scored 17 in the first quarter with 13 of them coming in the first 3-1/2 minutes.

SKY HIGH DANCER! Coloma senior Michael Dancer goes up high to get shot off over a Kalamazoo Christian defender in the Christian Comet gym. The Coloma Comets defeated the Kzoo Christian Comets by a score of 69-57, on Tuesday, Dec. 17. (TCR photo by Dave Vollrath)

Coloma jumped out to an early lead, but the Comets couldn’t sustain that early momentum. The first half ended with Isaiah Reinhardt hitting a 2-pointer to send the teams into the locker rooms tied at 36-36.  The second half the Blackhawks kept Goodline from scoring for the second straight quarter, but the game was still close with the Comets down by 12. Fennville dribbled the final minute off the clock, and then hit a 3-play just before the buzzer, giving the Blackhawks a 15-point cushion. That was more than the Comets could overcome, as they spent the 4th quarter with a double digit deficit.

After Goodline’s great start, he was held scoreless until there were only a few minutes left in the game.  The Comets struggled to keep the Blackhawks from scoring, as they made far too many easy buckets with a dribble drive to the basket and scoring underneath.  Goodline finished with 24 points, while Isaiah Reinhardt had his 3rd straight game of 12 points.

It was the first game Coloma was held under double digits in 3-point shots. Although they had plenty of open looks they just couldn’t put the ball in the hole. Coloma now goes into the winter break, with a 2-2 record. The Comet boys next play at home January 7 against Paw Paw.

Coloma girls suffer tough loss at Fennville, 45-41

The Comet girls played their best basketball of the season on Friday, Dec. 20 as point guard Megan Koenigshof was back from a leg injury. Although it made a huge difference in Coloma’s play on the court, it just wasn’t enough to give the Comets a win.  The Lady Comets led 18-16 in a high scoring opening quarter, with both teams hitting a high percentage of their shots. The second quarter found both teams cooling off a bit and Coloma was able to hold onto their lead with a 25-20 halftime score.

When fans look at the final stats on the game they’re left scratching their heads. The Lady Comets hit five more field goals in the game than Fennville, 17 to12. And even though both teams committed 15 fouls, Fennville shot 26 free throws making 14 while Coloma only shot 14 charity shots, making just six.  Also, Fennville hit eight 3-pointers to Coloma’s three for the game.

Megan Neubecker was the biggest recipient of Koenigshof’s return to the lineup, as she had her best offensive game of the year. The bulk of her buckets coming on the inside, where she does her best work, she scored a team leading 19 point, and pulled down 11 rebounds.  While Neubecker was scoring inside, Marissa Sherburn was hitting from the outside, connecting on three shots from long range to finish with nine points.

The Comets were down double digits with a couple minutes left in the game. They were able to pull back to within three points and had the ball with a chance to tie near the end, but were unable to do that and Fennville was able to hang on.

Vanessa Crisenbery finished the game with four points and gave Coloma a lot of energy on defense.  Koenigshof scored three points, but her ability to control the ball on offense and her presence on the court can’t be understated.  The Lady Comets go into the break with a 0-6 record, but should show great improvement when they return to the court after the first of the year.  Coloma girls’ next game is January 8 at Bridgman.

Hartford Prress Box By Jerrod Birmele

Happy Holidays from the Hartford Press Box!

Before we get into all the highlights surrounding Indian Athletics, yours truly would like to wish all of our readers Happy Holidays – Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I hope that this holiday season brings you great joy and special times with your family, friends and loved ones. Thank you for being a loyal reader of the newspaper and for reading the Hartford Press Box week in and week out. I always enjoy all the comments, good and bad!

Hartford boys basketball splits pair of conference games

This past week, the Hartford Indian boys basketball team played in two conference games during the final stretch of competition before the winter break. The Indian men showed glimpses of promise and glimpses of the need for improvement in a tough loss to Watervliet the week before. However, it is truly expected that ups and downs will happen for a team that lost the quality of athletes they did; but remember, the season is a marathon, not a sprint.

In their game on Tuesday, Dec. 17 at Bloomingdale, the Indians lost a tough one to the host Cardinals, falling 63-58. Hartford actually led the game, 9-8, after the first quarter, but after that, they found themselves on the wrong end of the box score. Bloomingdale used an 18-10 advantage in the second quarter to take a 26-19 lead into halftime. The second half was very competitive, with both teams lighting it up from the field. The Indians won both the third and fourth quarters, but only by one point in each frame: 20-19 in the third and 19-18 in the fourth, but coming up short in their comeback bid.

The Indians had seven players score in the game, two of whom were in double figures. Aaron Sinclair led Hartford with 25 points, while Kaden Johnson was the other player in double digits with 10 points. Other players that scored for the Indians were Elijah Ledesma (8 points), Elijah Rodarte and Elijah Smith (5 points each), Tanner Kinchen (3 points) and Ricky Baker (2 points). Hartford finished the night making 12 two-point baskets, 8 three-point baskets and had 10 successful makes from the charity stripe.

In their home game on Friday, Dec. 20 versus Eau Claire, the Indians were victorious in superb fashion, defeating the Beavers, 63-41. The Indians were in control throughout the game, leading 15-9 after the first quarter and 29-18 at halftime, courtesy of a 14-9 scoring advantage in the second stanza. Things heated up considerably in the second half, especially in the third quarter where Hartford used a 20-9 scoring blitz to build their lead to 22 points, 49-27, with eight minutes left. Both teams scored an even amount of points, 14, in the fourth quarter, but the Indians victory was already sealed.

For the second straight game, the Indians had seven players score on the night, and were led by Aaron Sinclair’s game-high 31 points. Ricky Baker pitched in seven points, while three others for Hartford: Tanner Kinchen, Elijah Ledesma and Elijah Rodarte, scored six points each. Other players that scored for the Indians were Dylan Voss (4 points) and Kaden Johnson (3 points). Hartford finished the night making 10 two-point baskets, eight three-point baskets, and was 19-for-33 from the charity stripe.

Hartford is currently 1-2 on the season, and 1-1 in Southwest 10 Conference action. As mentioned before, a much needed winter break is on tap for the team, and they will return to action on Tuesday, Jan. 7 at home versus Bangor.

Hartford girls basketball falls to Bloomingdale in conference contest

Last week, the Hartford Lady Indian Basketball team was scheduled to play in two conference contests, but after the cancellation of a season by one team, they were relegated to just one game. The season has started out well for this group of ladies, with the team winning two of their three games in the previous week. However, with a team in the top half of the league coming into Indian Gymnasium, the ladies knew they would have to play their best to win.

In their home game on Tuesday, Dec. 17 versus Bloomingdale, the Lady Indians fell to the visiting Lady Cardinals, 45-22. It was all Bloomingdale in this one, as the box score shows that they outscored the Lady Indians in all four quarters. The Lady Cardinals led Hartford, 9-3, after the first quarter, and used a 12-6 scoring advantage in the second quarter to build a 21-9 lead at halftime. The Lady Cardinals used a 14-9 scoring blitz in the third quarter to build a 35-18 lead with eight minutes left, and outscored Hartford, 10-4, in the final quarter to bring the game to its final score.

Seven players scored for Hartford, but no player managed to score more than six points. Alexis Snodgrass was the leading scorer for the Lady Indians, scoring six points, while Megan Nelson pitched in five points and Descenya Rodarte added four points. Other players that scored for the Lady Indians were Nautica Covington, Meadow Goodrich and Karly Manning (2 points each) and Jaelyne Galvan (1 point). Hartford finished the night making eight two-point baskets, one three-point basket, and shot 3-for-10 from the free throw line.

Hartford is currently 2-2 on the season, and 1-2 in Southwest 10 Conference play. Like their counterparts on the men’s side, the ladies will get a reprieve in the schedule due to winter break, and will return to action on Tuesday, Jan. 7 at Bangor.

Hartford Wrestling finishes 12th in Eau Claire tournament

Over the last seven days, the Hartford Indian Wrestling team took to the mats just one time in competition. They took part in a weekend individual event, the Burton Richards Tournament at Eau Claire, and the tournament included several local area teams. These early individual tournaments are just another step to the Indians success in the future, as this allows the coaching staff to see where the Hartford wrestlers are at right now, and where they need to improve most.

In their weekend individual tournament on Saturday, Dec. 21, Hartford placed 12th out of 16 teams, finishing with a team total of 39 points. When the final hand was raised, it was Kalamazoo Central who took home top team honors overall, scoring a total of 198.5 points.

The Indians took home top-6 honors in five different weight classes. Hartford was led by 112-pounder, Ernesto Rodarte, who earned podium honors by finishing in 3rd place. One hundred twenty-five-pounder, Jorge Liborio-Davila, and 160-pounder, William Candelario, finished in 5th place, while 189-pounder, James Terry, and 285-pounder, Ernesto Rodriguez, finished in 6th place, respectively.

Now that winter break has arrived, the Indian wrestlers will now get to enjoy some much needed time off. They will not be in competition again until the calendar flips to 2020, as their next meet is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 4, when they compete in the Jim Wade Family Classic Wrestling Invitational at Climax-Scotts.

As always, GO INDIANS!

Press Box Player of the Week!

By John Oliphant

Our Press Box Player of the Week is Andrew Chisek. Andrew is a sophomore on the Watervliet Panther varsity basketball team, playing primarily as a shooting guard. He is averaging 15 points per game so far, scoring 18 against Hartford to lead his team to a big early-season win.

Andrew is in his second year as a starter on the varsity basketball team. The team is much improved this year, which he credits to new coach Dan Hoff for focusing on the basics and demanding a lot out of the players this year. He says the team is more aggressive this season and focused on better team defense, which is already apparent in their early season games.

As a student athlete, Andrew was a key defensive player on the soccer team this fall, and also played a big role on the baseball team as a freshman last spring. But his favorite sport is basketball and he hopes to play either basketball or baseball at the collegiate level in the future.

In the off-season he enjoys hunting with his grandfather, and follows the Cubs, Miami Heat, and especially Steph Curry and Cassius Winston. His favorite subject at school is math, and some day he hopes to be an accountant.

Congratulations, Andrew!

Watervliet Press Box by John Oliphant

Panther grapplers beat Coloma, take 2nd at South Haven

The second big rivalry matchup of the winter sports season for Watervliet took place last Wednesday, Dec. 18 in the Panther gym between the Coloma Comet and Watervliet Panther wrestling teams. The two programs, each with plenty of top wrestlers and few empty weight classes, battled to the end before the Panthers pulled ahead to win 39-33. Each team won seven of the 14 total matches, but pins by Jimmy Kolosowsky (0:25), Nathan Isbrecht (2:16), Santiago Wilkinson (2:54), and Don Smith (2:51) made the difference. With the meet tied at 27-27, Wilkinson’s pin at 189 pounds put the Panthers ahead and Smith’s pin at 215 pounds closed the door on the meet.

The other Panther winner was Isaiah Yazel at 160 pounds. He beat Michael Case 4-2 in a tough match by making the only takedown as the clock was running down. An early and exciting match was between two state placers, with 112-pound Trever Pelton taking on Caleb Ishmael in a 119-pound match. Caleb scored the only point with a second-period escape to win 1-0.

With the Panthers jumping up a division this year the teams will likely see each other again in the team districts along with South Haven and Fennville.

On Saturday, Dec. 21 the Panthers took part in a team tournament at South Haven. In pool play they beat Bangor 60-12 and Reed City 42-33, and then won their pool with a victory over a shorthanded Battle Creek Central team 59-6. In the first round of the finals the Panthers easily put away Ravenna 60-21. The final against South Haven was their toughest matchup of the season so far, with South Haven winning 48-21.

The team finished in second place with their excellent performance on the day. Isaiah Yazel was bumped up a weight class to 171 and recorded five pins in a combined total of 5:55, while giving away 11 pounds in every match. Trever Pelton won five matches with four pins, freshman Dominick Morrison won five matches with two pins at 125 pounds, and Don Smith was 2-0 with two pins. Jimmy Kolosowsky, Nathan Isbrecht, Alex Isbrecht, and Santiago Wilkinson each went 4-1.

The team’s next meet is Saturday, Dec. 28 at Martin.

Boys Basketball loses in final seconds

The Panther boys basketball team hosted Gobles last Friday, Dec. 20, losing an exciting game 55-54. The young group played great team basketball against a Gobles team featuring all seniors. The Tigers scored just seconds after the opening tip-off, but solid defense and plenty of offensive rebounds later the Panthers took the lead and held it until the final seconds.

HANDS UP… is Gobles Tigers against the Panther varsity player #44 Dylan Lawson. The Panthers fell just short in the final seconds against the Tigers 55-54, Friday night December 20 at Panther Gymnasium. (TCR photo by Amy Loshbough)

Center Dylan Lawson started the game strong, getting several rebounds and drawing two early fouls from the Tiger’s big man Brady Burnell, putting him on the bench for most of the first half. That allowed Lawson and Cole Pline to control the boards for the Panthers and force Gobles into their outside game.

The Panthers led 27-15 at the half, and led by as many as 14 in the 3rd quarter. The Tigers began chipping away, pulling within seven at the start of the last quarter. A suffocating Tiger press forced the Panthers into several turnovers but the Panthers still led 50-42 with 3:09 to play. The Tigers hit a couple of deep three-pointers and scored the go-ahead basket with ten seconds on the clock. The Panthers were unable to get off a good shot before time expired.

Despite the tough loss, the team looks good and is playing well together. They should win plenty of games this season. Danaveon Gilbert led the team with 13 points, several coming on nifty inside shots along with his outside shooting. Sophomore Brennan Bornas played the best game of his young career so far, putting up 11 points and running the offense at point guard. Andrew Chisek also scored 11 and played good defense. Dylan Lawson scored nine and collected plenty of rebounds. Davis King continued his fine outside shooting off the bench, scoring eight. Cole Pline scored just two but collected several rebounds while playing solid defense off the bench.

The boys get a long holiday break before their next game on Friday, Jan. 3 at Lee High School in Wyoming.

Girls basketball drops two

The Lady Panthers took on Portage Northern on Thursday, Dec. 19, losing 48-38. They fell behind 11-0 early but fought back to take a 13-12 lead at the end of the first quarter. The teams ended the half tied at 20-20 as both team looked for quality possessions.

The Panthers came out strong in the second half, building a five-point lead at one point in the third quarter with Alex Worley, Maddison Saunders, and Sam Dietz contributing to the scoring. Their offense dried up in the fourth quarter as they scored only three points to Northern’s 14. Sam Dietz and Addison Riley led the team in rebounds with 10 and eight respectively. Dietz finished with 18 points, Adriyanna Winters scored seven, Madison Flowers scored six, Madison Saunders scored four, and Worley finished with three points.

The next night the Lady Panthers hosted Gobles, losing 62-28. The Tigers jumped out to a 17-6 lead in the first quarter, and the shorthanded Panthers couldn’t keep up with the Tigers, who didn’t miss many opportunities to score. The Panthers eventually ran out of gas, scoring just seven points in the second half.

Lynch goes over the century mark, Rodney-Isbrecht & Hildebrand continue fierce battle for 2nd place

By Dave Vollrath As we are looking at the final week of the regular season for the NFL, it is looking like no one is capable of catching Rodney Lynch. He just keeps on rolling up the points. Rodney had another exceptional week, going 7-1, and it just doesn’t look like there are enough games left in the season to keep him from donning his third consecutive Tri-City Record Armchair Quarterback championship hat. Following the NFL regular season and next week’s college bowl games there will only be a handful of playoff games and the national college championship game left for our panel to pick from. The chances of anyone catching Rodney are very slim. RoxAnn Rodney-Isbrecht and Tim Hildebrand each also had a very fine week and remain locked in a battle for second place. They both had a 6-2 record for the week. RoxAnn keeps her paper thin lead of just one point over Tim as we enter the final weeks of the season. The TCR, AQB competition is held weekly from the beginning of the high school football season in late summer, until it finishes with the playing of the Super Bowl in February. We have six Tri-City area football fans competing against each other to predict the winners of a group of pre selected games from the high school, collegiate, and professional ranks. Following the conclusion of the Super Bowl one winner is crowned champion and will have the honor of wearing the Tri-City Record Armchair Quarterback Championship hat. In the event that two or more ‘backs have the same record for the week, or the yearly total, their place in the standings will be determined by a weekly tiebreaker game. In addition to trying to correctly pick the winners of each week’s games, they predict the score from a specially selected game. The AQB whom predicts the closest to the total number of points scored by both teams will get the higher spot in the standings. Rodney now leads RoxAnn by five points overall in the contest and Tim is one point behind RoxAnn. Lynch also gets the number one spot for the weekly picks going 7-1. RoxAnn, Tim, and Greg Krell all went 6-2 for the week with RoxAnn getting the number 2 spot based on the tiebreaker game that saw SMU and FAU put 80 points on the board in their bowl game. Her prediction was closest with 70. Greg gets third and Tim lands 4th for the week. In the overall standings Kathy Summers rebounded with a 5-3 week and retains the number 4 overall spot in the standings. Dan Jones was also 5-3 and stays in 5th. Greg remains in the cellar with little chance of changing that. Be sure and check back next week as we give our panel of pigskin prognosticators the chance to show their prowess with these bowl games, and the final regular season NFL games.

LSU vs. Oklahoma Ohio State vs. Clemson Notre Dame vs. Iowa State Wake Forest vs. Michigan State Pittsburgh vs. Eastern Michigan (Tiebreaker) Packers vs. Lions Bears vs. Vikings Steelers vs. Ravens